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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Roanoke: A Mystery Carved In Stone - #TidbitThursday


Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays. Once again, I'll be drifting off the usual Texas History research and exploring a fascinating piece of history - the Roanoke colony of Virginia. I hope you enjoy this peek into a mystery that so far is still largely unsolved.

In 1587, 117 men, women and child landed on what would become Roanoke Island. Their original goal was to land in the Chesapeake Bay area. This area became what is known as the Roanoke Colony, the first permanent English colony or settlement in North America.

John White would be governor of this new colony. His daughter, Eleanor Dare, was pregnant during the journey to Roanoke. Her daughter, Virginia, was born August 18, 1587, the first English-born child in North America. Eleanor's husband, Ananias, had been a bricklayer (and stone cutter) in London.

The group voted for Governor John White to return to England for additional supplies, despite his misgivings of such a journey. When he arrived, England was at war with Spain and he was unable to return for 3 years. When he did return, all of the colonists were gone. There weren't any signs of a massacre or struggle. Where did the people go?

In 1937, a twenty-two pound inscribed stone was found 50 miles inland on the bank of the Chowan River in North Carolina. It had Old English lettering chiseled into it.

Over time, other inscribed stones have surfaced but many have been proven as fakes.

"Dare Stones" were those found with Eleanor Dare's initials or name chiseled into it. "E.W.D" stood for "Eleanor White Dare". The Brenau University has some "Dare Stones" that have been studied. The colonists had iron chisels capable for carving into stones.

Native American settlement near riverbank, about 50 yards from site where a Dare Stone was found. Had the colonists lived in this settlement?

A lot of archaeological digging is going on around the river and some pieces of English pottery have been found.

History Channel Special - Roanoke: A Mystery Carved in Stone

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