Sunday, October 25, 2015

Memorializing Virginia's Colonial History

I apologize for the lack of posts this month, but responsibilities have pulled me in several directions. One of the pleasant responsibilities was guiding a custom tour which took in some non-Civil War sites. Included on the list was Jamestown; site of the first permanent English settlement in America.

On the grounds is an impressive monument (pictured above). The towering granite obelisk honors those early settlers and the colony. It was erected and dedicated on 1907; the 300th anniversary of the founding of the settlement. The monument, called the Memorial Church and Tercentenary Monument, stands resolutely between the Old Towne and New Towne sections of Jamestown Colonial National Historical Park.

Statues to two of Jamestown's most famous personalities also grace the grounds. Inside the outline of the original fort is a monument to Captain John Smith (above), which was also dedicated around the 300th anniversary. Although Smith's actual stay in Jamestown was rather short, his impact on the settlement was significant. A statue to Pocahontas (not shown), Chief Powhatan's daughter, is just outside the fort and near the Memorial Church. Many myths about Pocahontas have emerged over the years since her death in 1617 in England, but her marriage to John Rolfe in 1614 helped create a somewhat more amicable relationship between the colonists and native people, if only briefly.

Starting with an initial purchase of twenty-two and one-half acres of Jamestown Island land in 1893 by Preservation Virginia, the historic site has grown and become a must-see for those wishing to learn more about early white settlements and their contact with Native Americans in Virginia. If you have not been to Jamestown, take time to go and appreciate this important story in our nation's history.

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