Thursday, April 28, 2016

X Is for X Marks the Spot

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:



I'm going to be honest. X sucks! I think it sucks for almost everyone, every year. So this year I'm fudging a little and use a term that is attached to treasure maps.



So far this month I've covered missing people, missing airplanes, and even a vanishing boat...but the case of the missing colony may be the largest group I've covered so far. The Roanoke Colony was settled in 1585, during a time when Europeans were beginning to settle in Virginia.



Soon after the colony was established, the settlers were running out of food and tools. John White, who had been named governor of the area, volunteered to travel back to England to get the supplies they needed. He said he'd be back the next year.


A picture of a ship similar to John White's.

He left his wife, his daughter, and his grandaughter, who was the first baby born in the New World to English parents.



Unfortunately, John White encountered several obstacles. It was a full three years before he returned to Roanoke. When he arrived, the area was completely deserted. The only clue was a word carved into a tree: "Croatoan."



Croatoan was the name of a nearby island, as well as a Native American tribe in the area. Over the years, several clues have arisen that might answer the mystery. Recent archaeological finds suggest the colonists may have split into two groups, settling into two Native American colonies. These finds include items that were distinctly European and unlikely to have belonged to Native Americans.




Unfortunately, John White never located his family in his lifetime, although he never gave up searching.

Do you believe the colonists simply relocated? Or did they meet with some sort of tragic end?

⬅️ W Is for the Woolpit Green Children

46 comments:

  1. Interesting they are starting to find clues. You would think the colonists would have left more behind to explain where they went.

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    1. Right? Especially since the man's wife and child were part of them. It sounds like they had to leave in a hurry.

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  2. It is weird they simply vanished. Even weirder the only clue was one word. Perhaps while they were carving they could have carved a bit more? I think they probably relocated. How many people are we actually talking about? Depending on how friendly the natives were, it's also possible they were simply wiped out. Waiting three years for supplies could have made them desperate, desperate enough to relocate without waiting. Perhaps thinking after the first year, he was not coming back or his ship hand sunk.

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    1. I guess they wanted to leave a clue that their explorer could interpret but not the Native Americans...but apparently the explorer didn't get it, either.

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  3. I'd like to think that since the group had little food and supplies, the Native Americans took them in.

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    1. I'm no history expert, but I believe the Native Americans and colonists weren't exactly friendly toward each other...but history tends to paint everything in absolutes.

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  4. I was anxious to see what you'd be using for X. It's such a tricky letter.

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    1. It's never an easy one, but I made it! I can't even remember what I did for X the other years I did this challenge!

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  5. I think X marks the spot is very cool. I thought of that but then couldn't think up anything cool enough to write about. I'm glad I left that to your expertise. Great 'vanishing' post! Thanks Stephanie.

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    1. Yeah, X is just a huge bear every year. Z isn't too easy, but X is the worst!

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  6. X marks the spot works! I think the colonists resettled elsewhere. Or aliens took them. You know, the logical possibilities! ;)

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    1. Aliens...or they're in that land of chocolate someone mentioned the other day!

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  7. I bet the colonists were attacked by indians.

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  8. I've always been intrigued by this particular mystery. There are so many theories. I'd like to think that they relocated with the Indians, possibly after a difficult winter or perhaps a sickness that forced them to leave their colony.

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  9. I like this X choice--such a fascinating piece of history. It's possible they did meet with a bad end and their belongings were taken by the Indians, but it would be nice if they were assimilated into the other culture.

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  10. X on a treaure map takes me back to childhood. Oh the mystery. As for those colonists I think the natives won that battle.

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  11. Yes, the letter X is wicked. You made a great choice. It's sad what happened. Imagine never seeing your family again and not knowing what happened to them. Another of those unsolved mysteries. I hope the assimilated with other people. The alternative is too gruesome to think about.

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  12. I always was intrigued by this mystery. Virginia Dare was that first baby, and I always toyed with the idea that she lived. She WAS a baby and some of these attacks left women and children alive.

    They were likely attacked. Maybe taken elsewhere and killed by Natives. Beverly above mentioned assimilation, and that's a hopeful idea if there was any!

    X was hard, but you managed to pull it off superbly, Stephanie! ^^

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  13. Those were cruel times. I'm guessing something bad happened to all of them. It's a mystery that will probably never be solved.

    You did a fabulous job with 'x'.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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  14. I've seen a few TV shows discuss this mystery and try to uncover more clues. It's a fascinating mystery.

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  15. I'm familiar with this story. So interesting. I wonder what really happened.

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  16. I believe that some met a bad end-usually the men but I also believe that some may have been taken in by the natives. I had read that some natives many, many years later, had blue eyes

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  17. Sadly, it seems to me that finding European artifacts within Native American sites could just as easily point to the colonists having been killed and their possessions taken. But I would love to believe that the opposite is true and that the tribes took in the starving band of colonists!

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  18. Great post, Stephanie. Sad story in this country's history. I believe they met a tragic end, at least the vast majority. Want to hope some were spared, but it's hard to images that story wouldn't have made it out somehow.
    Silvia @
    https://silviatomasvillalobos.wordpress.com/

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  19. I love historical mysteries so I'm glad you picked this one for 'x'. I always thought they were taken into the local tribes especially after being short on supplies and how long it was before the ship returned. But I think it's possible that the natives exchanged them with tribes further interior since that sort of thing happened a lot when it came to warring tribes and they wouldn't feel all that loyal to the European settlers.

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  20. There's a lot of fudging on the A to Z Challenge when it comes to the letter Z!

    And I find Roanoke fascinating - I have since the first time I heard about it in school.

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  21. Wow this is so interesting and sad. Poor guy, to lose them all like that and never find them. Most likely they were taken and who knows...

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  22. I love this historical tidbit and have read a lot of random theories about it. I'm pretty inclined to think they were absorbed elsewhere or died off, there have been some fun takes on what happened to them in novels!

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  23. A PERFECT post for the difficult 'X'. I'm with you, it's my least favorite letter to write to.
    I particularly liked this, because I live in Roanoke. But, the one in Texas, not Virginia. I've heard it told that when they were building the railroads, someone was from the one in Virginia & liked the name that they christened our town with the same.

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  24. First of all, I think you did a great job using X in this manner. No fudge at all. Second, since I live in Virginia, this is a story I've heard about all my life. It's a fascinating mystery (and quite tragic...I mean the man never found his family!) and one that I would love to see solved. It seems possible that they split up for various reasons, but it's a little disconcerting that not one of them was ever found alive. I hate to say it, but it was probably a tragic ending for this colony.

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  25. One of the reasons we might not know much is that they didn't even start excavations at the sight till the 1940s, but since then, I think they've found things as far south as Hatteras that are somehow linked to the early colonists.

    On one of our vacations, I made the whole family go with me as I tracked down an author who had just written a book on the subject. This is one of those historical events (Titanic, Romanovs, Amelia Earhart...) that I've always obsessed over.

    Great post, Stephanie!

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  26. Excellent effort, Stephanie! This is a great post:-) I think the colony did split up but not likely voluntarily. It would explain why European artifacts were found among those of the native Americans.

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  27. Maybe there weren't many left by the time they split, especially if they'd fallen on hard times. Interesting idea to think they might have been adopted into nearby native American colonies.

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  28. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to be out of touch for so long. And how tragic that they were never reunited.

    X is my favorite, by the way. :)

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  29. I'm not sure what to make of this one, but whatever happened, it's very sad that John was never reunited with his family :(
    Debbie

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  30. Great choice! I could never be out of touch for so long, I'd go batty!

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  31. X can be tricky. I used it to show movies I thought were disappointing or awful. Your use of it Steph is pretty cool. Betty over at A bench with a View actually came up with a pretty good X word. She's clever.

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  32. It's a fascinating subject, unfortunately, I lean toward the tragic end.
    Good one on X Marks the Spot!

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  33. I heard this story forst when I was a little kid and it has fascinated me ever since. I think that the colonists, at least some survived and ended up with the natives.

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  34. Thank you for stopping by my blog so much for Blogging from A to Z!

    Piper Presley

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  35. X Marks the Spot works :) I have heard of Roanoke before, but I did not know they found some new clues. I'll be positive with this one and say I think they did split up with some tribes.

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  36. I hope they relocated, but I wonder?!
    I use to make treasure maps for my brother and his friends-always added the X to mark the spot~

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  37. Good use of X :) I think they probably relocated - if they had come to a sticky end there probably would have been more evidence of it. Poor John White.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  38. I like your use of X marks the spot! I think I've heard this story and the question as to whether they re-located, but nothing was ever heard of them ... strange... an intriguing mystery. Thanks Stephanie!

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  39. X is difficult. You would think there would be more clues

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