Friday, February 7, 2014

1611 - Governor Thomas Dale

Sir Thomas Dale
March 17, 1611 - Captain Christopher Newport leaves England for Virginia heading a 3-ship fleet. He brings with him 300 settlers and the new governor Sir Thomas Dale.

March 28, 1611 - Affected by malaria, Lord De La Warr leaves Jamestown for England. He is accompanied with Samuel Argall.
George Percy is appointed Deputy Governor awaiting Thomas Dale's arrival. The colony has already no more than 150 settlers.
[05/19/1611] [04/22/1612]

May, 1611 - John Clarke, an English pilot who accompanies Thomas Dale in Virginia is captured by the Spaniards at Old Point Comfort and taken to Cuba and Madrid.

Asked about the living conditions in the colony, he told that " the Indians were sometimes in peace, sometimes at war, that they were dressed with deerskins, fighted with bows and arrows and that they harvested corn and nuts". Diego de Molina, the Spanish spy who had seized Clarke added for his part that the Jamestown defences were so insignificant that Indians would overcome them a single night and control the village without resistance by throwing arrows into all the doors.


May 10, 1611 - Sir Thomas Dale arrives at Jamestown. He points out with amazement the dilapidated state of the city and lashes out at Christopher Newport whom he blames for lying by presenting him Virginia as an idyllic colony.

Sir Thomas Dale (? - Masulipatam (India), 1619)
British naval commander and Deputy Governor of Virginia in 1611 and from 1614 to 1616. He is best known for his energy and strictness that enabled to put order in Virginia. He was also responsible for the founding of Bermuda Hundred, Bermuda Cittie and for the Henricus settlement.
From 1588 to 1609, Thomas Dale served first in the army under Sir Robert Dudley. He took part in operations in the Netherlands, Ireland and France. Recruited in 1599 by the Earl of Essex, he owed to his merits to be knighted by king James 1 on June 16, 1606.
While serving in the Netherlands, it is on the recommendation of King James's eldest son, Prince of Wales Henry Frederick, who commanded the English troops, that Dale was granted a three-year leave to act for the King in Virginia.
He was sent by the Virginia Company of London as Deputy Governor or "High Marshall of Virginia", a new position placed under the authority of Sir Thomas West, 3rd baron De La Warr.
He landed in Jamestown on May 19, 1611 with new settlers, livestock and supplies. Having found a weakened and disrupted colony, Dale summoned up the Council and formed teams to rebuild Jamestown.
He was afterward appointed governor for several months in 1611 and for a 2-year-term between 1614 and 1616. He served meanwhile as Marshal of the colony beside Thomas Gates.
He was during five years the highest ranking officer to enforce the law and showed a firmness that was surely the best remedy to ensure the colony its sustainability. It was during his administration that was drafted the first code of laws of Virginia entitled " Articles, Lawes and Orders Divine, Political and Martiall " (commonly known as Dale's Code). Dale was mostly famous for a ruthless severity.
Among his main concerns, Dale attempted to find a more welcoming place than Jamestown. He sailed up the James River to the current Chesterfield County. He was apparently impressed with the potential offered by the area at the confluence of the Appomatox and James Rivers that he would have named New Bermuda. He started a little further upstream the building of a new settlement named Henricus on what is now called Farrar Island. It had been planned that Henricus could replace Jamestown but the town would be destroyed during the Indian Massacre of 1622 in which was killed one-third of the settlers. Dale used also the digging methods he had learnt in the Netherlands, to build up harbors called Bermuda Hundred and Bermuda Citiie.

Summer, 1611 - Captain Edward Harlow is sent near Cape Cod at the request of the Earl of Southampton.

Capt. Edward Harlow had previously been master of ordnance for the Popham Colony from 1607 to 1608. He landed in Martha's Vineyard (called Capawak) where he seized two Nauset Indians (sachem Epenow and Conecoman), sailed to Nantucket and then followed the coastal Maine up to Monhegan Island where he captured 16 other Indians. All in all, he returned to England with 29 Natives intended to be sold as slaves.

It is said however that one of the Indians kidnapped by Captain Harlow named Pechmo managed to escape by jumping overboard and swimming up to the shore. He then returned with other Indians to the English boat. They cut its moorings and dragged it up to the bank where they filled it with sand to secure it.

It soon appeared however that Indians could not be used for works to which slaves were destined. Epenow in particular who was in Sir Ferdinando Gorges' s service distinguished himself by his intellectual qualities and the seriousness of his behavior, making him a real attraction in London.
These kidnappings drew the wrath of the Natives who decided to declare war to any European who would set foot on their land.

August 2, 1611 - Recently appointed Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Thomas Gates is back in Jamestown with a 6-ship-fleet among which the Swan, the Tryall and the Noah. He brings with him 280 newcomers among whom his wife, his children and a number of ex-convicts. He also transports hundred heads of cattle and pigs. He takes control of the colony.

Thomas Gates returned to Virginia at a critical moment. In the light of various reports, some investors had preferred to withdraw considering that the project did not provide the expected return. Gates had not however given up, even getting a new funding but the shareholders required now from him to be personally committed and appointed as new governor of Jamestown.
His actions were recorded by his secretary William Strachey and published afterward under the title A True repertory of the wreck and redemption of Sir Thomas Gates. The colony began finally to prosper.
Sir Thomas Gates

August 16, 1611 - Thomas Gates officially takes office as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.
[February, 1614]

September, 1611 - Thomas Dale, with 300 colonists, found a new settlement at Henricus, located 80 miles upstream from Jamestown. It is so called in honor of the eldest son of King James 1.

Following the instructions of the Virginia Company, this new town was designed to offer an alternative to Jamestown, the marshy environment of which was unhealthy. Its location was described as " suitable, strong, healthy and ideal to build a new city ".
It soon became urgent to secure the place by building a solid fence in front of Powhatan warriors who with their bows and arrows, harassed repeatedly the colonists.

1611 - Dutch Captain Cornelis Rijser takes a trip, alongside navigators Adriaen Block and Hendrick Christiansen aboard the St Pieter, a 120-ton vessel owned by a company of Amsterdam. The expedition sails first along Labrador and Newfoundland, then down to the New England coast and the mouth of the Mauritius River explored by Henry Hudson two years earlier.

A group of Dutch merchants under the name of Van Tweenhuysen Company had not delayed estimating all the interest to trade directly furs with the Natives knowing that they were resold at good price on the European markets. They had for it loaded their ship with all kinds of trinkets and junks that delighted the Indians with the aim of bartering in particular for beaver pelts. This operation was a success for the backers who planned from then to settle a permanent trading post in the mouth of the Mauritius River (Hudson River). Block brought back further to the trip, two Indians he had captured and whom he gave the names Orson and Valentine.

December, 1611 - The Jamestown council secretary William Strachey leaves definitively for England with captain Newport.

Newport, either, would never return to Virginia. He had taken part to all the trips for more than four years but his difficult relations with new governor Thomas Dale encouraged him to leave for missions to other locations, such as Indian Ocean and East Indies.

William Strachey (Saffron Walden (Essex),1572 - Southwark, 1621)
This lawyer who probably never pleaded, was graduated from Cambridge but it is especially as the writer whose works appear among the first sources dealing with the English colonization in America that he was best known.
Boasting strong family relations, he became the secretary of the English ambasssador in Turkey Thomas Glover. Back in England following a dispute, he then decided to emigrate to the New World and got two places aboard the Sea Venture going to Virginia.
He had witnessed the misadventure of this ship who had run aground off the coast of Bermuda during a storm in July, 1609. Placed under the command of Admiral George Somers and Sir Thomas Gates, the survivors had spent nine months on an island, the time to build two new boats and head to Virginia. His narrative was seen as the source of inspiration of the Shakespeare's play entitled The Tempest.
He wrote an eloquent letter, dated July 15th, 1610, to an unknown lady telling the disaster of the Sea Venture and his stay at Jamestown. This one was published only in 1625 under the title "A true reportory of the wracke, and redemption of Sir Thomas Gates Knight".
Strachey lived just over a year in the colony the secretary of which he became. Back in England, he published a compilation of the laws instituted by the governors of Virginia and drafted an important manuscript on the history of the colony. He described his relationship with two Indians, Kemps and Machumps who, speaking both very well English, had given him detailed information on their life style. Despite the quality of its content, the book found at the time no editor. Strachey died in London in poverty.

“Oysters there be in whole banks and beds, and those of the best I have seen some thirteen inches long.”
 (William Strachey)

Harvesting oysters near Jamestown

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