The English were excellent shipbuilders, and in the new land waterways were the best means of travel. On April 27, 1607, the very day after the Jamestown colonists landed at Cape Henry, some of the settlers began to build or assemble small boats as carriers for people or small animals. George Percy, one of the original settlers, reported that it was completed and launched, and on April 28 one of the small vessels sailed. Some of the early records kept by the settlers indicated they had built some of the small vessels from the very beginning of Jamestown. Constructed by English shipwrights and carpenters, who had no peers, the small vessels afforded the only means of transportation through the uncharted wilderness and were needed for fishing, trade, and exploration of the other lands around.
We know that at Jamestown, where there has been excavation done near the Back River near Frigate Landing, the first ships of commerce were built, including Shallops (they were small boats). They also built fishing boats and barges to hold larger loads. Rusty remnants of tools were discovered on the island as late as 1955. The shipbuilders spent time making landings of different sizes because at that point they didn't know who knew about the country. For centuries the rivers of America have been an important arteries of travel and commerce.
By the summer of 1676, Bacon and his men were solidly opposed to the Royal Governor Sir William Berkeley. My sixth great grandfather was a man of very devout rules. By August, the men had began to take sides. There was unease and resentment against the tyrannical government of Royal Governor Berkeley, and the ravages of the Indians on the frontier reached a climax in 1676, when rebellion broke out in Virginia and was led by Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. Mr. Bacon was determined to make the governor grant him a commission to fight the Indians, and later he turned against Berkeley. Bacon marched his military through Jamestown and burned the capital and the church. He had taken over Jamestown by then. Until his death in October, he had become the tyrant of the colony. In one of the papers found later about the event, it was said, "In a few days they concerted the burning of the towne and...laid the whole town (with church, state house in ashes)" and pillaged Green Springs, Berkeley's home. In October Bacon became ill and died. Without a leader, the rebellion collapsed.
Just 175 years later, the struggle against tyranny was renewed and America finally won its independence!
Next Week: A Symbol of America's Birthplace. I welcome all comments, suggestions, and inquires at firstname.lastname@example.org attn: Ms. Sylvia.