Early Witts in America
There are no records at all of anyone named “Witt” in Virginia prior to John Witt of Charles City County.
Whitts Turn Out to be Whites
However, there are a number of early records of persons named “Whitt”, who have been assumed to be “Witts” by some genealogists. Upon inspection, these persons invariably turn out to be named “White”. Some examples:
The Jamestown muster of February 1623/4 contains no one named White but
four persons named Whitt. One of them, William “Whitt” of Elizabeth Cittie is
listed as William “White” in the muster of February 1624/5 as having died in September
1624. Two of the others were recorded as “White” in the muster of February 1624/5. “Jereme Whitt” became “Jeremy
White” and “Edmund Whitt” became “Edward White”. Both men were listed in
James City in both musters. (Edward White is listed in 1625 as having arrived
in the colony in 1620, proving that he was the same person as “Edmund Whitt”.) Of the fourth man there is no
sign in the muster a year later in 1625.
John “Whitt” of Stafford County, Virginia received a patent in 1670 but
a later record of that patent calls him John “White”.
Nicholas White of 17th century Accomack County, Virginia
occasionally appears in records as “Whitt”, and once with both spellings in the
same record. His will, in fact, makes a bequest to his uncle Samuel “Whitt” in
England and was signed as Nicholas “Whitte”.
(A similar situation exists with a Lewis White of Accomack, whose name was
occasionally spelled “Whitt”.)
4. In late 17th century Jamaica, New York both William White and Peter White are frequently referred to as “Whitt” and even signed their own names on occasion as “Whitt”.
I would note here that in through the early 17th century the spelling of one’s surname was widely regarded as somewhat flexible. Sir Walter Raleigh, for example, spelled his own name more than a dozen different ways (but never once as “Raleigh”). By the turn of the 18th century spellings were becoming more uniform, but records as late as the early and mid 17th century are rife with examples of casual, and sometimes imaginative, spellings of surnames. As the examples above indicate, it’s important that genealogists thoroughly explore the available records before drawing conclusions based solely on the occasional spelling of a name.
By the mid-1700s, when two of the sons of John Witt adopted the name “Whitt”, spelling had become a bit more important as an identifier, although as the brothers illustrated there was no legal barrier to adoption of whatever spelling one favored.
First Witt in America Settled in Massachusetts
The earliest known “Witt” in America is a John Witt who was in Massachusetts by the 1640s, perhaps earlier. It’s interesting that descendants of that family believe that John Witt was an Englishman of Dutch Heritage. (That is, that family has no legends of French origin.) This John Witt died in 1675 leaving a will naming children with the distinctly English names of John, Thomas, Ann, Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary, and Martha. During the genealogy craze of the late 1800s and early 1900s, some members of this family changed their name to DeWitt in the belief that their ancestor was descended from a Dutch family of that name.
Endnote: John White of Stafford County, Virginia.
On 20 July 1670 the Governor granted “unto John Whitt and John Woorman” 600 acres in Stafford County, Virginia. The land, which is today in Prince Edward County, was located on a neck of land where the Occoquan River flows into the Potomac River, across the Occoquan from what is today Woodbridge, Virginia. (This is just south of Alexandria, Virginia and across the river from Maryland.) Many Witt family members claim that this was the same person as John Witt of Charles City County.
However, most of those family members are unaware that twenty years later, on 28 February 1690/91, Thomas Kyrton re-patented the same 600 acres, the patent noting that the land had originally been granted to “John White & John Wornam & by the said Wornam assigned to one Thomas Glover” and through a series of assignments fell to Kyrton.
It seems very unlikely that this is the same person as our John Witt, for three reasons:
The patent to Kyrton suggests that his name was actually “White” rather
than “Whitt”. And while there are no further records in the area of a Whitt,
there are records of a John White.
2. The likelihood that his name was “White” is strengthened by the fact that the Thomas Kyrton patent apparently spelled John Wornam’s name correctly. There are records of a John Wornam down the Potomac in Northumberland County by 1679, and the births of five of his children are recorded between 1681 and 1689.  He was dead by 1707 when his widow, who had remarried, made a deed of gift to her children.
3. The grant was in the vicinity of Washington, DC a long way from our John Witt’s stomping grounds on the James River. Although it wasn’t unknown, it was unusual to find setters migrating from one river system to another in that timeframe.
 “Jereme Whitt” and Edmund Whitt” were listed among the living at James Cittie in the muster of 16 February 1623/4. A year later in the muster of 2 February 1624/5 the names at James Cittie included “Jeremy White” and “Edward White”. Since the 1625 muster listed Edward White as arriving in 1620 he must have been the same person as “Edmund Whitt”. Likewise with Jeremy White.
 The Original Lists of Persons of Quality, John Camden Hotten, p233. Also listed in Ship Passenger Lists, the South (1538-1825). Carl Boyer 3rd, ed., p53.
 See endnote.
 Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Vol. 1, p90 for the will, other pages for other records as “White”.
 Historical Miscellany, Charles T. Gritman, Vol. 2 (“Records of the Town of Jamaica, Long Island”), p763, 800, 819, 820, 837, 869, etc.
 See New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial (1913), William Richard Cutter, ed., Vol.3, pp1156-1158 for an interesting discussion of this family.
 Virginia Patent Book 6, p289.
 Virginia Northern Neck Grant Book 1, pp45-7.
 Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Series 2, Vol. 1, Beverley Fleet, pp486, 626, 632, 635, etc.