Saturday, May 16, 2015

Another of Smith’s enemies becomes head of the council

Hunger and hostile Indians were not the only troubles at Jamestown in those early months of settlement:
Councilor George Kendall was tried and executed for “a mutiny.” (Suspicions that Kendall was a spy for Spain may have had something to do with it.)
One of the boys ran away to the Indians.
A young man in his late teens or early twenties died of a gunshot wound to his leg. Who shot him, and why? No one knows. His name was not recorded, and neither was the date of his death, but his grave has recently been discovered. So far the skeletal remains in it are known only as JR [Jamestown Recovery] 102C.
On September 10, 1607, Edward Wingfield, who had been plotting to sail for England, was deposed as president. John Ratcliffe, one of Smith’s enemies, was elected president John Ratcliffe, the councilor who became president, is another Jamestown mystery. His English background is unknown. He invested £50 in the Virginia Company, and when he was in Virginia he called himself Ratcliffe. But sometimes he used the name Sicklemore.  George Kendall, before he was executed and hoping to save himself, declared that Ratcliffe’s real name was Sicklemore, not Ratcliffe, and thus as President Ratcliffe he could not pronounce the sentence of execution. But Ratcliffe did, and Kendall died. John Smith described Ratcliffe as “now called Sicklemore, a poor counterfeited imposture.”

That may have been because Ratcliffe and others tried to hang Smith a few months later.

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