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Mayor of Bideford attempts to rewrite American history

The Mayor of Bideford, a small port town in north Devon, England, is attempting to prove that people from his town settled in America 30 years before the Pilgrim’s set sail.

Andy Powell hopes to find funds for DNA tests that might help demonstrate Bideford’s “pivotal” role in the history of modern America. If he can find the proof, the town might find itself at the centre of a tourism boom.

At the centre of the saga is the story of the “lost colony”, a tale better known in the US than in Britain. In 1587 Sir Walter Raleigh organised a colonial expedition of settlers including a governor, John White. Powell said it was thought that the fleet set sail from Bideford on 8 May and reached Roanoke Island, just off the coast of what is now North Carolina, in July.

Friendly relations were established with the Croatoan Native Americans, and the fleet sailed back to England. The following year a new fleet was preparing to return to Roanoke when it was diverted to fight the Spanish armada. When White finally returned in 1590 the settlement was deserted, with no sign of a struggle or battle.

Powell said one clue as to what might have happened to the settlers was the word “Croatoan” carved into a post. He said this suggested the settlers had joined the native Americans. Over the next few years there were stories of blue-eyed Native Americans, fields organised in the British style and a sighting of white men beating copper with the Indians.

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2 thoughts on “Mayor of Bideford attempts to rewrite American history

  1. From my website:
    Toni has additional American Indian heritage that is documented through the records of the Dawes Commission and the Guion Miller Rolls [see drop-down – “Dawes Commission Documentation”]. He shares this lineage with all of the descendants of his second great-grandfather Preston Ford SOUTHERN. This lineage traces to the Cherokee Indians of Robeson Co., NC, known today as the Lumbee, who claim descent from the Lost Roanoke Colony. In 1603, Toni’s ancestor, Richard HARRISON was the master’s mate aboard the Adventurer, which was sent in search of the lost colony. In that endeavor he was killed by Indians – becoming the first known white person killed by Indians in the Colony of Virginia. His HARRISON descendants were destined to include a signer of the American Declaration of Independence and two presidents of the United States of America. [SCA #900000375]

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