Monday, August 17, 2015

Happy 428th Birthday, Virginia Dare!!!

Virginia Dare (born August 18, 1587, date of death unknown) was the first child born in the Americas to English parents, Eleanor (or Ellinor/Elyonor) and Ananias Dare. She was born into the short-lived Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island in present-day North Carolina, USA. What became of Virginia and the other colonists has become an enduring mystery. The fact of her birth is known because the leader of the colony, Eleanor Dare's father, John White, returned to England to seek assistance for the colony. When White returned three years later, the colonists were gone.

Historical explanations

John Smith and other members of the Jamestown Colony sought information about the fate of the colonists in 1607. One report indicated that the Lost Colonists took refuge with friendly Chesapeake Indians, but Chief Powhatan claimed his tribe had attacked the group and killed most of the colonists. Powhatan showed Smith certain artifacts he said had belonged to the colonists, including a musket barrel and a brass mortar. The Jamestown Colony received reports of some survivors of the Lost Colony and sent out search parties, but none were successful. Eventually they determined they were all dead.[1]
However, in her 2000 book Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony, historian Lee Miller postulated that some of the Lost Colony survivors sought shelter with a neighboring Indian tribe, the Chowanoc, that was attacked by another tribe, identified by the Jamestown Colony as the "Mandoag," but who Miller thinks were actually the Eno, also known as the Wainoke. Survivors were eventually sold into slavery and held captive by differing bands of the Eno tribe, who, Miller wrote, were known slave traders. Miller wrote that English settlers with the Jamestown Colony heard reports in 1609 of the captive Englishmen, but the reports were suppressed because they had no way to rescue the captives and didn't want to panic the Jamestown colonists. William Strachey, a secretary of the Jamestown Colony, wrote in his The History of Travel Into Virginia Britania in 1612 that, at the Indian settlements of Peccarecanick and Ochanahoen, there were reportedly two-story houses with stone walls. The Indians supposedly learned how to build them from the Roanoake settlers.[2] There were also reported sightings of European captives at various Indian settlements during the same time period.[3] Strachey wrote in 1612 that four English men, two boys, and one maid had been sighted at the Eno settlement of Ritanoc, under the protection of a chief called Eyanoco. The captives were forced to beat copper. The captives, he reported, had escaped the attack on the other colonists and fled up the Chaonoke river, the present-day Chowan River in Bertie County, North Carolina.[4][2][5] For four hundred years, various authors have speculated that the captive girl was Virginia Dare. When White left the colony in 1587, there were eighty-seven men, seventeen women and eleven children among the colonists. Virginia Dare was one of two infants born to colonists in 1587 and was the only female child in the Lost Colony.

Possible descendants

The Chowanoc tribe was eventually absorbed into the Tuscarora. The Eno tribe was also associated with the Shakori tribe and was later absorbed by the Catawba or the Saponi tribes. Today one group is known as the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. From the early 1600s to the middle 1700s European colonists reported encounters with gray-eyed American Indians or with Welsh-speaking Indians who claimed descent from the colonists.[6][7] In 1669 a Welsh cleric named Morgan Jones was taken captive by the Tuscarora. He feared for his life, but a visiting Doeg Indian war captain spoke to him in Welsh and assured him that he would not be killed. The Doeg warrior ransomed Jones and his party and Jones remained with their tribe for months as a preacher.[6] In 1701, surveyor John Lawson encountered members of the Hatteras tribe living on Roanoke Island who claimed some of their ancestors were white people. Lawson wrote that several of the Hatteras tribesmen had gray eyes.[7] Some present-day American Indian tribes in North Carolina and South Carolina, among them the Coree and the Lumbee tribes, also claim partial descent from surviving Roanoke colonists. A non-profit organization, the Lost Colony of Roanoke DNA Project, has launched a Lost Colony DNA Project to test possible descendants.
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A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A fascinating look at "Old Hatteras Island"

A fascinating look at "Old Hatteras Island"

My grandfather was Luther Frazier Peele (1905-'67) ~  his mother was Elizabeth Gaskill Peele; Granny Lizzy was the last of our family to keep in contact with relatives back in the old country (Cornwall, UK).  According to our ancestry search, my grandfather's family dates back to the 1700's on the "Carolina Banks". His g-g-g...grandfather Robert Peel, was born in England in 1635 and was "spirited" away to theKing's Virginian colonies soon thereafter. Hatteras has long been a destination for people "on the lamb." During the 17th century, thousands of Irish & Scots were imprisoned in Britain by Oliver Cromwell's ethnic-cleansing tirades. The ones who survived (about half), were "transported" to the colonies. Scottish prisoners were allowed to choose their final destination ~ the grim prospect of working as a plantation slave in Barbados & Virginia drove some to Hatteras. It is unclear whether they came of their own free will (w/ livestock) or came to hide ended up staying. The village elders seemed peculiar to outsiders because of their antiquated vocabulary and thick brogue... and the women, who were sturdy by necessity, often smoked pipes or dipped snuff. 

Cont. here:

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

2015 Top 100 Genealogy Sites Announced

The annual GenealogyInTime Magazine Top 100 is the definitive list in genealogy. It profiles and ranks the best ancestral websites based on estimates of their internet traffic (as measured by Alexa, the internet traffic people). This results in a list that is objective and comprehensive.
This year represents our fourth annual survey on the state of genealogy. Discover some interesting websites to help you find your ancestors and stay up to date with the latest trends in genealogy.

- See more at:

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Croatan Indians of Sampson County, North Carolina.

George Edwin Butler, 1868-1941
The Croatan Indians of Sampson County, North Carolina. Their Origin and Racial Status. A Plea for Separate Schools.
Durham, N.C.: Seeman Printery, 1916.

Herrings Township, Sampson Co., N. C.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Remains of the earliest European fort in the present day US interior discovered

The remains of the earliest European fort in the interior of what is now the United States have been discovered by a team of archaeologists, providing new insight into the start of the U.S. colonial era and the all-too-human reasons spoiling Spanish dreams of gold and glory.

Spanish Captain Juan Pardo and his men built Fort San Juan in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in 1567, nearly 20 years before Sir Walter Raleigh’s “lost colony” at Roanoke and 40 years before the Jamestown settlement established England’s presence in the region.
“Fort San Juan and six others that together stretched from coastal South Carolina into eastern Tennessee were occupied for less than 18 months before theNative Americans destroyed them, killing all but one of the Spanish soldiers who manned the garrisons,” said University of Michigan archaeologist Robin Beck.
Beck, an assistant professor in the U-M Department of Anthropology and assistant curator at the U-M Museum of Anthropology, is working with archaeologists Christopher Rodning of Tulane University and David Moore of Warren Wilson College to excavate the site near the city of Morganton in western North Carolina, nearly 300 miles from the Atlantic Coast.
The Berry site, named in honor of the stewardship of landowners James and the late Pat Berry, is located along a tributary of the Catawba River and was the location of the Native American town of Joara, part of the mound-building Mississippian culture that flourished in the southeastern U.S. between 800 and about 1500 CE.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jennifer Gabriel Powell

It is with great sadness and very heavy hearts that Anne Poole and Roberta Estes, directors of the Lost Colony Research Group, convey the heartbreaking message that we have lost our own Jennifer Gabriel Powell.  Jenn is the archaeologist for the Lost Colony Research Group, but she was so much more.  Jenn met Andy Powell, now Andy Gabriel Powell, retired mayor of Bideford, England, on our dig in 2012.  Three months later, she went to England to visit Andy, and suffice it to say she never came back, except to get her visa and her cat.  She and Andy married on January 19, 2013. 

Jenn was just 34, completed her BS in archaeology in 2012, was lovely, brilliant and joyful.  She had her whole life in front of her.  We all loved Jenn and remember her laughing in her signature tie dye t-shirts that she made herself.  Jenn and Andy are both members of our Lost Colony family.

Yesterday, Jenn suffered a brain hemorrhage and today, after her mother arrived from the US, life support was discontinued and Jenn slipped away.  Our hearts grieve for two of our own, Jenn’s passing and Andy’s terrible loss.  Please light a candle and say a prayer for Jenn, Andy, Jenn’s parents and family.  We will have a memorial article for Jenn in the upcoming Lost Colony Research Group newsletter.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Jamestown Mysteries Solved By Archeological Finds

Published on Jan 28, 2014 The Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists over the years have come across several instances of disarticulated human skeletal remains in trash pits. This short film documents one such find. A skull fragment found in the fort's west bulwark ditch demonstrated clear evidence of an attempt at trephination (a surgical procedure performed in response to head injuries, whereby surgeons remove a plug of bone form the skull to prevent a buildup of fluid that could cause pressure on the brain). The research that is presented in this film was the result of a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Jamestown Rediscovery Project. Senior Staff Archaeologist, Jamie May of the Rediscovery Project narrates the film. This blog is © History Chasers
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Today's Nature Publication Refutes Possibility of a Solutrean Migration to the Americas

A very exciting and definite paper has just been published by Naturetoday, titled “The genome of a Late Pleistocene human from a Clovis burial site in western Montana,” by Rasmussen et al. The authors conclude that the DNA of a Clovis child is ancestral to Native Americans.  Said another way, this Clovis child was a descendant, along with Native people today, of the original migrants from Asia who crossed the Bering Strait.

All four types of DNA were tested; Y chromosome, mtDNA, autosomal and X. Everything tested as having come through the Bering Strait from Asia. There was no European admixture.  

This information is very important to a number of academic disciplines. I am sure much more remains to be explored and explained, but we can rest assured in this fact: 

"The researchers concluded that the Clovis infant belonged to a meta-population from which many contemporary Native Americans are descended and is closely related to all indigenous American populations.  In essence, contemporary Native Americans are “effectively direct descendants of the people who made and used Clovis tools and buried this child,” covering it with red ochre.
Furthermore, the data refutes the possibility that Clovis originated via a European, Solutrean, migration to the Americas."

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