Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Hawthornes And Maxine Visit Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

The National Park Service's Fort Raleigh National Historic Site commemorates the first attempts at colonization
in the New World (1585 - 1587), sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh. The fate of this "Lost Colony," remains a mystery to this day. Sir Walter Raleigh's efforts to establish a colony ended with the disappearance of 117 men, women, and children.
On this site in July - August 1585 O S colonists set out from England by Sir Walter Raleigh built a fort called by them The New Fort in Virginia. These colonists were the first settlers of the English race in America. They returned to England in July 1586 with Sir Francis Drake. Near this place was born on the 8 of August 1587, Virginia Dare the first child of English parents born in America - daughter of Ananias Dare and Eleanor White, his wife, members of another band of colonists sent out by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1587. On Sunday, August 20, 1587, Virginia Dare was baptized. Manteo, the friendly chief of the Hatteras Indians had been baptized on the Sunday preceding. These baptisms are the first known celebrations of a Christian Sacrament in the territory of the thirteen original United States. Anybody know what O S means?
This 1896 monument commemorates the birth of the first English child born in the New World. In the late 16th century, England began its attempts to expand its influence into the New World. In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh, trusted counselor of Queen Elizabeth I, sent out an expedition under Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, in a search for appropriate sites of future colonization. They first touched the North Carolina coast in the vicinity of Hatteras, then moved north to what may have been Roanoke Inlet. The two explorers reported back to Raleigh of a land of plenty peopled by friendly and benevolent Indians. Encouraged by this account, Raleigh launched a colonization party of 600 men under Sir Richard Grenville in April 1585. Landfall was made near Ocracoke Inlet, but the party moved north to Roanoke Island and soon constructed a settlement, Fort Raleigh, on the island's northern tip. Grenville returned to England in August, leaving 107 men under the leadership of Ralph Lane. Lane was a professional soldier and apparently had no qualms about stealing supplies from the Indians. Relations were deteriorated by an English raid on the main village of the Roanoke Indians and the murder of their chief. Sir Francis Drake appeared off Roanoke Island in June 1586 and offered his aid. Because of worsening relations with the Indians, Lane decided to abandon the colony. Just a few weeks later, Grenville returned with three ships loaded with supplies. He found the colonists gone, left 15 men as a holding force, and sailed back to England. After Lane's return to England, Sir Walter Raleigh began preparations on his most ambitious effort. 117 men, women, and children, under the governorship of John White, set sail for the New World in May 1587, arriving at Roanoke Island in July and establishing the first English settlement in the New World. The colonists reoccupied the fort built by Lane. The settlement was refurbished and crops were planted. The settlement was not yet self-sufficient. Life on the island was difficult, what with dwindling supplies and hostile Indians. The colonists sent Governor John White back to England in the summer of 1587 for supplies. When White arrived in England, he found the entire country preparing for the onslaught of the Spanish Armada and no ships could be spared for the Roanoke colony. Finally, after Drake's victory over the Spanish, a relief force was dispatched in August 1590. By the time additional supplies were brought from England, the Roanoke Island fort was abandoned and the entire group of settlers had vanished. The only clue to the colonists' fate was the word "Croatoan," the Indian word for Hatteras, carved on a tree. And that, my friends, is the mystery of the Lost Colony.
This is the site of Fort Raleigh.
This is the historic outdoor Waterside Theater, home to the longest-running outdoor historical drama, The Lost Colony, written by North Carolina native and Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Paul Green. The Lost Colony came about by a desire of the locals to commemorate the 350th Anniversary of the birth of Virginia Dare. The Lost Colony opened on July 4, 1937, to a packed house, despite the economic hardship of the Depression. The show was intended to run only through the end of the summer of 1937, but when Franklin D. Roosevelt attended a performance on August 18, 1937, the play was assured of subsequent seasons. This drama tells the story of 117 English settlers who vanished from the island in one of the great mysteries of American history. It is performed near the very site of the colonists' settlement. Bit of trivia. Andy Griffith, now a Manteo resident, started his career at The Lost Colony, playing the part of Sir Walter Raleigh from 1947 - 1953.
English born architect Quentin Bell began construction of the large-scale set with assistance from the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Playwright Paul Green wrote The Lost Colony, creating a new dramatic form that he called "symphonic drama." The symphonic drama is inspired by historical events, incorporates music and pageantry, and is usually designed for outdoor performance.
Beyond is Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills.
Old oak.
We went past this monument again on the way back out and I shot another picture of it. I like the light. Stay tuned. Next stop - The North Carolina Aquarium.

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