Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thanksgiving Memories

As you eat your Thanksgiving turkey, remember that the Susan Constant got here long before the Mayflower.  Happy Thanksgiving!



Saturday, November 12, 2016

Remembering a soldier from long ago

For Veterans’ Day Weekend, a monument to Captain John Smith (1580-1631) soldier, founder.




Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lady Frances and Captain Smith in the 1630s. Who knows?

       




        John Smith died on June 21, 1631. His burial place is  in the south aisle of Saint Sepulchre-without-Newgate Church, Holborn Viaduct, London. The church is the largest parish church in the City of London, dating from 1137. 
       Captain John Smith's life  is memorialized by a fine stained- glass window in the south wall of the church.

       Who ordered his burial? Who commanded the memorial window?

       Lady Frances kept the title Duchess of Richmond until her death on October 8, 1639. She is buried in Westminster Abbey next to her third husband, in the tomb she had designed in his memory.
       
      Mysteries upon mysteries. 




Saturday, September 24, 2016

John Smith and Lady Frances




Portrait of Lady Frances, Countess of Hertford, in 1611.

                 How well did she know John Smith?

         Her husband, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, was Smith’s “best friend.” The Earl died at age 81 on April 6, 1621. Lady Frances was then 43 years old. John Smith was 41. A wealthy widow, Frances nonetheless wasted no time in attaching herself to a new husband:  Just two months after Edward died, Frances married a 47-year-old Scottish nobleman, Ludovic Stewart, 2nd Duke of Lennox. He was a cousin of King James I. A member of the Privy Council, he was also Steward of the Royal Household. Steward became Earl of Newcastle upon Tyne and Duke of Richmond on August 17, 1623, but did not enjoy those titles very long. He died at age 50 in his bed (of a heart attack?) at Whitehall on the morning of February 16, 1624. As his widow, Lady Frances, now wealthier than ever, became known as the “Double Duchess.”

         On July 12, 1624 John Smith’s monumental Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England and the Summer Isles was published. It was dedicated To the Illustrious and Most Noble Princesse, the Lady Francis, Duchesse of Richmond and Lenox. A  1623 engraving of her image was bound into the original edition.

          Lady Frances financed John Smith’s book.

        



Saturday, August 27, 2016

More John Smith Mysteries

John Smith, like many other Englishmen who came to Jamestown in 1607, nearly died there. Critically wounded in the mysterious gunpowder accident in 1609, he had little choice but to return to England.  

Where he stayed, and what he did then, remain mysteries with few clues.

·      After his return to England, Smith put together his book, A Map of Virginia, which was published in 1612 and dedicated “To the right honorable Sir Edward Semer Knight, Baron Beauchamp, and Earle of Hartford.”


·      The dedication is in two surviving copies of Smith’s historic book. One of the copies, now in the New York Public Library, belonged to Edward Seymour.

·      In the dedication, Smith writes: “It is the best gift I can give to the best friend I have. l  . . In the harbour of your Lordships favour, I hope I ever shall rest secure . . . .

Did Smith, recovering from his wound, and writing his book, stay with Seymour from 1609 to 1612--and after?

·      One of Seymour’s properties was Hertford House, a London town house on Cannon Row in Westminster.

Edward Seymour was a nephew of Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII

The earl’s wife was Frances Howard, a great beauty. She was 34 years old in 1612. John Smith was 32.

Frances’s husband was 39 years older than she. He was 73 in 1612.

Pity that Frances did not keep a diary.



Saturday, July 16, 2016

Summer at Jamestown --and elsewhere


James River
Summertime at Jamestown, 1606


Summertime in Houston, 2016

Look for more blogs in August!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Summer at Jamestown, July 1607: Some good news, some bad.





The first summer at Jamestown, July 1607

In the journal kept by the colony’s first president, Edward Wingfield, on July 3, 1607 there was some good news, and some not so good:

Seven or eight Indians presented President Wingfield with a Dear (sic).”

About this tyme divers (sic) of our men fell sick.”


And some of them died.