Posts Tagged ‘King James I’

Jamestown V-44

Thursday, March 29th, 2012


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. (accessed April 29, 2012).

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

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

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

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Department of Historic Resources link not available

Pocahontas V-45

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012


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. (accessed March 13, 2012).

Photo Credits

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

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

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

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

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Department of Historic Resources link not available

James City County Z-145

Thursday, March 15th, 2012


One of the original shires formed in 1634, and named for Jamestown, the first settlement in Virginia, 1607. Williamsburg is in this county.




Further Reading

Map of the 8 Original Shires

James City county was one of the eight original shires that were formed in 1634 in the state of Virginia. The first claim to land was made in 1619, where it was proclaimed by the Governor Samuel Argall:

“To all to whom these presents shall come, I Samuel Argall, Esq., and principal Governor of Virginia, do by these presents testify, and upon my certain Knowledge hereby do make manifest the bounds and limits of Jamestown how far it doth extend every way that is to say the whole island, with part of the main land lying on the East side of Argall town, and adjoining upon the said Island, also the neck of land on the north part, and so to the further part of Archer* ‘s Hope ; also Hog Island ; and from thence to the four mile Tree on the south, usually called by the name of Tappahannock, in all which several places of ground I hereby give, leave and license for the inhabitants of Jamestown to plant as members of the corporation and parish of the same. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand the 28 the day of March [0. S.] in the year of our Lord 1619, and on the 12 the year of the plantation” (Brown, 287-288).

Portrait of Samuel Argall

This was then passed on to the General Assembly, which set up the then-final placement of James City County borders. According to the census, there were approximately 886 people living there at this time (Foley, VI-VII). Prior to its division by the royal crown, Virginia had been settling Jamestown in 1607. They were a business venture that had gone poorly within the first set of years, developing diseases and disorders, such as malaria or intestinal issues. It was not until 1619 that a government had sprung up into the area, but five years later, the charter was revoked and the crown owned all of Virginia (Lewis, 9).


Further Reading

Brown, Alexander. The First Republic in America. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1898.

Foley, Louise Pledge Heath. Early Virginia Families Along the James River. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1990.

Lewis, Sarah. James City County. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2009.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “James City County Z-266,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Map of the 8 Original Shires,” Original Shires of Virginia, (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Sir Samuel Argall,” Find a Grave, (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

This marker and James City County Z-266 share the same marker text and info.  Click here for James City County Z-266.