It was the beginning.  In 1607 three sailing vessels filled with adventurers made the long journey across the Atlantic Ocean from England to the New World.  The Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery landed first at Cape Henry, on the beach of what is now Fort Story in Virginia Beach, VA.  That location seeming not secure enough, the landing party decided to venture further inland.  The boat set sail to the west, soon approaching the confluence of the mighty James & York Rivers where their waters flow into the Chesapeake Bay.  They chose the James River, sailing upriver to a beautiful island, seemingly safer and more protected from attack than their first landing point.  The decision, so wise in May, must have seemed a nightmare in July.  The picturesque settlement site sits near swampy land, which produces great clouds of bugs in the summer.  The hot Virginia summer must have been extremely difficult for overdressed English gentlemen.  To make the situation worse, it could not be decided who would furnish food.  Certainly one didn't expect a gentleman to till the soil!  Disease, hunger and the natives took their toll on the early Supplies.  It was years before the settlement assumed a status approaching permanence.  Even then periodic fires would destroy the settlers' labor, even including its 1676 burning during Bacon's Rebellion at the hands of some of its own citizens.  In 1699 the Assembly adjourned to Middle Plantation (Williamsburg) and Jamestown's place in history became a page from the past.  Today it is but a ghost town, frequented only by tourists, history buffs and archeologists.  But one who understands its past can still walk along the shore of the mighty James and feel the energy of those early Virginians who made our present possible.  In 2007 it will be 400 years.









Pictured Right:  Capt. John Smith still keeps watch over  the river.

Pictured Left:  A plaque in Capt. John Smith's honor hangs in the old Jamestowne Church.





The Common Law

The Common Law of England was established on this continent with the arrival of the First Settlers on May 13, 1607. The first charter granted by James I to the Virginia Company in 1606 declared that the inhabitants of the colony "....shall have and enjoy the liberties, franchises and immunities...as if they had been abiding and borne within this our realme of Englande...". since Magna Carta the common law has been the cornerstone of individual liberties, even as against the crown. Summarized later in the Bill of Rights its principles have inspired the development of our system of freedom under law, which is at once our dearest possession and proudest achievement.

Presented by the Virginia State Bar May 17, 1959


In Memory Of
The Colonial Governors &
President of the Council
Officially Resident At Jamestown
1607 - 1698

Edward Maria Wingfield

John West

John Ratcliffe William Berkeley
John Smith Richard Bennett
Thomas West
Lord de la Warr
Edward Digges
George Percy Samuel Matthews
Thomas Dale Francis Moryson
Thomas Gates Herbert Jeffrey
George Yeardley Henry Chichely
Samuel Argall Thomas, Lord Culpeper
Nathaniel Powell Nicholas Spencer
Francis Wyatt Francis, Lord Howard
of Effingham
Francis West Nathaniel Bacon
John Harvey Frances Nicholson
John Pott Richard Kemp
Edmund Andros  









Erected by the Society of
Colonial Dames of America
in the State of Virginia


In Grateful Memory Of

Thomas West

Third Baron Delaware

Governor of Virginia


Saviour of the Colony

In The Starving Time of


He Died On His Second

Voyage To Virginia



To The Glory Of God

And To The Honored Memory Of

William Claiborne

Son of Thomas Cleyborne of

Crayford, Kent, Gentleman, and

Sara Smith-James.  Born 1587.

Settled in Virginia 1621.  Member of Council 1625 - 60.

Treasurer 1642 - 50.  Deputy Governor 1653.

Commanded Expeditions Against the Indians 1629 - 1644.

At Kent Island He Made The First Settlement Within

The Present Boundary of Maryland.


In Memory Of

John Pott M.A.

Learned Doctor of Medicine

Physician General

Member of the Council

Governor of the Colony

Resident of Jamestown

1621 - 1635

Erected in 1950 by the Medical Society of Virginia



Captain Edward Maria Wingfield

Born about 1560, son of Thomas Maria Wingfield M. P. of Huntingdonshire, and grandson of Sir Richard Wingfield K.G. of Kimbolian Castle.  A valiant soldier in the Army of Queen Elisabeth in Ireland and in the Netherland.  But his name is forever identified with this Hallowed Place, Jamestown, a site which he selected, where English civilization was first established on American soil.  A leading factor in forming the Virginia Company in London.  The only Grantee in the Virginia Charter of 1606 who accompanied the First Settlers to these shores.  First President of the Council of Virginia.  Despite administrative vexations encountered in 1607, his faith in the Colonial Venture remained undimmed.  Author in 1608 of "A Discourse of Virginia."  A Grantee of the Colony in the Second Virginia Charter of 1609.  A generous subscriber to the subsequent undertakings of the Virginia Company of London.  Died at Stonely Priory, Huntingdonshire, England, after 1613. 



Thomas Savage

Gentleman & Ensign

The First White Settler on the

Eastern Shore of Virginia

Hostage to Powhatan



To George Sandys,

The first American poet, who while he was Treasurer of the Colony of Virginia translated Ovid's metamorphoses into English verse and thus produced the first classical work on our soil and who also, in spite of being in a new country where all was surrounded by the clash of neighboring arms nevertheless sowed the seeds of the humanities which we now see flourishing throughout a vast Continent.

Therefore in his honor this monument is dedicated.


In Memory Of

Major General Daniel Gookin

AD 1612 - 1687

A Planter of Virginia and later a Pillar of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay.  As Soldier, A Statesman and Above all a Constant Friend and Guardian of the Native Americans of New England.

This Tablet is placed here by the Massachusetts Society of the Colonial Dames of America.


In Memory Of

Master Richard Bucke


1573 - 1623

Educated at Cambridge University, he came to Virginia in 1610 with Lord De La Warr and served the Colony for 14 years.  He officiated at the Marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe in 1614.  He served as Chaplain to the First Representative Legislative Assembly in the New World which convened in the church here July 30, 1619.

All the Burgesses took their places in the Quire till a prayer was said by Mr. Bucke, the Minister that it would please God to guide and sanctifie all our proceedings to his owne glory and the good of this plantation.

This plaque erected by Mrs. William Curry Harllee and Family 1964



This Stone Commemorates

Princess Pocahontas or Matoaka

Daughter of the mighty American Chief Powhatan.  Gentle and humane, she was the friend of the earliest struggling English Colonists, whom she nobly rescued, protected and helped.

On her conversion to Christianity in 1613 she received in Baptism the name Rebecca and shortly afterwards became the wife of John Rolfe, a settler in Virginia.  She visited England with her husband in 1616, and was graciously received by Queen Anne, wife of James I.  In the twenty second year of her age, she died at Gravesend, England, while preparing to revisit her native country, and was buried there, at St. George's Church on March 21st, 1617.

01/25/2009 09:40:51 PM

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