Saturday, July 23, 2016

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Execution of Charles I

When Charles I lost the throne of England and was executed in 1649, the news reached Virginia.  The staunch royalist, Governor Berkeley quickly proclaimed Charles II as king and the Assembly declared it high treason to question his right to the colony of Virginia. Parliament decided to punish the colony by blockading it until Berkeley delivered a defiant address to the Assembly, which warmly supported Charles II.  Despite England's position against the colony, its blockade proved a failure, for Dutch traders sailed unmolested into Chesapeake Bay. A group of Virginia parliamentarians visited England and demanded that Berkeley be overthrown. The Council of State responded by sending out a fleet to subdue both Barbados and Virginia. Commissioners were also sent to Virginia to persuade the colony to submit peaceably. In the spring of 1652 when the fleet appeared in the James River, it found the governor prepared for resistance. The commissioners intervened, and by offering lenient terms, bloodshed was avoided. It was agreed that the colony should "voluntarily" acknowledge the authority of the Commonwealth, that the Virginians should have as free trade as the people of England, and that taxation was to be in the hands of the House of Burgess. Neither Berkeley nor his councilors were to be compelled to take the oath of allegiance for a year, and the use of the Book of Common Prayer was permitted for a similar length of time. Berkeley retired from the governorship but remained in the colony.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Marooned on the Bermuda Islands



Captain John Smith
When the ship Seaventure left England it did so with 150 adventurers of men, women and children.  But it wrecked in the Bermuda Islands where its passengers were marooned for nine months.  They finally arrived in the Patience and Deliverance commanded by Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers. The newcomers, who already had passed through a harrowing experience, faced a forlorn situation in the land of their destination; and so their leaders concurred in a decision to return to England. But, the timely arrival of Lord De La Warr with three ships exceedingly well furnished with all necessaries, changed the outlook. Here were not only the means of survival but resources for some stable home life. Several of the women who had sailed in the 1609 expedition reached Jamestown ahead of their shipwrecked husbands, who had accompanied the official party on the Seaventure. Among these were Mrs. Joane Peirce, wife of Captain William Peirce, and their daughter Joane, who arrived at Jamestown, 1609, on the Blessing.


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Scarce Food in Jamestown

In order to conserve their scarce food supply, the colonists sought to acquaint themselves with the use of the native resources. To this end, a number of the settlers were billetted with the Indians. They not only learned to distinguish the edible roots, berries, leafy plants and fruits, and how to prepare them, but found the whereabouts of Indian trails, the location of their villages, and fields where they cultivated corn, beans, and apooke (tobacco)

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Starving Time in Jamestown #virginiapioneersnet

The first several years at Jamestown were known as "the starving time".  It seemed that every time the supply returned to England, that its new settlers became quite ill.  In those days, arsenic was used on board vessels to kill the rat infestation.  That means that as supplies were unloaded, so were rats. Just a speculation on my part, but the illnesses which were caused so many persons to suffer horrible deaths sound like poisoning. Also, archaeologists have uncovered rat skeletens and observed that the colonists were eating the rats to keep from starving.  Also, after John Smith left the colony to return to England, he did so without appointing a leader.  The Indians began to rob and plunder the settlement, and at the same time famine and disease aided in the work of destruction.

At the close of that terrible winter, known ever since as the "Starving Time," barely sixty of the five hundred men whom Smith had left in the colony survived.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Religious Services at Jamestown, Virginia

Courtesy of New York Public Library


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Monday, February 15, 2016

Proctor Plantation

Winter in Jamestown
John Proctor of London, Middlesex County, was among those who came to Virginia under a Company Charter in the 1609-15 period. It would appear that he located a plantation well up the James River, on its south side, but below Falling Creek. The land list of 1625 specified that he had a 200 acre grant in this vicinity. Perhaps, he was established here well before the massacre. When the Indians descended on his place, he must have been away, for his wife stood her ground as she did later when the Colony officials sought to force her to vacate the now isolated post. It is reported that Mistress Proctor, a proper, civill, modest gentlewoman [fortified and lived in despite of the enemy] till perforce the English officers forced her and all them with her to goe with them, or they would fire her house themselves, as the salvages did when they were gone. In 1624 Proctor and his wife were living  over the River from Jamestown and a year later he, his wife Alice and three servants were at Paces Paines. It is not known whether he returned to his plantation upriver from which he had been uprooted in 1622. He had, in 1623, received a patent to transport fifty persons to Virginia together with sufficient necessities and provisions for cultivating the land. The latter seemingly included a wherry or small boate. There is evidence, too, that he could punish his servants if the occasion warranted even to the extent of using a line or whip corde.   Note: John Proctor died July 3, 1627 in Surry County, Virginia.

Source:  The First Seventeen Years 1607-1725 by Charles E. Hatch Jr.<br><br>
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