They sought to be first to discover new ideas, concepts, and be first to put ship, and flag, on land(s) never seen by anyone from their own known world.
Come to think of it, nothing’s really changed in the evolution of mans attempt at being the first to out-do the other.
Understandably, as scientists, sociologist, and historians, need a system and means of separating time lines, we recognize some of them by general terms such as the “Renaissance”, and the “Space Age”.
This is a story from history beginning in the 16th century of the European period of the Renaissance. Yet, still here in the latter part of the Space Age, remains a mystery; details of which will probably never be unveiled.
Four-hundred and twenty-seven years ago, before the first Thanksgiving dinner at Plymouth rock, which may or may not have included turkey on the menu; another adventurous pilgrimage set mainsail for the New World.
Before Pocahontas met John Smith and the other strange people who came across the big pond to settle
Jamestown Virginia, twas a ship at sail in search of a new land to spread.
England was abuzz about sending a group of settlers to the New World from the time Columbus first brought the news of its discovery.
Speeches, letters, and wishful plans to land funding and provisions for such an expedition ran through the halls from British dignitaries like archeological and scientific Net-Geo, and Discovery channel lobbying documentaries of today.
English courtier Sir Walter Raleigh finally acquired colonization rights from Queen Elizabeth I, after 1583, with a ten-year charter contract.
Prior to gaining such a contract and commission, Raleigh was just one of many courtiers and dignitaries vying for the virgin Queens liberty for the undertaking.Raleigh, prognosticating that his could be just another name unwritten on the palisades of time, resolved to the financial, and political, contingency of financing an expedition his own. Ironically, the ship that he sent landed off Roanoke Island on the fourth of July, 1584.
After his Captain, and explorer, Philip Amadas, and Arthur Barlowe, returned from the New World in 1585, with two Native Americans, Wanchese, and Manteo, aboard their ship, the virgin Queen spurt her awards on Sir Walter Raleigh’s personal financial dare.
Respectively, after two failed attempts, and the loss of many lives to settle the island of Roanoke; on August 18th, 1587, another dare gave birth to the first little lady to take the first breath of New World air; Little miss Virginia Dare.
Virgina was the first name given to the New World by the Queen, who was known as the virgin Queen, never having married. A land manne a ship she sent asail.
Virginia was also the first name given to the first child born in the foreign land, by her mother, Eleanor Dare, who was never to return to the homeland from where she hailed.
While coastal breeze’s calmed the heat from the scorching August sun, the most elated moment in Eleanor’s young life thus far most assuredly was torn with uncertainty, doubt, and fear.
A bitter-sweet blessing young Virginia was, as now here on an island, thousands of miles away from the mother land, a baby came to be.
A baby, in the middle of nowhere, on a verdant, yet often hurricane swept stretch of land in the middle of the Atlantic Sea.You see, back before they set sail from England, Sir Walter Raleigh, for reasons I shall soon disclose, had decided that Chesapeake twas a more fitting place to be. It all began the year before, early in 1586, when Raleigh commissioned a Military Captain by the name of Ralph Lane, along with 100 men to set sail and settle the atoll.
Arriving too late in the planting season with supplies soon to wane, when settlers and crew stared at doom, they should have been watching Captain Lane.
Yes, sadly be sure, after the old salt made chum with the Natives, eating and drinking the brew; one of the drunken Indians stole a cup, and to the Captain, oh, thar was nothing worse one could do…
So, the good Captain sent for Chief (Pamis-apan) head of the Roanoke clan…and standing thar before his men, Captain Lane merciless killed the man.
Needles to say, when it is known that any one of the Indians could survive in the bush for months just living off the land, and your own provisions had dwindled away, this was about as dumb a thing as anyone could do. Not to mention unusually cruel, and morally insane.
Things quickly closed in around the Captain and the 100 men who had only a stick built fort in which to rely on for protection. With little food, and less nerve left to venture from the fort to retrieve any, you could say that the Captain had single-handed-ly sealed the fate of them all.
It is not clear whether the Captain and his crew were aware that Sir Raleigh had a supply ship well on it’s way to the island and their provisional rescue or not.
What can be readily assumed, however, is that with 200 hungry eyes staring at him every waking moment, the good Captain was probably not getting a lot of sleep at night.
One could also surmise that the good Captain would not be awaiting any cargo, or food laden ship to arrive, should another means of escape from his present accommodations happen to arrive on the scene.
Ironically, that is just what happened. Sir Francis Drake; Vice Admiral, pirate, English sea-captain, slave runner, navigator, privateer, extraordinaire…Oh, and of course politician…Moored his ship(s) all 23 of them) to the Roanoke shore to steady and count his bounty after a plundering expedition.
Now, you’re probably thinking that tales of this fiasco fresh and floating through the minds of any young couple who had just given birth to their first-born on the same island less than a year later would be cause for alarm. And you are right, and certainly would have been enough had the Fiasco ended there.
At this time, however, the young father to be, and his pregnant wife were still safe and sound on another island, way down south in London town.
Meanwhile, a week after Sir Francis Drake sailed from Roanoke loaded with French, and Spanish booty and a new-found passenger crew, the ship that Sir Raleigh had sent with Captain Lane’s provisions was casting anchor in the New World off the coast of Roanoke.
Talk about two ships passing in the night…but wait, it gets worse.
Back in merry old England, Sir Walter Raleigh was not so merrily scorning Captain Lane about his actions that resulted in total settlement impossibility of the newly found world of Roanoke Island…
After all, it was the place Raleigh and the virgin Queen had long since decided perfectly located for both the first English settlement, as well as capturing, and plundering enemy ships.
A month and a half before Sir Frances Drake arrived in England with Captain Lane and his crew, 3500 nautical miles away, the captain of the commodity ship found Roanoke Island abandoned. He then turned and headed back to jolly old England with all provender aboard.
A fortnight later Sir Richard Grenville himself comes a sailing in sight of the island along with two other ships and sets foot aground.
With nary a soul to be found and not knowing about the troubles Captain Lane stirred up before running like a school girl from the fort and diving headlong aboard the first departing ship, Grenville quickly re-boarded his ship… a landing fifteen men to hold down the fort…a fort that you and I know thoughts of defending sent 100 soldiers, sailing away for their lives with the infamous Dragon. (Franciskus Draco); Latin for Frances Drake, and the title the Spanish invariably called him in their own language.
Not to have his plans, and colonization patent completely thwarted, Raleigh quickly delegated a party of 117-150? men, women, and children to go and settle the New World , only this time, they were to settle the Chesapeake Bay area.
Now, this may have worked out for all concerned had Sir Raleigh chosen a more reliable sea-captain to pilot the pilgrims to Virginia.
But, then as the highest ranking military and political chaps of the day gained their notoriety, riches, and distinction, by pirating for the Queen, well, let’s just say he probably chose the best of the lot at dock.
Raleigh commissioned a three-ship convoy called the Virgina Company and charted out a cargo drop via Haiti. (Which for reasons unknown was never carried out)
Simon Fernandes was the captain of the ship that would carry most of the colonist, and after they were safely planted on Virginia soil in the Chesapeake bay area, the ships were to continue on with their usual pilfering expeditions.
They were also instructed to stop and rescue the fifteen men who were left on Roanoke Island by Sir Richard Grenville. (Sir Walter Raleigh’s cousin)
John White, who had sailed to North Carolina in 1585, as an assistant, and Artist under Richard Grenville, was appointed the Governor of the would be city of Raleigh at Chesapeake.
White was the first artist to bring back significant, illustrative watercolors of the landscape, and the Native American people of the Eastern Seaboard. (Mostly Roanoke) Manne a painting was later engraved by Theodore de Bry and became renowned works of Art.
All the original paintings remain today in the print room of the British Museum, and as they predate any other paintings of the region many attribute White as giving birth to the Art Period “Discovery Voyage Art” which the unnamed Artist traveling with Captain James Cook in the late eighteenth century is generally accredited .
White, known as a “Gentleman of London” was also the father of ” Eleanor’ White”; but of course, you know her better by her marital name as Eleanor Dare.
Upon arriving on the shore of Roanoke Island on July 22, 1587, only part of the Virginia company went ashore. Among those of the uncertain amount to arrive, Manteo, known as the “Lord of Roanoke” was returning from England for the first time in two years.
Wanchese had returned to his homeland aboard the flagship Tiger with Sir Richard Grenville. He boarded the ship on April 19,1585, sailed and saw many things from England via San Juan de Puerto Rico, Espanola, and many other areas before the Tiger ran aground on Ocracoke island on June 29.Wanchese is said to have made it back to his people that same year, which would have placed him in prime position as an eye witness to the killing of Chief Pamis-apan.
On shore, White found all the houses of the original settlement still intact, but the surrounding fort wall destroyed. Finding no sign of the fifteen men who were left on the island, (except for the skeletal remains of one) White continued his search, spending much more time on the island than Fernandes had intended.
Fernandes soon became frustrated, or impatient and ordered all members of the Virginia Company off his ship, with all their belongings to set up the colony on Roanoke, instead of the Chesapeake area further north.
Maybe this was because Fernandes was anxious to get back a pirating for the Queen? But, then being a Portuguese pilot himself, who really knows which side of the Spanish/English war he was loyal to, if either.
Nonetheless, reasoning for Fernandes ordering the party to set up camp on the island of Roanoke has remained just one more oracle within one of the greatest mysteries in the history of the New World.
Parenthetically, were there television back then, I feel certain all cast members seen here would have had leading rolls in what could decidedly have been called, “As the New World Turns“. Particularly considering that all the ship looting, flag staffing, and claim- jumping of the time was spawned for the most part from dysfunctional step-family master minds.
England hated Spain, Spain hated England, yet, both countries were ruled by blood relatives of the same royal pain…uh, I meant to say strain. With differing opinions of Religious beliefs of course. (See Armada)
Manne a supposed theories are entertained as what happened to the fifteen men who were left on the island the previous year. Yet, excavation, and archeological digs as recent as this decade still have not unearthed any evidence.
Some contend, as the houses were intact, though the walls of the fort were missing, that possibly the remaining men built rafts to escape. As far as the bones of the one person found on the island it is possible that the Indians took a life for the life of their slain Chieftain Wingina.(Pamisapan)
One may envision Fernandes sailing the horizon of the high seas by this time in search of a Spanish ship to attack, but, curiously, history tells us that he remained on the island for 37 days. Whether or not he was only using the island as a sea port while seeking unsuspecting merchant flotilla to rob is uncertain.
A trip was made to the neighboring island of Croatoan located south of Roanoke, possibly to take Manteo to his home. Some writings say that it was Fernandes who did the sailing. Once ashore, White and others learned the fate of the fifteen men who were left, which made the reality of settling Roanoke instead of Chesapeake an unsettling thought indeed.
According to the Croatoan Indians, the men were slaughtered by a group of hostiles from within an undisclosed tribe.
Later, as Manteo had allied with the English, and even led a raid against a neighboring Indian tribe at one point, he had acquired a different story about the fifteen missing men.
According to his inside sources, the men had indeed been run away from the island, on slipshod rafts that they had been forced to build. According to Manteo, the one leading the renegade group of hostiles was none other than Wanchese.
Ten days after little Virginia Dare was born, her mother Eleanor, stared fear-struck, and bleak, into the reluctant leaving eyes of her father, John White, as Fernande’s ship left the island headed for England at the request of the colony for supplies.
It was the last time that she would ever see her father, and the last time anyone from the mother country would ever see Eleanor, Ananias, or sweet little Virginia Dare.
Also, (and the list of names will be found at the conclusion of this article) the last time anyone from the Old World would ever see anyone who was left standing on Roanoke Island that hot summer day, August 28, 1587.
On a brighter note, it would not be the last time that others throughout history have discovered the names of those people, in some very unheralded, and far away places.
Meanwhile, back in not so jolly old England, John White frantically trying to get back to Roanoke with the desperately needed supplies for his family and the colony, found himself trapped on the Royal island unable to amass a vessel that wasn’t already apportioned to fight off the onslaught of the Great Spanish Armada.
It took Raleigh, who was not abandoning his own dream-ship of colonizing for the Queen, but, also engulfed with fighting the invasion, until the following year to come up with two small pinnaces.
Both ships were freighted with all manner of supplies, one even carrying fifteen new colonists. One has to wonder how Raleigh was able to spare the two ships in 1588, the most decisive time of the Armada invasion.
Grievously, White soon found out why neither Raleigh nor merry old Ingland could afford to assign a ship of any size to carry the goods to Roanoke, as an entire squadron of Spanish ships turned the two pinnaces fleeing for their lives back to shore.
Two years more passed before John White was able to get a ship back to Roanoke to be reunited with his family. Even then, he was only a guest on the ship.
They arrived early on August 18, 1590… Yes, August 18th…the third birthday of Whites grand-daughter. But little Virginia was nowhere to be found. In fact, Roanoke Island was completely void of any human occupancy whatsoever.
The only clues found among a shabbily reconstructed Fort Raleigh were three letters carved into a tree; CRO, and the word CROATOAN carved into a log used to reconstruct the retaining wall of the fort.
White knew what these signs meant, and found temporal easement in them, as can be seen here in his own words, there was a symbolic code of distress agreed upon among him and the colony at his departure.
“to signifie the place, where I should find the planters seated, according to a secret token agreed upon betweene them and me at my last departure from them…for at my coming away, they were prepared to remove 50 miles into the maine”.
In the event that the colonists were forced to leave under distress of any kind, they were supposed to also leave a carving of a Maltese Cross. No cross was found on either carving, however, and White assumed that they had moved to the island of Croatoan.
Sadly, as happens in that area, especially during the months between June and September, several squalls, and eventually a hurricane set in on White and the search party. Being a guest on the ship, and contrary to all of his begging, and pleading to stop off at Croatoan, the captain of the fleeing ship refused to stop till they reached England, for fear of another storm.
Though John White tried many times to raise funding to come back to the New World, his friend Sir Walter Raleigh had over spent the Queens loot as it were as far as colonizing the savage wilderness. Sir Walter Raleigh’s personal wealth diminished greatly during the 90’s, and he lost his Royal Charter in 1603, at the death of his friend the virgin Queen Elizabeth I.
White died in 1593, at the ripe young age of 53, in one of Raleigh’s estates never knowing the fate of his family and the rest of the settlers. Raleigh , who was twelve years Whites junior, lived to the age of 66. He continued a life as an exploring, adventurous poet until he was executed in 1618, eleven years after the first successful colony was founded in Jamestown.
What became of the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke has intrigued historians for as long as there has been European history in North America. Still today Roanoke Island is visited frequently by historians, archeologist, as well as hopeless romantics desirous to catch a glimpse, finding a clue, or hearing a whisper in the wind, that could solve the mystery of the “Armada Age”.
In his journal, ( A New Voyage To Carolina 1709 ) John Lawson, the first literate explorer, writer, naturalist, and surveyor to explore the unsettled area south of Virginia, then called Carolina; Lawson wrote of Hatteras Indians, (Croatan):
” several of their ancestors were white people and could talk in a book as we do, the truth of which is confirmed by gray eyes being found infrequently among these Indians and no others”.
As one who has extensively studied the Native heritage of North Carolina first hand, I can attest that many intriguing accounts exist of where little Miss Virginia’s blood pumps still today.
Lawson’s journal; ( A great read that has been edited, revised, and modernized, several times, ( though was perfectly legible in its originally published form) can be found in most libraries. In the confines of (A New Journey to Carolina) one can find the names of many Indian tribes.
Indian tribe names ending in double ( E ) ie: Wateree, Oconaluftee, Sueree, etc… are all Eastern Coastal Carolina tribes living on well-beaten trade routs from the sea leading to the Cherokee nation who live in the western hills, (mountians) of North Carolina.
(Just a quick foot note): Most Eastern U.S. highways, for example, U.S. Highway # 1 are paved over Indian trade routs.) U.S. Highway #1 goes from Florida to Maine.
The town of Cherokee North Carolina consist residuary of offspring from those who escaped Andrew Jackson’s dreaded trail of tears by hiding in deep caves, and fissures, and returnees to the now Gamble – ized Commercialized, reservation called Cherokee.
(Parenthetically) The Cherokee were the second largest indigenous Indian tribe existing in Pre-English North Carolina, second only to the Tuscarora…of whom they had many inter-relational dealings including wars, ( Which were mostly infused after French, Spanish, and English occupation).
From tales of the first explorers, beginning on Hatteras Island North Carolina, (Previously known as Croatoan) to the hills of a place now called Tennessee, if one only listens to the winds blowing through the fields of the woods and the trees… they will hear voice’s…from the still existing names…the names which first gave birth here, from a bloodline from across the sea.
The ensuing is a list of names of those who sailed the ocean blue…in hopes of finding a new way of life…a variation of my name is there:I wouldn’t doubt the same is found of you…
Allen, Archard, Arthur, Baily, Bennet, Berde, Berry, Bishop, Borden, Bridger, Bright, Brooks, Brown, Browne, Butler, Burdon, Cage, Chapman, Charman, Cheven, Clement, Colman (Coleman), Cooper, Cotsmuir, Dare, Darige, Dorrell, Dutton, Earnest, Ellis, English, Farre, Fernando, Florrie, Gibbes, Glane, Gramme (Graham), Graeme, Harris, Harvie (Harvey), Hemmington, Hewett, Howe, Hynde, Humphrey, Johnson, Jones, Kemme, Lasie, Lawrence, Little, Lucas, Mannering, Martin, Merimoth, Myllet, Mylton, Newton, Nichols, Paine (Payne), Patterson, Pierce, Powell, Phevens, Prat, Rufotte, Sampson, Scot (Scott), Shabedge, Smart, Smith, Sole, Spendlove, Sutton, Starte, Stevens, Stilman, Taylor, Tomkins, Topan, Tappan, Traverner, Tydway. Viccars, Warner, Warren, Waters, White, Wildye, Willes, Wilkinson, Wood, Wotton, Wright, Wyles, Wythers.
All of these names were found to be used across the entire state of North Carolina, all the way into the Cherokee hills… back before the British built Fort Louden, Tennessee,the first fur trading fort in America…and all the names were said by the Cherokee to have been introduced into their culture between 1588, and 1600. Those who care to do any further study of how such a thing could have taken place will find trails of virtual bread crumbs, from today’s Hatteras Island, inland through the Croatan National Forrest. On southward to a place on the black river. From their due west to Sampson Counties Clinton, N.C, where survive still today a very happy group of Native people hailing most recently from a place called Indian town. From here, historical records, and even lasting blood-line connections of relatives of a group of Indians today called the Lumbee, in Robeson County an hour and a half to the south. Robeson County Indians have fought many political battles throughout the years to try to regain their true identity as Native Americans. There has never been any doubt in my mind from the evidence left. Pre- and-post revolutionary war writings, by both Scottish immigrants who intermarried with the people there, as well as writings of their own, show a record of Native American people of that area voluntarily going off to battle against the Red Coats,with Scotch and Irish brothers by their sides. Here, also is an area where a Cherokee trade lane comes into the coastal planes, and leads all the way from the Mountains to the Sea. Many tribes along that trail bore original titles ending in double “ee ” carding them as descendants, and related to the Cherokee. According to explorers who wrote, or told of of their discoveries while living among these tribes,many of these people were speaking Elizabethan broken English, and bearing European last names; the same as those found in the list above. Some then, and even today still use the name in which would intrigue most who venture a care; in fact, there’s little doubt should one seek among them, they will find a sweet little Virginia Dare.