Friday, September 28, 2007

English Colonies: the one that got away and the one that was here to stay

Wanted: A group of able-bodied folk willing to live together on a faraway land and endure hardships in order to have a shot at great riches.

No, no, it's not Survivor. It's time to play Who Wants to be an English Colonist? In this game, the riches are not guaranteed, the hardships can be deadly, and the land is far from being deserted.

Our story takes place in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. And instead of an exotic island or the Australian outback, our setting is right here, in what is now the United States. Spain is already active in the "New World " and England feels it needs to get in on the action. Both countries have a desire to grow bigger and more powerful. It is believed that the New World has an abundance of land to offer, and an abundance of gold, copper, pearls and other riches as well. To England and Spain, the New World seems to be the perfect place to send some adventuring souls with a desire for wealth.

If you think of early English colonies, the name Jamestown might stick out in your mind. But first we're going to go a little further back, to a colony that mysteriously disappeared!
Part 1: The "Lost Colony"

In 1585 an English gentleman by the name of Sir Walter Raleigh sent an expedition of 108 men to America to settle on what is now Roanoke Island, North Carolina. The trip was a failure, and at the first chance they got, the colonists ditched their settlement and caught a ride back home. So much for that.

By 1586, Raleigh was at it again, this time sending a group that included women and children and the hopes for a long-term community. Yet once again they ran into hardships. After a two month struggle for food, the colonists demanded that their governor, John White, return to England for supplies and more help. The poor fellow reluctantly agreed and never saw his family or any of the colonists again. It took three years for White to find a ship to go back to Roanoke and by the time he got there, all he could find was a high fence of logs that had been built where the village used to be. There were no houses left, no bodies, no pots and pans, nothing! The only clue was that on one of the fence posts was the carved word: "CROATOAN." So now we are left with this mystery. What happened to the Roanoke colonists? Were they killed by the natives? Ravished by disease? Destroyed in a fire? Washed away by a hurricane?

Full Article Here:

Click on the map for a large version.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blogging Against Abuse, 9/27/07

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

~ Edmund Burke

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Croatan Indians of Sampson County, North Carolina


The Indian Office at Washington had no knowledge of the existence of the Croatan Indians until the latter part of 1888, when that office received a petition sent by fifty-four of these Indians describing themselves as "a part of the Croatan Indians living in Robeson County," and claiming to be "a remnant of White's Lost Colony," and petitioned Congress for aid. On January 11, 1889, the directors of the Ethnological Bureau in response to this petition replied:

"I beg leave to say that Croatan was in 1585 and thereabouts the name of an island and Indian village just north of Cape Hatteras, N. C. White's Colony of 120 men and women was landed on Roanoke Island just to the north in 1587, and in 1590 when White returned to revisit the colony he found no trace of it on Roanoke Island, save the name 'Croatan' carved upon a tree, which, according to a previous understanding, was interpreted to mean that the colonists had left Roanoke Island for Croatan. No actual trace of the missing colonists was ever found, but more than 100 years afterwards Lawson obtained traditional information from the Hatteras Indians which led him to believe that the colonists had been incorporated with the Indians. It was thought that traces of white blood could be discovered among the Indians, some among they having grey eyes. It is probable that the greater number of the colonists were killed; but it was quite in keeping with Indian usages that a greater or less number, especially women and children, should have been made captive and subsequently incorporated into the tribe."

The Croatan Indians of Sampson County, North Carolina. Their Origin and Racial Status. A Plea for Separate Schools: Electronic Edition. Butler, George Edwin, 1868-1941

If you lost this cannon, please call scientists

A find at sea from 24 years ago begs the question of about how it came to rest on the ocean floor.

Courtesy of Roanoke Island Festival Park, September 19, 2007
This cannon on display at Roanoke Island Festival Park in North Carolina
was found off the Virginia coast in 1983 by scallop fishermen.
Researchers dated it to the 1580s.

September 23, 2007

A small cannon dredged up by scallop fishermen off the Virginia coast 24 years ago is getting a second look as a possible mark of a shipwreck with a - potentially - very interesting history.Some historians believe it is an English cannon from the 1580s, and if the dating is correct it would be one of the oldest English artifacts ever found in the Americas.Its mere existence begs larger questions: How did it get to the bottom of the ocean? Did it merely go overboard or did a shipwreck leave it there? Whose ship was it? When did it happen?

Full Article Here:,0,4284916,full.story

Saturday, September 22, 2007

'Lost Colony' search goes on centuries later

North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development.
The Elizabeth II was one of the 16th-century ships that delivered members of the
so-called Lost Colony to the New World. The replica seen in this 2001 photo can
be found at the Roanoke

By Mike Baker, Associated Press

GREAT DISMAL SWAMP, N.C. — After trudging for two hours through thick vegetation to a blurry mark found on Google Earth, George Ray started making up a song: "If you're lost, I'll find you tomorrow," he sang in a thick Southern drawl.
Or, perhaps, he'll find you four centuries later.

Ray is one of the many amateur archaeologists entranced by the Lost Colony — the 117 English settlers who disappeared from North Carolina's Outer Banks in the late 1500s, having left behind only a single clue to their fate. In all the years since, no one has found much of anything else.

But there have long been stories told about a rotting boat in the Great Dismal Swamp, a national wildlife refuge that straddles North Carolina's border with Virginia. Ray's colleagues think the colonists may have passed through the swamp after leaving Roanoke Island. They studied satellite images until they found something that looked like a boat, then set out to find it.
"We're not looking for gold," Ray said. "We're looking for history."

Full Article Here:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tracing Your Ancestry Through DNA

Kimberly Powell

Popularized in recent years by its use in high-profile criminal investigations and paternity cases, DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, is most commonly used to prove a relationship to an individual. New tests created in recent years, however, have also turned DNA into a popular tool for determining ancestry. As DNA is passed down from one generation to the next, some parts remain almost unchanged, while other parts change greatly. This creates an unbreakable link between generations and it can be of great help in reconstructing our family histories.
While it can't provide you with your entire family tree or tell you who your ancestors are, DNA testing can:

*Determine if two people are related

*Determine if two people descend from the same ancestor

*Find out if you are related to others with the same surname

*Prove or disprove your family tree research

*Provide clues about your ethnic origin

Full Article Here:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Legends, Theories and DNA: Survivors?

Raleigh's "Lost Colony"

The Official Story

Speculation about the disappearance or demise of the Roanoke Island settlers began as soon as John White set foot on the deserted ground and saw the word "CROATOAN" carved in a tree. White himself found credible evidence that the colonists had merely moved on to safer ground. At the time he was unable to explore inland to look for them. The fact that the colonists had buried items too heavy to carry told White that the move was deliberate.

The prevailing theory carried back to England stated that the colonists had been attacked, if not while on Roanoke Island, shortly after they relocated--perhaps on Croatoan Island or further inland. No survivors were found. Ever.

But in the next decade explorers found little evidence of the colonists. However legends and theories about their fate began to form within these first decades. The attached bibliography contains writings from some of the earliest historians including John White, himself.

For those who like to keep an open mind regarding unresolved mysteries, the fate of the Lost Colony is worthy of further inquiry.

Ghost Ancestors?

Ghost Descendants?

If the Lost Colonists died without further issue, who could claim to be a descendant?

Cont. here:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mysteries of the Lost Colony and New World

North Carolina Museum of History Press Release

Mysteries of the Lost Colony and A New World: England's First View of America from the British Museum

Oct. 20, 2007, to Jan. 13, 2008

August 18, 2007, marks the 420th birthday of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in America. Weeks after her birth, her grandfather, John White, governor of the Roanoke Island colony and an artist, traveled to England for supplies. When he returned three years later, the entire colony had vanished.

Today, the Lost Colony mystery remains ― as do the exceptional watercolor drawings White created of Roanoke Island in 1585 and 1586. Visitors to the N.C. Museum of History can see more than 70 of these original watercolors, on view for the first time in 40 years outside of England, in a major exhibition opening Saturday, October 20, in Raleigh. White’s detailed renderings from his expeditions to the New World give us the only surviving visual English record of America at the time of European contact.The complete collection of White’s extraordinary images of New World flora and fauna and Algonquian Indians will be featured in Mysteries of the Lost Colony and A New World: England’s First View of America from the British Museum.

This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, presented through the collaboration of the N.C. Museum of History and British Museum, will run through January 13, 2008. White’s watercolors in A New World: England’s First View of America — called “enthralling” and “unmissable” by London’s Daily Telegraph — form the heart of the larger exhibition. Mysteries of the Lost Colony, produced by the N.C. Museum of History, will give visitors a deeper understanding of England’s first attempts at a permanent settlement in America and will offer several perspectives surrounding the colonists’ disappearance. Exhibit items, such as Algonquian Indian artifacts and other 16th-century objects, offer clues to this unsolved puzzle.

Visitors can follow the 70-year history of the outdoor drama “The Lost Colony,” produced by the Roanoke Island Historical Association, and walk through an Indian village made with set pieces from the drama. The Indian village will feature hands-on activities and the opportunity for further exploration with museum docents.Mysteries of the Lost Colony will include several engravings from the 1500s by Theodor de Bry, a Flemish publisher who engraved prints based on White’s watercolors. De Bry’s engravings were used to illustrate Thomas Harriot’s written account of the 1585 Roanoke voyage, A brief and true report of the new found land of Virginia. A rare 1590 German hand-colored version of Harriot’s manuscript will also be on view. An exhibition catalog, A New World: England’s First View of America, published by UNC Press (2007), is available in the Museum Shop for $60 (hardcover) and $29.95 (paperback).
Initial exhibition sponsors are Blue Cross/Blue Shield, GlaxoSmithKline, the Josephus Daniels Foundation and Time Warner Cable. To bring this exciting adventure to Raleigh, the N.C. Museum of History is collaborating with not only the British Museum, but with Brenau University; the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at East Carolina University; Lost Colony Inc.; National Park Service; Roanoke Island Festival Park, a division of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources; Roanoke Island Historical Association; UNC-Chapel Hill and private collectors.

Ticket and Group Tour Information

Tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for students, senior citizens, active military personnel and adult groups of 10 or more; $5 for children ages 5 to 12 and youth groups ages 5 to 18; free for children ages 4 and under and for Associates members. Purchase tickets at the Museum Shop, online at or through or (Service charges apply for etix purchases.) For more ticket information, call 919-807-7900. Most major credit cards are accepted.

To schedule tours for groups of 10 or more, call the Capital Area Visitor Center at 919-807-7950 or toll-free at 866-724-8687. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more.

From Oct. 20, 2007, to Jan. 13, 2008, the N.C. Museum of History’s hours will be Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information about the N.C. Museum of History, call 919-807-7900 or visit The museum is part of the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, an agency of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. The department’s Web site is

Sullivan County TN Library Benefits from Donation

The Sullivan County Library in Blountville, TN was the recent beneficiary of a generous donation by Pat Spurlock Elder, author of Melungeons: Examining an Appalachian Legend., a definitive work concerning the legendary dark-skinned people of the southern Appalachians.

Elder has donated most of her Melungeon research to the Sullivan County Library. When the cataloging is complete, researchers will have access to the large collection of materials amassed by Elder during her thirty years researching Southern families. At a later date, all the reels of Hancock County microfilmed court records, four reels of Grohse's work, the Chris Livesay microfilm and an original copy of Hamilton McMillian's work will eventually go to the library. About 150 or so reels of various microfilm have already been donated.

In addition Elder donated thirty years of Spurlock Family Association research. This is of interest not just to Spurlock researchers, but also to people with early connections to southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee. The only Spurlock data retained was information that connects to Elder's direct line.

The library, located in Blountville, Tennessee, is one of the best genealogical research libraries around. Their genealogy room is small, but they have an extraordinary amount of material. Their website can be accessed here: . Copy services for the materials is or will be available for any of the above items.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Possible Lost Colony Descendants Submit DNA Samples

Possible Lost Colony Descendants Submit DNA Samples

Posted: 8:03 PM Sep 7, 2007Last Updated: 8:03 PM Sep 7, 2007

Researchers gathered in Williamston Friday to connect the dots of a 420 year-old mystery using DNA testing.

Dozens of possible North Carolina Lost Colony descendants joined in a symposium to solve the mystery surrounding English settlers who integrated with American Indians on Roanoke Island in 1587 and vanished. Researchers now believe there are thousands of direct descendants of that Lost Colony living right here in eastern Carolina. It's a possible discovery that will solve an over 400 year mystery.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Summary of DNA Symposium and Onward with Our DNA Projects

I wanted to take a minute to mention the Lost Colony Symposium this past weekend and how successful it was. More than a day was focused on DNA and associated genealogy. I also want to preface this by saying that the Lost Colony DNA project is no longer associated with the Lost Colony Center for Science and Research. Their focus is not on DNA and our DNA project needs to be affiliated with several organizations and universities, not related solely to one organization.
The symposium was a two and a half day event held in Williamston, NC, near where the colonists are thought to have moved. The first day was primarily history having to do with the Lost Colony. There was much intrigue in England at the time and it unfolds like the plot of a good mystery, pirates, sabotage, was all there. The second presentation and one in the afternoon
by Phil McMullan were about searching for the colony's location in coastal NC and various theories about where they went, when and why. One thing is widely agreed upon and that is that they did not perish on Roanoke Island at the original fort site, if they perished prematurely at all. As we move through the history of the area and early maps, including one from John Smith at Jamestown (found in the Spanish archives, sent to the Spanish King by a spy), there are many, many historical reports that lead us to believe that at least some of them survived and that they probably split into two groups.
In the afternoon, we had Jack Goins, the Melungeon project co-administrator, present a wonderful paper with maps on the Melungeon migrations through Virginia and North Carolina before their arrival in east Tennessee. He has done a huge amount of early records research and we find the early Melungeon families (before they were called Melungeons) in the some of the same areas as we find native tribes who moved inland who may be associated with the Lost Colonists.
This was followed by a professional genealogist, Jennifer Sheppard, who gave a wonderful and humorous talk about documentation of genealogical evidence.
The last presentation of the day was by the current keeper of the Eleanor Dare Stone,
Dr. James Southerland from Breneau University, and he brought the original stone with him. The stone was found in 1937 in a woods and purports to be from Eleanor Dare to her father John White. It tells that Ananias Dare and Virginia Dare, his daughter, the first child born to the colonists, died in 1591. It also on the back tells that they were attacked and that some survive. Whether it is legitimate or a fraud has never been conclusively determined, although it has been highly studied, but regardless, it and the surrounding controversy too are part of the history of the search for the Lost Colony.
We had a nice reception with snacks and local wine from the local vineyards and later that night, we had "birds of a feather" sessions where people just came back to the room to talk about whatever they wanted to discuss. Many of the speakers came as well.
The second day was a full DNA Day. It began with an intro by Bennett Greenspan. I have to tell you, I normally am the DNA speaker at conferences, and it was really a great treat to see someone else give that presentation. He is so comfortable in front of crowds and they loved him.
Following that, I did Y line DNA case studies.
Rob Noles presented about his Lumbee and Wiregrass Georgia projects which were very interesting. Perhaps most interesting to those of us interested in the DNA results is that in his Lumbee project so far there is only one person who returned a Native American haplogroup. This is suggestive relative to the colonists because the Lumbee are reported to be the tribe that the Croatoan morphed into. The Croatan became the Hatteras who became the Mattamuskeet and the Lumbee, and possibly others as well. There is so much overlap in this project that Rob has graciously agreed to become a co-administrator of the Lost Colony
DNA Project as well, in addition to me and Penny Ferguson. Penny also co-administers the Melungeon Project. Unfortunately, she could not attend the conference because her husband has the bad judgment to break his leg:)
Following that, I presented about working with mtdna and case studies. I must say of everything I present, people just love the case studies. I present them as stories and I think it harkens back to our love of stories and mysteries as children.
Bennett then presented again about Deep Ancestry.
Jason Eshleman with Trace Genetics presented about Forensic DNA testing and his work with skeletal remains. For those who don't know, he worked on Kennewick man. He also talked a little bit about what is coming and Neathderthal DNA. I wish I hadn't been in and out of the room so much for this presentation, but as the "hostess", I was up and down a lot.
Following Jason's presentation, we discussed the project plan for the Lost Colony project which involves historical research in NC and England, genealogy of course and DNA.
Throughout the day, we had been educating people, gathering a basic pedigree chart and swabbing them outside in the hallway. You would not believe how hectic that became. On Friday, NBC came and filmed and it was on TV Friday evening and Saturday morning. They broadcast that this event was taking place at the Holiday Inn but they neglected to say that you had to register, and that the DNA testing was not free. Well you can guess what happened on Saturday and Sunday. We were mobbed. Now the good news is that many of those who came were great candidates and most were very gracious about discovering that the DNA testing was not free. When Bennett wasn't presenting, he was swabbing and working with people all day, along with Dr. Ana from our list who was also in attendance, but not in the sessions, in the hallway. Had it not been for their help and some other volunteers, I don't know what we would have done. It was a sea of people in that hallway, each with their own interesting story to tell.
So late in the afternoon, we made history by having a Lost Colony DNA "Swab-In" with lots of folks swabbing together. That too was filmed, for posterity, but I haven't seen the film yet.
We were also visited unexpectedly by members of the Mattamuskeet Tribe during the day, in full regalia. I wasn't sure if I should introduce them or duck. They were wonderful folks and came to share with us their traditions.
In the evening, after dark, we had storyteller
and ghost-hunter, Anne Poole, tell us about Lost Colony Ghosts poolside. That was extremely popular as well.
Sunday, we only had morning sessions which included an archaeologist
, Will Moore, discussing digs, finds and Native American tools and a professor , Dr. Malcolm LeCompte from Elizabeth City State who specializes in satellite imaging and remote sensing. He discussed the likely locations of habitation and these images are how they are determining where to focus their archaeological efforts. That session was extremely interesting.
The symposium was wonderfully successful, especially given that we only had about two months to put it together. I'll also tell you that I don't know that we will do another one, and if so, it may well not be next year. It was a huge amount of work, especially coordinating it remotely from Michigan.

Now, on with the Lost Colony DNA Project

Click here to

Click here to JOIN THE LostColonymtDNA PROJECT

Roberta Estes
Director of the Lost Colony DNA Project

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Destruction Toll From Fire Just Being Realized

Fire destroys hundreds of costumes for 'Lost Colony' play

The Virginian-Pilot © September 12, 2007

With "The Lost Colony" barely finished wrapping up its 70th season, the theater company faces the loss of many of its historic costumes after a fire early Tuesday destroyed the Irene Rains Costume Shop, its contents and two adjacent buildings.

No one was severely injured, but several firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion. The buildings were unoccupied.
The Roanoke Island Historical Association, producers of the play, estimated costume losses at $1 million to $2 million. About 70 to 80 percent of the production's costumes were lost, its executive director said.

But William Ivey Long, the show's production designer and a five-time Tony Award-winning Broadway costume designer, said it is nearly impossible to put a value on the collection, which went back seven decades and included 700 costumes used in the show. That's all the colonists' clothes; all the American Indian costumes; all the vintage costumes made by Irene Rains in the 1940s and '50s and by Fred Voelpel in the '60s, '70s and '80s. Not to mention the William Ivey Long collection.

Including those used for doubles and extras, Long said, there were closer to 1,500 to 2,000 costumes lost.

"It's so astonishing," Long said in an interview Tuesday morning from New York City. "It also doesn't include the bolts of fabric we've been stashing upstairs. Or the snaps, the scissors.... I'm still sort of swimming in the enormity of all this."

Full Article Here:


Donations can be made to the Irene Smart Rains Costume Fund  by calling “The Lost Colony” production office at 252-473-2127.  

Help from people who can sew is also welcome.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Donate to the Lost Colony Drama Costume Replacement Fund

To donate click here:

View Photos From the Lost Colony Drama Fire

View Photos From the Lost Colony Drama Fire Here:

Fire Destroys Two Buildings and Hundreds of Costumes Lost Colony Drama

By Orla Swift, Staff Writer

MANTEO - A fire ripped through the theater that hosts "The Lost Colony" outdoor drama early this morning, destroying two buildings and hundreds of costumes and artifacts.
The amphitheater and its sets were saved. But the costume shop yards away was destroyed, including 70 years of costumes, fabrics, sketches and other artifacts and memorabilia.
A nearby resident saw flames at the Waterside Theatre at 12:35 a.m. and alerted firefighters, according to the show's publicist.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, but it appears to have started in a maintenance shed, according to production and costume designer William Ivey Long.
Many valuable costumes were saved by chance, Long said in a telephone interview this morning from his home in New York. The ornate queen's costume and jewels had just gone to Wilmington's Cameron Art Museum about a week ago, to be part of a retrospective of Long's work.
And the courtiers' costumes are at the dry cleaners and in Raleigh, where they will be included in the N.C. Museum of History's forthcoming exhibit, "Mysteries of the Lost Colony and A New World: England's First View of America from the British Museum."

Friday, September 7, 2007

Lost Colony DNA Expert Visits Rogersville Genealogy Society

Rogersville - The Hawkins County Historical and Genealogical Society recently hosted a presentation on DNA and genealogy which was presented by Roberta Estes, Director of DNA Research for the Lost Colony DNA Project.

Estes is a resident of Brighton, Michigan. She has been a professional scientist and business owner in the information technology field for more than 25 years.

Her background includes a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, as well as a Master of Business Administration in Geographic Information Systems. In 2005, Estes founded DNA Explain.

She is also coordinator of the Cumberland Gap DNA Project and an advisor for the Melungeon DNA Project.

According to the magazine American Archaeology, the Lost Colony "resulted from England's second attempt to colonize the shores of northeastern North Carolina."

It was located on Roanoke Island which is known for its historical significance as the site of Sir Walter Raleigh's failed attempts to establish a permanent English settlement in the late 16th century.

While the colonists disappeared and their whereabouts are uncertain still today the mystery has become known as the "Lost Colony."

"Lost Colony" scientists visit Historical and Genealogical Society

Rogersville - The Hawkins County Historical and Genealogical Society recently hosted a presentation on DNA and genealogy which was presented by Roberta Estes, Director of DNA

Research for the Lost Colony Project.

Jack Goins introduces Roberta Estes to the crowd recently at the DNA and Genealogy presentation.
blog it

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Native American History in North Carolina

Paleo-Indian peoples came to North Carolina about 10,000 years ago. These early inhabitants hunted game with spears and gathered nuts, roots, berries, and freshwater mollusks. Around 500 BC, with the invention of pottery and the development of agriculture, the Woodland Culture began to emerge. The Woodland way of life—growing corn, beans, and squash, and hunting game with bows and arrows—prevailed on the North Carolina coast until the Europeans arrived.

Living in North Carolina by this time were Indians of the Algonkian-, Siouan-, and Iroquoian-language families. The Roanoke, Chowanoc, Hatteras, Meherrin, and other Algonkianspeaking tribes of the coast had probably lived in the area the longest; some of them belonged to the Powhatan Confederacy of Virginia. The Siouan groups were related to larger tribes of the Great Plains. Of the Iroquoian-speakers, the Cherokee probably had lived in the mountains since before the beginning of the Christian era, while the Tuscarora had entered the upper coastal plain somewhat later. After their defeat by the colonists in the Tuscarora War of 1711–13, the tribe fled to what is now upper New York State to become the sixth member of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Contact with whites brought war, disease, and enslavement of the Algonkian and Siouan tribes. Banding together, the survivors probably gave rise to the present-day Lumbee and to the other Indian groups of eastern North Carolina. The Cherokee tried to avoid the fate of the coastal tribes by selectively adopting aspects of white culture. In 1838, however, the federal government responded to the demands of land-hungry whites by expelling most of the Cherokee to Indian Territory along the so-called Trail of Tears.

European penetration began when Giovanni da Verrazano, a Florentine navigator in French service, discovered the North Carolina coast in 1524. Don Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón led an unsuccessful Spanish attempt to settle near the mouth of the Cape Fear River two years later. Hernando de Soto tramped over the North Carolina mountains in 1540 in an unsuccessful search for gold, but the Spanish made no permanent contribution to the colonization of North Carolina.

Sixty years after Verrazano's voyage, North Carolina became the scene of England's first experiment in American empire. Sir Walter Raleigh, a courtier of Queen Elizabeth I, gained the queen's permission to send out explorers to the New World. They landed on the Outer Banks in 1584 and returned with reports so enthusiastic that Raleigh decided to sponsor a colony on Roanoke Island between Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. After a second expedition returned without founding a permanent settlement, Raleigh sent out a third group in 1587 under John White as governor. The passengers included White's daughter Eleanor and her husband, Ananias Dare. Shortly after landfall, Eleanor gave birth to Virginia Dare, the first child born of English parents in the New World. Several weeks later, White returned to England for supplies, but the threat of the Spanish Armada prevented his prompt return. By the time White got back to Roanoke in 1590, he found no trace of the settlers—only the word "Croatoan" carved on a tree. The fate of this "Lost Colony" has never been satisfactorily explained.

Full Article Here:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Lost Colony of Roanoke

The Lost Colony of 1587 In the year 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh organized another colonial expedition consisting of 150 persons. Its truer colonizing character was evidenced by the significant facts that, unlike the expedition of 1585, this one included women and children, and the men were called "planters." Its government was also less military, since the direction of the enterprise in Virginia was to be in the hands of a syndicate of subpatentees--a governor and 12 assistants whom Raleigh incorporated as the "Governor and Assistants of the Citie of Ralegh in Virginia."

The new arrangement indicated that colonization was becoming less of a one-man venture and more of a corporate or business enterprise, anticipating in a certain degree the later English companies that were to found successful colonies in Virginia and New England. Exactly what inducements Raleigh offered to the planters are not known. His terms were probably liberal, however, because Hariot, writing in February 1587, paid tribute to Raleigh's generosity, saying that the least that he had granted had been 500 acres of land to each man willing to go to America. Those contributing money or supplies, as well as their person, probably stood to receive more. From the list of names that has come down to us, it would appear that at least 10 of the planters took their wives with them. Ambrose Viccars and Arnold Archard brought not only their wives but one child each, Ambrose Viccars and Thomas Archard. Altogether there were at least 17 women and 9 children in the group that arrived safely in Virginia.
In still another respect, this second colonial expedition seemed to anticipate the later Jamestown settlement. Raleigh had directed, in writing, that the fort and colony be established in the Chesapeake Bay area where a better port could be had and where conditions for settlement were considered to be more favorable.

The fleet, consisting of three ships, sailed from Plymouth for Virginia on May 8. Continuity with the previous expeditions was afforded in the persons of the Governor, John White, who was to make in all five trips to Virginia, Simon Ferdinando, Captain Stafford, Darby Glande, the Irishman, and perhaps others. The route, as in 1585, lay via "Moskito Bay" in Puerto Rico. Here Darby Glande was left behind, or escaped, and lived to testify regarding the first Roanoke Island colony before the Spanish authorities at St. Augustine some years later. The expedition sailed along the coast of Haiti, even passing by "Isabella" where Grenville had traded with the Spaniards for cattle and other necessities in 1585, but this time there was no trading, possibly because of the precarious relations between England and Spain, now on the eve of open war. Whatever the reason for this failure to take in supplies in Haiti, it constituted a certain handicap for the colony of 1587.

THE SECOND COLONY ESTABLISHED AT ROANOKE. The two leading ships of the expedition reached Hatoraske on July 22, 1587, and the third ship on July 25. Meanwhile, on the 22d, Governor White and a small group of planters had gone to Roanoke Island with the intention of conferring with the 15 men left there by Grenville the preceding year. On reaching the place where the men had been left, they found only the bones of one of them who had been killed by the Indians. There was no sign of the others.

The next day Governor White and his party "walked to the North end of the island, where Master Ralfe Lane had his forte, with sundry necessary and decent dwelling houses made by his men about it the yeere before." Here it was hoped some sign of Grenville's men would be discovered. They found the fort razed "but all the houses standing unhurt, saving that the neather rooms of them, and also of the forte, were overgrown with Melons of divers sortes, and Deere within them, feeding on those Melons." All hope of finding Grenville's men then vanished.
For reasons which are obscure, but perhaps because the season was late, it was decided to settle again at Roanoke Island rather than go on to the Chesapeake Bay country. Those houses found standing were repaired and "newe cottages" were built. The Indians proved to be more hostile than formerly, and George Howe, one of the assistants, was killed by the Indians soon after the landing. Through the intercession of the Indian Manteo, who had relatives on the barrier island of Croatoan, friendly relations with the Croatoan Indians were reestablished, but the others remained aloof.

The remnants of the Roanoke Island Indians dwelling at Dasamonquepeuc were accused by the Croatoan Indians of killing Grenville's men as well as George Howe. Hence, on August 8, Governor White, with Captain Stafford and 24 men, suddenly attacked the town of Dasamonquepeuc with fire and sword. It was a blunder. The Roanoke Indians had already fled. In their place were the friendly Croatoan Indians who had heard of the flight of the other Indians and had come over to take whatever corn and fruit might have been left behind. Thanks to Manteo, the Croatoan Indians forgave the Englishmen, or pretended to do so.

On August 13, complying with Raleigh's instructions, Manteo was christened and declared Lord of Roanoke and Dasamonquepeuc as a reward for his many services. Five days later, Governor White's daughter, Eleanor, wife of Ananias Dare, gave birth to a daughter, who was named Virginia because she was the first child of English parentage to be born in the New World. Another child was born to Dyonis and Margery Harvie shortly afterwards. On the 27th, Governor White, at the earnest entreaty of the "planters in Virginia," sailed homeward with the fleet to obtain supplies for the colony.

GOVERNOR WHITE'S RETURN TO ENGLAND. With Governor White's departure on the 27th, the history of events in the colony becomes a tragic mystery which one can only seek to explain. There had been talk of moving the colony 50 miles inland, and White had arranged for appropriate indications of their whereabouts if they removed from Roanoke Island before his return. However, White could not return as soon as expected because of the outbreak of war with Spain. The year 1588 was the Armada year. Sir Richard Grenville, who was preparing a new fleet to go to Virginia, was ordered to make his ships available to the English Navy for service against the Armada. Both Raleigh and Grenville were assigned tasks connected with the national defense and could give little thought to Virginian enterprises. At length, the Queen's Privy Council gave Grenville permission to use on the intended Virginian voyage two small ships not required for service against Spain. White sailed with these on April 28, but they were small, poorly equipped, and poorly provisioned. Partly because of these circumstances and perhaps partly because of their own folly in running after Spanish treasure ships, they were unable to reach Virginia in the war-torn sea. Thus, while Grenville's large warships contributed to the defeat of the Armada, the Roanoke Island colony was doomed for the lack of them.

Full Article Here:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Rolling Stones Promise to Enliven and Enlighten Symposium

The roaming stones

Words carved in rocks left between Atlanta and North Carolina -- now housed at Brenau University -- might tell the story of the ill-fated Roanoke Island colony.

By From staff reports

On the rocks

Brenau University history professor James Southerland will be the rock star at The Lost Colony Symposium on DNA and Research set for Friday through Sunday.
He is scheduled to talk about the "Virginia Dare Stone," a 21-pound chunk of rough-veined quartz that some suggest might carry clues as to what happened to the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island off the North Carolina coast.

Southerland, by invitation, will show off the oblong-shaped rock with Elizabethan-era words chiseled into its front and back surfaces on Friday.

Full Article Here:

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Lost Colony Upcoming DNA Symposium Sept. 7 - 9th

Are you one of the Lost Colonists? Could you be the key to unraveling the greatest mystery in America today? Find out by using a combination of DNA testing and genealogy.What happened to the lost colonists?

Were they assimilated into the Native American population or did they perish? Today, for the first time, using DNA technology, we may find the answer.If your family descends from the Eastern Carolina area, if your family has an oral tradition of Lumbee or other Native American ancestry from the Eastern United States, or if your family includes one of our “most wanted” surnames, join our Lost Colony DNA Project with Family Tree DNA.

Click here for the list of surnames.

Interested in the Lost Colony, but don’t think you connect? That’s fine, you can join our foundation, The Helix Foundation, as a supporter and receive our electronic newsletters, updates, and be included in all of our findings on our private Newslist.Our “Families of Interest” include the surnames of the colonists and families associated through historical documents with local Native American heritage.

If the colonists survived and were integrated into native village life, DNA, matching that of the colonists, will appear within the descendants of the local Native American population.

DNA Symposium Sept. 7 - 9th.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Can DNA Solve Roanoke Mystery?

Associated Press

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

ROANOKE ISLAND, N.C. — Researchers believe they may be able to use DNA to help uncover the fate of the Lost Colony, which vanished a few years after more than 100 people settled on Roanoke Island in 1587.

"The Lost Colony story is the biggest unsolved mystery in the history of America," said Roberta Estes, owner of DNA Explain , a private DNA analysis company based in Brighton, Mich.
The company is trying to figure out what happened to the colony. It was established 20 years before Jamestown, America's first permanent English settlement.

"I don't know what we'll find in the end," Estes told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper. "Part of the big question for me is, did the Lost Colony survive? Who is their family today? And where did they go?"

The researchers have used genealogy, deeds and historical narratives to compile 168 surnames that could be connected to settlers.

Researchers plan to use cheek swabs taken from possible ancestors to test the paternal and maternal DNA lines.

"In our case, with the Lost Colony, the only way we're going to trace who was who and if they survived is to use DNA," Estes said.

While DNA will not make any immediate connections beyond living relatives, the samples can provide clues to an individual's country of origin and other shared family traits, Estes said. Genealogy will have to fill in the blanks.

Researchers may also try to test American Indian remains or known relatives of the colonists in England.

More than 100 people settled on Roanoke Island in 1587, but the colonists vanished sometime between August of that year and 1590, when their governor returned to the island from a trip to England.,2933,281229,00.html