A New Colony for Families
Raleigh was aware of the trouble that Ralph Lane and his soldiers had caused with the Indians and he didn't want to put the new colonists back into that kind of situation. Also, Roanoke was a small island surrounded by shallow water with no place to anchor large ships. There was not enough farmland to feed a permanent colony. It was clearly not the right place for a 'new' England.
The new colony, Raleigh decided, would be north of Roanoke Island on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, near the modern city of Norfolk, Virginia. There they could make a fresh start and perhaps develop real friendship with the Native people. But first, the ships would stop at Roanoke to check on the 15 men left there by Sir Richard Grenville the year before.
After about two and one-half months of traveling Simon Fernando dropped anchor off the Outer Banks and John White rowed across the sound to the island in a smaller boat to look for the 15 men. He found only a single body. Manteo, who was with him, discovered that all of the English had been killed or driven off to die. The Natives had not forgotten how cruel the English had been to them. Surely, Roanoke Island was not the place to bring English families.
But then a very strange thing happened. Simon Fernando, who had guided the colonists all the way across the ocean and brought them safely to Roanoke, now refused to take them any further. It was too late, he said, to do any more sailing. They would have to stay on Roanoke Island. Nobody knows why Fernando, greatly trusted by Sir Walter Raleigh, did this. Governor John White, who did not like Fernando, believed that the guide wanted to hurry back out to sea. There he could capture a few Spanish treasure ships before heading home for England. It is also possible that Fernando was worried about the dangers of hurricanes in the late summer and early fall. Curiously, Fernando stayed with the colonists for several weeks instead of going back out to sea. Because Fernando didn't leave any written records, his actions can't really be explained.
The colonists made the best of things for a while. They repaired the houses that had been built by Governor Lane's men on the previous trip and tried to learn how to use the foods that grew all around them. With Manteo's help they contacted some of the Natives who were still friendly but another misunderstanding led the colonists to attack these people. They were Manteo's own family! Things were getting worse instead of better.
Not long after, one of the colonists was killed when he wandered away from the English town to catch crabs. Apparently, Wanchese , once a friend to the English, had led the attack. He had returned to his own people to fight against the intruders.
Not everything that happened to the colonists was bad. Just a few weeks after they arrived a baby girl was born to Eleanor and Ananias Dare and they called her Virginia in honor of the new land. Her grandfather was Governor John White! Virginia Dare was the first child born in America to English parents. Another child was born at about the same time but we know only that his last name was Harvey.
Despite the joys of new life the colonists were not at all happy with their situation. They were already running out of food and they were terrified of the Native people. They demanded that Governor White return to England and get some help. They wanted more tools, more food and more people.
Governor White did not want to leave. He did not want to desert his family or leave the colonists without a leader but at last he agreed, and sailed back to England. He waived goodbye to his colony of 87 men, 17 women and 11 children. He did not know it at the time, but he would never see his granddaughter Virginia, his family, or any of the colonists again.