"The grapes in hearing-ay, a fragrant shore, Wi' scarlet birds, and flowers all wild and rich."
It was July 2nd. (O. S.) 1584, when the first expedisent out by Walter Raleigh. anchored in Orakoke Inlet, off the coast of that part of Florida, later given the name of Virginia, and now within the confines of North Carolina. The Indian name for the region was Wingandacoa, and Winginia was king.
The expedition was in joint command of Captains Philip Amidas and Arthur Barlow, and had left England on April 27.
Grapes and fruit appeared in such abundance, growing to the very borders of the sea, even covering shrubs and trees, that the adventurers were enraptured at the sight and landed upon the island of Wococan, thinking themselves upon the mainland. This island was not far from Roanoke, where was seated Granganameo, brother of the king.
hour days after the adventurers had landed they were visited by Granganameo with assurance of friendship and hospitality. On a second visit, several days afterwards, his wife and children accompanied him. It is related that the woman who was "very bashful and modest," had a hand of white coral about her forehead and from her ears extended a string of pearls of the "bigness of peas," that hung down below- her waist. Other members of the company were "decked in red copper and such ornaments" as -were then in fashion among the Indians. Granganameo, "eat and drank very merrily," and traded "leather, coral, and divers kinds of dyes" with his hosts.
He sent daily- supplies of game, fish, fruit and vegetables, and such friendly relations were thus established that Captain Amidas and seven others of the adventurers paid a visit to Granganameo at Roanoke. Arriving at the town, found to consist of nine houses,-the Indian prince being absent,-his wife received them with great courtesy and kindness.
That the reader may realize the real character of the Indian, when treated with friendly consideration and respect, I quote Stith's account of this first reception of the English adventurers in the home of this hospitable family.
"She made some of her people dram their boat up to prevent its being injured by beating of the surge; some she ordered to bring them ashore on their backs, and others to carry their oars to' the house, for fear of being stole. When they came into the House, she took off their cloaths and stockings, and washed them, as likewise their feet, in warm water."
"When their dinner was ready, they were conducted into an inner room (for there were five in the House, divided by mats) where they found Hominy, boiled venison, and roasted fish; and as a Desert, Melons, boiled roots, (probably sweet and Irish potatoes, the ]as' then unknown in Europe, but later to find great favor in Ireland, when introduced there by - Raleigh), and Fruits of various sorts. * * * In short, she omitted nothing that the most generous hospitality and hearty desire of pleasing- could do, to entertain them."
What a commentary upon our boasted Christian civilization when we read of the Indian hospitality-, and compare the intolerance of the men of the second expedition, who, for such a trifling offense as loss of a silver cup, (?) burned one of the Indian towns, and destroyed their corn. The first expedition had returned to England in September of the same year, taking with it Manteo and Wanchese, two Indian subjects of Granganameo. They were welcomed with great acclaim. Elizabeth bestowed her name upon the region and knighted Raleigh.
The advantageous accounts given by the adventurers, and the two Indians, caused Sir. Edward Greenville to head a second expedition. He set out the following April (1585) with seven ships and a full supply of risen and necessary equipment. Greenville landed at the island formerly- occupied by the first expedition (Wococon), but soon selected a party to explore the mainland, under his personal command.
Here occurred the tragedy, of which mention has been previously made.
The Indians had regarded the English as a superior race of beings, even considering them as direct descendants from the gods; and, there being no women with them, they at first thought all of the white race to be masculine.
What a trifling excuse was seized upon by this bully to wreak vengeance upon a defenseless village and trusting people. How out of proportion the offense, if it occurred, was the exaction of the penalty-. Here was first sown the dragon's teeth that changed a confiding King and subjects from open-hearted friendship to secret enmity-. Can we he surprised that the native began to lose confidence in this strange white race from across the sea; that they began matching their wits in endeavor to prevent successful colonization; that two years later the colony at Roanoke, having taken possession of the island on which the Indians had given the first expedition such a hospitable reception-should disappear?
When Greenville returned to England he left 108 persons as a colony, and they, deserting Wococan, chose Roanoke as their place of habitation. When a place was selected for settlement little deference was shown any objection of the original inhabitants to giving up their place of abode. There was nothing for the Wingandacoa to do but move their village to some less coveted spot on island or mainland.
This has been the bitter experience of the poor Indian, from the discovery of America, even unto the present generation. Let us, at least, do them the justice of reviewing the history of their race, its trials and tragedies, without the prejudice of the past centuries, with that Christian charity they so ofttimes richly deserve. We are Christians, but what would we do if we should discover a strange race of people landed within our territory, squatted upon the land we call our own, and using strange engines of destruction against those of our people who endeavored to protest against being dispossessed? Should find that, not satisfied with the land already seized, they were making exploitation with intention of seating other newcomers of their race? Is it not possible for the strange race to regard our mode of living just as crude as the intolerant Greenville considered the dwellers in the village he destroyed? Had Greenville been a Penn, and some of the Colonial leaders even as Smith, the massacres of 1622 and 1644. would never have occurred, nor Bacon had reason to defy the authority- of the besotted Berkeley.
The explorations of Captain Lane and the colonists left at Roanoke by Greenville in 1585, resulted in the discovery of the Chesapeake Bay and Elizabeth River, and upon their return to England with Sir Francis Drake, they gave such a glowing account of the desirability of the Chesapeake section as a site for establishing a permanent colony, Raleigh and his associates were enthusiastic in desire to send out another expedition, with instructions to found a colon- at the newly discovered site.
The hospitality of the Chesapeake Indians, seated on the hanks of the Elizabeth, evidently induced the discoverers to bestow the name upon the great bay, since proven to he one of the most important land-locked harbors of the world, folly justifying the old Spanish appellation.
Greenville, unaware that his colon- had returned with Drake, left England for America before they arrived, therefore, upon reaching Roanoke Island, he found the settlement deserted. Leaving a party, variously estimated at from fifteen to fifty, he shortly sailed for home. These men were never heard of again, evidently having be en massacred by the Indians in retaliation for the great wrong suffered from the exploring party of Greenville's first expedition.
The next expedition, under Captain John White, was sent out b\- Raleigh, with explicit directions to seat his colony on the shores of the Chesapeake, but, failing to reach this harbor, by design of their Spanish pilot, Simon Ferdinaneo, and narrowly escaping shipwreck, they found themselves off Roanoke Island, glad to escape the perils of the sea. Here the settlement was again established. White expected to find the then left Greenville, but a destroyed fort and the bones of one man were all that remained of the part, though the cabins of the members of the first expedition remained uninjured.
The Indians who had been dispossed by Greenville had not again established settlement on the Island and Granganameo, who had befriended the colonists at Wococan, was dead. His wife, who had entertained them with such genuine proof of friendship and hospitality, had returned to her people.
White's colonists found they must 'depend upon their own resources Overtures with the Indians under Wingina were attempted with ill success, even Manteo, the Indian who had spent some time in Europe, been concerted and partly educated, could not persuade his tribesmen to again put trust in the men from across the seas. Several women being in the expedition, the Indians perceived they had been mistaken in their supposition that the white race was masculine and descended from the gods. This, influenced them to no small degree, in their future actions toward the white intruders.
George Howe, one of the council, was slain by some of Wingina's men while either hunting or wandering away from the settlement. Friendship could not be re-established, for the Indian never forgets. Determined to revenge the death of Howe, Governor White, Captain Stafford and twenty-four men, well armed and equipped, made a secret night landing on the main land near what was supposed to be the village of Wingina.
The surprise was complete, and one Indian shot before it was discovered that a mistake had been made. The Indians were a party from Croatan, clansmen of Manteo, who, on his account had continued friendly. That the Indian never forgets may be again recalled by the tragedy of the "Lost Colony." Governor White, having returned to England for supplies, had been delayed by war with Spain and the report of a projected attack by the Invincible Armada. Virginia Dare, his granddaughter, was born during his absence, her mother (Ellinor) being the wife of Ananias Dare, a member of the council.
It was the Indians of Croatan who had been attacked without cause, one of their number shot, their corn confiscated. It was "Croatan" found carved upon the post, a silent messenger of the fate of Virginia Dare, her mother, father and the hundred or more settlers, when in 1589 White returned to Roanoke.
Was the "C. R. O." crudely cut upon the tree, or the "Croatan," carved upon the post, a sign left by the colonists to indicate they were leaving the island? No. The writer is of opinion that only starvation and distress could have caused these men to abandon their settlement for the purpose of seating elsewhere, and it had been agreed that a cross would lie carved, as a sign of distress, should necessity require such a course.
Again, is there a valid explanation of why the houses had been taken down and a palisade erected? The Indians were accustomed to erect such forts for defense, and Powhatan had a similar one near the falls of the James.<a href="#1" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 1
So well was Powhatan's palisade constructed, it is stated, it would have been impossible for hostile Indians to have taken it. It was purchased by Smith and given the name of None Such, with the intention of seating West and his company there in security.">
Would the Roanoke colonists have buried their clothing and other impedimenta? No! "The Indian never forgets." Vision the converted (?) Manteo returning to his tribe, his clansmen's anger at the English, his joining them in plotting destruction: The secret landing and attack, planned as had the English in their descent upon them; the massacre; disposal of the bodies in the sea; the clothing and impedimenta placed in a cache for future use, if necessary, as was the Indian custom; the houses pulled down to construct the palisado.
Picture Manteo, the converted Indian, who had received several years of training in England, idly carving "C. R. O." in crude letters upon a tree; his smile of delight as he cut upon the post "Croatan," the name of his tribe. How his tribesmen must have grinned and danced in delight when he explained the significance of this warning to Governor White (should he return) that the Indian never forgets a wrong. Is it not an Indian characteristic that they should thus desire to show their day of reckoning had come? The smoke rising from the island, seen by White, was probably caused by Indian watchers signaling to their distant brethren the arrival of English ships. The discharge of the ship's cannon, in warning of arrival, gave ample time for the Indians to disappear ere landing was made. Manteo never again was seen among the English. His tribe was revenged, he was a Red Man, a savage to the end of his days.
The English, within less than four years, had twice reaped what they had sown. In both cases the innocent paid the penalty and the guilty escaped. Greenville and the unfortunate White lived to see the result of their folly.
Discouraged by this tragedy, no other attempt at colonization was made during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Raleigh, discouraged and impoverished by his losses in the several ventures under his patent, assigned his interest to Sir Thomas Smith and a company of London merchants, who are said to have been satisfied, for eighteen years, with petty traffic along the Atlantic Coast.