Cape Henry Memorial Cross
HERE AT CAPE HENRY FIRST LANDED IN AMERICA, UPON 26 APRIL 1607, THOSE ENGLISH COLONIST WHO, UPON 13 MAY 1607, ESTABLISHED AT JAMESTOWN VIRGINIA, THE FIRST PERMANENT ENGLISH SETTLEMENT IN AMERICA.
Upon this inscription rest a granite cross erected in 1935 by the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists, in memory of the wooden cross erected by the English colonists in 1607.
According to George Percy, one of the early settlers, "The nine and twentieth day we set up a corss at Chesupioc Bay, and named the place Cape Henry."
Harpers Ferry Center image, NPS
After a voyage of almost four and half months the settlers first sighted the coast of the North American continent on the 26th of April. They entered the Chesapeake Bay landed a few men and explored. George Percy writes: "There wee landed and discouered a little way: but wee could find nothing worth the speaking of, but faire meddowes and goodly tall Trees; with such Fresh-waters running through the woods, as I was almost rauished at the first sight thereof."
But is was not all uneventful. That same night just before they were to head back to the ships "there came the Sauages creeping vpon all foure, from the Hills, like beares; with their Bowes in their mouthes: charged vs very desperately in the faces, hurt Captaine Gabrill Archer in both his hands, and a sayler in two places of the body very dangerous. After they had spent their Arrowes, and felt the sharpnesse of our shot; they retired into the Woods with a great noise, and so left vs."
The colonist will explore for the next several days and on the 29th of April will raise a wooden cross upon the sands and Reverend Robert Hunt will lead the colonist in prayer for a safe arrival to this new land.
Did You Know?
A replacement cast iron lighthouse was built at Cape Henry near the original lighthouse in 1881. It is 165 feet high, nearly twice as high as the old lighthouse. Its light can be seen as far as 19 miles from shore.