Croatoan by Steve Payne
says: what if John White found the Roanoke Colony still populated but
instead something else was dreadfully wrong? Please note that the opinions
expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
In 1590, August 18th: on
this day a relief fleet comprising the Moonlight, Little John, Hopewell, and
other ships commanded by Captain Christopher Newport arrived off the
Chesapeake Bay in present-day North Carolina.
Reuniting with his daughter Eleanor, Governor John White had arrived just
in time to celebrate the third birthday of his grand daughter Virginia
Dare, the first English child born in the Americas. But White's initial
joy soon gave way to deep disquiet. His suspicion that something was very
wrong at Roanoke Colony began as soon as he noticed the word "Croatoan"
carved into a post of the fort and "Cro" carved into a nearby tree.
In fact, during the voyage from England White had greatly feared that upon
his return that he would find the settlement completely deserted. Because
in late 1587 a dispute had developed with the neighboring Croatan tribe. A
fellow colonist Ralph Lane mysteriously disapppeared while searching for
crabs alone in the Albemarle Sound. Fearing for their lives, the Roanoke
Islanders had urged White to return to England to explain the colony's
situation and ask for help. Before he left the colony, White had
instructed them that if anything happened to them, they should carve a
Maltese cross on a tree nearby, indicating that their disappearance had
But the England to which White returned had a much bigger problem than
the future of Roanoke Colony. That problem was called the Spanish Armada.
All suitable vessels were requisitioned for the defence of the country,
delaying his return by three agnosingly long years. Because of these
troubles, by the time he returned to the colony his famously blond hair
had gone completely grey.
During the night White was startled awake by the noise of nearby trees
crashing. Something huge was approaching the colony, and at a truly
frightening high speed. The unidentified source of John White's fears was
about to take a very definite shape.
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