Once known as the ‘Wickedest City on Earth,’ Port Royal on the island of Jamaica was one of the largest towns in the English colonies during the late 17th century. It was a haven for privateers and pirates, such as the famed Sir Henry Morgan, due to its excellent geographic location in the middle of the Caribbean. From Port Royal, these buccaneers preyed upon and plundered the heavily laden treasure fleets departing from the Spanish Main.
History and Background
After 1670, the importance of Port Royal and Jamaica to England was increasingly due to trade in slaves, sugar, and raw materials. It soon became the mercantile center of the Caribbean area, with vast amounts of goods flowing in and out of the port through an expansive trade network. During the late 17th century, Boston, Massachusetts, and Port Royal, Jamaica, were the two largest English towns in the Americas. Most archaeologists who work with historic sites in the United States are familiar with the archaeological work carried out in New England, but relatively few are familiar with Port Royal and its role in the history of the 17th-century English colonies. Unfortunately, the glory of Port Royal was short-lived. On the morning of June 7th, 1692, a massive earthquake hit Jamaica. The tremors rocked the sandy peninsula on which the town was built, causing buildings to slide and disappear beneath the sea. An estimated 2000 Port Royalists were killed immediately in the disaster. Many more perished from injuries and disease in the following days.
PORT ROYAL’S EARLY DAYS
In December 1654, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, sent an invasion force under the commands of Admiral Penn and General Venables to capture Hispaniola. The Spanish were forewarned of the attack and soundly defeated the English forces attempting to capture the city of Santo Domingo. Failing miserably and fearing to return to England empty handed, Penn and Venables sailed south to Jamaica, and in May 1655, captured the poorly defended island with relatively little resistance. In short, Jamaica became a consolation prize to appease Cromwell.
Construction of Passage Fort, also known as Fort Cromwell, began in a matter of weeks following the conquest. Situated at the tip of the sand spit separating Kingston Harbor from the Caribbean, the fort could control all access to the harbor through the narrow entrance. A small community, known as The Point or Point Cagway, consisting of mariners, merchants, craftsmen, and prostitutes, built up around the fort (Pawson and Buisseret 1975:7). After the restoration of Charles II and the monarchy in England in 1660, The Point was renamed Port Royal, and the fort, was renamed Fort Charles (Taylor 1965:131; Pawson and Buisseret 1975:9).
Although Port Royal was designed to serve as a defensive fortification, guarding the entrance to the harbor, it assumed much greater importance. As a result of its location within a well-protected harbor, its flat topography, and deep water close to shore, large ships could easily be serviced, loaded, and unloaded. Ships’ captains, merchants, and craftsmen established themselves in Port Royal to take advantage of of the trading and outfitting opportunities. As Jamaica’s economy grew and changed between 1655 and 1692, Port Royal grew faster than any town founded by the English in the New World, and it became the most economically important English port in the Americas.
Coinciding with the city’s early development between 1660 and 1671, officially sanctioned privateering was a common practice, and nearly half of the 4000 inhabitants were involved in this trade in 1689 (Zahedieh 1986a:220). The buccaneer era greatly enriched the port, but it was a short-lived and colorful period that England was supposed to end by the conditions of the 1670 Treaty of Madrid. Privateering and/or piracy, however, continued in one form or another into the 18th century. Indeed, it was the Spanish money flowing into the coffers of Port Royal, through trade and plunder, that made the port so economically visible.
After 1670, the importance of Port Royal and Jamaica to England was increasingly due to trade in slaves, sugar, and raw materials. It became the mercantile center of the Caribbean, with vast amounts of goods flowing in and out of its harbor as part of an expansive trade network, which included trading and/or looting of coastal Spanish towns throughout Spanish America. It was a wealthy city of merchants, artisans, ships’ captains, slaves, and, of course, notorious pirates, who gave it its ‘wickedest city in the world’ reputation.
Only Boston, Massachusetts, rivaled Port Royal in size and importance. In 1690, Boston had a population of approximately 6000 (Henretta 1965:73), while population estimates for Port Royal in 1692 range from 6500 to 10,000 (Taylor 1688:260; Buisseret 1966:26; Claypole 1972:242; Pawson and Buisseret 1975:99). An estimate of between 6500 and 7000 inhabitants is probably quite realistic. Many of the city’s 2000 buildings, densely packed into 51 acres, were made of brick (a sign of wealth), and some were four stories tall. In 1688, 213 ships visited Port Royal, while 226 ships made port in all of New England (Zahedieh 1986b:570). In addition, the probate inventories of many of Port Royal inhabitants reveal much prosperity and the observation that, unlike the other English colonies, Jamaica used coins for currency instead of commodity exchange (Claypole 1972:144-145, 216-217; Zahedieh 1986b:585).
In short, Port Royal was the most successful entrepot in the 17th-century English New World. Its social milieu was quite different than either that of New England, with its religiously ordered towns, or of the tobacco-driven economy of Maryland and Virginia. This difference is clearly indicated in Taylor’s (1688) and Ward’s (1938 [1699, 1700]) contemporary descriptions of life in and around the port compared to other English American cities. Port Royal had a tolerant, laissez-faire attitude that allowed for a diversity of religious expression and lifestyles. There is early mention of merchants, who were Quakers, ‘Papists,’ Puritans, Presbyterians, Jews, or, of course, Anglicans, practicing their religion openly alongside the free-willing sailors and pirates who frequented the port.
PORT ROYAL’S FINAL DAYS
Until 1692, Port Royal was Jamaica’s only legal port of entry, and its merchants controlled the economic affairs of the island. By this time, the merchants had been investing the profits derived from trading and looting to finance and develop emerging plantations (Claypole 1972:174-175; Zahedieh 1986a:221). This was the beginning of the transition of the domination of the economy by the merchants to the domination and control of the economy by the equally strong plantation owners of the 18th century (Pawson and Buisseret 1975:11). But the transition was never completed, and everything was about to come to a sudden and frightful end.
Shortly before noon on 7 June 1692, 33 acres (66 percent) of the “storehouse and treasury of the West Indies” sank into Kingston Harbor in a disastrous earthquake. An estimated 2000 persons were killed in an instant. An additional 3000 citizens died of injuries and disease in the following days (Pawson and Buisseret 1975:121). Salvage and outright looting began almost immediately and continued off and on for years. A pocket watch, made ca. 1686 by Paul Blondel, a Frenchman living in the Netherlands, was recovered during Link’s (1960:173) underwater excavations near Fort James. Its hands, frozen at 11:43 a.m., serve as an eerie reminder of the catastrophe.
Following the earthquake, Port Royal underwent a dramatic revival only to fall again when it was ravaged by fire in 1703. A total of 16 hurricanes between 1712 and 1951 have consistently smashed Jamaica, as have an additional six earthquakes between 1770 and 1956 (Cox 1984:Appendix B). Following a severe storm, a hurricane, and two earthquakes in 1722, Port Royal as it once was disappeared for the last time.
PORT ROYAL TODAY
As one walks along the narrow streets of the poor fishing village of Port Royal today, it is hard to imagine that it once was the largest and most economically important English settlement in the Americas. It is now an isolated place at the end of a long sand spit. It has a population of ca. 1800 people, who view themselves as ‘Port Royalists,’ rather than as simply Jamaican. Its unassuming presence belies the unique and unparalleled archaeological record that lies virtually untouched beneath.
Port Royal is different from most archaeological sites, belonging to a small group of sites that includes Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, Ozette in the state of Washington, and shipwreck sites. Termed ‘catastrophic sites,’ they were created by some disaster that has preserved both the cultural features and material and the all-important archaeological context (Hamilton and Woodward 1984:38). In these undisturbed sites, the archaeologist is not dealing with a situation where – over time – houses, shops, warehouses, churches, and other buildings were constructed, expanded, neglected, abandoned, eventually collapsed, were razed, and then possibly were rebuilt. Rather, time has frozen, and life in the past is revealed as it was lived.
Considerable work has been conducted on the section of Port Royal that remains submerged below the water of Kingston Harbor (see Link 1960; Marx 1973; Hamilton 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988). For various reasons, these data have not been used by archaeologists working on contemporaneous 17th-century English colonial sites in North America. Much can be learned from Port Royal, for the underwater excavations have resulted in remarkable parallels and even more interesting contrasts with contemporaneous English colonists in North America.
In 1981, the Nautical Archaeology Program of Texas A&M University, in cooperation with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), began underwater archaeological investigations of the submerged portion of the 17th-century town of Port Royal, Jamaica. Present evidence indicates that while the areas of Port Royal that lay along the edge of the harbor slid and jumbled as they sank, destroying most of the archaeological context, the area investigated by TAMU / INA, located some distance from the harbor, sank vertically, with minimal horizontal disturbance.
In contrast to many archaeological sites, the investigation of Port Royal yielded much more than simply trash and discarded items. An unusually large amount of perishable, organic artifacts were recovered, preserved in the oxygen-depleted underwater environment.
Together with the vast treasury of complimentary historical documents, the underwater excavations of Port Royal have allowed for a detailed reconstruction of everyday life in an English colonial port city of the late 17th century.
The Port Royal Project concentrated for 10 years on the submerged 17th-century remains on Lime Street, near its intersection with Queen and High Streets in the commercial center of the town. At present, eight buildings have been investigated. The work has resulted in a more detailed body of data on the buildings and their in situ artifacts than any previous excavations at Port Royal – on land or on under water.
The construction features of five of the investigated buildings exemplify the variety of architectural styles found in the city’s center. Some were well-built, multi-storied brick structures, while others were simple, earth-bound frame buildings, hastily erected, with no intention for them to last. In several instances, a small core building was constructed, and then rooms were tacked on as needed, until the structure formed a complex. Both brick and timber buildings have contributed significantly to our understanding of 17th-century town planning, architecture, diet, cooking activities, and other aspects of daily life.
Each of the five fully investigated buildings has a compliment of records that pertain, in some way, either to the owners, occupants, or the makers of the associated artifacts:
BUILDING 1 – A well-built brick building that consists of two construction phases and which has six ground-floor rooms divided into three separate two-room combinations. These rooms were used as a probable pipe shop, a tavern, and a combination wood turner/cobbler’s shop.
BUILDING 2 – A poorly preserved, frame building to the west of Building 1. It has a plaster floor.
BUILDING 3 -This building, with its raised sills on a mortar foundation and interrupted floor sills at the corners and at major intersections, lies east of Building 1. Its front rooms have plastered floors, and one room has a sand floor.
BUILDING 4/5 – This, the final building that has been excavated thus far, is a large, rambling complex consisting of at least six rooms and three back yards. The complex is approximately 65 ft. wide and over 40 ft. long and represents at least two, and possibly three, different houses or combination houses/shops.
This well-preserved brick building complex has plastered walls, brick floors, and wooden door sills. The initial construction phase consisted of Rooms 1 and 2 and the sidewalk at the front of Building 5. Room 1, the large room to the west, has a plaster floor, while the smaller Room 2 has a herringbone brick floor and a stairwell. Rooms 3 and 4, which were added in a later construction phase, are tacked to the south of Room 2. Their purpose may have been to join an exterior kitchen to the building, represented by Room 4. Both back rooms have common bond brick floors, and Room 4 contains a large hearth and oven.
Building 4, which consists of at least two rooms, is located to the east of Building 5. It also has a hearth. The presence of half-brick-wide interior walls dividing Rooms 1 and 3 of Building 4 indicate a much less substantial, one-story building addition. Horizontal displacements, seen most readily at the east end, in Room 3, have skewed the floor and walls several feet.
Building 4/5 has produced more in situ artifacts than any building thus far excavated. To the front of the building, in what would have been a part of Lime Street, a large section of a fallen wall was discovered. This wall may have fallen out from Building 5 or from a building to the north. It was in this area of the fallen exterior wall that we found the wooden frame of a four-partition window with leaded glass panes within a wrought-iron frame. Numerous other artifacts were found in association with the building, including two sets of 28 Chinese porcelain Fo Dogs and a minimum of 28 Chinese porcelain cups and bowls. Pewter plates, candlesticks, a brass mortar, an English tin-glazed vase, a decorated Dutch Delft plate, a gold ring, a pearl with a gold attachment, silver forks and spoons, and many encrusted metal objects that are awaiting identification, conservation, and analysis were found in the same area.
Relevant historical documents for 17th-century Port Royal, which are housed in the Jamaica Public Archives and the Island Records Office in Spanish Town, were microfilmed for use by the Port Royal Project. The documents, which detail land patents, wills, and probate inventories from 1660-1720, allowed us to determine the owners of the site’s building lots, and among other things, to review the contents of households and businesses at the site as well as throughout Jamaica. The documentary research also allowed for a comparison of the Jamaican historical data with the archaeological record and with contemporaneous documents, both from other English colonies and England herself. Specifically, students and project staff have studied the 17th-century records of Bristol in England and Boston, Massachusetts. As a result of this research, common cultural elements characteristic of 17th-century English sites, regardless of location, have been identified.
While the documentary record was an integral part of our research, it had little direct relevance to our investigation until it could be tied with the building lots being excavated. In other words, until an excavated land plat could be associated with a given person at the time of the Port Royal earthquake in 1692, it was difficult to direct and focus the documentary research. And while it is relatively easy to trace, using documentary evidence alone, previous ownership of land if said land is occupied / exists as real estate today, it is impossible to trace previous land ownership if the land in question sank in a bay over three centuries ago! Moreover, with an urban environment, such as was at Port Royal, in which there was no consistent method of identifying maps / property in deeds and patents, the problem of identification is compounded. In such cases, as shown below, the recovered artifacts, especially those with identifying marks, are the missing pieces that make up the puzzle.
During the excavations of the Building 4/5 complex at the underwater site of Port Royal, 25 pewter plates were found in one of the rooms. Twenty three of these narrow-rimmed plates have a distinguishing maker’s mark and one of two ownership marks. The ownership marks (discussed below), which were also found on silver forks and spoons and a silver nutmeg grinder recovered from the same room, reveal that these objects were owned by a man and his wife, who presumably occupied the building at the time of the earthquake. While it has since been determined that the most likely candidates for the stamped initials are a Nathaniel Cook and his wife, Jane, the story presented here focuses on the mark of the maker, a pewterer named Simon Benning. In many ways, the story of Mr. Benning is a microcosm of the story of Port Royal itself.
SIMON BENNING, PEWTERER AT PORT ROYAL
Simon Benning’s name was first encountered in “Port Royal, Jamaica,” by Pawson and Buisseret (1975:105, 183). There was no reason to find out more about the life of this post-medieval pewterer until the excavation of Room 5 in Building 1 yielded a pewter platter with an unusual and unidentified touch mark: a pineapple surrounded by an oval rope braid, with the initial ‘S’ to the left of the pineapple and the initial ‘B’ to the right. We were reasonably confident that this was the touch mark of Simon Benning, for there were no parallels in the standard references on English pewterers (Cotterell 1963; Peal 1976, 1977).
We also knew that in the 17th century, the pineapple was commonly identified with Jamaica, and that it was incorporated into the seal of Jamaica in the 1660s. Twenty-two more Simon Benning pewter plates recovered from Room 2 in the Building 4/5 complex provided the incentive to find out everything possible about Simon Benning.
THE SEARCH BEGINS IN THE 1650s . . .
The search for Simon Benning began in London, in the records of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers, for it was assumed that any English pewterer working in Jamaica in the 17th century would have received his training in England. A reference to Simon, albeit brief, was indeed located in the archives, on an index card, which noted that although he was not a freeman of the company, he described himself in his will as a pewterer who lived abroad. More information was gleaned about Simon’s brother, Tobias, who was a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers of London in the 17th century. Tobias Benning was the son of Francis Benning of Tottenham in Middlesex and was apprenticed to Peter Duffield in 1652. He was given leave to strike his touch in 1660 and passed away in 1664/5. (Duffield, incidentally, came from the same part of London as the Bennings, according to evidence recently provided by English pewterer Carl Ricketts, pers. comm. 2001.)
The next step was to locate Simon Benning’s London will, which was found in the Perrogative Court of Canterbury. In the 17th century, this court handled the probates of all individuals with estates in two or more parishes, for individuals who died overseas / at sea, or for any individual who had property both in England or Wales and in the colonies (Walne 1964:19). Simon’s will was written on 19 February 1656, and in it he states that he was a pewterer about to embark on a voyage to Barbados. He left property to his brothers, William, Francis, Tobias, and John, and to an individual by the name of John Duffield. Simon Benning was apparently presumed to be dead by his family, for the will was executed 25 June 1664.
Simon’s will is significant for a number of reasons. Together with Tobias’ apprenticeship records, it establishes Simon’s immediate family members and places the family in Tottenham, Middlesex. Simon was a pewterer, and despite the rigid rules of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers, it appears that some individuals managed to learn the trade without this being recorded in the company. Indeed, more information has recently come to light regarding Simon: he was apprenticed in London to John Silk in February 1650 and probably served the full term of an apprenticeship (seven years) before emigrating to Barbados in February 1657 (Carl Ricketts, pers.comm. 2001). Due to the regulations of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers, it is doubtful that Simon could have ever been a freeman pewterer in England (Hornsby et al. 1989:10-14). This is, perhaps, one of the reasons he left for Barbados. (John Silk is listed in Cotterell 1963:No. 4285, where it is noted that he was elected to the Office of Renter Warden in 1652, to the Office of Upper Warden in 1655, and to the Office of Master in 1658. His touch appears on two London touchplates.)
Simon Benning was clearly young and unmarried and likely went to Jamaica via Barbados, which was a thriving colony in the 1650s (Dunn 1972:46-116). When Simon wrote his will in February 1656, it was less than a year after Admiral Penn and General Venables, who with the help of several hundred citizens and indentured servants recruited from Barbados, had captured Jamaica (Black 1958:50). In the 1660s, many more Barbadians moved to the larger island of Jamaica, situated strategically in the center of the Caribbean, since there were more opportunities to prosper (Dunn 1972:153-155). Simon Benning spent six or seven years in Barbados and so is likely recorded in the island’s public archives. It is probable also that he practiced his pewterering trade and, perhaps, was married there.
. . . . CONTINUES INTO THE 1670s
The first reference to Simon Benning being in Jamaica was found in a land patent record in the Jamaica Public Archives. The various plat books, along with the grantors’ deeds records, are the basic sources for determining who owned what land and how it changed hands through the years. Although these records are indispensable, they can be contradictory and confusing when used to reconstruct consecutive lots on a street for a given time period. From the plat records, we discovered that in 1663, Simon was patented a small piece of land on Queen Street. A plat of land facing northward on to High Street was also patented to him in 1665. This, we found out also, was where his future pewter shop would be built. Two adjacent lots were acquired in 1667 and in 1670.
. . . . AND ENDS IN THE 1680s
We next found Simon Benning in the 1680 census taken at Port Royal. His household occupants at that time included five white males, two white females, one white male infant, and two black females. Until we found and examined Simon’s Jamaican will, other than Simon and his wife, we could not identify the other individuals mentioned.
Simon Benning’s Jamaican will was written on 8 March 1683 and was entered, soon after his death, into the Island Record Office in Jamaica on 17 December 1687. Only four of the 10 individuals counted in the 1680 census are tentatively identified: Simon Benning, his wife, Susanna (who was appointed the executrix of the three underage children), two sons, Symon and Thomas, and a daughter, Sarah. Simon is one of the five white males counted, and Symon the son (also spelled Simon) must be the white male born in Jamaica. If this son, or any child, had been born in Barbados, he would have been at least 23 years old and would not have been underage at the time of the writing of the will in 1683. Following this reasoning, it was further assumed that Thomas and Sarah had not yet been born. Mary Benning, the daughter of Tobias Benning, was given £30, so she may have been living in Jamaica with the family, for she is not listed as being of London but only as being the daughter of Tobias Benning of London, who we knew died in 1664. If Mary was living with her uncle, she would be the second white female identified in the 1680 census. The other white males in the household were likely either apprentices or workers. The two black females were obviously slaves.
Simon Benning’s Jamaican will also provides information on the property that he bequeathed to each of his children. Symon, the eldest son, although underage, inherited the house, shop, and tools on High Street. Thomas inherited two houses, or taverns, on High Street, and Sarah received a parcel of land on High Street, containing houses, yards, and tenements that were leased out. In addition to an annual support of £50, Simons’ wife, Susanna, received 120 acres of land in St. Elizabeth parish.
All of the properties listed in the Port Royal Plat Book, except for the property on Queen Street, are accounted for in Simon’s Jamaican will. The property holdings that were distributed indicate that Simon Benning was a prosperous man. Furthermore, and of equal significance, it shows that he, like many of the merchants and businessmen of Port Royal at this time, had begun to invest his money in land holdings that were to become the large sugar plantations of the 18th century.
We also found Simon Benning’s probate inventory, which provides detailed information on the only definitely identified pewterer working in Jamaica in the late 17th century. To fully appreciate Simon’s inventory, we wanted to examine it in terms of what was going on in the pewtering trade at this time in England. A copy of it was thus sent for comments to Dr. Ronald F. Homer, a well-known authority on English pewter, who noted first of all that it was written in the standard form of inventories of the time and that it resembles those inventories of many contemporary English provincial pewterers. Dr. Homer found it interesting, however, that Simon’s inventory details his pewter molds individually. In English inventories, these are usually lumped together, typically in the range of 800 to 1200 lbs (Ronald F. Homer, pers. comm. 1989). Dr Homer also noted that Simon was a prosperous man compared to his fellow pewterers in England; his inventoried estate of £360 pounds is at the top end of the worth of English provincial pewterers of the period, which generally ranged from about £100-400. The presence of mirrors and bedstead curtains in his home indicates a comfortable lifestyle. Dr. Homer was particularly interested to see that the values given to the metal and molds were almost the same as those found in England.
Benning’s molds were made for the casting of plates and dishes. The entry of 26ct: 45li of pewter at 1s per pound is significant, for it must relate to his stock of new wares ready for sale, which would equate with the then current English price. At that price, it would be equivalent to 2957 plates, a very large amount of stock. This is in addition to the 250 rough, unfinished plates noted. The large stock of pewter on hand indicates a surprisingly large scale of business, greater than that of English pewterers of comparable total worth. When it is noted that only one lathe (wheel and spindle) is mentioned in the inventory, it also represents an enormous investment of time (Ronald F. Homer 1989, pers. comm.). The pewterer’s tools, such as molds, anvils, iron working tools, lathe, grind stone, and scales, are all common tools of the trade. That copper and brass are also noted in Benning’s inventory indicates that he, like many pewterers, also worked in these metals.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL ANALYSIS AND A NEW FOCUS
It was at this stage of the research that we were back analyzing the 34 pewter plates bearing the Simon Benning touch mark. When we found that first pewter plate in Building 1, we were confident in attributing the new mark to Simon Benning. As a result of the excavations, we were able to connect a previously unknown touch mark to a pewterer known to have lived in Port Royal.
Over the next eight years of excavation, we found 27 more Simon Benning pewter pieces. Forms represented and shown here include 26 narrow-rimmed plates, one larger narrow-rimmed dish, and one even bigger broad-rimmed charger. (Note the distinctive hammering marks in a concentric pattern on the surface of the pieces.)
DISTINGUISHING MARKS ON ARTIFACTS
Twenty of the 25 pewter plates recovered from Building 5’s Room 2 were made from the same mold, had the Simon Benning mark, and had one of two sets of ownership marks on them. One set of plates has both the pineapple touch and the ownership mark ‘NCI’ on the reverse (below left). Numerous knife cut marks are present on these plates, which appear very used and worn. The other 11 plates have considerably fewer cut marks and appear to be little used. This set has both the pineapple touch and the owner’s mark ‘IC’ (below right).
The mark ‘NCI’ indicates that a man with the initials ‘NC’ and his wife, ‘IC,’ were the owners of the plates. It seems then that IC-marked plates are the initials of the wife. As they appear alone, it is possible that the wife had a new set of plates made for her use after her husband had died. Our research into the historic documents of the time indicated that the ownership marks belong to Nathaniel Cook and his wife Jane.
Simon Benning died in 1687. The probability that five years later there would still be 11 plates showing few signs of use seemed low. Simon Benning’s son, Symon, who inherited the house and shop, must have taken over his father’s pewterer’s trade. The problem was to find a written record to confirm this hypothesis.
A search of the grantors’ deeds records in the Island Records Office, which contain mortgages, bonds, and indentures, yielded two records of interest, one of which validated the hypothesis: “Benning to Bradford,” entered on July 15, 1696, begins with “Symon Benning, of Port Royall on the island of Jamaica, pewterer of the one part . . . .” The speculation that had first formulated from the archaeological data had led to the seeking out of additional documents long past the year that Simon Benning, Sr. had died. There were two Simon Bennings, pewterers – father and son. The Simon Benning pineapple touch in Jamaica has a date range of 1663-1696.
After selling all of his property in 1696, what happened to Symon Benning, Jr. remains unanswered. It is known, however, that his sister, Sarah, married and moved to South Carolina, along with other former Port Royal residents (Claypole 1972:244). As noted by Dunn (1972:150-151):
By the end of the century when the buccaneers had left, most of the small planters were gone also. Jamaica, the one English island which seemingly offered good prospects to ex-servants and and small freeholders, had been taken over entirely by the large planters consolidated the arable land into huge plantations manned by armies of slaves.