AN EARLY JAMESTOWN HOUSE. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Brick House at Jamestown, about 1640. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Cross section of a brick-lined well at Jamestown
(Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
How an ironworking pit was used.
Pottery at Jamestown
There is good evidence that a pottery kiln was situated 30 feet west of the “industrial area.”
Row House type at Jamestown
Brick House type at Jamestown
Columbus was a man of commanding presence. He was large, tall, and dignified in bearing, with a ruddy complexion and piercing blue-gray eyes. By the time he was thirty his hair had become white, and fell in[Pg 4] wavy locks about his shoulders. Although his life of hardship and poverty compelled him to be plain and simple in food and dress, he always had the air of a gentleman, and his manners were pleasing and courteous. But he had a strong will, which overcame difficulties that would have overwhelmed most men.
On Christmas morning (December 25, 1492), while it was still dark, as he was cruising along the shores of[Pg 16] Hayti (or Hispaniola), the Santa Maria went aground on a sand-bar, where the waves soon knocked her to pieces. As the Pinta had already deserted, there now remained but one ship, the Niña. This little vessel was too small to accommodate all the men, and forty of the number, wishing to stay where they were, decided to build a fort out of the timbers of the wrecked vessel and put her guns in the fort for their defence. These men had provisions for a year, and constituted the first Spanish colony in the New World.
The First Voyage of Columbus
When Bacon got control of Jamestown, then a mere village of some sixteen to eighteen houses, he burned it to prevent its falling into Berkeley's hands. The people's leader had been successful, and had risked his life and his fortune for the common rights. But the strain of the past four or five months in the malarial swamps broke down his health, and after a short illness, he died of fever at the home of a friend, in October, 1676.
All must have perished but for the bravery and strength of one man, John Smith, who for several years kept the struggling colony alive by his personal authority and wise treatment of the Indians. Born in [Pg 46]England in 1579, he was at the time of the settlement of Jamestown twenty-eight years old. While but a boy he was left an orphan, and was early apprenticed to a trade; but he had such a longing for adventure that he soon ran away and went to the Continent to seek his fortun
They embarked in the Speedwell, at Delft Haven, a port twelve miles from Leyden, and sailed for Southampton, on the south coast of England. Here they joined some friends who had made ready another vessel, the now historic Mayflower. But a brief delay was occasioned by lack of money. In order to secure the necessary amount, about four hundred dollars, it was necessary to sell some of their provisions, including much of the butter. Funds being secured, the two vessels at last put to sea, but twice returned on account of a leak in the Speedwell. Finally, deeming that vessel unseaworthy, one hundred and two Pilgrims, including men, women, children, and servants, took passage in the Mayflower, sailing from Plymouth, September 16, 1620.
As military leader Miles Standish at once became conspicuous in the life of the colony. He was born in Lancashire, England, in 1584, of a noble family, but was in some way deprived of his estates. Going to the Continent he became a valiant and daring soldier in the Netherlands. Feeling a deep interest in the cause of the Pilgrims, he joined them when they sailed for America in the Mayflower, and made their fortunes his own.
Small of stature, quick-witted, hot-tempered, and ready to brave any danger, this stout-hearted man was a fitting leader for the little Pilgrim army of something like a score of men who were obliged to defend themselves and their families against wild beasts and unfriendly Indians
Pilgrims Returning from Church
After the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, he was sent to France to secure aid for the American cause. The French people gave him a cordial reception. There were feasts and parades in his honor, crowds followed him on the streets, and his pictures were everywhere displayed.
Meanwhile General Gage, who was in command of 3,000 British troops in Boston, had received orders from England to seize John Hancock and Samuel Adams as traitors. General Gage knew that Hancock and Adams were staying for a while with a friend in Lexington. He had learned also through his spies that the minute-men had collected some cannon and military stores in Concord, eighteen miles from Boston. The British General planned, therefore, to send a body of troops to arrest the two leaders at Lexington, and then to push on and destroy the stores at Concord.
Although he acted with the greatest secrecy, he was not alert enough to keep his plans from the watchful minute-men. Gage's failure was brought about by one of these minute-men, Paul Revere, whose famous "midnight ride" was one of the exciting episodes of the Revolution.
At three o'clock a great throng of eager men again crowded into the Old South Church and the streets outside to wait for the return of Rotch. It was a critical moment. "If the Governor refuses to give the pass, shall the revenue officer be allowed to seize the tea and land it to-morrow morning?" Many anxious faces showed that men were asking themselves this momentous question.
Faneuil Hall, Boston
The East India Company arranged to ship cargoes of tea to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston. When the tea arrived, the people in New York and Philadelphia refused to let it land, and in Charleston they stored it in damp cellars, where it spoiled. But in Boston, where the Tory Governor, Hutchinson, was determined to fight a hard battle for the King, there was a most exciting time. The result was the famous "Boston Tea Party."
George III. could not understand the feelings of the colonists, and he had no sympathy with their views. His mother had said to him when he was crowned, "George, be King," and this advice had pleased him. For he was wilful, and desired to have his own way as a ruler. Thus far he had shown little respect for the British Parliament, and he felt even less for Colonial Assemblies. Certainly if he was to rule in his own way in England, he must compel the obedience of the stubborn colonists in America. The standing army which the King wished to send to America was designed not so much to protect the colonies as to enforce the will of the King, and this the colonists knew. They therefore opposed with bitter indignation the payment of taxes levied for the army's support.
The French in the Ohio Valley
The English Colonies and the French Claims in 1754
For two years the wretched little colony struggled for life. La Salle was in sore distress. He knew he had many enemies among his men who would gladly take his life, but he hoped for help from France. No help came. It was plain to La Salle that he could save the suffering colony only by making his way to Canada. He therefore started out on January 12, 1687, with a party of seventeen men and five horses, on another long and dangerous journey through the dense forests—this time from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada.
Travelling north, the party crossed the Brazos River and toiled onward to the Trinity River. But La Salle's men were tired of travelling through the forests, and some of them were thirsting for his blood. They were waiting only for a suitable opportunity to carry out their murderous purpose. On the morning of March 19th they lay in ambush, and shot him dead as he approached, probably not far from the Trinity River.
Map Showing Routes of Cartier, Champlain, and La Salle, also French and English Possessions at the Time of the Last French War.
Cavelier De La Salle
The same year in which William Penn laid out Philadelphia and there made a treaty with the Indians, a noted Frenchman sailed down the Mississippi River, exploring it in the interests of France. This man was Robert Cavelier, Better known as La Salle, who, like many of his countrymen, was trying, just as the Spaniards and Englishmen had tried, to find or do something in America that would not only bring glory to his own name, but also wealth and honor to his fatherland.
Map of the United States showing the Southern Confederacy, the Slave States that did not Secede, and the Territories.
Telegraph and Railroad
Inventor of the Electric Telegraph
In a short time he had worked out on paper the whole scheme of transmitting thought over long distances by means of electricity. And now began twelve toilsome years of struggle to devise machinery for his invention. To provide for his three motherless children, Morse had to devote to painting much time that he otherwise would have spent in perfecting the mechanical appliances for his telegraph. His progress therefore was slow and painful, but he persistently continued in the midst of discouraging conditions.
Jackson at the battle of New Orleans
The British army consisted of 12,000 veterans fresh from victories over the great Napoleon. Naturally enough they despised the American backwoodsmen. Their confidence seemed reasonable, for they numbered twice as many as the Americans.
On January 8, 1815, the British made a vigorous assault on the American lines. But they were mowed down with such terrible slaughter that at the end of twenty-five minutes, they were forced to retreat with a loss of 2,600 men in killed and wounded. The Americans lost only twenty-one. The resolute courage and unwearied action of "Old Hickory," as Jackson was fondly called by his men, had won a signal victory. Through his military reputation Jackson soon became very popular. His honesty and patriotism took a strong hold on the people, and in due time he was elected President of the United States.
A Spinning Wheel
Andrew Jackson [1767-1845] the sixth President of the United States
Fulton returned in 1806 to America, where, with money furnished by his friend Livingston, he began to construct another steamboat which he called the Clermont, after the name of Livingston's home on the Hudson. This boat was 130 feet long and 18 feet wide, with a mast and a sail, and on each side a wheel 15 feet in diameter, fully exposed to view.
One morning in August, 1807, a throng of expectant people gathered on the banks of the North River at New York, to see the trial of the Clermont. Everybody was looking for failure. People had all along spoken of Fulton as a crack-brained dreamer, and had called the Clermont "Fulton's Folly." "Of course the thing would not move." "That any man with common-sense might know," they said. So while Fulton was waiting to give the signal to start, these wiseacres were getting ready to jest at his failure.
Finally, at the signal, the Clermont moved slowly, and then stood perfectly still. "Just what I have been saying," said one onlooker with emphasis. "I knew the boat would not go," said another. "Such a thing is impossible," said a third. But they spoke too soon, for after a little adjustment of the machinery, the Clermont steamed proudly up the Hudson.
A Flat Boat
Another illustration of his [Robert Fulton] inventive gift belongs to his boyhood days. He and one of his playmates used to go out fishing in a flat boat which they propelled by the use of long poles. Getting tired of this method of navigation, Robert made two crude paddle-wheels, one for each side of the boat, connecting them by a sort of double crank, which the boys united in turning. They could then easily propel the boat in their fishing trips to various parts of the lake, and keenly enjoyed this novel and easy way of going a-fishing.
A Pack Horse
Robert Fulton [1765-1815]
Robert Fulton was born of poor parents in 1765, in Little Britain, Pa. His father having died when the boy was only three years old, his mother took charge of his education. She taught him herself until he was eight and then sent him to school. But he had no liking for books, and made slow progress. Drawing and mechanical devices absorbed his interest, and nothing gave him greater delight than to visit the shops of mechanics and there with his own hands to work out his new ideas.
Map of Louisiana Purchase; also United States in 1803.
At twenty-nine years of age he married a beautiful young widow of twenty-three. After the wedding festivities, he and his bride started out in a four-horse carriage to drive to his home, Monticello, more than 100 miles away. It was in the month of January, and a heavy snow-storm overtook them, compelling them to abandon the carriage and continue the journey over the rough mountain roads on horseback.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Through the achievements of early pioneers and settlers, of whom Daniel Boone is the type, the region lying between the Alleghany Mountains and the Mississippi River came into the possession of the United States. In a very different way did the territory lying between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains become a part of the national domain. It was acquired not by exploration or settlement, but by purchase, and the man most intimately associated with this purchase was Thomas Jefferson.
A Hand Corn Mill
Daniel Boone in his Cabin
Indian Costume (Male)
Marion's Brigade" of farmers and hunters seldom numbered more than seventy, and often less than twenty. With this very small force he annoyed the British beyond measure by rescuing prisoners and by capturing supply-trains, foraging parties, and outposts. One day a scout brought in the report that a party of ninety British with 200 prisoners were on the march for Charleston. Waiting for the darkness to conceal his movements, Marion with thirty men sallied out, swooped down upon the British camp, captured, the entire force, and rescued all the American prisoners.
It was the custom of Marion's men when hard pressed by a superior force to scatter, each one for himself, and, dashing headlong into the dense, dark swamps, to meet again at the well-known hiding-place. Even while the British were in search of them they sometimes darted out just as suddenly as they had disappeared, and surprised another British party near at hand. Well did Marion deserve the name of "Swamp Fox," given him by the British.
When the British began to swarm into South Carolina he raised and drilled a company of his neighbors and friends known as "Marion's Brigade." These men, without uniforms, without tents, and without pay, were among the bravest and best of the Revolutionary soldiers. Old saws beaten at the country forge furnished them with sabres, and pewter mugs and dishes supplied material for bullets. The diet of these men was simple. Marion, their leader, usually[Pg 218] ate hominy and potatoes, and drank water flavored with a little vinegar.
General Cornwallis, in command of the British army in the South, detached Tarleton to march against Morgan.[Pg 215] Early on the morning of January 17, 1781, after a hard night march, Tarleton, over-confident of success, attacked Morgan at Cowpens. But the Americans repelled the attack with vigor and won a brilliant victory. The British lost 230 killed and wounded and 600 prisoners, almost their entire force.
Nathaniel Greene was born in Warwick, R. I., in 1742. His father, a Quaker preacher on Sundays and a blacksmith and miller on week days, brought up his son in the strictest Quaker principles, and trained him to work in the field, in the mill, and at the forge. Nathaniel was robust and athletic, a leader in outdoor sports. From an early age he was studious in his habits, and in his manhood, when the troubles with England seemed to threaten war, he eagerly turned his attention to the study of military tactics.
After serving two terms as President with great success he again retired in 1797 to private life at Mount Vernon. Here he died on December 14, 1799, at the age of sixty-seven, loved and honored by the American peop
It was a desperate undertaking. There were 10,000 men, and the width of the river at the point of crossing was nearly a mile. It would seem hardly possible that such a movement could, in a single night, be made without discovery by the British troops, who were lying in camp but a short distance away. The night must have been a long and anxious one for Washington, who stayed at his post of duty on the Long Island shore until the last boat of the retreating army had pushed off. The escape was a brilliant achievement and saved the American cause.
The House where the first American flag was made
Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh
House where General Charles Lee was captured
The Capitualtion at Yorktown
Bison (Forest americanus)
Fate, which has fallen into the Wisent over the centuries, has affected his one-part relative the Bison, in unbelievable shortness, one could even say in a period of ten years. Before the age of man, millions of these colossal animals crossed amazingly vast tracts of North America;—today, only hundreds of Bisons roam around.
Fishing provided food as well as recreation for the colonists. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
When the first settlers planted their small colony at Jamestown, the tidewater rivers and bays and the Atlantic Ocean bordering the Virginia coast teemed with many kinds of fish and shellfish which were both edible and palatable. Varieties which the colonists soon learned to eat included sheepshead, shad, sturgeon, herring, sole, white salmon, bass, flounder, pike, bream, perch, rock, and drum, as well as oysters, crabs, and mussels. Seafood was an important source of food for the colonists, and at times, especially during the early years of the settlement, it was the main source.
Those in England who planned to go to Virginia were always advised to provide themselves (among other items) with nets, fishhooks, and lines.
During archeological explorations, fishhooks, lead net weights, fish-gigs, and small anchors were uncovered. These are reminders of a day when fish and shellfish were abundant in every tidewater Virginia creek, river, and bay.
Harvesting tobacco at Jamestown, about 1650. (Painting by Sidney E. King.)
The early Jamestown settlers were advised to equip themselves with “one armour compleat, light.” (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
A Jamestown sentry on duty shouldering his heavy matchlock musket. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Jamestown soldiers carrying polearms (a halberd and a bill). (conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Archeological explorations revealed that the colonists enjoyed archery. The iron lever shown, known as a “goat’s foot,” Was used for setting the string of a light hunting crossbow. It was found 4 miles from Jamestown. Illustration showing the use of a “goat’s foot” From Weapons, A Pictorial History by Edwin Tunis.
Playing a Jew’s harp—enjoying a little music in the Virginia wilderness. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
A large assortment of iron and brass Jew’s harps (also known as Jew’s trumps) have been found. This small instrument is lyre-shaped, and when placed between the teeth gives tones from a bent metal tongue when struck by the finger. Modulation of tone is produced by changing the size and shape of the mouth cavity.
Settlers trading with the indians—bartering casting counters and other trade goods for furs. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
One reason why the colonists selected a site for Jamestown some miles up the James River was to develop the Indian trade over an extensive area. During the early years of the colony, trade with the natives was encouraged. It is clear from the early records that the settlers bartered such items as beads, cloth, penny knives, shears, bells, glass toys, whistles, hatchets, pots and pans, brass casting counters, and similar objects in exchange for Indian corn (and other vegetables), fish, game, fruits and berries, and furs.
Spinning thread or yarn and weaving cloth were endless chores for the women living in the small wilderness settlemenT. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
A physician bleeding a patient. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
One of the members of the first colony was a surgeon, William Wilkinson by name. As the colony grew, other surgeons, physicians, and apothecaries, emigrated to Virginia. Their lot was not easy, for it appears that they were seldom idle in an island community having more than its share of “cruell diseases, Swellings, Flixes, Burning Fevers, warres and meere famine.”
During archeological explorations, drug jars, ointment pots, bleeding bowls, mortars and pestles, small bottles and vials, and parts of surgical instruments were recovered. These, undoubtedly, were used countless times at Jamestown by unknown “chirurgions,” doctors of “physickes,” and apothecaries—men who tried to keep the colonists well with their limited medical equipment and scant supply of drugs.
Making lime from oyster shells in a kiln, about 1625. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
A wharf scene—arrival of a ship from the mother country. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
During the 17th century, active trade was carried on between the Virginia colony and the mother country. Local commodities of timber, wood products, soap ashes, iron ore, tobacco, pitch, tar, furs, minerals, salt, sassafras, and other New World raw materials were shipped to England. In exchange, English merchants sold to the colonists, tools, farm implements, seeds, stock and poultry, furniture and household accessories, clothing, weapons, hardware, kitchen utensils, pottery, metalware, glassware, and certain foods and drinks.
There is also good evidence that some trade was carried on with Holland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Mexico, and the West Indies. Many artifacts unearthed (especially pottery) were made in the countries mentioned. It is believed that certain commodities were acquired by direct trade with the country where made, in spite of the strict laws by which the Colonial Powers sought to monopolize the colonial trade for the benefit of the mother country.
Baking bread in an outdoor baking oven about 1650. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Brewing beer at Jamestown. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Building a wharf, about 1650. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Piers and Wharfs.—In order to accommodate such large sailing vessels, piers and wharfs had to be built at Jamestown. A 1,300-pound iron piledriver was found in the basement of a 17th-century building in 1955. It was probably used three centuries ago for driving piles in the James River during construction of a small wharf.
Cultivating a small garden in Virginia.
(Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Enjoying a smoke in a tavern, about 1625. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
The first colonists were quite familiar with the use of tobacco, and it is believed that many of them smoked clay pipes. Evidently there was some demand for tobacco pipes by the early planters as one of the men, Robert Cotten, who reached Jamestown in January 1608, was a tobacco pipemaker.
In 1611-12 John Rolfe had experimented with tobacco plants in Virginia (he used Virginia plants as well as varieties from the West Indies and South America), and was successful in developing a sweet-scented leaf. It became popular overnight, and for many years was the staple crop of the infant colony. There was a prompt demand for the new leaf in England, and its introduction there was an important factor in popularizing the use of clay pipes. After 1620 the manufacture of white clay pipes in England increased by leaps and bounds.
Firing a demiculverine from a bastion at “James Fort.” (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Interior of Jamestown house
The interior of a small Jamestown house, about 1650. Although the painting is conjectural, many items shown - pottery, glassware, fireplace tools and kitchen accessories were unearthed on this historic island.