20 Unsettling Events in the Life of the Settlers of Jamestown, Virginia
20 Unsettling Events in the Life of the Settlers of Jamestown, Virginia

20 Unsettling Events in the Life of the Settlers of Jamestown, Virginia

Larry Holzwarth - August 11, 2018

20 Unsettling Events in the Life of the Settlers of Jamestown, Virginia
An illustration of Jamestown in ruins from 1878. Wikimedia

Jamestown fades away

During Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 Jamestown was overrun and burned, but the town was rebuilt and remained the capital of the colony, though the Burgesses met in Middle Plantation during the rebuilding of the statehouse. In 1698 the statehouse again burned to the ground, and the Burgesses again met in the new College of William and Mary at Middle Plantation. While there the Burgesses decided to permanently move the capital to the site, renaming Middle Plantation Williamsburg in honor of their sovereign. Work soon began on a home for the Assembly and the Governor in the thriving town, and Jamestown lost its last measure of importance to the colony.

By the time of the American Revolution most of the village of Jamestown was gone, its church abandoned by its congregation, the palisaded fort collapsed and overgrown, and most of the fields cultivated in tobacco and wheat. Jamestown itself gradually returned to the condition in which it appeared when the first English settlers arrived in 1607, minus the population of the Powhatan Confederacy. In the late twentieth century archaeological studies have located the sites of many of the early Jamestown buildings, including the first brickworks and ironworks in North America, which nature reclaimed from the early founders of what became the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“John Smith: English Explorer and Colonist”, by Arthur M. Schlesinger and Tara Baukus Mello, 2009

“A Land as God Made it: Jamestown and the Birth of America”, by James Horn, 2006

“Why Jamestown Matters”, by James Horn, American Heritage Magazine, Winter, 2008

“The Complete Works of John Smith”, by John Smith (1580-1631), ed. by Philip L. Barbour

“A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World”, by Tony Horwitz 2008

“Harwich: Remembering a hero”, by the Harwich and Manningtree Standard, August 31, 2007

“Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New Nation”, by David A. Price, 2003

“‘Proof’ Jamestown settlers turned to cannibalism”, by Jane O’Brien, BBC News, May 1, 2013

“Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of the First English Colony in the New World”, by Kieran Doherty, 2008

“Thomas West, 3rd Baron Delaware”, entry by Darryl Roger Lundy, The Peerage, February 23, 2011

“The Tempest”, by Avery Kolb, American Heritage Magazine, April/May 1983

“Letter of John Rolfe to Governor Sir Thomas Dale”, by John Rolfe, 1614, online

“Of Raleigh and the First Plantation”, by A. L. Rowse, American Heritage Magazine, June 1959

“Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History”, by Peter Wallenstein, 2007

“Finding the Real Jamestown”, by William M. Kelso, American Heritage Magazine, Winter 2008

“Beyond Jamestown”, by Terence Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, April 30, 2007

“1622 Three Hundred and Seventy-five Years Ago Massacre”, by Frederic D. Schwarz, American Heritage Magazine, February/March 1997

“Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America”, by Benjamin Woolley, 2008

“Digging Up Jamestown”, by Ivor Noel Hume, American Heritage Magazine, April 1963

“Rethinking Jamestown”, by Jeffrey Sheler, Smithsonian Magazine, January 1, 2005