Bideford Mayor's DNA plan to prove Founding Fathers' theory
17 June 2009
|THE Mayor with a 300-year-old map of Bideford.|
WERE Bidefordians among the founding fathers of America, more than 30 years before the Pilgrim Fathers set sail from Plymouth?
That is a possibility which Mayor of Bideford Cllr Andy Powell is hoping to prove - "and put the town on the American tourist map of Britain alongside London, York and Stratford-on-Avon."
He is asking members of Torridgeside's oldest families to put themselves forward for DNA testing to help prove the case.
It is well documented how ships from Bideford under the captaincy of Sir Richard Grenville were involved with Sir Walter Raleigh's attempts to settle America between 1584 and 1590, initially on Roanoke Island in North Carolina.
In 1587 problems forced the leader John White to return to England to get help.
But plans for a relief fleet were delayed, not least by the coming of the Spanish Armada, which meant all of England's ships being commandeered for battle.
It was three years before he was able to return, by which time there was no sign of the 117 men, women and children or their settlement and they are listed in history as "the lost colony."
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