Sir Thomas Smythe from Ashford in Kent is a wealthy
London merchant and was Sheriff of the city in 1599; first governor of the East India Company in 1600 and
was knighted in 1603. Now, as a founder member of the London Virginia Company and a member of the ruling Virginia Council
he has been a prime mover in the establishment and financial survival of Jamestown.
Thomas Strange from Cheshire arrived in Virginia
with Captain Newport in 1608 and bravely remained with Powatan as a hostage for an Indian named Nomontack whom Newport took
to England for publicity purposes. Naturally he has become fluent in the Indians’ language so now he is the ‘official’
interpreter for the Virginia Company and the natives.
Another member of the London Virginia Company but this time from Castle Horneck
in Cornwall, is soldier Sir John Borlase. He is not a pioneer Virginia settler but, when visiting Plymouth in the neighbouring
county of Devon, he keeps an eye on his investment, checking all the busy harbour activity there and noting the Virginia-bound
ships being victualled out of the Sutton area warehouses.
In Plymouth Sir Ferdinando Gorges is active again. Three years ago in 1611 Captain
Edward Harlow (1584 Roanoke panel) brought back to Plymouth an Indian from the Cape Cod area. Now Gorges persuades
some associates to finance an expedition to take the Indian back to the Cape to find the gold that the native assures them
is there. “I will point the way.” Fools. They leave England in June but the slippery Indian escapes almost on
arrival so the expedition has to return, frustrated, to England.
In August, Captain John Smith arrives back in Plymouth. He, too,
has been seeking his fortune again in American waters, backed by wealthy merchant Marmaduke Rawson. Smith took two ships,
the other captained by Thomas Hunt. The pair first tried whaling off the coast of today’s New Hampshire but caught none
– not surprising when the species there called Jubartes, are the largest, fastest and fiercest of all known
whales. So, while Hunt concentrated instead on fishing and obtaining furs, Smith explored hundreds of miles along the coast
to produce the first really accurate map of Virginia.