Wednesday, September 23, 2009

America's Lost Colony 1587

Engraved portrait of Raleigh.Image via Wikipedia

The following was related from the historical account of Ivor Noel Hume. One hundred and seventeen colonists vanish in America's oldest mystery. America's oldest stories is a detective story. In 1584, in an effort to compete with Spain for New World gold, English explorers pointed their ships towards America, headed for a small island off the coast of North Carolina. Three years later, in 1587, an entire colony vanished from that island, leaving just one clue to their disappearance.

Those unlucky settlers have come to be known as the Lost Colony. Historian and archaeologist Ivor Noel Hume is one of the foremost researchers of the site today, and this is what he has to say about what happened on Roanoke Island.

It began in 1584 when two ships were sent over by Sir Walter Raleigh and Captains Amedus and Barlowe. They landed on the Outer Banks, and they met an Indian named Manteo, who they actually took back to England. They went back and they said that this country is really rich for the taking. Now, they didn’t really know what that meant, but they thought perhaps that the Indians were wearing gold in their headdresses and so on.

And so, in 1585, Raleigh financed an expedition to make a settlement, and it was led by Sir Richard Greenville, who was a very forceful, almost privateering sort of guy. He took with him a man called Ralph Lane, who was to be governor of whatever it is they established. They also took a guy called John White, and John White was an artist, and he drew everything that he saw while he was there. Those drawings eventually went back to England and provided really all we know about the physical appearance of the Indians at the time.

But, the English fell out with the various tribes that were around Roanoke Island. When you cut off other guys’ heads and things like that, then the other guys try to starve you out. So after six or eight months, the English had decided they wanted to go home. They had no food, the Indians weren’t helping them, they were in a confrontational relationship with the Indians. So they simply said they’d had enough.

After the English left -- under Lane – Greenville returns to bring supplies. Finds them gone, finds one white guy hanging, and one Indian. And there was nobody else around.

That was the end of the first attempt, yes. But when Greenville is back there in August, I guess it was July, of ’86, he left a small number of soldiers – some say 13, some say 16 – to hold onto the settlement, keep their foot in the door. Those were attacked by the Indians. Their storehouse was burnt down, they fled to their boats and were never seen again. Such information we have comes actually from Manteo. So much of what he said was a result of gossip.

Raleigh tries again in 1587. This is the Lost Colony. They come over. This time, it’s under John White, John White the artist, the illustrator from the first voyage. He is a somewhat indecisive leader. Once they’ve arrived, his council suggests it would be a good idea for him to go back and get some more supplies. This seemed a little strange. They’ve only just arrived, and they’re sending the leader – your boss – back. And the boss agreeing to go.

After he has left the colonists, and we don’t know what they were doing while they were there, presumably, but they did rebuild a fort. But it was a different sort of fort to the first one.

After he went back in ’87, England was tied up with the expected Spanish invasion – the Armada of 1588. Everything ground to a halt at that point. Nobody was in the mood to do anything about the Lost Colony people. Of course, they didn’t know they were lost at that point. They just were over there, out of mind.

And, White then endeavored to raise money to go back to reinforce the colony. Nobody was interested. So he finally got a passage aboard a privateer called ‘The Moonlight” which was going down into the Caribbean, to see if he could knock off some Spaniards, or rather, their gold. Finally, very reluctantly, they brought him up to Roanoke Island. There he found them gone. They found nobody.

All that White finds is a carving on a tree, that says “Cro.” Then, when he goes to the fort gate, he finds the word “croatoan” spelled out on the fort gate. White had told them, when he went back to England, if they had got into trouble, they were to write where they had gone, and to put a cross under it to indicate if there was trouble. So when he comes back, he finds “cro” and then he finds the full name written out on the fort gate. But there’s no cross. So, that’s the end of that story as far as we know.

This is the last fact that is known about the Lost Colony: when White came back, 117 men, women, and children had vanished. They left two clues, or maybe just the same clue, twice: the word Croatan.

Croatan was the island where the colonist's old friend Manteo was from, but no one knows if that's where the colonists went, since they were never seen again, and no archaeological evidence of them was found there. Some suspect that the colonists were assimilated into local tribes.

In the centuries since, archaeologists both amateur and professional have explored Roanoke island in search of the remains of the settlement, and they've found some evidence of those first English inhabitants. But on a coastal island of shifting dunes and tides, no trace of a fort has ever been found, and likely never will be.

My interest in this story was Ralph Lane because I'm descended from a Lane family from Montgomery Co., VA. My great great great grandmother Lou Emma Lane came with her parents John and Mary Lane to Kanawha Co., VA (now West Virginia). Could there be a connection?

To hear a podcast of this story go to:

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Obituary: Euldine Dean McSurley

Euldine Dean McSurley, 79, passed away September 18, 2009 after a long illness.

Born June 23, 1930, she was one of seven children of the late Wesley H. and Gladys M. (Vandall) Carr. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Ross McSurley; and a brother, Darrell Carr.

Surviving are her daughter, Karen Mullins; brothers, George Carr, Garland Carr, and James Wesley Carr; sisters, Nancy Patton, and Hattie Mae Miller; grandchildren, Ketta Hanson and Buffy Bonwell; great-grandchildren, Zoey, Oscar, Grace, Max, and Flechyr.

Graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 22, 2009, at Graceland Memorial Park, South Charleston, West Virginia.

In keeping with Euldine's wishes there will be no visitation.

Fidler and Frame Funeral Home, Belle, is in charge of the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 1111 E. Lee Street, Charleston, WV 25311.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Henley Family of Princess Anne, Franklin & Carroll Co., VA

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I'm taking note as to where I have come so far on my direct ancestor Melinda Henley who married my great great great grandfather Thomas P. Hall who came from Franklin Co., VA to Kanawha Co., VA, now West Virginia into the Malden district. It is said that Thomas worked in the Saline Mills besides being a farmer. Prehaps the extra work was to help raise a fairly large family as Thomas and Malinda had 16 children. Malinda was the daughter of James B. and Elizabeth (Dodd) Henley from Franklin Co., VA.

Its been a little hard to track the whereabouts of James B. Henley as was related in family history accounts that he was a longhunter and probably left the family for long periods of time. so keeping track of James Henley hasn't been easy. The family was residing in the early 1800's in Carroll Co., VA. The 1842 Carroll Co., VA Personal Property Tax List lists Thomas Hall, Jonathan D. Hall, John Hall, Richard Hall, William E. Hall, Esq., Langford Hall, Jubal Henly, Lewis Henly, Larkin Henly, and Jacob Henly. REF: History of Carroll Co., VA,

I've found a James Henley born ca. 1790 in Princess Co., VA to parents Charles Henley Jr., and Keziah Brock. There is a James Henly married 8 Dec. 1985 in Princess Anne Co., VA to Lydia Bonney. James B. Henley was not listed in the 1820 Franklin Co., VA, but his wife Betsy Hendley was listed along with 4 males under 10 years of age and one female between the age of 10-16 which is said to be Miriam. It is said that Malinda was the daughter of Samuel Handley and wife Sarah who resided in Putnam Co. VA. This was very unlikely because Thomas and Malinda and some of the children were living in 1830 Franklin Co., VA until moving to Kanawha Co., VA ca. 1840.

A key to finding Malinda's parents is that its said that she had a twin brother named Jubal. Her birthdate was Nov. 27, 1811. She and Thomas also named a son Joseph Jubal Hall, my great great grandfather. So it's very likely that Malinda Hall would be the daughter of James B. Henley and Elizabeth 'Betsy' (Dodd) Henley. Both families resided in Franklin Co., VA. Elizabeth Henley was living in Carroll Co., VA in the 1850's. Her sons were living in Carroll and Grayson Co., VA.

Another important note, in the Franklin Co., VA Marriage Bonds, 1786-1858 that James Henley and Elizabeth Dodd, dau. of Sarah were married June 4, 1804, the surety Elijah Poteet. Elijah is said to be the brother of Sarah meaning Elijah is the uncle of Elizabeth. Elizabeth Henley died in Nov. 1850 in Hanover Co., VA.

More later.....

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