Monday, May 17, 2021

The "Lost" Colony

Many of our readers are familiar with the basic story of North Carolina's "Lost Colony." This was the 1587 attempt by Sir Walter Raleigh to establish an English settlement on the coast of the New World in what is now North Carolina. The colony consisted of approximately 150 men, women, and boys that settled on Roanoke Island in July, 1587, under the leadership of artist John White.

On August 18, Virginia Dare, daughter of  White's daughter Eleanor and her husband, colony leader, Ananias Dare, was born, the first English child born in the New World. A few days after his granddaughter's christening, White sailed back to England to hasten and encourage efforts to resupply and reinforce the colony.

When John White returned to Roanoke Island in 1590 the colonists were gone, but White discovered the word "Croatoan" carved on a tree. Croatoan is the name of the island that, at that time, included a small section of the north end of Ocracoke Island, and the southern section of Hatteras Island, including the Buxton village area. (The present day Hatteras Inlet did not open until 1846.) Unfortunately, due to a storm, White was unable to search for the colonists, and his ships returned to England.







You can read a more complete account of the Lost Colony here:

For many years there has been speculation and research about what actually happened to the 1587 colony. An internet search will yield a number of links to articles and books claiming to unravel the tangled story of the "Lost Colony." 

In 1960, Eastern North Carolina native, Marshall Twiford, recounted an intriguing tale about the Lost Colony that had been passed down in his family and community for many generations. Although Ocracoke (Croatoan) is mentioned in Twiford's account, he claims a different story about where the colonists settled. You can read his account in our latest Ocracoke Newsletter: