Thursday, June 11, 2015

September 1609: Smith is about to meet with a mysterious accident

          For almost a year, from September 1608 to August 1609, John Smith, as the council president,  held Jamestown together. His enemies--Newport and Radcliffe, Archer and Martin had returned England. The Indians did not attack. The colonists had enough to eat.
         Then, in midsummer 1609, rot and rats destroyed their store of corn.
         A few weeks later, the remnants of the great Sea Venture fleet sailed up the James. Now John Smith had about 300 new mouths to feed, plus the hungry 200 or so already there. The ships also brought his old enemies: Gabriel Archer, John Ratcliffe, and John Martin. All of them had old scores [unknown to this day] to settle with John Smith. Another enemy, Francis West, was already at Jamestown. George Percy didn’t like Smith, either.
         Did they not like taking orders from Smith, the upstart son of a yeoman  farmer--or were there other reasons for them to hate  him?
         In September 1609, an “accident” upriver near Powhatan Village nearly killed John Smith, and it would change his life forever.

                                          The James River, view from Jamestown

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