Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jamestown

If you have not visited Jamestown, Virginia, you are missing a treat, The reconstructed village provides a great visual of life on the frontier. The first inhabitants consisted of 108 English settlers who sailed at the instruction of a group of London entrepreneurs called the Virginia Company which received a charter from King James I. The purpose was to establish an English settlement in the Chesapeake Bay area. The colonists were supposed to make a colony and find gold as well as a water route to the Orient. However, they faced major trials such as malarial swamps and aggressive tribes of Algonquian natives. The first year it was too late to plant crops so struggled with starvation and disease as well as attacks from the Indians. It was Captain John Smith who held the colony together during tough times. Over the next several years supply years from England brought foodstuffs and supplies as well as new settlers. In 1622, the natives made war on the entire Virginia peninsula and performed a massacre of the Berkeley plantation settlement. Many soldiers from Jamestown participated in this fight. The Jamestown settlers appointed its own representatives to the House of Burgesses, sending them periodically to London, as the records will show in the Virginia Company. It was years after the Jamestown settlement of 1607 that the Virginia Company established an equal, uniform government to make laws for the colony's settlers. James City County was formed in 1634 as one of the original eight shires of Virginia and Jamestown served as the capitol of the Colony for 83 years. Many of the early records did not survive, however, some deeds are found in James City County as well as Henrico County.

Jeannette Holland Austin, author of over 100 genealogy books
Virginia Pioneers

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