Jamestown Rediscovery archaeology, conducted by Preservation Virginia, owner of the property, is still being conducted in and around the fort site since the fort was discovered in 1996.
Here are reports of discoveries by years:
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
Wish to donate to support the ongoing archaeology effort?
Your support will continue the work of the archaeologists, curators, and educators at Jamestown.
Gifts are now accepted online:
Click HERE to donate through our collaboration with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Gifts may be mailed to:
Jamestown Rediscovery Project
PO Box 3610
Williamsburg, VA 23187
Forany questions you may have regarding donations, multi-year pledges, planned gifts, or special gifts to the Jamestown Rediscovery Project, please contact Andrew Zellers-Frederick, Director of the Historic Jamestowne Fund for The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, at 757-220-7466, or toll free at 866-400-1607. Questions can also be directed via email at email@example.com.
Pocahontas – a nickname meaning “playful one”
“Matoaka” her given name
“[She] was the first Christian of that [Indian] nation and the first Virginian who ever spake English.” Smith
Historians agree that Captain John Smith was the savior of the Colony.
Since Pocahontas saved Smith’s life, therefore she is responsible the survival of the colony.
Pocahontas’s portrait made in England at 21 years of age
This Sedgeford portrait of Pocahontas and her son, Thomas Rolfe, carefully preserved through the centuries, although its travels and whereabouts have been been shrouded in mystery. Presently at Kings Lynn Museum.
It is believed the bereaved John Rolfe brought this portrait with him from England to his home here on the edge of the wilderness. The picture may have hung on the wall of one of Virginia’s stately Colonial mansions and been taken back to england at some time. When reaching adulthood, Thomas Rolfe came to Virginia and assumed his fathers lands and possessions. He may have shipped the painting back to England, possibly to the Heacham Hall estate, which had been in the Rolfe family hundreds of years before John was born. It is known that the painting was sold at about the turn of the present century, the canvas was removed to Sedgeford, another Rolfe property. That the painting was carefully preserved proves, however, that its value to the Rolfe ancestors. The earrings worn by Pocahontas in the picture are in existence today and are the only personal belongings of Powhatan’s daughter known to have survived the long intervening centuries. They have been handed down carefully in the Rolfe family from father to son for generations and are owned now by Robert Girdlestone Meggy of Brooklyn, New York.
Earrings said to have belonged to Pocahontas
John Rolfe in 1614 and may have received these earrings on a trip to London right before her death in 1617.
The earrings were handed down through the Rolfe family and now belong to the Association for Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.
Each earring is formed of a double mussel-shell, the rare white kind found only the eastern shore of Berings Strait. They are set in silver rims, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and are worth approximately $500,000.
Double shell earrings were worn very generally among the American Indians we are told, but the white variety was reserved exclusively for the adornment of priests and princes. These royal jewels are set in silver rims, inlaid with small steel points. This mounting, it is thought, suggests that they were set, or re-set, in England.
The latter assumption is more or less confirmed by an old tale concerning these valuable ornaments. It is declared that they were reset in England for Pocahontas by that Duke of Northumberland who was the brother of George Percy the colonist, who wrote “The Trewe Relacyon of What Happened in Virginia.” This document is a letter from the emigrant to his brother, the nobleman, who remained at home.
* * *
Many Virginians have seen these famous earrings, for they were on exhibition at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893, and were shown again at the Jamestown Exposition in 1907. Only a few months ago the officers of the A. P. V. A. had them on private view at the John Marshall House, where they would become a part of the permanent exhibit were the association able to acquire them by purchase.
When Pocahontas died and was buried at Gravesend, her small son was left by his father in the care of the little boy’s uncle, Henry Rolfe, with whom he lived until maturity. The descendants of this Henry Rolfe were know as the Rolfe’s of Essex, the last member of this branch of the family being J. Girdlestone Rolfe. His second wife was Isabella Golden Clark, to whom he gave the earrings at the time of their marriage in 1923, and she bequeathed the precious earrings to her sister, Mrs. Jessie Hodgson Meggy. In this way they went out of the Rolfe family. The present owner inherited them from his mother, who had obtained them from her sister, Mrs. Rolfe.
B&W copy of the of Pocahontas and her son, Thomas Rolfe.
See information above. It is presently at Kings Lynn Museum.
A drawing of Pocahontas was made in England when she was 20 years old. In 1793, the above Pocahontas portrait was produced as a black and white engraving made from the drawings now lost.
This was colorized into a oil portrait of Pocahontas by William L. Sheppard in 1891 as seen below.
Historic portrait made in 1891 of the 1793 engraving above.
This shows Pocahontas in London, at age 20, dressed for the court of King James. She died within months of her . This portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, in Washington, D.C.. This painting does not capture her celebrated innocence.
Romanticized Statue of Pocahontas at Colonial Jamestown National Park
a duplicate is in St. George’s Church where Pocahontas was buried
Thomas Sully (1783-1872), one of the best early American painters, was born at Hornecastle, England. Later his home was Philadelphia. In 1837 he was in London to paint a portrait of Queen Victoria for the St. George Society of Philadelphia. He died in Philadelphia in 1872. He painted over 2,000 portraits including Stephen Decatur, Lafayette, and Thomas Jefferson. It is not known what picture of Pocahontas he used as a model for his picture of Lady Rebecca . Some say It has similarity to the Sedgeford portrait.
Pocahontas saving the life of Captain John Smith
Pocahontas is kidnapped 1612 and held for ransom. He father Powhatan paid but she was not released.
John Smith’s Letter to Queen Anne regarding Pocahontas
In 1616, word came to Captain John Smith that Pocahontas was coming to visit England with her husband John Rolfe. Captain Smith was concerned that Pocahontas might not be given the reception he felt she deserved, so he wrote a letter Queen Anne to personally vouch for the integrity and faithfulness of Pocahontas. He reveals to the Queen that Pocahontas saved his life on several occasions, and saved the lives of many English at Jamestown. Although Smith humbles himelf before the Queen in this letter (as would any English citizen), it is important to realize he was one of the most famous and influential explorers in England and what he said carried a lot of weight.
Smith mentions in this letter that Pocahontas saved his life twice
To the most high and virtuous princess, Queen Anne of Great Britain
Most admired Queen,
The love I bear my God, my King and country, hath so oft emboldened me in the worst of extreme dangers, that now honesty doth constrain me to presume thus far beyond myself, to present your Majesty this short discourse: if ingratitude be a deadly poison to all honest virtues, I must be guilty of that crime if I should omit any means to be thankful.
So it is, that some ten years ago being in Virginia, and taken prisoner by the power of Powhatan their chief King, I received from this great Salvage exceeding great courtesy, especially from his son Nantaquaus, the most manliest, comeliest, boldest spirit, I ever saw in a Salvage, and his sister Pocahontas, the Kings most dear and well-beloved daughter, being but a child of twelve or thirteen years of age, whose compassionate pitiful heart, of my desperate estate, gave me much cause to respect her: I being the first Christian this proud King and his grim attendants ever saw: and thus enthralled in their barbarous power, I cannot say I felt the least occasion of want that was in the power of those my mortal foes to prevent, notwithstanding all their threats. After some six weeks fatting amongst those Salvage courtiers, at the minute of my execution, she hazarded the beating out of her own brains to save mine; and not only that, but so prevailed with her father, that I was safely conducted to Jamestown: where I found about eight and thirty miserable poor and sick creatures, to keep possession of all those large territories of Virginia; such was the weakness of this poor commonwealth, as had the salvages not fed us, we directly had starved. And this relief, most gracious Queen, was commonly brought us by this Lady Pocahontas.
Notwithstanding all these passages, when inconstant fortune turned our peace to war, this tender virgin would still not spare to dare to visit us, and by her our jars have been oft appeased, and our wants still supplied; were it the policy of her father thus to employ her, or the ordinance of God thus to make her his instrument, or her extraordinary affection to our nation, I know not: but of this I am sure; whenher father with the utmost of his policy and power, sought to surprise me, having but eighteen with me, the dark night could not affright her from coming through the irksome woods, and with watered eyes gave me intelligence, with her best advice to escape his fury; which had he known, he had surely slain her.
Jamestown with her wild train she as freely frequented, as her fathers habitation; and during the time of two or three years, she next under God, was still the instrument to preserve this colony from death, famine and utter confusion; which if in those times, had once been dissolved, Virginia might have lain as it was at our first arrival to this day.
Since then, this business having been turned and varied by many accidents from that I left it at: it is most certain, after a long and troublesome war after my departure, betwixt her father and our colony; all which time she was not heard of.
About two years after she herself was taken prisoner, being so detained near two years longer, the colony by that means was relieved, peace concluded; and at last rejecting her barbarous condition, she was married to an English Gentleman, with whom at this present she is in England; the first Christian ever of that Nation, the first Virginian ever spoke English, or had a child in marriage by an Englishman: a matter surely, if my meaning be truly considered and well understood, worthy a Princes understanding.
Thus, most gracious Lady, I have related to your Majesty, what at your best leisure our approved Histories will account you at large, and done in the time of your Majesty’s life; and however this might be presented you from a more worthy pen, it cannot from a more honest heart, as yet I never begged anything of the state, or any: and it is my want of ability and her exceeding desert; your birth, means, and authority; her birth, virtue, want and simplicity, doth make me thus bold, humbly to beseech your Majesty to take this knowledge of her, though it be from one so unworthy to be the reporter, as myself, her husbands estate not being able to make her fit to attend your Majesty. The most and least I can do, is to tell you this, because none so oft hath tried it as myself, and the rather being of so great a spirit, however her stature: if she should not be well received, seeing this Kingdom may rightly have a Kingdom by her means; her present love to us and Christianity might turn to such scorn and fury, as to divert all this good to the worst of evil; whereas finding so great a Queen should do her some honor more than she can imagine, for being so kind to your servants and subjects, would so ravish her with content, as endear her dearest blood to effect that, your Majesty and all the Kings honest subjects most earnestly desire.
And so I humbly kiss your gracious hands,
Captain John Smith, 1616
Some Powhatan Vocabulary
- Acorn …………Anaaskimmins
- Arrow …………Attonce
- Bread from corn………. Pone (Oppone)
- Climb a Tree…Ahcoushe
- The Devil……….Riapoke
- Dish………… Outacan
- Drink……………..Umpsemen Apook
- Earth………………Aspami, Ottawm, Chippsin
- Fight with fists……….Nummecaxuttenax
- Hello Friend……….Wingapo
- Girl………… Pokontas, Usqwaseins
- Go, run quickly……….Ireh assuminge
- God’s name…….Ahone
- more to come soon……….. last updated 11/09/05
Captain John Smith .
Old Colonial Sayings We Use Today
get off your high horse – you should stop behaving arrogantly – military leaders, nobility etc. led parades on horseback, as a sign of their superiority and to increase their prominence.
hold your feet to the fire – a inquisitor to applied flames to the feet as a method for extracting confession for heresy, during the Crusade’s.
haul someone over the coals – in the Middle Ages, suspected heretics were literally hauled over a bed of burning coals. If they survived they were considered innocent, and guilty if they did not.
caught with or pants down – caught unawares tending to natures call.
worth an arm and a leg – a painter of a portrait charged more he had to additionally paint arms and legs on the subject.
keep you nose to the grindstone – knife grinders when sharpening blades was to lie flat on their fronts with their faces near the grindstone in order to hold the blades against the stone
to beeline it – from the behavior of bees. When a bee finds nectar it returns to the hive and displays to the other bees the direction of the find. The other bees then ‘make a beeline’ for it.
as mad as a hatter – the effect of Mercury exposure used in the manufacture of felt hats lead to mercury poisoning, one of the symptoms of which is insanity.
you have a screw loose – as machines began to be used in the 1700’s, screws frequently loosened causing the machine to break down. If you are having a malfunction, you may have a screw loose as well.
not fit to hold a candle (not fit to hold a match) – a snide remark suggesting that one is so unfit, he can’t hold a match or candle for another.
the whole none yards –rich enough to buy the whole suite that took 9 yeards. A lesser suite may not have matching vest, pants, etc
dressed to the nines – he looks like he purchased the best. From purchasing the best suite using nine yards of cloth to make it..
face the music – from the tradition of disgraced officers being ‘drummed out’ of their regiment.
cut from the same cloth – when making suits, tailors use fabric from the same roll of cloth to make sure the pieces match perfectly.
living high on the hog -The best and most expensive cuts of ham come from the upper part of a pig’s haunch
in the nick of time – even into the 18th century, some businessmen kept track of transactions and time by carving notches (nicks) on a “tally stick.” Someone arriving just before the next nick was carved would arrive in time to save the next day’s interest – in the nick of time.
black ball – the expression is derived from 18th century clubs. New applications for membership were examined by the ruling committee – secret votes were then cast by putting balls into a container. Red balls meant acceptance and black ones rejection. It only needed one black ball for the application to fail.
don’t let him pull the wool over your eyes– street thugs would pull the wig (wool) down over the victims eyes in order to confuse him. Bigwigs were worth robbing
put the damper on it – a damper is a part of a piano which presses on the strings and cuts out their sounds.
square meal – from the square plates used to serve the food on . (Used such as “You should get your “three squares” or “three square meals” every day).
in a pickle– trapped without apparent means of escape as pickle in a jar.
getting your goat – this refers to an old English (Welsh?) belief that keeping a goat in the barn would have a calming effect on the cows, hence producing more milk. When one wanted to antagonize/terrorize one’s enemy, you would abscond with their goat rendering their milk cows less- to non-productive.
take it with a grain of salt – salt was thought to have healing properties and to be an antidote to poisons.
at the drop of a hat – instantly – from a traditional way of starting a race in the 1800’s.
dyed in the wool – from the process of coloring wool, which can be done at various stages; to dye ‘in the wool’, before spinning is the earliest stage it can be done, and it gives the most thorough effect.
take a gander – (gander was earlier the common word for a goose) a goose craning its neck to look at something.
pull out all the stops – apply best effort – from the metaphor of pulling out all the stops on an organ, which would increase the volume.
caught red-handed – It’s based simply on the metaphor of a murderer being caught with blood still on their hands,
a red-letter day – a special day – saints days and holidays were printed in red as opposed to the normal black in almanacs and diaries
it has a ring of truth – sounds or seems believable – from the custom of testing whether coins were genuine by bouncing on a hard surface;
post-haste – from the old direction written on letters: ‘Haste, post, haste’. ‘Post’ here meant ‘postman’; it earlier meant the horsemen stationed at intervals along post-roads, whose duty was to convey mail to the next stage.
get it straight from the horse’s mouth – this is an old farming expression. When farmers buy horses, they look in their mouths to see the teeth. The farmer could find out a lot from looking at a horse’s teeth, such as the age and physical health of the horse. The person trying to sell the horse might pretend that it is in a fit condition when really it is not, so farmers prefer to rely on looking at the teeth.
whipping boy –boys designated to take the punishment for them- someone who is regularly blamed or punished for another’s wrong-doing – as princes, Edward VI and Charles I had boys (respectively Barnaby Fitzpatrick and Mungo Murray) to take their punishment beatings for them, hence ‘whipping boy’. Around the same time Henry IV of France enjoyed the same privilege; his whipping
the third degree – this phrase origin can be found within the Masonic Lodge. Within the lodge there are 3 degrees; the Entered Apprentice, the Fellowcraft and the Master Mason. The Mason’s questioning for the third-degree was known to be an intense ordeal, frightening and unpleasant. Additionally, it is more physically challenging that the first two degrees. The term has come to be used for any long an arduous questioning or interrogation.
put through the mill – an allusion to grain being crushed by a millstone. suffers an ordeal
not worth a plug nickel– plugs are the holes made in coins to extract some metal which can be used for other purposes. Coins so tampered with are no longer legal tender. Nickels being coins of small denomination lend themselves for use in this phrase.
chiseler – a thief who steal portions of coins chiselsing off small pieces.
clip joint – location where portions of coins are clipped off by thieves.
getting fleeced – being robbed – as a sheep isrobbed of it’s fleece.
put your best foot forward – a gentleman upon greeting others literary puts his best foot forward extending his leg as he takes a bow.
a big shot– a person receiving a large cannon salute.
feather in your cap – it was once a common practice to award a feather to a soldier who had killed an enemy. These feathers were worn on the helmet, or other headgear and were considered symbols of social status much as modern soldiers receive and display medals.
pull out all the stops – this phrase comes from the pipe organs in churches and classical music. Each pipe has a “stop” that acts as a baffle that controls the amount of airflow. The volume of the organ can be adjusted by adding or removing the stops. By pulling out all the stops, all pipes are playing at their loudest.
a wind fall – when a storm blew the tree down, it could be claimed by anyone… a wind fall. An unexpected bit of good fortune
read the Riot Act to you – The Riot Act of 1715 was meant to address groups gathering and threatening the peace. A magistrate could read part of the Act commanding people to disburse in the King’s name or face action. In the 1880s Americans began using the term to mean “scold”.
having a field day – citizens would gather annually on muster day to watch the militia drill, enjoy food and drink, socialize and have a fun time.
Home & Hearth
square meal – a dinner plate was a square piece of wood with a “bowl” carved out to hold your serving of the perpetual stew that was always cooking over the fire.
dessert – after finishing a meal in the dinning room, the dinning room would be desserted , and people would go to the parlor to eat sweets.
easy chair – a cushioned chair tht concealed a chamber pot!
At the end of my tether – a tether is a rope, which is used to restrict the freedom of grazing animals by tying one end around their neck and the other to a stake in the ground.
threshold – a houses with dirt or stone floors were covered with threshing to keep the floor warm . People added a wooden board to hold the threshing in — a threshold
sleep tight – before box springs were in use, old bed frames used rope pulled tightly between the frame rails to support a mattress. If the rope became loose, the mattress would sag making for uncomfortable sleeping. Tightening the ropes would help one get a good night sleep.
don’t let the bed bugs bite – mattresses were stuffed with corn husks or threshing which attracted bed busg. But with colonials not taking baths but every several months, surely bed bugs found a comfortable habitat in the bedding .
pot luck – what was available, not knowing for sure what you might receive. eat whatever was in the oven pot… taken a chance
eating humble pie – servants ate “umbel pie” which was made from deer waste while their Master and his guests had the better cuts of meat.
pop goes the weasel – the yarn winder (weasel) would make a “pop” sound when it was finished winding.
turn the tables – tables only had one finished side. The other side, less expensive to make, was more rough. When the family was alone, they ate on the rough side to keep the good side nice for company. When company came, the whole top lifted off and was turned to its good side.
cold shoulder – when a guests would over stay their welcome as house guests, the hosts would (instead of feeding them good, warm meals) serve their too-long staying guests the cold meat, thereby giving them the COLD SHOULDER.
living high on the hog – a perosn who ate or served the most expensive part of meat (the shoulder) was living well.
chew the fat– cut off a little to dried fatback to chew with the guests when sitting around for a gab session
to salt away – salt the meat to preserve it, to save it for the future.
hit the hay – sleep on bedding of straw
hush puppies – to quiet the hungry barking puppy dogs when frying up the corn bread, some would be tossed to them along with the verbal admonishment “hush puppy”.
bring home the bacon – if you brought home the bacon, you were earning enough to feed your family well
strike while the iron is hot – in working with metal the best results came from striking the iron while it was still hot.
board—the table was usually just a board in most homes or many small establishments.
a boarding house – offered a bed and board (table)
to turn the tables –the top of the table was smooth and the under side rough. The table board was often turned over for the messy affair of eating.
chairman of the board– the head of the family sat on his chair at the head of the table or board and the women and children sat on the bench along the side of the table
board games – games played on the board (table).
pay across the board – pay everyone who is at the board (table)
keeping everything above board – to keep your hands or cards on the table where they could be seen.
to burn the candle at both ends– to light a candle at both ends to give off more light.
hit the sack – a sack is a bed mattress. Early mattresses were often made from a cloth sack .
a long shot -a vain attempt when firing at a distant target.
point-blank –literally firing from such a close range as to be sure of hitting the target.
going off half-cocked – a weapon half-cocked is the safety position of the weapon. A person who was too anxious, may forget to cock his weapon fully so that it would shoot.
a skin flint – someone too thrifty to use new flint, taking a knife and chipping or skinning pieces from the old flint until it is serviceable.
a flash in a pan – a misfire when only the powder in the pan lights but fails to ignite the power in the barrel.
lock, stock and barrel – the three parts of a gun – lock (firing mechanism), stock (wood), barrel (metal tube). Purchasing a whole weapon would be to purchase it lock, stock and barrel.
set your sights – picking your target in your gun sight
taking dead aim – set your sights to kill your target
keep your powder dry– be prepared for action
hand me another round – hand me a round musket ball
bite the bullet – the practice of chewing on a bullet when being doctored when no painkiller was available.
under the gun – means laboring under a threat of a gun pointed at you. Either you finish fast, or you get shot.
short sighted – can’t see the target
out of sight – not in your gun sights any longer
give it your best shot– take your time and make the shot good
a short fuse– a short fuse on a cannon would result in a quick firing. A short fuse on a person would be referring to their quick temper going off.
beat around the bush – beating bushes scared birds out of their hiding places in the bushes – to waste time trying to flush your game beating adjacent bushes intead of the one contain the gamet.
loaded for bear– having loaded the heaviest size shot and larger load of powder
barking up the wrong tree – from a confused dog
happy hunting ground – heaven for the hunter
a sitting duck– completely exposed and unaware of the threat
get your ducks in a row– line up your shot
give it your best shot – do your best
hound to death– chasing the game with the hound dogs till the game dies from exhaustion
barking up the wrong tree – dogs mistaken to games location
like shooting ducks in a pond – so easy to hit a sitting duck
it’s in the bag – the game is put in the bag
taken aback – a sudden shift in wind to come up blowing the sails back against the masts, putting the ship in grave danger of having the masts break off and rendering the ship totally helpless. The ship was taken aback.
groggy – comes from the description of the feeling that many British sailors experienced when they would drink too much “grog,”- a mixture of rum and water.
armed to the teeth – this is a pirate phrase originating in Port Royal Jamaica in the 1600’s. Carrying a knife in their teeth for maximum arms capability.
down in the doldrums – depressed lazy state – doldrums were an area of the ocean near the equator between the NE and SE trade winds, noted for calms, sudden squalls and unpredictable winds.
steer the way the crow flyes- the crow, was an essential part of the navigation equipment on sailing ships. These land-loving birds were carried on aboard to help the ship find land that was out of sight. When the crows were released, the bird’s invariably headed towards land. The ships helmsman was told to steer the way the crow flyes.
crow’s nest – as ships grew and the lookouts stood watch in a tub located high on the main mast, the name “crow’s nest” was given to this tub becausee this is where crows released from their cage to seek land.
don’t go overboard – letting your excitement cause you leap from the ship before you are ready.
to the bitter end –at the end of your rope- from the metaphor of a rope being payed out until to the ‘bitts’, which were the posts on the deck of a ship to which ropes were secured. When the rope had been extended to the bitter end there was no more left.
clean bill of health – this widely used term has its origins in the “Bill of Health”, a document issued to a ship showing that the port it sailed from suffered from no epidemic or infection at the time of departure.
going to the head – the “head” aboard a Navy ship is the bathroom. The term comes from the days of sailing ships when the place for the crew to relieve themselves was all the way forward on either side of the bowsprit, to which the figurehead was fastened.
learning the ropes –learning all the names and uses of the lines on the ship
toe the line – the crew would be called to order putting their toes on a seam of the deck to maintain a straight line.
scuttlebutt – the cask from which the ship’s crew took their drinking water — like a water fountain — was the “scuttlebutt”. Salilors would gather around the “scuttlebutt” the hear the latetest news or gossip,
clean bill of health – this widely used term has its origins in the “Bill of Health”, a document issued to a ship showing that the port it sailed from suffered from no epidemic or infection at the time of departure.
son of a gun– a defamatory or abusive word or phrase applied to boys conceived between the cannon aboard ship.
at loose ends – from the unraveling of the ends of rigging ropes on a sailing ship.
busting your chops – at the turn of the century, wearing very long sideburns– called mutton chops or lamb chops was in vogue. A bust in the chops was to get hit in the face.
keep your shirt on – the prelude to a fistfight was to remove your shirt. Shirts required a lot of labor to make and were more expensive than today. Someone thinking of starting a fight might take off his shirt to prevent damage.
caught red-handed – it’s based on the metaphor of a criminal of assault being caught with blood still on their hands.
feather in your cap – it was once a common practice to award a feather to a soldier who had killed an enemy. These feathers were worn on the helmet, or other headgear and were symbols of social status much as modern soldiers receive and display medals.
bury the hatchet – when making peace, native Americans used to bury weapons to show that fighting had ended and enemies were now at peace. Today, the idiom means to make up with a friend after an argument or fight.
over a barrel – comes from laying someone over a barrel for a whipping or punishment which involved holding someone over a barrel of boiling oil, etc. where the alternatives for the victim are to agree to demands or be dropped in the barrel.
bite the dust – how the dying soldiers had fallen with their faces in the dirt.
spinster – unmarried woman – in Saxon times a woman was not considered fit for marriage until she could spin yarn properly. Interestingly, and in similar chauvanistic vein, the word ‘wife’ derives from the Anglo-Saxon ‘wyfan’, to weave, next after spinning in the cloth-making process.
mind your own Bee’s Wax – this came from the days when smallpox was a common disease that caused disfigurement. Those who survived the disease were left with pock marks on their body and face. Ladies would fill in the pock marks with beeswax. However when the weather was very warm the wax might melt. But it was not the thing to do for one lady to tell another that her makeup was melting.
saving or losing face – the noble ladies and gentlemen of the late 1700s wore much makeup to impress each other. If they sat too close to the heat of the fireplace, the makeup would melt and “lose face.”
crack a smile– if you did have too much wax on your face and happento smile, you could crack your wax, especially when it was cold outside.
chalk it up – to help remember, a tavern keep, might use chalk to mark upon his wall the bill of
a patron who wished to pay at a later time. This was a reminder to collect owed money.
upper crust – bread was divided according to status. The lesser class got the bottom which might be burned while and the better sort got the top, or the golden brown uppercrust.
room and board – the word “ board” comes from the eating table usually just one board, sometimes two, set on trestles, making a long narrow surface to eat from. Coming to dinner was called “coming to the board,” a table cloth was referred to as “board clothes,”
turn the tables – the table only had one finished side. The other side, less expensive to make, was more rough. When the family was alone, they ate on the rough side to keep the good side nice for company. When company came, the whole top lifted off and was turned to its good side.
cash on the barrelhead – money would have to be placed on the heads of the barrels (used as tables) when drinks were provided came to mean immediate payment for service.
mind your P’s & Q’s – keep track of how many Pint and Quarts you have consumed
put in my two cents worth – has its origin in the game of poker. When playing poker you have to make a small bet before the cards are dealt called an “ante” to begin play in that hand.
pitcher— a leather jug coated with pitch to hold it’s shape
Merchant & Tradesman Related
a bakers dozen – bakers once gave an extra roll for every dozen sold, thus the 13 were called a baker’s dozen.
a close shave – in the past, student barbers learned to shave on customers. If they shaved too close, their clients might be cut or even barely escape serious injury. Today, we use this idiom if a person narrowly escapes disaster.
a powder room – a closet where a man or woman of the 1700s could have a wig re-powdered,
blockhead – from wooden head forms used to make and maintain wigs.
cut from the same cloth – if you’re making a suit, the jacket and trousers should be cut from the same piece of cloth to ensure a perfect match, since there may be differences in color, weave etc. between batches of fabric. Only if the whole suite is cut from the same piece of cloth can we be sure of the match.
the whole nine yards – when ordering a suite of clothes, a proper suite will take 9 yards of material. A klesser suite without vest and matching weave may take 5 or 6 yards of cloth.
let the cat out of the bag – a dishonest farmer, claiming to be selling a young pig, might substitute a cat or some other valueless animal in a tied bag.
a pig in a poke – is obviously related; poke is an old word for a small sack and the whole expression means ‘something bought or received without prior examination or knowledge’.
in the pits – the sawman of the two man team who had to saw from underneath the lumber in the pit.
When digging up graves for relocation, coffins were opened. Some coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside of the lid. It was then realized that they had been burying people alive. Statistics were kept and it was found that one out of 25 coffins opened had scratch marks on the inner lids.
saved by the bell – an idea was introduced for the better prevention of being buried alive. The idea was to drill a hole in the lid of the coffin, tie a string on their wrist of the deceased and lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell on the limb of a tree or pole placed nearby.
graveyard shift – someone who would sit out in the graveyard all night to listen for the bell and who could dig up the coffin if the bell rang.
dead ringer – the person who was saved by the bell
kill with kindness – from the story of how Draco met his death, by being smothered and suffocated by caps and cloaks thrown onto him at the theatre of Aegina, from spectators showing their appreciation of him, 590 BC.
hold a wake – dead were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days to wait and see if they would wake up, hence the custom of holding a ‘wake.”
What is it?
Colonial Items Was what?
A) Noggin a small mug or cup of ovens
B) Pipkin a small cooking pot
C) Trencher a wooden plate used at the table
D) Cricket a low footstool
E) Peel tool used to take loaves out
F)Flagon a vessel used to serve liquids
G)Huckaback a stout linen fabric used for towels
H)Manumit to liberate from slavery
I)Riddle a coarse sieve used for separating chaff
J)Chaise one horse carriage for pleasure
Colonial Medical Diseases
Match the Colonial Disease Name with what it is called today
Draw a line connecting the name of the Colonial Disease Name with what it is called today
N)Putrid Fever Diphtheria
P)St. Vitus’ Dance Nervous Twitches disorder
Q)Ague Recurring fever of Malaria
R)Bilious fever Fever from a liver
S)Bloody Flux Dysentery
T)Black Pox Smallpox
Some Favorite Old Proverbs
A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience with the clear ring of truth to it. –
BF is Ben Franklin (1706-1790)
Wish not so much to live long as to live well. BF
A good spouse and health is a person’s best wealth. BF
Keep conscience clear, then never fear.BF
A day is lost if one has not laughed. – French (on the conduct of life
He that lies down with the dogs riseth with fleas. – George Herbert (1593-1633)
A good spouse and health is a person’s best wealth. BF
Be slow in choosing a friend, slower still in changing.BF
Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor. BF
Dally not with other folk’s spouses or money. BF
Do good to thy friend to keep him, to thy enemy to gain him. BF
Do not squander time for that is the stuff that life is made of BF
Don’t halloo until you’re out of the wood. BF
Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good throughout. BF
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. BF
Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none. –BF
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards. BF
Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.-BF
Well done is better than well said BF
A lie stands on one leg, the truth on two BF
Copyrighted by JSS 4/2006
New evidence of very early occupation of North America by who …………………….Europeans.
Yes, that is right. Previously, all evidence pointed to occupation by Asians through Siberia approximately 12,000 years ago.
It very well could be even earlier evidence found in the future.
I personally visited a site called Cactus Hill here in Virginia early on with a professional photographer. I was his helicopter pilot. The site was in a swamp. Evidence is based upon a spear point found in Virginia which was similar to ones found in southwest Europe.
The evidence that scientists have sized upon that indicates European occupation is called the Solutrean hypothesis.
I am going to list below links to some information about Cactus Hill and a continental shelf find 40 miles off Virginia’s present coast line.
Cactus Hill Information
Come and take my tour of Jamestown to hear more. Visit my website
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It is being filmed behind the Wren Building at the College of William & Mary.
The Civil War Battle of Williamsburg
May 5, 1862
painting of the battlefield hanging in Fort Magruder Hotel lobby
NEW…..I now offer an entertaining one hour evening lantern tour through historic Williamsburg. I sumerize the Battle of Williamsburg VA and the aftermath. I including stories of residents under the subsequent occupation of Williamsburg by Union forces. There are stories are of the patriotic women, some spies, who let the northern occupiers know their feelings. Great stories ! This is another period of history of Williamsburg that you will not want to miss. It is an entertaining and facinating part of history of this great city.
Visitors will view the house occupied by General Joseph Johnson and later by his pursuer General George McClellan.See the bullet holes in the weather-vane. The stories of occupied Williamsburg are phenomenal and may of the best stories involve the patriotism of the southern ladies of Williamsburg.
A private one hour tour – Cost $100 for your group (can have up to 8 persons for this price- additional persons are prorated)
Contact Colonial Tours Now To Make Reservations For Your Civil War Tour
Email Your Reservations or Questions
or feel free to call for Reservations to: 757-897-9600
Line of Redoubts and Redans East side of Williamsburg
Captain John Smith ecaped death
during the years 1607-1609 when part of the Jamestown Colony
All these occurrences happened during a 2 1/2 year period
These are only a few near death experiences endured by Smith .
There are many more which I hope to add in the future.
During the long 4 month voyage over to Jamestown aboard the crowded ship
“Susan Constant” the following ocurred ……
aboard the “Susan Constant” a pompous aristocrat Wingfield accused Smith of “concealing a munity”
He was likely angered because the attention popular Captain John Smith was getting on the voyage over.
after a bit of devious scrutiny
when stopped at the island of Nevis, he had a gallows erected for Smith,
but Smith explained ”I could not be persuaded to use it”
A few months later Wingfiield was put on trial and removed as elected President at Jamestown
He was also found guilty of making false charge against Smith, He was ordered to pay Smith 200 pounds**
How Stingray Point in the Chesapeake Bay got it’s name
When exploring and mapping the Chesapeake bay
Smith waded in the shallow water. Smith was stung by a sting ray.
The barb in the ray’s lashing tail pierced his arm. Smith got so very sick, thinking he would not survive this …his men dug him a grave. But a doctor applied heat to the wound and by this Smith was saved.
Feeling better that evening, he ate the stingray for supper that night.
When he drew up his map,… he marked the spot on his map where he almost met death “Stingray Point”
That is the name of that point in the Bay today.
Captain John Smith goes off like a Roman candle
When asleep aboard a boat one night, Smiht’s gunpowder bag about his waist did ignite
The flames were burning furiously, “he is on fire his men cried ”
yes..water would save him … so he jumped over the side
…this happened to Smith when he was President in 1609
suspects are some who were always bickering & wastng time
some say it was them that that set him aflame
yet we find Smith in his writing never assigned any blame
Sailing back to England he was in agony from his burn
his wound would heal…… and he would return
(But not to Jamestown )!
Four years later he’s exploring again
he mapped the northern part of this new world and named it “New England“.
appeared at Smith’s side as if an angel from heaven.
Powhatan had granted Smith’s life out of regard for his daughter
(not yet put in rhyme but coming in the future), They are :
good luck and happy reading .
Please consider leaving a comment below about this page . Thanks in advance.
Captain John Smith’s 1612 Map of the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia
This was the most accurate and detailed map of the Chesapeake Bay area for over a century. By making this map, Captain John Smith made more solid geographic contributions to the knowledge of the East Coast than anyone else in the seventeenth century. This voyage to make this map began in June 1608, just months after being released from capture by Powhatan. Captain John Smith undertook this journey of discovery and exploration of the largely unknown and unrecorded Chesapeake Bay in a 27 foot long sailboat with a dozen men. Looking at the map today, Smith’s geographical accuracy is astounding given that he traveled about 2500 miles and had only primitive mapmaking tools to work with. It seems unbelievable that he was able to accomplish this voyage in only two and a half months. Smith and his men fought battles during their exploration and met giant-like Indians (see their picture on the map).
Captain John Smith should be recognized as the greatest founder of the American colonies. His maps prepared the way for settlement of Virginia.
Unlike the blurry picture above, the map for sale is crisp and sharp in detail.
If you wish to purchase a copy’s of this map, email me by clicking the link below.
Tell me how many copies you wish and I will quote you a cost including shipping.
Read about Smith and his explorations. Book referral’s are provided at the website www.CaptainJohnSmith.US
Captain John Smith
Sometimes Governour of Jamestown Virginia, and Admiral of New England
Captain John Smith
1580 – 1631
“Brass without but gold within”
from an inscription below Smith’s picture on the Map of New England (sentiment believed written by Sir Samuel Saltonstall)
Read Captain John Smith’s writings in his own words?
CLICK LINK BELOW TO BUY THIS BOOK
John Smith’s writings of Virginia and New England are written in a very remarkable, straightforward, and a direct narrative style. It is presumed he recorded events in a diary as he lived them. This we do know he did when captured by pirates. Unfortunantly his diaries are lost but his books remain.
Captain John Smith wrote eight books. Two are autobiographies. These autobiographies may be the first English illuistrated autobiographies written. If any readers find an earlier written English illuistrated autobiography, I would like have that information.
Below is a list of books published by Smith.
Works by John Smith (1580-1631)
|1608||A True Relation of such occurrences and accidents of note as hath hapned in Virginia since the first planting of that Colony. This is a publication of a letter Smith sent back 14 months after arrival to an unidentified friend who edited it then published it. From this letter the English world will be provided provided the earliest account of the Virginia settlement. Either Smith did not mention his rescue by the Indian princess Pocahontas, or it was edited out before publication.|
|1612||A Map Of Virginia with a Description of the Country. Smith continues his account of the Jamestown settlement during his governorship.The Porceedings of the English Colonie of Virginia (second part of book) whose authors are listed as Thomas Studley, Anas Todkill, Walter Russell, Nathaniel Powell, William Phettiplace, Richard Wyffin, Thomas Abby, Thomas Hope and Richard Potts . Thomas Abby said the treastise was first concieced by Richard Potts who had been clerk of the council in 1608 and 1609. The whole work was turned over to Reverend William Symonds|
|1616||A Description of New England: or the Observations and Discoveries of Captain John Smith. Smith offers an account of his second exploration in North America during which he mapped the coastline of New England.|
|1620||New England’s Trials. Smith recommends New England as a site for colonization.This was 16 pages initially in pamphlet form describing how ships would benefit that Country by sea nd land, etc. In an expanded edition in 1622 he would describe the Pilgrims’ doubtful prospects and how they might better succeed if they would take instruction from him. Smith said in 1624 that he had caused two or three thousand to be printed.|
|1624||The General Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles. Smith chronicles the colonization of Virginia, going into more detail than in his earlier, shorter history of 1608. Included is an extensive treatment of the Pocahontas story.|
|1626||An Accidence, or The Pathway to Experience Necessary for all Young Seamen. Smith’s manual of seamanship is illustrated with incidents from his own experiences. It would be enlarged as A Sea Grammar in 1627. It would be so popular that it would be brought out in repeated editions for the next 65 years. Smith’s name was still used on the title page of it’s 1691 edition.|
|1630||The True Travels, Adventures, and Observations of Captaine John Smith in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America… from 1593 to 1629. Smith provides an account of his early life and his subsequent adventures in a fascinating autobiography.|
|1631||Advertisements for the Unexperienced Planters of New England. Written shortly before Smith’s death, this work offers practical advice to the Massachusetts settlers and includes an autobiographical poem, “The Sea-Mark.”|
Below are my favorite books about Smith .
Some used copies can be purchased cheaply at Amazon. I have placed links (click highlighted name of book) to find it at Amazon
My favorite book about Smith is –The American Dream by J.A. Leo Lemay, 1991
This book examines the character of Captain John Smith. This book is not a saga, nor ment to be a biography, but it is an examination of Smith’s life, his relationships with friends and enemies. It also includes explanations of errors written about Smith by authors of the past. This author has done a complete job in this book, leaving out nothing. I realize that this author (Lemay) has come to admire Captain John Smith as I do, as one of the most interesting and awesome individuals who has lived.
“The book corrects some of the erroneous stories of Captain John Smith contained in the Pocahontas cartoon and the recently released Hollywood movie about John Smith and Pocahontas. With the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement having recently occurred, this book will help put that important milestone into its historical perspective.”
This is available from Amazon.com, and from local bookstores. This hardcover book contains more than 180 pages and has 52 color illustrations, with a retail price is $26.95 Hardcover ISBN: 1931798834, Pub. Date: April 2006,Series: Founders of the Republic Ser, Age Range: 12 and up
My recommendation for more serious readers- Captain John Smith by Bradford Smith, 1953– (A very good read).
Bradford Smith in 1968 donated a window of John Smith in the church where Smith is burried, St. Sepulchre-without-Newgatein London. Captain Smith is shown in the central panel with his navigational instruments around his feet. The outer panels show his patrons, Robert Bertie and Samuel Saltonstall. Above are the three little ships in which the pioneers crossed the Atlantic.
I am interested in getting feedback, so please leave me your comments and suggestions.
Quotes of Captain John Smith
Smith on History
“History is the memory of time, the life of the dead and the happiness of the living.” Smith
Smith on the American Settlements
“I call them my children,” he says of the American settlements, “for they have been my wife, my hawks, my hounds, my cards, my dice and in totall, my best content, as indifferent to my heart as my left hand to my right.” from 1922 New England Trials
Smith on Virtue
“honour is our lives ambition” . “Then seeing that we are not borne for our selves, but each to helpe other, and our abilities are much alike at the houre of our birth, and the minute of our death: Seeing our good deeds, or our badde, by faith in Christs merits, is all we have to carrie our soules to heaven, or hell: Seeing honour is our lives ambition; and our ambition after death, to have have an honorable memorie of our life: and seeing noe meanes wee would bee abated of the dignities and glories of our Predecessors; let us imitate their virtues to be worthily their successors”.from the conclusion of Smith’s A description of New England (1615;1:361)
On Settling American Land
And here inFlorida, Virginia, New-England, andCannada, is more land than all the people in Christendome can manure, and yet more to spare than all the natives of those Countries can use and cultivate. The natives are only too happy to share: If this be not a reason sufficient to such tender consciences; for a copper kettle and a few toyes, as beads and hatchets, they will sell you a whole Country . . . theMassachusets have resigned theirs freely. Advertisements
Smith’s thoughts on slavery in America – these thoughts are before slavery was introduced in America by English
“Let all men have as much freedom in reason as may be, and true dealing, for it is the greatest comfort you can give them, where the very name of servitude will breed much ill blood, and become odious to God and man”. Advertisements
Smith’s Pep Talk To Crew
delivered by Captain John Smith to his men when 12 days into exploring the Chesapeake bay in an open boat, when their bread was spoiled, the men tired and wished to turn back.
“Gentlemen”, ” what shame would it be for you to force me to returne with a months provision, scarce able to say where we have been, nor yet heard of that wee were sent to seeke. You cannot say but I have shared wit you of the worst that is past; and for what is to come, of lodging, diet, or whatsoever, I am contented you allot the worst part to myself. As for your fears that I will lose myself in these unknowne large waters, or be swallowed up in some stormie gust: abandon those childish fears, for worse then is past cannot happen, and there is as much danger to returne, as to proceed forward. Regaine therefore your old spirits : for return I will not (if God assist me) til I have seene the Massawomeekes, found Patowomeck, or the head of this great water you conceit to be endlesse.” rememberence of speech written by Dr. Walter Russell and Anas Todkill
The Occupation Of Land In America Smith says there is so much uninhabited land in Florida, Virginia, New England, and Cannada, their natives so few, and in England a great need.
“For God did make the world to be inhabited with mankind,” further Smith says ” And here in Florida, Virginia, New England, and Cannada, is more land than all the people in Christendome can manure (cultivate), and yet more to spare than all the natives of those countries can use and culturate (cultivate).” yet he says , “for a copper knife and a few toys, as beads and hatchets, they will sell you a whole Countrey (district); and for a small matter, their houses and the ground they dewell upon; but those of Massachusets have resigned theirs freely”. Advertisements
I am interested in getting feedback on Captain John Smith, so please leave me your comments and suggestions.