In Bertie County, in northeastern North Carolina, there is a stunningly beautiful golf course that lies along the coast of North Carolina. Researchers and archaeologists have found new clues which indicate under that golf course may lie the remnants of The Lost Colony, America's most haunting historical mystery.
What clues or answers to America's most famous and hauntingly sad mystery lie beneath this golf course -- and how many lost souls wander around on the lush green of the hills and gentle slopes? Are they there still, after more than 400 years, looking out to sea hopefully, watching for John White to return from England?
When John White, governor of Roanoke Colony, returned to England in August of 1587, he had no idea that he would never again see the people of the colony he left behind, including his own daughter and his granddaughter. The colony was in need of more supplies and food. White had hoped to get back to the colony before the hard winter months hit. Yet that was not to be. Due to the English - Spanish war, White was not able to return to the colony for three years.
In the earliest days of English settlements in North America, it was not unusual that colonists were lost, killed, captured, or sometimes just disappeared. However, to have a whole colony of 120 people disappear all at once, with no trace, is quite unusual and still remains a mystery since 1590. That is what happened to Roanoke, the Lost Colony. Roanoke is still lost in time, but not in memory.
So, what could have happened to so many men, women, and children who were never seen again by their families and search parties? There was no sign of a massacre, no dead bodies to be found, no letters or journals, nothing -- there were no leads or traces as to where those people had gone. The only possible clue was the word "Croatan" carved on a tree in the settlement.
When Jamestown was settled in May of 1607, one of Captain John Smith's instructions was to find out what happened to the people at Roanoke Colony. The only possible clue was what Powhatan told Smith, that the settlers were all killed by Powhatan and his warriors because they were living with the Chesapeake tribe. Powhatan had over thirty tribes under his control. The Chesapeake refused to come under the leadership of Powhatan. This angered Powhatan, plus a prophesy by a spiritual leader had indicated that the Chesapeake would rise up and destroy Powhatan and all his tribes. To prevent that from happening, Powhatan attacked and killed off the Chesapeake and all the settlers living with them.
Many believed that Eleanor Dare, Governor John White's daughter, was the one to carve CROATOAN on the tree. Also claimed to be the work of Eleanor were stones carved with messages to John White. These stones were apparently found throughout northern Georgia and the Carolinas. The first stone found told of the death of Eleanor's husband, Ananias, and their baby daughter, Virgina. The message indicated they had been killed by Indians in 1591.
Forty-eight stones in all were claimed to be carved by Eleanor and gave information on the fate of the lost Colonists. These stones were found by various people and made exciting news from 1937 to 1941. Were the stones found at this time? Or were they found at a much earlier time and held on to? Were they authentic and actually carved by Eleanor Dare? Or was it all a hoax to add to the mystery and myths of the legends that sprang up since the disappearances?
One stone, dated 1592, claimed the colonists found a home in Nachoochee Valley in Georgia and lived there in peace. Yet another dated 1598 claimed Eleanor married a King of a tribe and by him had a daughter named Agnes. The death of Eleanor in 1599 was indicated on the last stone. Who had carved that stone?
Speculations abound as to what happened to the people of Roanoke Colony. One speculation, which seems quite feasible, is that the survivors of the colony eventually integrated with a native tribe. The Croatoan tribe, who had always been on friendly terms with the Europeans since the first meeting, lived south of Roanoke Island, and the settlers may have gone there. Yet, it seems likely that if they had, then White and other search parties would have found the colonists.
A very likely possibility is that the colonists were captured by the Spanish Armada and taken to Puerto Rico, where the Spanish base for pirating and warfare was located. Prior to the time that Ralph Lane and the first group of colonists had settled at Roanoke Colony, the English ships anchored in Puerto Rico at the Island of St. Johns on May 12, 1585. They built a fort for the purpose of ship repairs and nail forging then seized two Spanish frigates. Before leaving St. Johns Island, Lane raided a Spanish fort and took with him a large supply of salt. So, it is possible that in retaliation of incidents like that leading up to the war between England and Spain, the Spanish raided Roanoke Colony and took all the colonists and whatever supplies were there.
Since the sixteenth century, there has been a significant loss of land on the north end of the island as the sea reclaimed it. Some experts believe the remnants of the colony may be underwater, others disagree.
There are many who would like the Lost Colony of Roanoke to stay a mystery and allow the lore and legends to remain on the pages of history.
Scotch Hall Preserve Golf Course