Saturday, May 26, 2007


Hmm. My earlier post about Jamestown and Plymouth got
this response from Michael Norton at the Jamestown Site

“While wrapping up my coverage of the Quadracentenial, I
ran across this blog post. The author doesn't seem to
appreciate that from Virginia's perspective it is a historical
spitting contest. The North, victorious in the Civil War,
stole the nation's founding myth from its rightful owners.
Virginians want it back.

Notice how the author cleverly skirts the salient fact that
Jamestown was the first English settlement by observing
(correctly) that neither Jamestown nor Plymouth was the
first European settlement. I couldn't help but notice
he didn't write his post in Spanish.

Of course his ancestor mutinied at Jamestown only to land
in Plymouth, an interesting twist to the tale. So consider
the source:…”

and then he goes on to quote my post.

At this late hour, approximately 12:47am, I’m sort of bemused
by this. I’ve never been accused of “cleverly skirting” something
before and it certainly wasn’t my intention in the original post. It
was just a quick thought I had and that I wanted to get posted
on the blog before I went off to the laundromat and forgot about

I’m a bit taken aback.

But ok, then. Jamestown still isn’t the oldest English settlement
in North America. That honor would appear to belong to the
town of St. John’s in Newfoundland founded around 1528 by
English fishermen. I might have to doublecheck that, it is as I
said, late.

It would seem to me that there’s plenty of historical treasures
in beautiful Virginia such as the homes of many of the founding
Fathers as well as places associated in many Americans’ minds
with the Revolutionary and Civil War. And it’s wonderful to
celebrate Jamestown’s 400 years but this obsession with the
idea that Plymouth stole it's rightful place demeans it.

Can’t we all just get along and be proud of each area's


Janice said...


Some folks want to rewrite history in a way that pleases them, and denigrate those who believe and write otherwise. Fortunately for us there are true historians out there who prefer to know the truth of the past--the good, the bad and the ugly. I consider you one of the latter.

You came right out and stated that the currently known story of Plymouth Rock "is 99% myth." Massachusetts has always been extremely good at marketing their historical events... kudos to them.

As far as our nation's founding myth--I believe the Native Peoples (sometimes called American Indians) were here FIRST.


Bill West said...

You know,when I read the article that originally prompted my comments, my first thought was that Native Americans who maybe look at all this publicity & the dispute on who's older & think: "Well, there they go again!"

One of the things that becoming involved in genealogy has done for me is give me a new appreciation for all aspects of our history.

It's an amazing story.

Thanks for the kind words, Janice