Colonization, 1562-1753

Author: John White  | Date: 1587

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The Birth of Virginia Dare

THE two and twentieth day of July we came safely to Cape Hatteras, where our ship and pinnac anchored. The Governor went aboard the pinnace accompanied by forty of his best men, intending to pass up to Roanoke. He hoped to find those fifteen Englishmen whom Sir Richard Grenville had left there the year before. With these he meant to have a conference concerning the state of the country and the savages, intending then to return to the fleet and pass along the coast to the Bay of Chesapeake. Here we intended to make our settlement and fort according to the charge given us among other directions in writing under the hand of Sir Walter Raleigh. We passed to Roanoke and the same night at sunset went ashore on the island, in the place where our fifteen men were left. But we found none of them, nor any sign that they had been there, saving only that we found the bones of one of them, whom the savages had slain long before.

The Governor with several of his company walked the next day to the north end of the island, where Master Ralph Lane, with his men the year before, had built his fort with sundry dwelling houses. We hoped to find some signs here, or some certain knowledge of our fifteen men.

When we came thither we found the fort razed, but all the houses standing unhurt, saving that the lower rooms of them, and of the fort also, were overgrown with melons of different sorts, and deer were in rooms feeding on those melons. So we returned to our company without the hope of ever seeing any of the fifteen men living.

The same day an order was given that every man should be employed in remodeling those houses which we found standing, and in making more cottages.

On the eighteenth a daughter was born in Roanoke to Eleanor, the daughter of the Governor and the wife of Ananias Dare. This baby was christened on the Sunday following, and because this child was the first Christian born in Virginia she was named Virginia Dare.

By this time our shipmasters had unloaded the goods and victuals of the planters and taken wood and fresh water, and were newly calking and trimming their vessels for their return to England. The settlers also prepared their letters and news to send back to England.


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Chicago: John White, "The Birth of Virginia Dare," Colonization, 1562-1753 in America, Vol.2, Pp.67-68 Original Sources, accessed June 3, 2023,

MLA: White, John. "The Birth of Virginia Dare." Colonization, 1562-1753, in America, Vol.2, Pp.67-68, Original Sources. 3 Jun. 2023.

Harvard: White, J, 'The Birth of Virginia Dare' in Colonization, 1562-1753. cited in , America, Vol.2, Pp.67-68. Original Sources, retrieved 3 June 2023, from