Saturday, August 15, 2015

New Roanoke mystery: Where did the “Lost Colonists” go?

     New graves unearthed at Jamestown, now new findings at a site that may hold clues to the “Lost Colonists” (1587-1590) of Roanoke.

     This puzzle is far from solved. Two sources from 1609 and 1612 mention signs of the lost colonists at a remote place the Indians called Ritanoe (near modern Clarksville, Virginia), about 60 miles southeast of Jamestown.  See *RITANOE on the map, lower left.

The Sources:

. . . you are neere to riche Copper mines of Ritanoe and may passe them by another branch of this River and by another Peccareamicke where you shall finde foure of the englishe alive, left by Sir Walter Rawely whch escaped from the slaughter of Powhaton of Roanocke,upon the first arrival of our Colonie, and live under the protection of a wiroane called Gepanocon enemy to Powhaton, by whose consent you shall never recover them.
--Council of the Virginia Company, Instructions to the Colony (1609), Records of the Virginia Company, Susan M. Kingsbury, ed., III, 17.

 . . the People have howses built with stone walles, and one story above another, so taught them by those Englishe who escaped the slaughter at Roanoak . . . at. . . Ritanoe the Weroance Eyanoco preserved 7 of the English alive, fower men, twoo Boyes, and one younge Maid . . . .
--William Strachey, “The Historie of Travaill into Virginia Brittania,” (1612).

More digging awaits.

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