1587 - The Planters' Colony

After the failure of the first military colony, Sir Walter Raleigh is committed to a new project involving this time what was originally missing, farmers, wives and children. This new attempt called the Planter's Colony aims to be ambitious and wants to mark irreversibly the English settlement in Virginia. Fate will soon decide otherwise.

January 7, 1587 - the "Citie of Raleigh in Virginia" is incorporated. The 32 incorporators, mainly London merchants, grant John White and others privileges for planting a new colony in Virginia.

April 26, 1587 - The fleet of the new Raleigh expedition leaves Portsmouth to Plymouth. It makes however a stopover at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight.

May 8, 1587 -After a two days stopover, the 3 ships leave Plymouth heading for Virginia.

The leadership of the new colony was less military than previously, its government being entrusted to a syndicate made up of a governor and 12 assistants.
Thomas Hariot wrote in 1587 to account for Raleigh's liberality, that any man wishing to go to America was generously rewarded with at least a 500-acre land. Those who brought in money or assets were certainly receiving more. It emerges from the list of the would-be colonists that at least 10 farmers had their wives with them. Ambrose Viccars and Arnold Archard, meanwhile, took away not only their spouses but also a child each. All in all, there were 17 women and 9 children in the group who left Plymouth to Virginia.

The fleet consisted of three ships carrying 117 colonists and 33 crewmen. The flagship was the Lion, a 120-ton vessel commanded by new governor John White and master Simon Fernandes, upgraded Admiral of the fleet. The two other ships were a 20-ton flyboat captained by Edward Spicer and a pinnace under the command of Captain Edward Stafford. The continuity with the previous expeditions was strengthened by governor John White's assistants Simon Fernandes, Captain Edward Stafford , the Croatoan Indian Manteo, Darby Glande and others.
Thomas Hariot (1560-1621)

From the start, bad weather fell on the fleet and the flyboat was soon lost sight in a storm off Portugal. As well as in 1585, the track passed along Puerto Rico. Darby Glande was left over there and told a few years later the Spanish authorities in St Augustine what had been the first Roanoke colony. The expedition followed the coast of Hispaniola off La Isabela where Grenville had two years earlier negotiated with the Spaniards the supply of livestock and provisions, but the moment was not any more convenient to trade due to the impending war between Spain and England.

June 22, 1587 -  the fleet casts anchor for 3 days at Santa Cruz Island (Virgin Isl.). The colonists are set on land.

The island proved not so hospitable as they thought. They were for many poisoned after eating some fruit looking like green apples but this warning was without consequences. It was then the water which turned out tainted causing for some intense belly burns, others losing even sight up to 6 days. However, they  found at last a good spring to make fresh water supply.

July 3, 1587 - The boats of the expedition sail along the northern coast of Hispaniola (San Domingo) in search of the place planned to meet Alanson, a friend of Simon Fernandes who must provide them livestock and various commodities. Alanson remains however unseen.
July 5, 1587 - after two days of unsuccessful search, Governor John White decides to set sail to Virginia.

July 16, 1587 - The would-be settlers see in the distance what Simon Fernandes says to be Croatoan Island. They land at Wococon (today Ocracoke).

July 22, 1587 - the 2 first ships arrive at Hatoraske where they are supposed to make a short stopover. John White goes aboard the pinnnace with 40 sturdy settlers to Roanaoke where he has to get back the 15 men left for a year by Grenville before setting sail to Chesapeake Bay where the 'planters' should be landed.
Governor John White and his assistants went to the fort but it had been razed down. The harbor fitted out by Ralph Lane was also destroyed while most of the houses built by the first settlers were however still standing. The Grenville's men remained untraceable and only a skeleton was discovered near the abandoned village. It was obvious that they had all been killed by Indians.

The planters thought to sail towards Chesapeake Bay but Admiral Simon Fernandes, hurried to leave for a privateering campaign against Spanish ships, opposed to it and decided that the expedition would not go beyond Roanoke claiming that summer having well progressed, the new colonists had to land there and restore houses.

 July 22, 1587 - Missing since the Bay of Portugal, the flyboat reaches Roanoke to the dismay of Simon Fernandes.

Since leaving Plymouth, the behavior of Simon Fernandes asked a few questions about his real motives concerning the expedition. It seemed that he wished secretly its failure. Nobody indeed knew the area better than him but he had strangely not stopped committing misjudgements or taking decisions clearly against the interests of the settlers. It all started with the loss of the flyboat which he had willfully abandoned during the storm. It had continued with the provisioning at Hispaniola that could not be done, then by the seek of salt on an island that he said famous for it but which had no. Finally, he had made a mistake next to the outerbanks, confusing Cape Fear and Croatoan, narrowly avoiding a wrecking. His arbitrary decision to land all the settlers at Roanoke while it was planned to establish the new settlement in Chesapeake Bay was on the most curious but being visibly disappointed to see the lost flyboat arriving safe at Roanoke was this time quite doubtful. Fernandes wanted to see fail this colony, but why? He was an agent in the service of Sir Francis Walsingham and the latter having taken offence at Raleigh's progress with the queen, the defeat of the planters was perhaps a way to counteract. Would it be likely ?

George Howe fishing crabs
July 28, 1587 - George Howe, one of the governor's assistants is killed by Indians while fishing crabs alone next to the village. His body is pierced with 16 arrows.
Since their arrival, the new settlers had soon realized that they were on hostile territory. The Indians, described as friendly 3 years earlier, had gradually learned to dislike newcomers and the killing of their leader Wingina had increased their resentment. The English were not welcomed any more but their eager and criminal behavior had also made of them enemies to erase.

July 30, 1587 - Captain Stafford goes with Manteo and 20 men on Croatoan Island to investigate about George Howe's murder. They try to resume the dialog with the Indians in order to get information.

In his capacity to represent the Queen of England, Manteo fully assumed his interpreter's role with the Croatoan Natives to whom he formerly belonged and succeeded regaining their trust. Thus he learned that George Howe was killed by worshippers of Wingina living in Dasamonquepeuc well decided to avenge their leader's memory. They were also responsible for the death of the 15 men left by Richard Grenville. Fearing reprisals, the Croatoans suggested to Captain Stafford to wear a distinctive sign in order to be recognized as friends in case of confrontation. They begged however the settlers not to have to supply them with corn, suffering themselves from bad crops.

August 1, 1587 - The settlers ask the Croatoans to arrange a conference with the people of Secotan, Aquascogok and Pomeiooc to revive with them friendly feelings and forgive the past actions.

The Croatoan leaders promised to do what's necessary and to bring in the next seven days the answers of the different tribal chiefs.

August 8, 1587 - lack of reponse from the Croatoans, Gov. John White and Captain Stafford, together with 2 dozens men, leave to attack suddenly the village of Dasamonquepeuc, decided to burn it, but find it has already been evacuated. They discover however Croatoan Indians come seize corn and fruits left behind.
Gov. White and his men had been persuaded to be confronted with people of Dasamonquepeuc and had put them to flight, not hesitating to shoot them before realizing their misunderstanding. The inhabitants of the village had fled the day after George Howe's murder leaving behind all their reserves. Having learned it, the Croatoans had come at night to retrieve them but not wearing distinguishing signs, they had been targeted by the colonists, including women come with their child on the back.

August 13, 1587 -As stipulated Raleigh's instructions, Manteo is christened and thanked for his many services by being knighted Lord of Roanoke and Dasamonquepeuc.

August 18, 1587 - Gov. White's daughter Eleonor (London, c. 1563), married to the tiler Ananias Dare, gives birth to a girl. She is the first English child to be born in the New World.
Baptism of Virginia Dare
August 20, 1587 - Eleonor Dare's daughter is christened and given the name of Virginia.
A few days later, Margerie, the wife of Dyonis Harvie gave birth to a boy. His name remained however unknown.

August 21, 1587 - The Lion and the flyboat are ready to leave for England but the storm sweeping the area forces Admiral of the fleet Simon Fernandes to cast off and put the boats to sea during the next 6 days.

Ananias & Eleonor Dare with their daughter
August 27, 1587 - Urged by the settlers, Gov. John White leaves for England to seek supplies. It is not without bitterness that he abandons on Roanoke his daughter and his grand-daughter Virginia.

The anchor of the flyboat was so deeply stuck in the rocks that despite attempts, the crew was unable to weigh it. Several men were hurt during the operation and it was decided to cut its rope.
It had been a month since the settlers had landed at Roanoke and their situation was really critical, some of them even wanting to go back to England. They were almost out of supplies and expected nothing from Indians who deliberately stayed away. They had to hope that John White could make a round trip before early winter, the survival of the colony when he returned.

October 16, 1587 - after a calamitous return, John White lands to Smewicke in Western Ireland.

Since his leaving, storms had followed one another diverting ceaselessly the boat of its route. Not having foods for a so long journey, several crewmen had died aboard of starvation or scurvy while Simon Fernandes showed less concerned with their fate than about Spanish vessels he could board.

November 8, 1587 - After a tempestuous repatriation, Gov. White lands to Southampton. Several losses are to be declared among the members of his crew.
Governor John White (c. 1540-1593)

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