Posted by: mdmusingsie | October 29, 2017

Jamestown Settlement

On my Virginia trip we visited the Jamestown Settlement which is actually a series of different stops.  Ours were to the Fort and the Glass blowing exhibition.  You can also see replica tall-ships, a revolutionary farm, and Powhatan Indian village.

The fort is situated right on the Atlantic coast and is the site of the first successful English settlement, founded in 1607.  It is a triangular shape and would have been enclosed by a timber palisade.

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There are two churches currently visible on the site; one dates from 1608 and is a simple, rectangular structure built of waddle and daub.  In 1614, it held a very important ceremony – the wedding of John Rolfe to Pocahontas, Chief of the Powhatan’s favorite daughter.  It also contains a number of burials of what were likely some of the more prominent members of the original settlement.

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1608 Church reconstruction

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Pocahontas

The second church has a tower dating back to the late 17th century, but the rest of the church is a more modern addition from 1907.

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Jamestown church tower (circa late 1600’s)

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Jamestown 1900’s Church attached to 17th Century tower

Archaeology is in full swing throughout the fort, including inside the brick church and farther afield.  There is a very nice museum on site showcasing much of the history of the area and some of the archaeological finds. Between the museum and the young archaeologist who had given a brief tour of the site, we discovered that it’s nearly a miracle this colony survived.  Of the 500 settlers, only 50 survived during the winter of 1609-1610. They had planned to trade with the Indians to provide food between ships from England, but the relationship with the Indians was frequently precarious.

The colony did survive after the third supply run from England arrived, spurred on by renewed interest in the new land after the publication of Captain John Smith’s book A True Relation and The Proceedings of the English Colony of Virginia.  Captain Smith had been arrested for mutiny on the original voyage over and was nearly hanged upon arrival until they learned he had been named as a member of the governing council of the new colony.  Such simple turns of events prove to sometimes have far reaching consequences and this turn certainly did for the settlement of Virginia and the eventual establishment of the United States.

A few miles from the fort is the glass blowing exhibition.  I’ve always been fond of glass blowing so we stopped to watch a female glass blower fashion a vase.  They had quite a variety of items for sale and I picked up a glass chamberstick as my souvenir for trip.

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