Have Heart, Will Travel

Jamestown, Virginia: Established 1607

Nancy PowellComment

Although our travels have taken us to historic places in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, our English-speaking history on this continent goes back farther.  Back 408 years, in fact, to the first permanent English-speaking colony of Jamestown, Virginia.

In 1607, 3 ships bringing men and boys arrived and landed in what is now Virginia and established James Fort, which expanded and became Jamestowne, named in honor of the British monarch.  Over the next two years, more ships would arrive bringing more men and even women and children.  

By the winter of 1609-1610, there were 500 people living there. Unfortunately, that was the winter known as "The Starving Time," an extremely difficult time to get food due to both a drought and hostilities with the Native Americans.  The population went from 500 to only 60.  Somehow a group did survive and then the colony grew and thrived.

Captain John Rolf of Jamestown married Pocohontas, the daughter of the Powhatan Chief and there followed a time of peace and cooperation with the local Native Americans.  Many people in the world today trace their roots back to their union.  Fascinating! 

This monument was placed in 1907, on the 300th anniversary of the landing.

This monument was placed in 1907, on the 300th anniversary of the landing.

I am fascinated that they know the original boundaries of the fort.  Many of the buildings have been discovered through archaeological excavation.  One bulwark of the triangular fork would now be in water. That much shore has been washed away in the ensuing 400 years.

I am fascinated that they know the original boundaries of the fort.  Many of the buildings have been discovered through archaeological excavation.  One bulwark of the triangular fork would now be in water. That much shore has been washed away in the ensuing 400 years.

Of course, Captain John Smith also played a big role in Jamestown as well. He also was friends with Pocohontas, crediting her with saving his life twice.  He also thought he was going to die once, but said precious oils saved him. Amazing!

Of course, Captain John Smith also played a big role in Jamestown as well. He also was friends with Pocohontas, crediting her with saving his life twice.  He also thought he was going to die once, but said precious oils saved him. Amazing!

Look at what happened in his early life.  What drama!

Look at what happened in his early life.  What drama!

Petunia doing some studying with her own guidebook. We love roadschool!

Petunia doing some studying with her own guidebook. We love roadschool!

The tower part of this church is orginal from the 1600s!  It was rebuilt later in the century because the early churches got burned down or rebuilt, but this is a bonafide 17th century structure standing here for us to enjoy today. Wow!

The tower part of this church is orginal from the 1600s!  It was rebuilt later in the century because the early churches got burned down or rebuilt, but this is a bonafide 17th century structure standing here for us to enjoy today. Wow!

Petunia and Pocohontas. Grateful for these two beauties! 

Petunia and Pocohontas. Grateful for these two beauties! 

Jamesetown island is the site of current archaeological excavation and discovery. Here Petunia and I are watching some people at work. Later, in another location, we were looking on when the placement of a fence post that was part of the fort's expansion was discovered. The man stopped and explained the significance of that discovery to the two of us. How nice of him! He explained that they had thought that was where the fence would have been expanded, but they weren't finding the evidence they thought they would...then voila!...we're right there when a "beautiful circle" emerged.  

Jamesetown island is the site of current archaeological excavation and discovery. Here Petunia and I are watching some people at work. Later, in another location, we were looking on when the placement of a fence post that was part of the fort's expansion was discovered. The man stopped and explained the significance of that discovery to the two of us. How nice of him! He explained that they had thought that was where the fence would have been expanded, but they weren't finding the evidence they thought they would...then voila!...we're right there when a "beautiful circle" emerged.  

After getting settled, the colonists began glassblowing as their first industry. They had abundant supplies to make glass all around them and in London there was more demand than supply.  Seems like they would have had a good set up, but it was short lived.  Seems like one big problem was actually getting glass pieces back to London safely with the transportation options of the day.

After getting settled, the colonists began glassblowing as their first industry. They had abundant supplies to make glass all around them and in London there was more demand than supply.  Seems like they would have had a good set up, but it was short lived.  Seems like one big problem was actually getting glass pieces back to London safely with the transportation options of the day.

It is almost hard to conceive what these people had to go through to establish a society in this land.  I have such an appreciation for so many people now that I have gotten to delve into the world from Jamestown through to the beginning of our modern government system.