Thursday, October 21, 2010

John Smith

      John Smith was captain of one of three ships taken to North America to begin a new British colony.  Upon arriving in Virginia, he became one of the main leaders of the Jamestown Colony.  He was quite the courageous fellow, so much that it occasionally got him into trouble as far as being captured.  As a mercenary fighting in Europe, he had been captured in Hungary.  During the two years of being at Jamestown, he was captured by the Powhatans.  This is where he claimed that the daughter of the Powhatan chief, Pocahontas, had saved his life by keeping her father from executing Smith.  What I find quite interesting about John Smith is that he led the expedition to the New World in 1607 at the young, sprightly age of 27...just two years younger than yours truly. 
     As a teacher and lover of history, especially American, it irks me a bit when only Plymouth Colony is referenced when talking about the beginning of Colonial America.  I can understand referencing Plymouth and religious liberty as an influence liberty that arose amongst the populace during the American Revolution.  Jamestown, however, was where the first notion of a "new world" began.  In the "old world" of British hierarchy, "gentlemen" did not partake in laborious activities.  They had servants to do the physical tasks that were required each and every day.  Jamestown was NOT Great Britain.  Everyone of the 108 settlers at, women, and children...had to pitch in and do their part in order to make it a successful colony and survive.  At the forefront of these "gentlemen" getting a little "kick in the pants" was John Smith.  John Smith was a soldier and soldiers are trained to survive.  I really think that he had a huge part in the survival of Jamestown those first 2 dismal years.  Unfortunately, the concept of doing your part did not last for long, as Jamestown later incorporated indentured servants and African slaves into the colony.

Source of picture:
Source of information: The Intellectual Devotional: American History by Kidder and Oppenheim, pg. 1


  1. And why do so few people talk about Roanoke? When ever I have a chance I teach about Roanoke and Jamestown. There are some great stories and lessons to be learned!!

  2. I guess they don't talk about Roanoke because it didn't survive.

  3. But I love talking about Roanoke, mainly because Manteo is at the OBX and we used to go ever summer down there.

  4. An interesting book to read: "Searching for Virginia Dare" totally cool considering your connection to Manteo and OBX. I was fascinated with this story and the history of Roanoke after spending so many summer vacations down there as well!