Special Episode – The First Thanksgiving, Virginia 1619

I have written about, and even briefly mentioned the First Thanksgiving before, but this event deserves a stand-alone podcast episode.

For those who have not heard about the first English Speaking Thanksgiving in the New World, it started when a group of closely related English investors came together to plan a new life in Virginia.

They saw an opportunity to escape economic and religious hardships plaguing 17th Century England, enlisted a veteran Virginia settler, and shipped 35 settlers to an 8,000 acre land-grant on the James River in 1619.

Upon their arrival, the settlers offered their thanks to Almighty God as their first action at their new home, Berkeley Hundred. All of this was accomplished before their more famous counterparts, the Pilgrims, set sail in 1620.

 

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Berkeley Plantation’s Reenactment of Captain Woodlief and his men coming ashore to celebrate the First Thanksgiving in 1619

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

The First Thanksgiving on Libsyn

RSS Feed

VA History Podcast on iTunes

VA History Podcast on Podbay

VA History Podcast on Stitcher

VA History Podcast Store

 

SOURCES:

Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.

Dowdy, Clifford. The Great Plantation: A Profile of Berkeley Hundred and Plantation Virginia from Jamestown to Appomattox. Charles City, VA: Berkeley Plantation, 1957.

Hatch, Charles. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1991.

Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.

Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.

Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.

Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.

Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.

Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.

Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.

Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.

Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.

Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.

Woodlief, H. Graham. History of the First Thanksgiving found at Berkeley Plantation Website

Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of colonial re-enactors at the First Thanksgiving Festival, which takes place annually at Berkeley Plantation.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Little Birdie” by Vince Guaraldi, also available on iTunes.

James River Plantations Part 3

The most expansive plantation building phase along the James River exploded into life after the 1618 tobacco crop sold for an eye catching £5,000. At that moment the English knew that there was indeed something worthwhile to the Virginia venture.

Tobacco was certainly the increasingly powerful king in early Virginia, but the Virginia Company wanted to diversify. To that end, what would have been the first college in America, The East India School, was planned, the first ironworks at Falling Creek, was established, salt-farming on the Eastern Shore was set up, dozens of plantations dotted the James and Appomattox Rivers, settlers poured in to take advantage of new opportunities, and the first representative governmental assembly was formed.

There was a lot going on to be sure. But some settlers attempted to keep focused upon a more serious reason why they were undertaking such toilsome ventures, which is why another first took place amidst the continuing great migration. 35 settlers at newly formed Berkeley Hundred celebrated the First Thanksgiving on December 4, 1619.

This episode covers all of this and more. Have a listen!

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Captain Christopher Lawne set up his plantation near this location at Lawne’s Creek
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Scene’s like this one at Berkeley Plantation were quite common between 1618 and 1622

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

James River Plantations Part 3 on Libsyn

RSS Feed

VA History Podcast on iTunes

VA History Podcast on Podbay

VA History Podcast on Stitcher

VA History Podcast Store

SOURCES:

Berhnard, Virginia. A Tale of Two Colonies: What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda? Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2011.

Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.

Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.

Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949

Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.

Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.

Doherty, Kieran. Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of Jamestown. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.

Glover, Lorri and Smith, Daniel Blake. The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America.

Hatch, Charles. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1991.

Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.

Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.

Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.

Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.

Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.

Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.

Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.

Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.

Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.

Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.

Strachey, William. Collected Works on the Internet Archive.

Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.

Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.

Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.

Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.

 

Links to Some of the Historic Sites Mentioned in this Episode

Berkeley Plantation

Chippokes Plantation

Falling Creek Ironworks

Historic Jamestowne

Henricus Historical Park

Shirley Plantation

Virginia Thanksgiving Festival

Virtual Jamestown

Westover Plantation

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Chippokes Plantation’s pastoral scenery

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of colonial re-enactors at the annual First Thanksgiving Festival, which takes place at Berkeley Plantation.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Haunted” by Charlie Simpson, also available on iTunes.

James River Plantations Part 2

Though Thomas Dale did not return to Virginia after his 1616 departure, he, along with John Rolfe, worked hard to encourage growth along the newly establishing James River Plantations.

Their work was greatly aided by Edwin Sandys, a rival to Thomas Smythe, the Virginia Company treasurer. Sandys’ ideas were not accepted by Smythe and his inner circle, but after years of rapidly accumulating debt, many in the Company thought a change was necessary.

Those changes began when the initial seven-year dividend promise from 1609 came due. The Company could not repay anyone’s investment, and in fact wanted to request more money. That’s when men like Edwin Sandys seized an opportunity.

Sandys and his followers wanted to offer property, private property, and that offering got the attention of hundreds throughout England.

Soon, investors, as well as adventurers seeking for a new life, began lining up to sail across the Atlantic.

Between 1616 and 1622 more than 8,000 settlers would risk their lives for a shot at prosperity deemed unimaginable in the Old World.

Dale received his often requested settlers at last, but Dale would not be there to see new plantations founded along the James River. Instead, other company men – Samuel Argall and George Yeardley, governors between 1616 and 1621, as well as many new investors, oversaw the massive transformation that forever changed Virginia and her history.

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Today, Renwood Farms occupies Smythe’s Hundred, and is a vibrant part of Virginia’s agricultural establishment.

 

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

James River Plantations Part 2 on Libsyn

RSS Feed

VA History Podcast on iTunes

VA History Podcast on Podbay

VA History Podcast on Stitcher

Sources:

Berhnard, Virginia. A Tale of Two Colonies: What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda? Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2011.

Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.

Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.

Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949

Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.

Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.

Doherty, Kieran. Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of Jamestown. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.

Glover, Lorri and Smith, Daniel Blake. The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America.

Hatch, Charles. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1991.

Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.

Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.

Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.

Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.

Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.

Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.

Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.

Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.

Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.

Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.

Strachey, William. Collected Works on the Internet Archive.

Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.

Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.

Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.

Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.

Historic Jamestowne

Virtual Jamestown

Virginia History Podcast Store

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is the commemorative Flowerdew Hundred Windmill, which has since been dismantled and sent to Lubbock, Texas.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Simple Gifts” by Kiner Brothers Music, available on Soundcloud.

The Rolfe’s, Tobacco, Plantations, and Pocahontas’ Death

Thomas Dale’s Virginia still suffered under his heavy-handed rule in the early 1610s, but the Rolfe/Pocahontas marriage as well as semi-relaxed private property laws began to have a noticeable affect upon the colony.

Rolfe took advantage of those newly relaxed laws by introducing a new tobacco strain, the Spanish, sweet-scented Orinoco along the James River. Soon after Rolfe’s successfully growing the weed, and sending a 1,200 lb crop to England, other Virginia colonists began growing the crop on the many plantations that sprung into life after 1613.

The Virginia Company began granting land to new settlers both old and new after Samuel Argall ascended to the Lieutenant Governorship. More than 30 plantations were founded upon which Tobacco became the chiefly grown crop. Virginia was now showing signs of profitability, and many believed it to be due in part to the Rolfe/Pocahontas marriage as well as Rolfe’s experimental work. They were now Virginia’s most famous people, and England wanted to see this early modern power couple.

The Rolfe’s journeyed to England in 1616, were a hit, helped bolster the Virginia Company’s books. But the successful junket came at a price. The Powhatan natives were affected by the dirty English civilization. Pocahontas fell ill and died at the outset of their return journey to Virginia. Further, one of Pocahontas’ attendants, Tomocomo, spread his negative reviews to powerful Powhatan leaders upon his return.

Those words had an affect, as Opechancanough, Powhatan’s successor, let the words fester, and began plotting an attack against the English.

Stearns1850

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

The Rolfe’s, Tobacco, Plantations, and Pocahontas’ Death

RSS Feed

VA History Podcast on iTunes

VA History Podcast on Podbay

VA History Podcast on Stitcher

 

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Tobacco being grown at the Frontier Culture Museum

Sources:

Berhnard, Virginia. A Tale of Two Colonies: What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda? Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2011.

Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.

Custalow, Linwood “Little Bear” and Daniel, Angela L. “Silver Star.” The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 2007.

Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.

Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.

Encyclopedia Virginia, Sir Thomas Dale.

Doherty, Kieran. Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of Jamestown. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.

Firstbrook, Peter. A Man Most Driven: Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Founding of America. London: Oneworld Publications, 2014.

Glover, Lorri and Smith, Daniel Blake. The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America.

Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.

Hatch Jr., Charles E. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1991.

Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.

Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.

Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.

Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Apathy and Death in Early Jamestown The Journal of American History, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jun., 1979), pp. 24-40

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.

Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.

Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.

Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.

Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.

Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.

Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.

Strachey, William. Collected Works on the Internet Archive.

Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.

Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.

Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.

Historic Jamestowne

Virtual Jamestown

The Cittie of Henricus

The Pocahontas Archive

St. George’s Church Gravesend, England (Pocahontas’ Burial Site, though the exact grave has been lost)

Virginia History Podcast Store

 

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Tobacco being dried at the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is the only known picture of Pocahontas from her lifetime. It was done by Simon Van de Passe upon Pocahontas visit to England. The next image is The Death of Pocahontas by Junius Brutus Stearns.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “From This Valley by the Civil Wars“, available on Soundcloud.