Sir John Yeamans

Governor April 1672 – August 1674

John Yeamans was born in England in 1611, the younger son of a wealthy brewer, and made his first career as a military officer during the English Civil War. In 1650, he emigrated to Barbados, where he served in the militia, on the court of common pleas, and on the colonial council. In 1661, Yeamans married as his second wife Margaret Forster Berringer, who was the widow of his former commercial partner (whom Yeamans was generally suspected of having killed).

John Yeamans became a large landholder in Barbados. In 1665 he received the title of baronet, and appointment as governor of a proprietary colony at Cape Fear (North Carolina). The colony struggled, Yeamans returned to Barbados, and the Cape Fear settlement was abandoned in 1667. 

In 1669, with their ships en route from England, the Lords Proprietors authorized Sir John Yeamans to govern the new colony, or to name a governor of Carolina. He appointed William Sayle of Bermuda, and remained in Barbados.

The proprietors named Yeamans a landgrave in April 1671, and he traveled to South Carolina a few months later. Upon arrival, he claimed the


Library of Congress Prints & Photographs

Sir John Yeamans