In the late sixteenth century, Sir Walter Raleigh established three colonies along the northeastern coast of what is now the state of North Carolina. In July 1587, the third and final settlement, consisting of 120 men, women, and children under the leadership of John White, landed on Roanoke Island, near the present-day community of Nags Head.
With the colonists was Manteo, a Native American of the Algonquian nation and resident of Croatoan who had traveled to London in an earlier expedition to become a liaison between the English and the Native Americans. On August 13, 1587, Manteo was baptized, the first recorded baptism of the Church of England in the American colonies and the first recorded baptism of a Native American person in the Church of England. On August 18, Governor White’s daughter Eleanor and her husband Ananias Dare celebrated the birth of their first child, Virginia. The first child born to English settlers on the North American continent, Virginia’s baptism on August 20 was the second recorded baptism in the Church of England in North America.
Governor White returned England in late August 1587 to obtain badly needed supplies. It was understood that if the colonists were forced to abandon the settlement in White’s absence, they would carve the name of their destination on a tree. If their departure were due to attack, a Maltese cross would be carved beneath. Delayed by events beyond his control, White was unable to return to the colony for three years. It was not until August 18, 1590 that White finally arrived at the site of the village. White found the word “Croatoan,” with no carved cross or other signs of distress, carved into a post of the fort. Little certainty surrounds the fate of the English settlers, who remain known to history as the “Lost Colony.”
Holy Women, Holy Men
Collect for this Remembrance
O God, you have created every human being in your image and each one is precious in your sight: Grant that in remembering the baptisms of Manteo and Virginia Dare, we may grow in honoring your gift of diversity in human life; become stronger in living out our baptismal vow to respect the dignity of every human being; and bring into the fellowship of the risen Christ those who come to him in faith, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
In the light of recent events in Charlottesville, VA (August 12+, 2017) this prayer is very timely. May we who follow Jesus “become stronger in living out our baptismal vow to respect the dignity of every human being” —with the help of God. ~Fr. Dan
Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.
- Manteo and Virginia Dare (Hear the Spirit PDF)
- Baptisms of Manteo, and Virginia Dare (Satucket.com)
- Manteo (NCpedia)
- Virginia Dare (North Carolina History Project)
- What is a Collect?
Image: Satucket Lectionary Page