Monday, August 1, 2016

Jamestown, Virginia

Jamestown is part of the historic triangle where the birthplace of America occurred.  It is located 10 minutes from Williamsburg and about a mile from the original settlement.  It is the area where London's Virginia Company sent the first settlers to the sandy shores of the James River.  For a variety of reasons we were able to tour this area more easily than Williamsburg.  We arrived there a when it was a tad cooler in the morning hours.  And even Nathan enjoyed the cool walk through a forest, on a boardwalk over marshland.  Our first stop was a recreated Indian Village.
 Virginia was settled in the midst of a Powhatan Indian chiefdom in 1607.   We stepped inside a reconstructed tepee which had a low-lying bed and fireplace.  Furs hung everywhere from the ceilings and walls.  We saw actors, dressed as Native Americans, active around their homes and fields.  From there we took a path down to the river's edge where several ships sit in the harbor.
We were able to tour three life-size replicas of the 1607 ships- Susan Constant, Godspeed  and Discovery.  The smallest ship held only 21 passengers and seemed to me as having very cramped quarters for a 4 and a half month ocean voyage from England.  The other two ships were a bit larger, carrying double that number, and accommodations were a bit improved.  I did not know that ships back then had brick fireplaces.
From the harbor we walked to the wooden palisade of  Jamestown Settlement's recreated colonial fort.  The  "public" buildings were built first, and they included store houses, a guard house for the military, and a church (at this time the Church of England was the only choice for the settlers).
Pictured above is the alter area of the church, on which the Lord's Prayer as well as the Ten Commandments and Creed are posted on the back wall.  Here we encountered an elderly man dressed in period clothing.  He was not the cleric, but said that he was the assistant to the first resident governor of the Virginia colony, Lord Del a La Ware.  An interesting side note here is that the government of the colony moved to Middle Plantation (Williamsburg) in 1699.
Actors dressed in period clothing were available to answer questions regarding the first colony.  I noticed tobacco crops growing outside of the settlement and learned how important that crop was to the first settlers.  John Rolfe grew the first crop in 1619,he and others quickly became rich exporting it to England.  The settlers also learn how great a crop it was also for their own use and chose to grow it over such boring crops as beans and corn.  A law was soon passed limiting how much tobacco could be grown.
After seeing the outdoor exhibits in Jamestown we moved inside to the rather extensive galleries inside which chronicle the nation's 17th century beginnings in Virginia.  While I stayed back with Nathan the rest also were able to also see the recreated archaeological site down the road.   So much to see, but in general it was quite hot outside.  Melissa and I chose not to see Yorktown in the afternoon because of the brutal heat and Nathan needed to rest.  Yorktown is, as a tour brochure notes, where "America became of age".  At this place is the battlefield on land and sea where we won our independence from England.
We have now moved to Florida, and are residing in the Clearwater area.  Our daughter Melissa and her husband have moved their residence further north up the coast.  We are assisting them get settled in their new home, and their second child is due later this month.  This blog site may be quiet for awhile now, but you never know.  

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