F Heritage History | Richard of Jamestown by James Otis
Contents 
Front Matter Who I am Left Alone in the World An Idle Boy Captain Smith Comes to London Meeting Captain Smith Captain Smith Speaks to Me Plans of the London Company The Vessels of the Fleet How I Earned my Passage When the Fleet Set Sail The Voyage Delayed Nathaniel's Story We Make Sail Again The First Island Captain Smith Accused Captain Smith a Prisoner I Attend My Master Several Islands Visited A Variety of Wild Game The Tempest The New Country Sighted The Leader Not Known Arrival at Chesapeake Bay An Attack by the Savages Reading the Company's Orders Captain Smith on the Council Smith Remains Aboard Exploring the Country People Land from the Ships Captain Smith Proven Innocent We Who were Left Behind Baking Bread without Ovens Unequal Division of Labor Building a Home of Logs Keeping House Lack of Cleanliness Cave Homes The Golden Fever Ducks and Oysters Roasting Oysters Leaning to Cook The Sweet Potato Root A Touch of Homesickness Master Hunt's Preaching Neglecting the Future Surprised by Savages Strengthening the Fort Sickness and Death Smith Gains Authority Disagreeable Discipline Signs of Rebellion Second Proclamation Building a Fortified Village Trapping Turkeys A Crude Kind of Chimney Cooking a Turkey Candles or Rushlights The Visit of Pocahontas Captain Kendall's Plot Death of Captain Kendall Captain Smith's Expedition An Exciting Adventure Taken Before Powhatan Pocahontas Begs for Smith Captain Smith's Return A New Church Captain Newport's Return Gold-Seekers A Worthless Cargo Condition of the Colony Tobacco Captain Newport's Return Gazing at the Women Hunt Brings Great News Captain Newport's Instructions The Story of Roanoke The Crowning of Powhatan Preparing for the Future Stealing Company Goods What the Thieving Led To Fear of Famine The Unhealthful Location Gathering Oysters Sturgeon for Food Turpentine and Tar Making Clapboards Providing for Children Dreams of the Future A Plague of Rats Treachery During Smith's Absence Captain Smith's Speech The New Laws The Accident Captain Smith's Departure The "Starving Time" Our Courage Gives Out Abandoning Jamestown Lord De la Warr's Arrival The Young Planters

Richard of Jamestown - James Otis




Exploring the Country

When the shallop had been taken out of the hold of the Susan Constant, and put together by the Carpenters, our people explored the shores of the bay and the broad streams running into it, meeting with savages here and there, and holding some little converse with them. A few were found to be friendly, while others appeared to think we were stealing their land by thus coming among them.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

One of the most friendly of the savages, so Nathaniel said, having shown by making marks on the ground with his foot that he wished to tell our people about the country, and having been given a pen and paper, drew a map of the river with great care, putting in the islands and waterfalls and mountains that our men would come to, and afterward he even brought food to our people such as wheat and little sweet nuts and berries.

I myself would have been pleased to go on shore and see these strange people, but not being able to do so save at the cost of leaving my master, I can only repeat some of the curious things which Nathaniel Peacock told me.

It must be known that there was more than one nation, or tribe, of savages in this new land of Virginia, and each had its king or chief, who was called the werowance. I might set down the names of these tribes, and yet it would be so much labor lost, because they are more like fanciful than real words. As, for example, there were the Paspaheghes, whose werowance was seemingly more friendly to our people than were the others.

Again, there were the Rapahannas, who wore the legs of birds through holes in their ears, and had all the hair on the right side of their heads shaven closely.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

It gives them much pleasure to dance, so Nathaniel said, he having seen them jumping around more like so many wolves, rather than human beings, for the space of half an hour, shouting and singing all the while.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

All the Indians smoked an herb called tobacco, which grows abundantly in this land, and I have Nathaniel's word for it that one savage had a tobacco pipe nearly a yard long, with the device of a deer carved at the great end of it big enough to dash out one's brains with.

There is very much more which might be said about these savages that would be of interest; but I am minded now to leave such stories for others to tell, and come to the day when Captain Newport was ready to sail with the Susan Constant and the Goodspeed back to England, for his share in the adventure was only to bring us over from England, after which he had agreed to return.

The pinnace was to be left behind for the use of us who remained in the strange land.

Before this time, meaning the thirteenth day of May, the members of the Council had decided upon the place where we were to build our village. It was to be in the country of the Paspahegh Indians, at a certain spot near the shore where the water runs so deep that our ships can lie moored to the trees in six fathoms.