Salty as the Sea–Sweet as Wine–Another Story from Jamestown


Back to Jamestown and Unearthing Yet Another Notable Ancestor

Because of my ancient Bolling family lineage, I have long been following anything and everything published related to Pocahontas, her marriage to Thomas Rolfe, their cultural and genealogical histories in England and Virginia.  Among the vast resources available, I also have followed the archaeological endeavors of Dr. William Kelso, director of archaeology on the Jamestown Rediscovery Project, at the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities ( APVA )–now known as Preservation Virginia.

In recent weeks. Dr. Kelso unearthed the remains of Captain Gabriel Archer, in the old church yard in Jamestown, along with three other leaders of the colony.  When I checked my ever-growing ancestral tree I saw that Captain Archer is yet another relative of mine related to me by a 2nd cousin several generations removed.  My intention was to write a post about Dr. Kelso’s recent discovery and detail Captain Archer’s life cut short in Jamestown. However, valuable information is already readily available and I see no need for me to “reinvent the wheel,”  so I am sharing a video, Gabriel Archer’s time line, and excerpts from an article by Patrick G. Duffeler, Owner and Chairman of Williamsburg Winery, who shares his connection to Captain Gabriel Archer.

The Video that Details the July 2015 Archaeological Find by Dr. Kelso and Crew (3:59):

1Time Line

  • ca. 1574 – Gabriel Archer is born in Mountnessing, Essex County, England.
  • ca. 1591 – Gabriel Archer matriculated at Saint John’s College, Cambridge University.
  • March 15, 1593 – Gabriel Archer begins studies at Gray’s Inn.
  • March 26, 1602 – An English colonizing expedition, led by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, departs Falmouth on the ship Concord. Twenty colonists and a dozen crewmembers are aboard.
  • May 14, 1602 – The English ship Concord, commanded by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, anchors off a peninsula that Gosnold names Cape Cod. He later names Martha’s Vineyard for his late daughter, before establishing a small colony on Cuttyhunk Island.
  • June 18, 1602 – The English ship Concord, commanded by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, sails to England after its exploration of the New England coast.
  • Late 1606 – Gabriel Archer enrolls in the Virginia Company of London’s expedition to establish a colony in what is known as South Virginia.
  • April 26, 1607 – Jamestown colonists first drop anchor in the Chesapeake Bay, and after a brief skirmish with local Indians, begin to explore the James River.
  • May 13, 1607 – The Jamestown colonists select a marshy peninsula fifty miles up the James River on which to establish their settlement.
  • May 26, 1607 – While Christopher Newport and a party of colonists explore the James River, an alliance of five Algonquian-speaking Indian groups—the Quiyoughcohannocks, the Weyanocks, the Appamattucks, the Paspaheghs, and the Chiskiacks—attacks Jamestown, wounding ten and killing two.
  • May 28, 1607 – After an Indian attack, the settlers at Jamestown begin building a fort.
  • June 10, 1607 – Finally released from arrest, John Smith takes his seat as a member of the Council.
  • June 15, 1607 – English colonists complete construction of James Fort at Jamestown.
  • June 22, 1607 – Christopher Newport departs from Jamestown for England, carrying a letter to the Virginia Company of London that exaggerates the Virginia colony’s commercial possibilities.
  • September 10, 1607 – Council members John Ratcliffe, John Smith, and John Martin oust Edward Maria Wingfield as president, replacing him with Ratcliffe. By the end of the month, half of Jamestown’s 104 men and boys are dead, mostly from sickness.
  • January 2, 1608 – John Smith returns to Jamestown after being held captive by Powhatan. Only thirty-eight colonists survive, Smith’s seat on the Council is occupied by Gabriel Archer, and the Council accuses Smith of killing his companions. Smith is sentenced to hang, but charges are dropped when Christopher Newport arrives with the first supplies from England.
  • April 10, 1608 – Aboard the John and Francis, Christopher Newport leaves Jamestown for England. Among those with him are Gabriel Archer, Edward Maria Wingfield, and the Indian Namontack.
  • Summer 1608 – While in England, Gabriel Archer probably supplies the Virginia Company with copies of his reports of the colony at Jamestown.
  • August 11, 1609 – Four ships reach Jamestown from England: Unity, Lion, Blessing, and Falcon. Two others are en route; two more wrecked in a storm; and one, Sea Venture, was cast up on the Bermuda islands’ shoals.
  • August 31, 1609 – In his last surviving letter, Gabriel Archer describes his most recent voyage to Virginia and attacks the leadership of John Smith.
  • October 1609 – John Smith leaves Virginia. The Jamestown colony’s new leadership is less competent, and the Starving Time follows that winter.
  • November 1609 – Powhatan Indians lay siege to Jamestown, denying colonists access to outside food sources. The Starving Time begins, and by spring 160 colonists, or about 75 percent of Jamestown’s population, will be dead from hunger and disease. This action begins the First Anglo-Powhatan War (1609–1614).
  • Winter 1609–1610 – Gabriel Archer dies on an unrecorded date during the Starving Time at Jamestown.
  • 1625 – Samuel Purchas publishes Gabriel Archer’s account of Bartholomew Gosnold’s New England expedition of 1602 

Gabriel Archer Celebrated by Patrick G. Duffeler, Founder and Chairman, Williamsburg Winery – August 7, 2015:

Williamsburg Winery

Captain Gabriel Archer was born in 1575 and grew up in Mountnessing, Essex, about 25 miles from London. He attended Cambridge University and then Grays Inn, where he studied law. Archer had been part of an expedition in 1602 on the coast of “Northern Virginia”, what would later be called New England. He had written a then widely read account of that trip. He had been an enthusiastic proponent of the Virginia Colony and had been named co-captain of the Godspeed, the lead ship of three vessels that brought the men that founded the first permanent settlement in the New World in 1607. They were establishing a colony for the Virginia Company, a private venture under a Royal Charter.

Archer wanted to locate the settlement at the mouth of a creek, on a piece of land that he intended to name Archer’s Hope. “Hope” in the words of the period referred to an “opening or hollow amongst hills”.  However, Captain John Smith, overruled Archer and placed the settlement instead on “Jamestowne” Island.  The creek became known as Archer’s Hope Creek and later, College Creek, (as it finds its source behind the College of William & Mary that was chartered in 1693).

Subsequently, Archer was named as the first secretary of the colony but initially was not appointed to the governing council. He was a fierce critic of Captain John Smith and other leaders and was one of the principles involved in deposing the first president of the colony, Edward Maria Wingfield.

After Smith was sent home a few months later, Archer was one of the most important of the leaders remaining.  He returned to England in 1608 and sailed back again to Virginia a year later with the fleet that was damaged and scattered by a major hurricane in the Atlantic. He was on one of the ships that survived the crossing and arrived at Jamestown in August 1609. He died in 1609 or 1610 during the terrible Winter known as “The Starving Time”.  His burial within the church’s chancel demonstrates that his status was recognized among the settlers even during a time of great stress. He was only 35.

About 400 Years Later…

I was raised with an appreciation for history.  Our historical research had led my wife, Peggy, and I, to talk to many historians and archeologists, and we discovered the treasures of the land and its chronicle from 1607 to the twentieth century. But, in January 1982,  when we first walked on that acreage where Captain Gabriel Archer had recommended the colonists settle, it was bitterly cold. Yet, the farm grounds were beautiful and inspiring. After many visits to other farms, we decided to acquire what we later, after considerable historical research, would find was not just Jockey’s Neck Farm, as it was then called, but Archer’s Hope. In the meantime, we had named our project, our farm, Wessex Hundred…from our family’s early origins…

Wessex Hundred became home to the Williamsburg Winery in 1987 and later to its diverse operations:
Wedmore Place, a 28 room country hotel, the Café Provencal, a fine dining restaurant; and, right across from the winery itself, the Gabriel Archer Tavern, a farm-to-fork, informal, dining establishment opened in ’87 with the focus on “Delicious Simplicity”.

Gabriel Archer and his preference to place the first settlement on our farm loomed large and was, in many respects, inspiring.  So much so, in fact, that Peggy and I deeded the land that would have been “Archer’s Hope” (and can now be seen from the Colonial Parkway, a roadway between Williamsburg and Yorktown) into Conservation Easement.  We chose not to build on that land to protect the historical vista.  This site is now identified by a state historic highway marker.



In 1991, we decided to name our first “reserve” wine, a red blend of different Vinifera varietals, the “Gabriel Archer Reserve”. Descendants of Gabriel Archer living in Richmond, VA contacted us and expressed an interest in our activities both in the sense of their interest in wines, but more importantly about our research on the history of our farm.

The wine became the flagship of our product range.  Friends of the winery have written to us about how well the ’93 vintage has aged and bested some top Bordeaux first growth wines in tastings. The most recent news was that the Gabriel Archer Reserve received wonderful ratings by none other than Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Both the 2009 and 2010 received a 90 point rating.
Almost 25 years after the first vintage of the Gabriel Archer Reserve, the history of the man has come to life in a bright light.

 

Cheers to Gabriel Archer
Enjoy Life,

Patrick G. Duffeler
Founder & Chairman

 


1Quinn, D. B., the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Gabriel Archer
(ca. 1574–ca. 1610). (2015, August 10). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Archer_Gabriel_ca_1574-ca_1610.

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