Posts Tagged ‘Indians’

Wowinchapuncke V-52

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

Wowinchapuncke was the chief of the Paspahegh Indians when the English established Jamestown in the tribe’s territory in 1607. He consistently resisted the English intrusion, earning both respect and hostility from Jamestown leaders. Captured and imprisoned at Jamestown, he escaped, and the English retaliated by killing several Paspahegh men. After the English destroyed a Paspahegh town in August 1610 and executed Wowinchapuncke’s wife and children, he continued to harass the English until he was killed in a skirmish near Jamestown in February 1611. In 1991, the archaeological remains of a large Paspahegh community near here were excavated.

Further Research

Paspahegh Native with a Colonist

Since the English colonists first landed in Jamestown in 1607, Chief Wowinchapuncke and his tribe of Paspahegh natives were not on friendly or cordial terms with the new arrivals.  The Paspahegh natives attacked the English within the first few days of arriving and these acts of unfriendliness and violence continued until the fall of their Chief, Wowinchapuncke in 1611. Chief Wowinchapuncke never intended to have diplomatic relations with the newly arriving colonists.

Further Reading 

Bridenbaugh, Carl. Jamestown: 1544-1699. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

Feest, Christian F. Indians of North America: The Powhatan Tribes. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1990.

Grizzard, Jr. Frank E. and D. Boyd Smith. Jamestown Colony: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2007.

Rubertone, Patricia E. Archaeologies of Placemaking: Monuments, Memories and Engagement in Native North America. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2008.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Wowinchapuncke V-52,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Paspahegh Native with a Colonist,” Charles City County: State Historical Markers, www.charlescity.org (accessed April 29, 2012).

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Paspahegh Indians V-50

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Inscription:

Located nearby was the main town of the Paspahegh Indians, tributaries to paramount chief Powhatan. When Jamestown was built in their territory, the Paspahegh consistently resisted the English settlement. In Aug. 1610, George Percy, on orders from Gov. De La Warr (Delaware), destroyed the Paspahegh town and its crops, killing 16 people and capturing the wife and children of chief Wowinchapuncke. On their return to Delaware’s ship, the English threw the children overboard and then shot them in the head, and later executed the chief’s wife-actions that changed the nature of warfare for the Virginia Indians. Wowinchapuncke was killed in a later skirmish near Jamestown. The remaining Paspahegh left the area by 1611.

Further Research

Paspahegh Native with a Colonist

The Paspahegh natives were an Algonquian-speaking nation that originally resided where the location of Jamestown was founded (Bridenbaugh, 10). They were closely associated with the Powhatan tribe, along with many other native tribes in the area, including the Pamunkey and the Chickahominy. By the time the English had first arrived in the Chesapeake Bay area in 1607, the Paspahegh natives had already taken proactive precautions and moved their village further up the James River to Sandy Point, in hopes of keeping a safe distance from the white intruders (Grizzard and Smith, 163).

Despite the Paspahegh tribes’ attempts to maintain a safe distance from the settlers, on May 26th, 1607, the Paspahegh attacked the settlers and this surprise attack led to a violent skirmish that resulted in about 10 to 12 men wounded, 1 to 2 Englishmen dead, and the capture of the Paspahegh chief, Wowinchapuncke. The Chief escaped, however his wife and children were later captured.

George Percy

On August 9th, 1610, the Paspahegh tribe was attacked by a siege of over seventy Englishmen whose primary objective from the governor was to destroy the village of the Paspahegh. George Percy led the combatants in killing and decapitating almost twenty natives, along with destroying the tribe’s crops and retaining the tribal queen and her children into custody. While their lives were spared initially, after arriving back at James Fort, the queen and her children were executed (Grizzard and Smith, 165). After this brutal conflict, the Paspahegh natives ceased to be a threat to the colonists.

 

 

Further Reading

Bridenbaugh, Carl. Jamestown: 1544-1699. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

Feest, Christian F. Indians of North America: The Powhatan Tribes. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1990.

Grizzard, Jr. Frank E. and D. Boyd Smith. Jamestown Colony: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2007.

Photo Credits:

Historical Marker “Paspahegh Indians V-50,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Paspahegh Native with a Colonist,” Charles City County: State Historical Markers, www.charlescity.org (accessed April 29, 2012).

“George Percy,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed April 29, 2012).

 

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Jamestown V-44

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Inscription:

Nearby to the east is Jamestown, the original site of the first permanent English colony in North America. On 14 May 1607, a group of just over 100 men and boys recruited by the Virginia Company of London came ashore and established a settlement at Jamestown Island. They constructed a palisaded fort there within the territory of the Paspahegh Indians, who with other Virginia Indians had frequent contact with the English. In 1619 the first English representative legislative body in North America met there, and the first documented Africans arrived. Jamestown served as the capital of the Virginia colony from 1607 to 1699. Historic Jamestowne preserves this original site and the archaeological remains.

Further Research

An Aerial View of Jamestown

The founding of Jamestown in 1607 was England’s first successful colonial effort.  The colony, founded by the Royal Virginia Company, was the first permanent settlement in the New World.  After they received the charter from King James I, the Englishmen embarked on their long journey across the Atlantic on December 20th, 1606 from England to the New World.  They finally reached their desired destination around May of 1607.  They sailed on a total of three ships, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery. The veteran sea captains Christopher Newport, Bartholomew Gosnold, and John Ratcliffe

Replicas of the Discovery, Susan Constant and Godspeed

commanded these ships. As if the long, treacherous journey across the Atlantic for months wasn’t enough, upon arriving in the Chesapeake the colonists were attacked by Paspahegh natives that resulted in the injuries of at least two Englishmen.

Before embarking on their journey across the Atlantic, the colonists established a form of government and all power was divided amongst 7 councilors: President Edward Maria Wingfield, Captain John Smith, Christopher Newport, John Ratcliffe, John Martin, Bartholomew Gosnold and George Kendall (Schuricht, 18).  Among a group of 105 eager, prospecting settlers, only one nobleman was present: Sir George Percy.  Although Percy was a nobleman, he was never elected to the original Virginia Council; however, he did become chief executive of the colony after the dismissal of Captain John Smith.

Original charter for the Virginia Company of London

The summer of 1607 proved to be disastrous for the colonists.  A series of illness plagued the settlement, most likely due to improper dieting in addition to the tremendous heat and high humidity and the lack of a purified water supply.  Unfortunately for the colonists, conditions such as these harbor diseases such as scurvy, pellagra, dysentery, typhoid and beriberi (Grizzard and Smith, xxvi).  As the seasons began changing, more colonists became ill and died from pneumonia or

Map of Jamestown Fort

influenza.  The colonists neglected to cultivate the soil upon which to harvest crops, and in many cases the settlers were preoccupied with the prospects of finding gold (Schuricht, 21).  Because many of them were used to ways of life in England, the colonists were ill equipped to deal with the harsh realities of the wilderness, and this  ultimately led to their demise.

 

Interesting Facts

Christopher Newport (to which the school of Christopher Newport University is named in Newport News) lost his right arm in 1591 battling a Spanish merchant.

 

Further Reading

Grizzard, Jr. Frank E. and D. Boyd Smith. Jamestown Colony: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2007.

Kupperman, Karen Ordahl. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Schuricht, Herrmann. The History of the German Element in Virginia. Baltimore: Theo. Kroh & Sons Printers, 1898.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Jamestown V-44,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Aerial View of Jamestown Island,” Virginia’s Historic Triangle: Colonial Williamsburg, www. colonialwilliamsburg.com (accessed April 29, 2012).

“Replicas of the Discovery, Susan Constant and Godspeed,” Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center, www.historyisfun.org (accessed April 29, 2012).

“Original charter for the Virginia Company of London,” America’s Story From America’s Library, www.americaslibrary.gov (accessed April 29, 2012).

 “Map of Jamestown Fort,” Historic Jamestowne: The Dig, www.historicjamestown.org (accessed April 29, 2012).

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Pocahontas V-45

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

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Matoaka, nicknamed Pocahontas (“mischievous one”), the daughter of Powhatan, was born about 1597. She served as an emissary for her father and came to Jamestown often in 1608. In 1613, Samuel Argall kidnapped Pocahontas while she visited the Patawomecks on the Potomac River. Argall hoped to exchange her for English prisoners and brought her to Jamestown. During lengthy negotiations, Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614, credited with developing Virginia’s first marketable tobacco crop. Pocahontas took the baptismal name Rebecca. In 1616, she traveled with Rolfe and their son, Thomas, to England where King James I and Queen Anne received her. She died at Gravesend, England, in March 1617.

Further Research

Portrait of Pocahontas

Pocahontas was born sometime between 1595 and 1597 to the chief of the Powhatan tribe, which was a division of the Algonquian natives. She was known publicly as Amonute and privately as Matoaka, and she gained the nickname “Pocahontas” which roughly translates to “little mischievous one”.  Despite false historical narratives, Pocahontas was never romantically involved with Captain John Smith nor does any proven historical documentation exist that cite Pocahontas as being a savior to John Smith.  If anything, she could have been performing a ritual of the tribe when it seemed as if she was saving his life.  In 1610, Pocahontas was married to a native warrior named Kocoum.  As far as the historical record shows, the couple never had any children together.

Smith Rescued by Pocahontas

Over the next few years, tensions began to rise between the natives and the colonists all throughout the newly settled areas.  In 1613, Englishman Captain Samuel Argall devised a plan to kidnap Pocahontas and hold her for ransom in exchange for English weapons her father Chief Powhatan possessed.  Argall frequently traded with the tribe of the Patawomecks, and as soon as he received word that Pocahontas would be visiting a neighboring tribe nearby, he persuaded the sub-Chief Iopassus to join him in an alliance against the Powhatan tribe.  With the help of Iopassus and his wife, Argall successfully kidnapped Pocahontas and took her back to Jamestown where she would remain for months while waiting for her father to submit to the ransom demands.

A Depiction of Pocahontas being Kidnapped in 1612

          During her captivity, she was treated well and remained unharmed.  Her captors saw to it that she learned the ways of the Anglican Church and in sometime in 1614 she was baptized and given the name Rebecca.  While in Jamestown, the historical record shows that she met and married John Rolfe, with whom she would later travel to England and bear him one child.  (The record does not indicate which side of the Atlantic Thomas Rolfe was born on).  Pocahontas died while she was in England in 1617, roughly around the age of 21.  She was taken to St. George’s Church in Gravesend, where she is buried.

Interesting Facts

Pocahontas’s account is the first recorded act of interracial marriage, although many white men viewed native women as exotic creatures and exotic princesses.

Further Reading

Barbour, Philip L. Pocahontas and Her World: A Chronicle of America’s First Settlement in Which is Related the Story of the Indians and the Englishmen- Particularly Captain John Smith, Captain Samuel Argall and Master John Rolfe. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970.

Grizzard, Jr. Frank E. and D. Boyd Smith. Jamestown Colony: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2007.

Kupperman, Karen Ordahl. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Mossiker, Frances. Pocahontas: The Life and the Legend. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1976.

Rountree, Helen. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005.

Rountree, Helen C. Young Pocahontas in the Indian World. Yorktown: J&R Graphic Services, Inc., 1995. http://encyclopediavirginia.org/Pocahontas_d_1617 (accessed March 13, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Pocahontas V-45,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Portrait of Pocahontas,” APVA Preservation Virginia: Historic Jamestowne, www.apva.org (accessed May 1, 2012).

“Smith Rescued by Pocahontas,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 1, 2012).

“Depiction of Pocahontas being Kidnapped in 1612,” Williamsburg Private Tours, www.williamsburgprivatetours.com (accessed May 1, 2012).

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First Williamsburg Gaol Inmates: not erected

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Inscription:

On May 3, 1704, two Chickahominy Indians called Coscohunk and James Mush were accused of burning the house of another Chickahominy, Tom Perry. They were held in the new Williamsburg Gaol overnight and released into the custody of the Chickahominy tribe. In September, about forty Nanzattico Indians, accused of complicity in an assault on a family of English colonists in Richmond County, were sent to the Gaol. They remained there until May 1705, when the Virginia Council ordered those 12 or older to be transported to Antigua and sold into slavery. Their children were kept as house servants to Council members.

Further Research

The Public Gaol

The Williamsburg Gaol was erected in 1701. It was a brick prison with the dimensions of thirty by twenty feet with two stories, and was used for both prisoners and the jailer with his family. In addition to the interior rooms, there was also a courtyard, which was enclosed by walls so as to prevent escape during the prisoners’ recreation time. It was known “as a strong, sweet Prison” and would be used into the period of the Civil War and beyond then (Tyler 1907, 221).

Some of the first official prisoners to be held in this prison were two Chickahominy Indians by the name of Coscohunk and James Mush. According to an official report by the House of Burgesses, they were accused of burning down the cabin of Tom Perry, splitting his canoe, and threatening to go to the Seneca tribe to join with them and bring down the English (McIlwaine 1918, 401). This was supposedly out of retaliation for Tom Perry having supposedly burnt down the home of Drammaco, a chief member of the Chickahominy tribe, unveiling a large amount of tension between members of the tribe in regard to selling parts of their reservation. This case was not looked into any further by King William Court at a later date, but was unable to be finished due to the courthouse being burnt down in 1885 (Roundtree 1990, 116).

Another set of reputable prisoners, were the associates of the infamous pirate

This was Virginia's chief prison which housed debtors and criminals and served as the jail for the General Court in the nearby Captiol. Here Blackbeard's pirates, captured in 1718, were confined until the day of their hanging. Leg irons, an exercise yard, food slots, and criminal cells with primitive sanitation have been restored to their early appearance.

Blackbeard. They were all executed in 1718. The Lieutenant of Detroit, Henry Hamilton, also spent time in the Williamsburg Gaol, as General George Rogers Clark captured him in the late 1770s. (Tyler 1907, 221). He was arrested due to the belief that he had purchased pioneer scalps from the Indians, and was kept in manacles and chains for his time in the gaol (The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation). These standards were not unusual for offenders who were held, though. Prisoners were generally kept in their rooms without a source of heat, had a general area designated for sanitation in their cells, and the more serious offenders were kept in shackles, irons and chains while they waited for their court proceedings (Beney 1997, 127).

Further Reading

Beney, Peter. The Majesty of Colonial Williamsburg. Greta: Pelican Publishing Company, 1997.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “Public Gaol.” http://www.history.org/almanack/places/hb/hbgaol.cfm (accessed 16 February, 2012).

McIlwaine, H.R. editor. Legislative Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia Volume I. Richmond: E. Waddy Compay, 1918.

Roundtree, Helen C. Pocahantas’s People: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia through Four Centuries. Oklahoma City: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990.

Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. Williamsburg, the Old Colonial Capital. Richmond: Whittet and Shepperson Publishers and Printers, 1907.

Photo Credits

“The Public Gaol,” Williamsburg, Virginia, www.ancestry.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

“The Public Gaol Plaque,” Williamsburg, Virginia, www.ancestry.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

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