Scott Dawson and the “Lost Colony Mystery”

There are fewer, more captivating American History mysteries than the “Lost Colony Mystery.” But is it in fact a mystery? Generations of Hatteras Island natives have claimed that there was no mystery to begin with. They had always known where the “Lost Colonists” of Roanoke Island went. They went to Croatoan, that is, they went to Hatteras.

Local Hatteras historian/archaeologist Scott Dawson grew up hearing the stories, and decided that he had to know what the primary source documents said about the story. After reading these sources, Scott became convinced that the colonists had in fact done what generations of Hatteras natives said the colonists had done. They moved southward.

In this episode, Dawson retells his story. That story is an adventure through Roanoke’s true history, Scott’s initial search throughout the Island, and archaeological discoveries. Tune in, and then for more, check out the Croatoan Archaeological Society’s website. Finally, don’t forget to get Scott’s book. It tells this episode’s story in more detail that you won’t want to miss.

Hatteras Island jutting out into the Atlantic



  1. Dawson, Scott. The Lost Colony and Hatteras Island. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2020.
  2. Hampton, Jeff. “Lost Colony of Roanoke: Researchers Say They Know What Happened to the Lost Colony.” – The Virginian Pilot, August 2020.
  3. Lawler, Andrew. “The Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke” – National Geographic, June 2018.
  4. Lawler, Andrew. “We Finally Have Clues to How the Lost Roanoke Colony Vanished” – National Geographic, August, 2015.
  5. Croatoan Archaeological Society





All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of Scott Dawson and his new book, found on The Hatteras Island Image is from

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on Apple Music, and Valse Triste, Op. 44 by Jean Sibelius, performed by the Berlin Philharmonic & Helsinki Radio Symphony Orchestra, Conducted by Herbert von Karajan, also available on Apple Music.

Falling Creek Ironworks’ 400th Anniversary – Interview with Archaeologist Lyle Browning

America wasn’t always the industrial powerhouse that it is today. She has built herself into that dynamo on the backs of people willing to take risks, risks that included sudden death by disease, starvation, and Native American attack to name a few. This was the situation in Virginia, and subsequently America’s, first attempt at heavy industry.

Falling Creek Ironworks was a Virginia Company venture that began in 1619, failed, and then tried again in 1622 before it was wiped out during Opechancanough’s 1622 massacre. Other ventures took place at Falling Creek before the site was forgotten and lost for about a century, when archaeologists began taking interest in the late 19th Century. Those 19th century archaeologists mistakenly believed that they had discovered the original 17th century ironworks, but instead found Archibald Cary’s 18th century site.

After winter storms washed out Falling Creek in 2007 Chesterfield County workers noticed  newer features that they hadn’t previously seen. That’s when Lyle Browning, an expert in ironworks archaeology was notified. Mr. Browning has conducted numerous tests at Falling Creek, which has indeed proven the whereabouts of the original 17th century ironworks established by the Virginia Company.

In this interview, Mr. Browning joins me to discuss Falling Creek’s history, importance, future plans, as well as the 400th Anniversary celebration organized by Chesterfield County.





All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of Falling Creek in Chesterfield County, Virginia, site of the 1619 Ironworks.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “The Firebird: Infernal Dance of King Kaschei” by Igor Stavinsky also available on iTunes.

The Dr. James Horn Interview

2019 Commemoration and I teamed up once again, and this time the podcast returned to Jamestown to interview Dr. James Horn.

Dr. Horn has made quite a name for himself in the history world with his most notable work being concerned with Colonial America. He is currently the President and Chief Officer at Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation at Historic Jamestowne in association with Preservation Virginia. Previously Dr. Horn served as Vice President of Research and Historical Interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Saunders Director of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, and taught at the University of Brighton, England for 20 years.

In addition to Dr. Horn’s considerable positions, he has written many books and articles which are cited often by leading academics and intellectuals alike. In October 2018 he is due to add to this already well-known body of work by publishing 1619: The Origins of
American Society. Do, be on the lookout for that volume, as it promises to be a great addition to 1619 scholarship.

Dr. James Horn and Bartholomew Gosnold



  1. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth Century Chesapeake. Raliegh, NC: North Caroline Press, 1994.
  2. Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.
  3. Horn, James. A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. New York: Basic Books, 2010.
  4. Horn, James. 1619: Jamestown and the Forging of American Democracy. New York: Basic Books, 2018.



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All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of Jamestown, as seen outside the recreated walls.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Hebrides Overture – “Fingal’s Cave” Op. 26 by Felix Mendlessohn performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.


John Smith’s Time Nears The End

John Smith started to right the ship, but he was beginning to pay a heavy price. He had severely strained relations both with the English and the Native Virginians.

Though he was making progress through Winter 1608 and into Spring 1609, that progress came at high cost. The Powhatans used intrigue and direct attack to dislodge John Smith, but Smith prevailed, sort of.

While events were unfolding in the New World, Christopher Newport arrived back in England with Smith’s letter, as well as two of Smith’s most formidable enemies. The Virginia Company was less than happy at their arrival, but this time, the Company leaders agreed in that something needed to change.

Thus, as Smith was fighting to stay alive in Virginia, he was losing his power as a new charter reformed the struggling Virginia colony. Smith didn’t know it, but he was nearing the end of his presidency, and the colony would never be the same again as a new group of settlers began to take shape in 1609.



  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  3. Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.
  4. Firstbrook, Peter. A Man Most Driven: Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Founding of America. London: Oneworld Publications, 2014.
  5. Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.
  6. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  7. Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.
  8. Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.
  9. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Apathy and Death in Early Jamestown The Journal of American History, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jun., 1979), pp. 24-40
  10. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Captain John Smith: A Select Edition of His Writings. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press published for the Omohundro Institute, 1988.
  11. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.
  12. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  13. Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.
  14. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  15. Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.
  16. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.
  17. Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.
  18. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  19. Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.
  20. Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.


  1. Historic Jamestowne
  2. Virtual Jamestown
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All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of the four recently discovered graves located within the 1608 Jamestown Church chancel.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Mountain Song” by Little Chief, available on Soundcloud.