Beechland and the Lost Colony by Philip S. McMullan, Jr.
Back Cover Reads:
"In 1587, one hundred seventeen men, women and children simply disappeared and became known as THE LOST COLONY.
Sir Walter Ralegh's attempt to settle Virginia remains on of the greatest mysteries of early American history. John White, the colony's governor, described how the colonists were forced to remain on Roanoke Island when their intended destination was Chesapeake Bay. There they were abandoned and became lost to history after the Spanish Armada caused their resupply ships to be diverted.
However, significant evidence suggests that they intentionally relocated inland and that Ralegh, at least, kept in touch with them. They continued the alliance they had formed with the Croatan tribe and, for at least ten more years, supplied Ralegh with valuable commodity Sassafras. They chose Beechland, a protected sassafras site about fifty miles into the mainland, in order to prevent the Spaniards (and potential competitors) from finding them. This profitable venture ended when Ralegh lost his patent and his head after the death of Queen Elizabeth. In this scenario, the so-called Lost Colonists were not lost but were finally abandoned when Ralegh could no longer send ships to them.
Evidence for the colonists' movement was found in original accounts, native alliances, oral histories, naming patterns, archaeological remnants and reanalysis of early maps. A thorough archaeological investigation of the site might yield the crucial clues to resolves the longstanding mystery of what became of the majority of the lost colonists."
Philip S. McMullan, Jr., is a native of historic Edenton, North Carolina, and has been immersed in the colonial history of his state since childhood. Despite his early interest in history, he spent much of his career as a research scientist with RTI International in the newly created Research Triangle Park in 1960. After retirement, he researched the history of Beechland and its possible relationship to the abandoned. He prepared this thesis as a part of obtaining his Masters of History at North Carolina State University. He has taught World History and American History for the Gateway to College Program at the College of the Albemarle since 2007.