400th Commemorative Session – Virginia’s General Assembly

It was my great pleasure to be invited to the Virginia General Assembly’s 400th Commemorative Session.

The Assembly is the Western Hemisphere’s first and oldest representative government. The impact that that first meeting had on Virginia, America, and the rest of the world is immense. To mark the occasion 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution put together a week long program in which Historic Jamestown, Jamestown Settlement, and the College of William and Mary took part.

Historians, businessmen, and world-leaders were invited to participate in the American Evolution Forum on the Future of Representative Democracy, which has produced fascinating discussions covering the wide variety of issues that have affected and still affect representative government today.

Some of the key speakers featured in the Forum were –

  • Kathy Spangler, Executive Director, 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution
  • Virginia Representative Kirk Cox, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates
  • Virginia State Senator Tommy Norment
  • U.S. Senator Mark Warner
  • U.S. Senator Tim Kaine
  • U.S. Representative Elaine Goodman Luria (VA-2), U.S. Navy veteran
  • U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (VA-3)
  • U.S. Representative Rob Wittman (VA-1)
  • Katherine Anandi Rowe, President, William & Mary (first female president)
  • Carly Fiorina, American businesswoman and political figure
  • Robert Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2006-2001, scholar, and intelligence analyst
  • David Rubenstein, Financier and philanthropist, co-founder of The Carlyle Group
  • Annette Gordon-Reed, American historian and law professor
  • Eric Cantor, Politician, lawyer, banker
  • Jeffrey Rosen, American academic and commentator on legal affairs
  • Andrea Mitchell, television journalist and commentator
  • Andrew Card Jr., former White House Chief of Staff from 2001-2006
  • Karl Rove, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff during the George W. Bush administration
  • Melody Barnes, lawyer and political advisor; former chief counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and of Center for American Progress
  • Robin Christian Howard Niblett CMG, British specialist in international relations
  • Larry Joseph Sabato is an American political scientist and political analyst, and Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia
  • Marc Short, Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence
  • Sir David Natzler KCB, former Clerk of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom

I attended only the 400th Commemorative Assembly activities, which held 3 sessions.

 

The First Meeting took place at Historic Jamestown’s Memorial Church

Elizabeth Kostelny, CEO of Preservation Virginia, welcomed those attending the historic meeting and was followed by Virginia Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment.

The highlight from this meeting has to have been remarks delivered by Sir David Natzler KCB, retiring Clerk of the British House of Commons of the United Kingdom. His words linked Virginia’s representative government to other historical assemblies as far back as Athens as well as his native United Kingdom.

“These events were important not only in Virginia, not only in America, but throughout the world. The idea took root that people wanted to be governed by laws of their own making.”

Sir Natzler concluded by congratulating British Parliament’s oldest child, the Virginia General Assembly on her 400th Anniversary.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam followed Sir Natzler’s comments and spoke of the historic context and importance of Virginia’s General Assembly. He also mentioned who was not part of that First Assembly, women and newly arriving Africans. (The Jamestown Brides did not arrive until later 1620-1621 and the “20 and Odd” did not arrive until August, 1619. But followers of this podcast understand that there were a few women and Africans in Virginia pre-1619).

Following Governor Northam’s comments the first meeting adjourned. Lineage societies then placed wreaths outside of the Memorial Church’s tower before those on the Island moved to Jamestown Settlement.

 

The Second Meeting took place at Jamestown Settlement’s re-created  church

A processional led the Assembly into Jamestown Settlement’s church located within the re-created James Fort.

Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, Kirkland Cox welcomed guests, and was followed by Assistant Fort Supervisor of the Jamestown Settlement Brian Beckley, who played Governor George Yeardley, the man who opened that fateful Assembly 400 years ago.

Mark Greenough, Tour Guide Supervisor and Historian at the Virginia State Capitol, succeeded Mr. Beckley by delivering an interpretation while dressed to play Speaker John Pory.

Speaker Cox followed Mr. Greenough’s period interpretation before introducing the esteemed Presidential Historian Jon Meacham. Mr. Meacham’s speech highlighted some of Virginia’s historic contributions. One such highlight, the First Thanksgiving, brought loud applause. (In fact, Graham Woodlief sat in the row just ahead of me. He was gratified by the attention, as he mentioned to me afterward).

Meacham’s sentiments included memorable statements such as, “Jamestown is a mirror of who we were and who we are.”

Further, “Dreamers and doers came here and they built, and we stand in the light of their achievement.”

Finally, “In our finest hours, America has been about life, it’s been about liberty, it’s been about the pursuit of happiness not just for some, but for all. And in that history, history rooted here in this place, lies our hope.”

Mr. Meacham said many other things that delved into today’s current political landscape, but in my personal estimation, July 30, 2019 was about the beginning of a momentous, history changing event that though perhaps did not include everyone, would build upon this original foundation to include everyone. That being the case, I purposely chose what I deemed the most important and pertinent remarks from what was a well-crafted  and articulate speech.

If one would like to find Mr. Meacham’s full remarks, please visit this article by The Hill’s Judy Kutz, which also highlights some of the same comments already mentioned.

Speaker Cox brought the Assembly back to order, presided over the Mace’s presentation, conducted a roll call, and then called for a recess as the Assembly proceeded to the next venue,a tent set up for the day’s main Assembly meeting.

The Final Meeting took place at Jamestown Settlement’s Mall Area

The Assembly processional marched from the re-created church to the Settlement’s Mall Area, where organizers erected a tent for the day’s final meeting.

Speaker Cox brought the Assembly back to order before offering his own remarks and welcoming distinguished guests.

Illinois State Senator and President of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Toi Hutchinson followed Speaker Cox. Senator Hutchinson reflected on overcome challenges; challenges that could derail representative government if Americans are not on guard –

“I’m proud because despite the many challenges and setbacks this country has faced, America is still a place where our right to self-governance is not taken for granted, where we can challenge our government and debate our principles, and the institutions which provide for that right are held dear.”

“The institution of the legislature needs to be protected. For it is as strong and as fragile as democracy itself.” Said Senator Hutchinson before a crowd that stood in praise.

President Trump then arrived to deliver the keynote address.

President Trump Addresses Virginia’s General Assembly

In a historic twist on an already historic day, President Trump addressed the General Assembly. The President’s speech marked the first time that a sitting President of the United States addressed the Virginia General Assembly.

President Trump greeted those in attendance before highlighting Jamestown’s pre-1619 history. I’ll offer just a few remarks here, but if you want to see or read the entire keynote address, please, go here. Otherwise, here are a few key statements from the President’s speech.

Regarding Jamestown’s Early Years

“As we can see today on this great anniversary, it would not be the last time that God looked out for Virginia. Together, the settlers forged what would become the timeless traits of the American character. They worked hard, they had courage and abundance, and a wealth of self-reliance. They strived mightily to turn a profit, they experimented with producing silk, corn, tobacco, and the very first Virginia wines. At a prior settlement at Roanoke, there had been no survivors, none at all. But where others had typically perished, the Virginians were determined to succeed. They endured by the sweat of their labor, the aid of the Powhatan Indians, and the leadership of Captain John Smith.”

“As the years passed, ships bearing supplies and settlers from England also brought a culture and a way of life that would define the New World. It all began here. In time, dozens of brave strong women made the journey and join the colony and, in 1618, the Great Charter and other reforms established a system based on English common law. For the first time, Virginia allowed private land ownership. It created a basic judicial system. Finally, it gave the colonists essay in their own future, the right to elect representatives by popular vote.”

Regarding the Arrival of the First Africans

“As we mark the first representative legislature at Jamestown, our nation also reflects upon an anniversary from that same summer four centuries ago. In August 1619, the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies arrived in Virginia. It was the beginning of a barbaric trade in human lives. Today, and honor, we remember every sacred soul who suffered the horrors of slavery and the anguish of bondage. More than 150 years later, at America’s founding, our Declaration of Independence recognized the immortal truth that all men are created equal.”

“In the face of grave oppression and grave injustice, African-Americans have built, strengthened, inspired, uplifted, protected, defended, and sustained our nation from its very earliest days.”

Regarding the First Assembly’s Impact

“In the decades that followed that first legislative assembly, the Democratic tradition established here late deep roots all across Virginia. It spread up and down the Atlantic coast. One fact was quickly established for all time, in America, we are not ruled from afar, Americans govern ourselves. And so help us, God, we always will.”

“Self-government in Virginia did not just give us estate we love, in a very true sense, it gave us the country we love, the United States of America.”

“From the first legislative assembly down to today America has been the story of citizens who take ownership of their future and their control of their destiny. That is what self-rule is all about. Every day Americans coming together to take action, to build, to create, to seize opportunities. To pursue the common good and to never stop striving for greatness.”

“But among all of our America’s towering achievements none exceeds the triumph that we are here to celebrate today. Our nation’s priceless culture of freedom, independence, equality, justice and self-determination under God.”

“That culture is the source of who we are it is our prized inheritance it is our proudest legacy. It is among the greatest human accomplishments in the history of the world what you have done is the greatest accomplishment in the history of the world. And I congratulate you. It started right here.”

Concluding Remarks

President Trump’s arrival sparked a little controversy. There were those who did not welcome his attendance, and they expressed as much.

The great thing, as part of Virginia’s 1619 foundational legacy, is that such opposition is tolerated. Before that time, even in Virginia, such opposition would at least earn prison, torture, and usually death. 1619’s Assembly laid the framework from which liberty has evolved. Perhaps the demonstration was misplaced during such a historic occasion, but that still does not take away from the fact that one has the freedom to conscientiously object.

Individual liberty continues to grow today as it faces new challenges. The inheritors of such a legacy must continue to champion that individual liberty on a local, personal level. That is the sentiment upon which Virginia and later the United States was built. That sentiment began 400 years ago on a hot, often disease plagued island, and we still celebrate that event today.

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The 400th Commemorative Session Virginia General Assembly Seal

ADDITIONAL 1619 LINKS:

  1. 1619 – Representative Government Is Formed
  2. 1619 – Women and Angolans Arrive
  3. Special Episode – The First Thanksgiving
  4. The Dr. James Horn Interview
  5. Virginia’s Outstanding Women – Interview with Dr. Sandra Gioia Treadway
  6. The House of Burgesses – Interview with Nancy Egloff
  7. Graham Woodlief Interview – the 400th Anniversary of the First Thanksgiving
  8. Tenacity, Virginia’s Remarkable 17th Century Women – Interview with Nancy Egloff
  9. Interview with Fort Monroe’s Terry Brown
  10. Falling Creek Ironworks’ 400th Anniversary – Interview with Archaeologist Lyle Browning
  11. American Evolution, Commemoration 2019
  12. Historic Jamestowne
  13. Jamestown Settlement
  14. Berkeley Plantation
  15. First Thanksgiving Festival
  16. Hampton, VA 2019 Commemorative Commission
  17. Project 1619
  18. 1619-2019 Commemoration at Fort Monroe
  19. Virginia General Assembly

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the Virginia House of Delegates Sergent at Arms John L. Pearson, Jr. carrying the Mace into the Tent.

 

Virginia During the Interregnum

The Commonwealth came to Virginia in 1652. Berkeley was out. The Virginia General Assembly then elected Richard Bennett, one of Parliament’s approved commissioners who was sent to force Virginia and Maryland into submission. Bennett was an extremely well connected man in both colonies, therefore he was the perfect person to answer Parliament’s call. But that call took slightly longer to answer than expected.

Once Berkeley surrendered his position, Bennett had little trouble in steering an increasingly-distant-from-England Virginia under the Protectorate. There were outliers, such as the Eastern Shore; however, who wanted to be separated from the colonial mainland. The best that could be done there was grant a form of semi-autonomy that many from the peninsula across the bay  benefited.

Most did indeed prosper during this time, largely because of increasingly decentralized government that gave power into the smaller, local courts. But there were some who suffered.

Indians, mostly those who were out of state that began moving into lands left uninhabited by the shrinking Powhatan Confederacy, came into contact with English settlers on the frontiers during this period, and violence plagued both English and Indian settlements. The Assembly wanted to ensure peace, but they had little power to enforce their authority on the frontier lands so distant from Jamestown.

In time, the Assembly lifted many trade restrictions formerly existing between the English and Indians, which would go a long way to lessening tensions – though not completely.

Bennett’s finished his Parliamentary commissioned work after his gubernatorial tenure ran out. The second part of his commission was to subdue Maryland, a colony in which Bennett was quite familiar, since he and other Puritans fled there in the late 1640s.

Maryland’s proprietor, Lord Baltimore, a Royalist installed Puritan William Stone as his colony’s governor in 1648. Regardless of Stone’s religious stance, Parliament wanted to remove Baltimore from controlling the colony, because of his support for Charles II. Bennett and William Claiborne successfully removed Stone, and fended him off after the Battle of Severn in 1655, which allowed Parliament to reign supreme over the Chesapeake colonies.

But Parliament really didn’t care too much about Virginia and Maryland, at least that’s the impression both lands felt due to such scanty correspondence from London after 1652. Colonists decided that this was a good thing, and only increased their self-government, often in opposition to the government’s desire, as the Interregnum’s last governor, Samuel Matthews, Jr. discovered.

Perhaps in time Matthews and Parliament would have turned the screws on Virginia’s growing independence, but Matthews died soon after the Assembly overruled his command to dissolve, and Richard Cromwell, Oliver Cromwell’s son and heir chose to resign his position as Lord Protector in 1659. The Interregnum was over, and a familiar face soon returned to govern Virginia once again.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Breen, T.H. and Innes, Stephen. Myne Owne Ground: Race & Freedom on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, 1640-1676. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
  5. Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.
  6. Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949.
  7. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  8. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  9. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  10. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  11. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  12. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  13. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  14. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  15. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  16. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  17. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
  18. Wise, Jennings Cropper. Ye Kingdom Of Accawmacke: Or The Eastern Shore Of Virginia In The Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: The Bell Book and Stationary, CO. 1911.

ADDITIONAL LINK:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of Colonel Edward Hill and Pamunkey Chieftan Totopotomoi.

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

Virginia’s Native History – Interview with Dr. Ashley Spivey

Tsenacommacah, that’s what 17th Century English Virginia was called before the English named the land for Queen Elizabeth I. It loosely means “densely inhabited land.” By 17th Century standards the land was pretty well inhabited, and it was inhabited by the many tribes comprising the Powhatan Confederation. That Confederation greatly influenced 17th Century English settlements throughout the century and beyond as some of the Tribes in that alliance still dwell in Virginia today. That being the case, I wanted to bring to light Native Virginian’s fascinating lives and society. And I believe no one could better illustrate their lives and society than Ashley Spivey, herself a Pamunkey Tribe member.

Dr. Ashley Spivey joins me in this episode to discuss Indigenous Virginian history, the changes they felt, and the concerns facing modern Virginian tribes today. She brings to this discussion a spectacular wealth of information that has been forged through her upbringing, impressive academic credentials, and solid history and foundation work throughout Virginia’s landscape. Tune in, you’ll be glad you did!

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Custalow, Linwood “Littlebear”. The True Story of Pocahontas. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2007.
  2. Gallivan, Martin D. James River Chiefdoms: The Rise of Social Inequality in the Chesapeake (Our Sustainable Future). University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
  3. Gallivan, Martin D. The Powhatan Landscape: An Archaeological History of the Algonquian Chesapeake (Society and Ecology in Island and Coastal Archaeology). Gainsville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2016.
  4. Gleach, Frederic. Powhatan’s World and Colonial Virginia: A Conflict of Cultures (Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.
  5. Lutz, Lara; Gallivan, Martin D.; Turner III, E. Randolph; Brown, David A.; Harpole, Thane; and Moretti-Langholz, Danielle. Virginia Indians at Werowocomoco. Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Historic Resources, 2015.
  6. Rountree, Helen C. The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture (The Civilization of the American Indian Series). Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.
  7. Rountree, Helen C. and Turner III, E Randolph. Before and After Jamestown: Virginia’s Powhatans and Their Predecessors (Native Peoples, Cultures, and Places of the Southeastern United States). Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2002.
  8. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas’s People: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries (The Civilization of the American Indian Series). Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990.
  9. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.
  10. Spivey, Ashley. “Knowing the River, Working the Land, and Digging for Clay: Pamunkey Indian Subsistence Practices and the MarketEconomy 1800-1900” College of William & Mary, Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects.Paper 1516639670, 2017.
  11. Waugaman, Sandra F. and Moretti-Langholz, Danielle. We’re Still Here: Contemporary Virginia Indians Tell Their Stories. Palari Pub, 2000.

BONUS LINKS:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is Dr. Ashley Spivey taken on the Pamunkey Reservation.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Uranus, The Magician” from the Planets Orchestral Suite Op. 32 by Gustav Holst performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Colin Davis, also available on iTunes.

Governor Berkeley Is Undone

The English Civil war claimed victims in Virginia, and the most prominent casualty was William Berkeley.

Berkeley’s first administration has been painted as rather successful, and for good reason. He had made peace with the Powhatan Confederation, increased trade with other colonies, as well as other countries, such as the Dutch, and he greatly aided in solidifying Virginia’s colonial government. For at least these major reasons Berkeley earned high praise from his Virginian constituents. But though high praise often followed Berkeley, there were still those who fell afoul of the Governor.

Much opposition accounts also had what seemed to be valid issues. The most prominent of those issues centered around religious freedom. Berkeley was a staunch Royalist, who supported the Anglican Church, but his increasingly powerful opponents were Puritans that sided with the Parliamentarian cause. That being the case, when King Charles I lost his head in 1649 the English government had to address their Royalist supporting Virginia governor.

The Mathews-Claiborne faction moved to spearhead Parliament’s response. Religious freedom certainly influenced their cause, but Berkeley’s decision to spurn the Navigation Acts which forbade Virginia to trade with anyone other than the English fueled the faction’s fire. In the end, Berkeley could not withstand his enemies combined weight, nor would Berkeley lead the colony into a bloody war. He submitted, to a point, and retired to his Green Spring Plantation, a subject of Cromwell’s England with powerful Royalist connections.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

Green Spring
Governor Berkeley’s Green Spring Plantation as seen by Benjamin Latrobe during the plantation’s Ludwell ownership

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.
  5. Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949.
  6. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  7. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  8. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  9. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  10. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  11. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  12. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  13. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  14. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  15. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  16. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.

BONUS LINKS:

Berkeley Signature

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is Governor Berkeley’s addressing the Virginia Assembly regarding the new Parliamentary government following the English Civil War.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Facade” by Sons of the East, also available on iTunes.

K.I. Knight Interview – First Africans and Slavery’s 17th Century Virginia Evolution (Pillars of 17th Century Virginia Society, Part 4)

1619 was a pivotal year in Virginia for many reasons, but author K.I. Knight says that one key issue that did not begin in 1619 was slavery. The “Twenty and odd” did arrive in August 1619, but according to Ms. Knight’s meticulous research the “Twenty” were in fact 14 at first, and many of those 14 went on to help save the colony after the 1622 uprising before securing land of their own. Some of them, like Anthony Johnson, even owned slaves themselves.

For sure, slavery seems to have been around the Virginia landscape in some form by the 1640s,  but it wasn’t the institution that it became by the 18th and 19th centuries. Kathryn puts together an astounding narrative weaving extant court and genealogical records together to prove that the immoral institution evolved over time, before it became legally organized by the late 1690s and early 1700s. Exact beginning dates are hard to pin down, largely due to lost records. Regardless, the foundations for American slavery were being set during the 17th Century, and this episode discusses those foundations as they occurred in Virginia.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

K.I. Knight’s Books and Links:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of author Kathryn Hall Knight at Fort Monroe.

**Special thanks to Terry Brown at Fort Monroe, who graciously lent his office to Kathryn and me for this interview. If you haven’t heard my interview with Terry, please, find that here.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Op. 60 “Leningrad”: IV. Allegro Non Troppo by Dmitri Shostakovich, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra directed by Leonard Bernstein, also available on iTunes.

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.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

 

 

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.

Tony Williams Interview – Economic Influences on and from Early Virginia (Pillars of 17th Century Virginia Society, Part 3)

Economics is at the heart of why Virginia existed. Colony founders wanted to become wealthy, the Crown saw it’s own mercantilistic opportunity, and settlers risked their lives in order to find a better station in life.

How did Virginia’s key players accomplish their goals? Were their policies sound? If not, what impact did they have on the colony? My guest, Tony Williams answered those questions and more in his book The Jamestown Experiment.

Tony argues that in a changing world the Virginia settlers figured out that the key to economic growth hinged upon private property. Once the Virginia Company extended private land ownership to the colonists the Colony began to emerge from her macabre past. The emergence wasn’t perfect, but it was the beginning of a profound economic explosion that made Virginia wealthy.

The lessons learned in 17th Century Virginia influenced later generations and laid the foundation from which the United States built itself into the wealthiest country in the world. As such, it is still wise to take a look back into Jamestown’s experiment today.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of author Tony Williams in his magisterial library.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and La Danse Macabre Op. 40 by Camille Saint-Saens performed by l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France also available on iTunes.

Rev. John Ericson Interview – From Religious Wars to Religious Freedom: 17th Century Virginia’s Religious Transformation (Pillars of 17th Century Virginia Society, Part 2)

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Rev. John Ericson

Religious wars plagued Europe. The Thirty Years War claimed up to 40% of Germany’s population. Many towns were completely destroyed in the conflict that pulled not just the Germans, but so many of Europe’s other leading powers into the abyss.

Such a conflict inevitably spread beyond the European continent. The Dutch, who were also fighting their own religious war against the Spanish took advantage of the crumbling Portuguese and Spanish overseas empire during this time, while constant pressure from the Turks added bloodshed in Southeastern Europe.

King James anxiously watched from his island haven, especially as many of his relatives played key roles in the continental fight. He had to navigate those stormy times, but his piloting the English ship of state soon led to fallout that erupted into the English Civil War during which James’ son Charles lost his head.

Politics and religion mixed with devastating effect. The combination scarred the European landscape literally and figuratively for generations to come. Because of these horrific events many looked to escape the scene. They wanted to exchange the centralized, top-down governmental religious control responsible for Europe’s implosion.

Those settlers who wanted to escape sought refuge in the New World, and many of them leaving England found freedom to exercise their faith in Virginia.

Virginia was officially an Anglican colony, especially after 1643, but Puritans, Catholics, Huguenots, Baptists, and other groups filled the landscape. In time these groups started to work together in a way that influenced America’s religious thought, and brought about toleration. No longer would people be tied to whatever belief the king or government held. Individuals would be allowed to hold personal convictions that they’d be responsible for in front of God alone.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

VISIT ST. LUKE’S

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of Historic St. Luke’s Church in Smithfield, Virginia.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major BWV 1007:1 Prelude by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by Yo-Yo Ma, also available on iTunes.

Dr. Jon Kukla Interview – Political and Social Stability: Order or Chaos in 17th Century Virginia. (Pillars of 17th Century Virginia Society, Part 1)

For decades prevailing thought said that 17th Century Virginia was chaotic, had little to build upon, and therefore left a scanty legacy. Historians such as Bernard Bailyn prominently argued that 17th Century Virginia was untamed and chaotic, but in 1985 Jon Kukla challenged that opinion.

While working at what is today the Library of Virginia, Dr. Kukla was asked to undertake a project concerning the General Assembly which led to his thesis challenging research. His work was packaged in the brilliant “Order and Chaos in Early America: Political and Social Stability in Pre-Restoration Virginia” which was featured as the lead article in the April 1985 American Historical Review.

Dr. Kukla argued that Pre-Restoration 17th Century Virginia was anything but chaotic and did indeed have order. That order may not be what we think of today, yet the foundations that Virginia settlers laid down in the 17th Century allowed for subsequent generations to build a strong colony. That colony would then go on to profoundly influence America’s founding generation, which in turn built what was then a radically different governmental/political entity that the world had never seen.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

WORKS BY JON KUKLA:

  1. Kukla, Jon. Speakers and Clerks of the Virginia House of Burgesses, 1643-1776. Richmond, VA: Virginia State Library, 1981.
  2. Kukla, Jon. Bill of Rights: A Lively Heritage. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 1987.
  3. Kukla, Jon. Political Institutions in Virginia: 1619-1660. Taylor and Francis, 1989. (Dr. Kukla’s Ph.D. Dissertation)
  4. Kukla, Jon; Rosal, Angelita; and Lemmon, Alfred, E . A Guide to the Papers of Pierre Clement Laussat. New Orleans, LA: Historic New Orleans Collection, 1993.
  5. Kukla, Jon and Kukla, Amy. Patrick Henry: Voice of the Revolution. Powerplus, 2002. (Great Children’s book!)
  6. Kukla, Jon. A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America. New York: Anchor, 2004.
  7. Kukla, Jon and Kukla, Amy. Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Powerplus, 2005. (Great Children’s Book!)
  8. Kukla, Jon. Mr. Jefferson’s Women. New York: Vintage, 2008.
  9. Kukla, Jon. Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017.

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of Dr. Jon Kukla from our interview at the Library of Virginia.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan-Williams performed by the Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra also available on iTunes.

Governor Berkeley Handles Early Opposition

The English Civil War undoubtedly colored Sir William Berkeley’s first administration. Berkeley’s first Assembly answered the issue concerning a revived Virginia Company, but once King Charles sent his reply across the Atlantic war had already broken out in England.

Berkeley was a staunch Royalist, but Virginia had many ties to those in Parliament. Some of those ties were economic, and many were religious. Therefore, Berkeley had to deftly navigate tricky waters in such a way that allowed him to proclaim his allegiance, while also appeasing opposition, and opposition that included the powerful William Claiborne.

Though Berkeley had many years in Virginia to look forward to, the seeds for trouble were being sown as soon as that first Assembly meeting. But seeds for a strong Royalist enclave were also being planted deep into Virginia’s heart, and Berkeley was the main planter.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.
  5. Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949.
  6. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  7. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  8. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  9. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  10. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  11. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  12. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  13. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  14. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  15. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  16. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.

Brandon Huebner’s Maritime History Podcast

MHP

Berkeley Signature

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is Charles Landseer’s depiction “The Eve of the Battle of Edgehill, 1642” found at Wikipedia.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Company Man” by Jamestown Revival, also available on iTunes.