Friday, February 1, 2019

Timeline - Men & Women in Early British Virginia

1606 Fleet leaves London on December 20.

1607 April 30 Ships arrived at Cape Comfort with the original group of settlers; a vanguard boat stopped at Kecoughtan where the natives welcomed the English.

May 13

"The thirteenth day, we came to our seating place in Paspihas Countrey, some eight miles from the point of Land, which I made mention before: where our shippes doe lie so neere the shoare that they are moored to the Trees in six fathom water." George Percy (Tyler 1952:15)

May 14

"The fourteenth day, we landed all our men, which were set to worke about the fortification, and others some to watch and ward as it was convenient." George Percy (Tyler 1952:15)

"the Councell contrive the Fort..." "The Presidents overweening jealousie would admit no exercise at armes, or fortification but the boughs of trees cast together in the forme of a halfe moon by the extraordinary paines and diligence of Captain Kendall." John Smith, Proceedings (Barbour 1964:206)

May 14 Newport, Smith, Percy, Archer, and others spent 6 days exploring the James River up to the falls and Powhatan's village.

May 26 "Hereupon the President was contented the Fort should be pallisadoed, the ordinance mounted, his men armed and exercised, for many were the assaults and Ambuscadoes of the Salvages...." John Smith, Proceedings (Barbour 1964)

200 armed Indians attack Jamestown, killing 1 and wounding 11.

May 28 "we laboured, pallozadoing our fort." Gabriel Archer (Arber)

June 4 "by breake of Day. 3. Of them had most adventurously stollen under our Bullwark and hidden themselves in the long grasse...." Gabriel Archer (Arber)

June 10 John Smith released from arrest and sworn in as member of the Council.

June 15 "The fifteenth of June we had built and finished our Fort, which was triangle wise, having three Bulwarkes, at every corner, like a halfe Moone, and foure or five pieces of Artillerie mounted in them. We had made our selves sufficiently strong for these Savages. We had also sowne most of our Corne on two Mountaines." George Percy (Tyler 1952:19)

June 22 Newport sails for England.

June 27 "... our extreme toile in bearing and planting pallisadoes." John Smith, Proceedings (Barbour 1964:210)

September 10 President Wingfield deposed, Ratcliffe elected.

Early December Smith captured by Opechancanough.

1608 January Newport returns with the First Supply and about 100 new settlers, finds only 38 survivors.

Powhatan releases Smith.

January 7 Fire destroyed "all the houses in the fort."

March "repairing our Pallizadoes." John Smith

April 10 Newport sails for England.

Summer "Jamestowne being burnt, we rebuilt it and three forts more ... invironed with a palizado of fourteen or fifteene feet, and each as much as three or four men could carrie ... we had three Bulwarkes, foure and twenty peeces of ordnance of Culvering, Demiculvering, sacar and falcon and most well mounted upon convenient platforms...." John Smith, General History (Barbour 1964:325)

September 10 Smith elected President. 

"N ow the building of Ratliffes Pallace stayed as a thing needlesse; the Church was repaired; the Store-house recovered; buildings prepared for the Supplyes, we expected; the Fort reduced to a five-square forme; the order of the Watch renewed; the squadrons (each setting of the Watch) trained; the whole Company every Saturday exercised, in the plaine by the west Bulwarke, prepared for that purpose, we called Smithfield: . . ."(Third Book, Barbour II 180-181)

October Newport arrives with the Second Supply including the first two women and 8 Dutchmen or Poles who were "glasse-men." No more supplies from England until May of 1610.

End of Year Newport returns to England carrying with him "tryals of Pitch, Tarre, Glasse, Frankincense, Sope Ashes. . . ."

1609 "Now we so quietly followed our businesse, that in 3 monthes we made 3 or 4 last of pitch and tarre, and sope ashes, and produced a triall of glasse, made a well in the forte of excellent sweete water (which till then was wanting) built some 20 houses, recovered our Church, ..., builte a blocke house in the necke of our Ile, kept by a garrison, to entertaine the Salvages trade, and none to passe or repasse ..., 30 or 40 acres of ground we digged, and planted; ... but the hogges were transposted to Hog Ile, where also we built a blocke house with a garrison, to give us notice of any shipping, ..." "We built also a fort for a retreat. . . ." (Proceedings, Barbour I 263)

May 23 Virginia Company replaces Council with Governor who has absolute control.

August Seven ships arrive at Jamestown, Sea Venture wrecked on Bermuda. 200-300 men, women, and children.

September 10 Capt. George Percy replaces Capt. John Smith as president of the Council, Smith returned to England.  "James towne being burnt, wee rebuilt it and three Forts more, besides the Church and Store-house, we had about fortie or fiftie severall houses to keepe us warme and dry, invironed with a palizado of foureteene or fifteene foot, and each as much as three or foure men could carrie. We digged a faire Well of fresh water in the Fort, where wee had three Bulwarks, four and twentie peeces of Ordnance, of Culvering, Demiculvering, Sacar, and Falcon, and most well mounted upon convenient plat-formes, planted one hundred acres of Corne." John Smith, (Fourth Book, Barbour II 325).


May 23 Gates (acting as Virginia's first governor until arrival of Thomas West-Lord De La Warr), John Rolfe, Ralph Hamor, Sir George Somers, and other survivors of the Sea Venture wrecked at Bermuda arrive at Jamestown. Find 60 survivors of the "Starving Time."

"Viewing the fort, we found the palisades torn down, the ports open, the gates from off the hinges, and the empty houses (which owners had taken from them) rent up and burnt, rather than the dwellers would step into the woods a stone's cast off from them to fetch other firewood. And it is true, the Indians killed as fast without, if our men stirred but beyond the bounds of their blockhouse, . . . " William Strachey (Wright 1964:64)

May 24 Gates issues The Divine, Moral, and Martial Laws.

June 7 Gates decides to abandon Jamestown. "This consultation taking effect, our governor, having caused to be carried aboard all the arms and all the best things in the store which might to the adventurers make some commodity upon sale thereof at home, and burying our ordnances before the fort gate which looked into the river, . . ." William Strachey (Wright 1964:76)

June 8 Gates's convoy meets Lord De La Warr's ships at Mulberry Island.

June 10 " ... relanded all his men at the fort again." William Strachey (Wright 1964:77)

"Upon His Lordship's landing at the south gate of the palisade (which looks into the river), our governor caused his company in arms to stand in order and make a guard. ... and after marched up into the town, where at the gate I bowed with the colors and let them fall at His Lordship's feet, who passed on into the chapel. . . . " William Strachey (Wright 1964:84)

"...Is cast almost into the forme of a Triangle, and Pallizadoed. The south side next to the river (howbeit extended in a line, or Curtaine sixscore foote more in length, then the other two, by reason the advantage of the ground doth so require) containes 140 yards: the West and East sides 100 only. At every Angle or corner, where the lines meete, a Bulwarke or Watchtower is raised, and in each Bulwarke a peece of Ordance or two well mounted. To every side, a proportionate distance from the Pallisade, is a settled streete of houses, that runs along, so each line of the angle hath his streete. In the midst is a marhet place, a storehouse, and a corps de guarde, as likewise a pretty chapel, though (at this time when we came in) as ruined and unfrequented. But the lord governor and captain general hath given order for the repairing of it, and at this instant many hands are about it. It is in length threescore foot, in breadth twenty-four .... And thus enclosed, as I said, round with a Palizade of Planckes and strong Posts, foure foot deep in the ground, of yong Oakes, Walnuts, etc., the fort is called, in honor of his Majesty's name, Jamestown. The principal gate from the town, through the palisade, opens to the river, as at each bulwark there is a gate likewise to go forth and at every gate a demiculverin, and so in the market place. The houses first raised were all burnt by a casulty of fire the beginning of the second year of their seat and in the second voyage of Captain Newport, which since have been better rebuilded, though as yet in no great uniformity, either for the fashion or beauty of the street. A delicate wrought fine kind of mat the Indians make, with which (as they can be trucked for snatched up) our people do dress their chambers and inward rooms, which make their houses so much the more handsome. The houses have wide and large country chimneys, in which is supposed (in such plenty of wood) what fires are maintained; and they have found the way to cover their houses now (as the Indians) with barks of trees, as durable and as good proof against storms and winter weather as the best tile, defending likewise the piercing sunbeams of summer and keeping the inner lodgings cool enough, which before in sultry weather would be like stoves, whilst they were, as at first, pargeted and plastered with bitumen or tough clay." William Strachey (Wright 1964:79-81)

August 9 English launch major attack on the Paspahegh village, capturing and executing the Queen and her children, burning houses and cutting down corn fields. Subsequent use of word Paspahegh in documents refers to their former territory.


March 28 De La Warr leaves for England, George Percy is Deputy Governor until arrival of Thomas Dale, about 150 people left.

May 12 Dale arrives off Point Comfort.

August Sir Thomas Gates, Lt. Governor returns to Virginia with 280 people and assumes control.  "Sir Thomas Gates ... happily arrived about the second of August, with sixe good Shippes, men, provisions and cattle ... the resolution of Sir Thomas Dale, now wholy busied (our land fortifications to weake to withstand a forraigne Enemy). . . ." Hamor (1957:28).

September Dale with 350 men start building Henricus.

Early Fall William Strachey leaves Virginia for England.

Also in 1611 John Rolfe imports tobacco seeds from Trinidad, Nicotiana tabacum; native tobacco was Nicotiana rustica.

1612 John Rolfe exports first crop of improved tobacco.

1613 "...and the forts which they have are of boards and so weak that a kick would break them down, and once arrived at the ramparts those without would have the advantage over those within because its beams and loopholes are common to both parts - a fortifcation without skill and made by unskilled men. Nor are they efficient soldiers, although the rulers and captains make a great profession of this because of the time they have served in Flanders on the side of Holland, where some have companies and castles. The men are poorly drilled and not prepared for military action." Diego de Molina (Tyler 1952:221).

"Twenty leagues off is this colony with one hundred and fifty persons and six pieces; . . ." Diego de Molina (Tyler 1952:224).

April Pocahontas captured and brought to Jamestown.

June John Rolfe makes first shipment of West Indian tobacco grown in Virginia to England.

1614 "The Towne [James Town] it selfe by the care and providence of Sir Thomas Gates, who for the most part had his chiefest residence there, is reduced into a handsome forme, and hath in it two faire rowes of houses, all of framed Timber, two stories, and an upper Garret, or Corne loft high, besides the three large, and substantial Storehouses, joyned together in a length some hundred and twenty foot, and in breadth forty, and this town hath been lately newly, and strongly impaled, and a faire platforme fro Ordence in the west Bulwarke raised: there are also wothout this towne in the Island, some very pleasant, and beautifull houses, tow Blockhouses, to observe and watch least the Indians at any time should swim over the back river, and come into the Island, and certain other farme houses." Hamor (1957:33).

"No sooner was he thus fenced, and in a manner secured from the Indians, but his next worke (without respect to his owne health or particular welfare) was building at each corner of the towne, very strong and high commanders or watch-towers, a faire and handsome Church, and storehouses, ... There is in this town 3 streets of well framed houses, a hansom Church, and the foundations of a more stately one laid, of Brick, in length, an hundred foote, and fifty foot wide, beside Store houses, watch houses, and such like: there are also, as ornaments belonging to this Town, upon the verge of this River, five faire Block houses, or commanders, wherein live the honesteo sort of people, as in Farmes in England. ... by name, Hope in faith, Coxen Dale, secured by five Forts, called, Charity Fort, Mount malado, a retreat, or guest house for sick people, a high seat, and wholesome aire, Elizabeth Fort, and Fort patience: and heere hath Mr. Whitacres chosen his Parsonage, or Church land ... called Rocke Hall ... " Hamor (1957: 29-31).

February Gates leaves Virginia, leaving Dale as Deputy Governor.

April 5 John Rolfe and Pocahontas married at Jamestown.

June Argall and Ralph Hamor depart from Virignia for England.

1615 Pocahontas gives birth to son Thomas Rolfe.

1616 John Rolfe lists settlements at Henrico with 38 men under Capt. Smalley, Bermuda Nether Hundred with 119 under Capt. Yeardley, West and Sherley Hundred with 25 under Capt. Maddeson, James Towne with 50 under Lt. Sharpe, Kequoughtan with 20 under Capt. George Webb, and Dales Gifte with 17 under Lt. Cradock.

May John Rolfe, Pocahontas, and son depart Virginia for England.

June 2 Thomas Dale arrives in London, leaving Virginia in the hands of Capt. George Yeardley.

This timeline was prepared by the Jamestown Rediscovery project of Preservation Virginia.