Searching For Virginia Dare

Searching For Virginia Dare
By Marjorie Hudson
Press 53, Lewisville, NC

Reviewed by Keith Jones

The nearly four hundred fifty years since her birth have yielded few additional clues to the ultimate fate of Virginia Dare. That has not stopped New World history scholars as well as North Carolinians in general from being fascinated by this mass disappearance. Virginia Dare was born in 1587 on Roanoke Island in what is now Manteo, North Carolina, making her the first English child born in what was to be become the American colonies. Disease, hunger and other serious shortages caused by their isolation forced the colony to send back to England for help. Upon the return, the colonists were gone with few traces of their existence remaining. As any North Carolinian worth his or her salt knows, one word was carved on a tree, “Croatoan.” The story of Virginia Dare is the story of America’s earliest colony. When Virginia Dare disappeared, all of her neighbors went with her.

In this book, Marjorie Hudson, traces her quest across North Carolina to discover for herself what may have become of the nearly mythical first born of America. But Virginia Dare was not a myth, she was a real person. One who likely had a very short life… or did she? Many theories abound about what became of the “Lost Colony.” Were they slaughtered by the local Indians? Did they move inland to healthier areas that were less disease prone and better suited to raising food crops? If so, did they survive this move and if so, what became of them? These are all questions that Hudson explores in this book.

If you are looking for a dry, “hard hitting” history to help you fall asleep at night this is not it. You see, this is as much a story of a modern woman’s journey of self discovery as it is of her scholarly and journalistic findings. This is a very well written and enjoyable book and from the first chapter, I knew I was in for something good. I wasn’t disappointed.

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