Posts Tagged ‘Powhatan’

Governor’s Land V-41

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

Situated near Jamestown, Governor’s Land originally was a 3,000-acre tract encompassing open fields between the James River and Powhatan Creek. The Virginia Company of London set the parcel aside in 1618 to seat tenants who worked the land, giving half the profits to maintain the office of the governor. Deputy Governor Samuel Argall had already established the private settlement of Argall’s Town in these environs in 1617. Virginia governors also leased the property to others. Colonial leaders including William Drummond, governor of the Carolina proprietary (1665–1667) and an insurgent in Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676 held lease-holds here. Portions of tract provided income to Virginia governors into the 18th century.

Further Research

Samuel Argall

Samuel Argall was active governor of Virginia beginning in 1617 and ending in 1619, when he was replaced by George Yeardley (Grizzard and Smith, 16). Although he was not one of the original colonists to arrive in Virginia, he is quite a notable figure in the history of Virginia and he played an integral role in the English settlement of the colony. Argall arrived in the colony around 1609 and for a few years he was able to explore the Chesapeake region and study its native inhabitants (Grizzard and Smith, 14).  In 1613, he was responsible for the kidnapping of  Pocahontas. Although she was treated fairly well for being a hostage, she was held for a ransom to be exchanged for a variety of English weapons, tools and prisoners that the Powhatan natives had come into possession of; however, she was never returned back to the Powhatan natives (Grizzard and Smith, 14).

Volunteers and Students Dig at the Argall Towne Site

In 1617, Samuel Argall established the small, short-lived area of Argall’s Town,  also known as Argall’s Guift (Hatch, 36). He was most attracted to the land west of Jamestown, and in 1617 he had been allotted 2,400 acres in a charter from England.  After building a settlement in his newly established “Argall’s Town,” in 1619 he was forced to surrender his land back to Governor Yeardley, as this land was the “Governor’s Land” (Hatch, 37).  Yeardley achieved this by making each settler pay a “petty rente” to make sure they acknowledged that this land had been wrongfully settled on (Hatch, 37).

 

Further Reading

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

Hatch, Jr. Charles E. The First Seventeen Years in Virginia: 1607- 1624. Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1957.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Governor’s Land V-41,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Sir Samuel Argall,” Find a Grave, www.findagrave.com (accessed April 30, 2012).

“Volunteers and Students Dig at the Argall Towne Site,” The Virginia Gazette: 1617 Village is Near Jamestown, www.vagazette.com (accessed April 30, 2012).

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Jamestown Road W-38

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

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The ancient road that linked Jamestown, the original colonial capital, with Middle Plantation (later Williamsburg) followed a meandering course. It departed from Jamestown Island and then turned northeast, crossing Powhatan and Mill Creeks. As it approached Middle Plantation, it traversed a branch of College Creek that by the mid-17th century was dammed to form Rick Neck plantation’s millpond, today’s Lake Matoaka. Improvements to Jamestown Road, completed in time for the Jamestown Ter-Centennial Exposition, constituted the first project completed with the assistance of the State Highway Commission, formed in 1906.

Further Research

The English colonists originally referred to what now constitutes Jamestown Road, as the “Greate Road”. The original road was a natural path that was abundantly rich in natural resources and the natives had previously used it as a hunting trail that led from the mainland to the Jamestown Forte (Grizzard and Smith, 82). Unfortunately for the colonists, this path was heavily used by the natives and since the natives were so familiar with the area, this road was a site for many sneak attacks led by the natives on the colonists.

Remnants of this ancient road still exist today and they can mostly be seen from Glasshouse Point (www.nps.org).  Originally, the Greate Road was a route that began at James Fort and continued to travel west across the isthmus and onto the mainland near Glasshouse Point.

Since 1939, excavations have taken place on the various sections of the original Greate Road. It was discovered that the settlers would pack down the dirt and soil through the use of horses and oxen. As more traffic would begin to use the road, the colonists would expand the road another 30-35 feet and the road would be built up with sand (www.nps.org).

Further Reading

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

“The Greate Road: An Early Highway Pre 1607-1700’s. National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/jame/historyculture/new-towne-the-greate-road-an-early-highway-pre-1607-1700s.htm (accessed March 17, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Jamestown Road W-38,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

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

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Martin’s Hundred W-51

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

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This plantation was allocated to the London-based Society of Martin’s Hundred by 1618 and was later assigned 21,500 acres. It was initially settled in 1620 around Wolstenholme Town, its administrative center, located near the James River. Archaeologists discovered the town site in 1977. They also located the graves of several people who died during the 22 March 1622 Indian attacks on English settlements coordinated by Chief Opechancanough, when 78 colonists here – half the plantation’s population – were reported killed. These attacks were in response to English expansion into Indian lands. The area was soon resettled but the Society of Matrin’s Hundred’s town was never rebuilt.


Further Research

Fort at Wolstenholme Towne

In 1622, a massacre of 78 colonists occurred at the plantation of Martin’s Hundred by the Powhatan Indians (Klingelhofer and Henry, 98). This was known as the Powhatan Uprising of March 22, 1622. In total, the Powhatan tribe had killed 347 colonists all throughout Virginia, along the James River. In addition to this, twenty women were taken as captives from the Martin’s Hundred plantation and held by the Powhatan Indians (Fausz).

Artist's rendering of Wolstenholme Towne Site in 1620

 

The colonists had launched attacks of their own in retaliation throughout the summer and the fall of that year. The attacks were so strong that the Powhatan Indians requested negotiations, while using the captured women as their bargaining tool. To show that this was serious, the wife of the late Thomas Boyse, who represented Martin’s Hundred at Virginia’s first legislature, was sent back to the hands of the colonists (Fausz).

"The Archaeology of Martin's Hundred" book

 

Evidence of the location of Martin’s Hundred came in 1977, when archaeologists tested the ground around a 17th century tombstone in James City County. The tombstone was made for Samuel Pond, buried in 1694 at the age of 48 ( Klingelhofer and Henry, 98-100). Other archaeological finds that confirm the location of Martin’s Hundred Parish come from trace amounts of window glass in the topsoil, corroded nail fragments, and bottles with the dimensions of “Squat bottles” ( Klingelhofer and Henry, 103).

Replica of Wolstenholme Town Fort

After the Powhatan’s effort towards good will, the colonists continued to focus on the destruction of the Indians. They were still considered to be hostile. In May of 1623, the leaders of both the Powhatans and the colonists met to discuss a truce. Upon the closing remarks after speeches from both parties, the colonists attempted to poison the leaders and the 200 other Indians who accompanied the leaders to the meeting. Many Indians fell sick, while 50 others were just shot by the colonists. Opechancanough, their leader, had managed to escape however. The women were then held for a bit longer, ranging from being returned in 1624 as seven of the women had been returned, or 1630, where one of the women had been returned. Those who did not arrive were considered to have been killed in 1622 during either the raids or other causes (Fausz).

Further Reading

Brown, Alexander. The Genesis of the United States: A Narrative of the Movement in England, 1605-1616. Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin, 1890.

Fausz, J. Frederick. “Powhatan Uprising of 1622.” American History. http://www.historynet.com/powhatan-uprising-of-1622.htm (Accessed March 14, 2012).

Klingelhofer, Eric and Henry, William. “Excavations at Martin’s Hundred Church, James City County, Virginia: Techniques for Testing a 17th Century Church Site.” Historical Archaeology 19 no. 1 (1985): 98-103.

Photo Credits

“The Archaeology of Martin’s Hundred,” Amazon, www.amazon.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Artist’s rendering of Wolstenholme Towne Site in 1620,” National Geographic Image Collection, www.nationalgeographicstock.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Fort at Wolstenholme Towne,” The Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

Historical Marker “Martin’s Hundred W-51,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Replica of Wolstenholme Towne Forte,” Martin’s Hundred, www.jpwhit.people.wm.edu (accessed May 2, 2012).

 

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Department of Historic Resources

Paspahegh Indians V-50

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

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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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Pocahontas V-45

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Inscription:

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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Department of Historic Resources link not available