The Lost Colony at Roanoke

Updated: Feb 7

In the year 1584, two ships sailed across the Atlantic looking for a suitable settlement in which the English could stake their claim of land in North America. The ships, sent by Walter Raleigh, landed off the coast of North Carolina on Roanoke Island, a region rumored to be rich in silver and gold. The land appeared fertile and green and the natives were hospitable, so the ships returned to England and delivered their report. Full of hope, Raleigh requested permission from Queen Elizabeth to start a colony there and name it "Virginia" in her honor, since the unmarried queen was known as the "Virgin Queen". Permission was granted and Raleigh sent about a hundred men to Roanoke to form a colony.

The colonists soon found that not only were the rumors of gold and silver false, but the soil was too sandy to farm. When their crops failed, the desperate men raided the fields of the Indians, prompting hostility. Finally, they withdrew and sailed back to England. They had been at Virginia less than a year.


Undeterred, Raleigh gathered a second group of colonists in 1587 to make a second attempt. This time he sent women and children along with the men - about 120 people. After the long voyage and delivering the colonists to Roanoke, the ship went back to England for supplies and because of the threat of the Spanish Armada, all worthy ships were required to stay in English ports for a time. When they were finally permitted to leave again, they returned to find the settlement at Roanoke destroyed and the settlers no where to be found. Their fate remains a mystery.

Following is a list of the people of the "Lost Colony" at Roanoke (sorted by last name):


*Allen, Morris

Archard, Arnold

Archard, Joyce (woman)

Archard, Thomas (child)

Arthur, Richard

*Bailie, Roger ("Assistant")

*Bennet, Marke

Berde, William

*Berrye, Henry (or Berry)

*Berrye, Richard (or Berry)

Bishop, Michael

Borden, John

*Bridger, John

Bright, John

*Brooke, John (or Brooks)

*Brown, Henry

*Browne, William

Burden, John

*Butler, Thomas

*Cage, Anthony

*Chapman, Alis (or Charman?, a woman)

*Chapman, John

*Cheven, John

Clement, William

*Colman, Thomas

*Colman, ___ (woman)

*Cooper, Christopher ("Assistant")

Cotsmur, John

*Dare, Ananias ("Assistant")

*Dare, Elyoner (woman)

*Dare, Virginia (born at Roanoke)

Darige, Richard

Dorrell, Henry

Dutton, William

Earnest, John

Ellis, Robert (child)

Ellis, Thomas

English, Edmond

Farre, John

Fernando, Simon ("Assistant")

Florrie, Charles

Gibbes, John

Glane, Elizabeth (woman)

*Gramme, Thomas (or Graham/Graeme)

*Harris, Thomas

*Harris, Thomas

*Harvie, Dyonis ("Assistant")

*Harvie, Margery (woman)

*Harvie, __ (born at Roanoke)

Hemmington, John

Hewet, Thomas

*Howe, George ("Assistant")

*Howe, George (woman)

Humfrey, Thomas (child)

Hynde, James

*Johnson, Henry

*Johnson, Nicholas

*Jones, Griffen

*Jones, Jane (woman)

*Jones, John

Kemme, Richard

*Lasie, James

Lawrence, Margaret (woman)

*Little, Peter

*Little, Robert

*Lucas, William

Mannering, Jane (woman)

Manteo, a "savage" from England

*Martyn, George (or Martin)

Merrimoth, Emme (woman)

Myllet, Michael

Mylton, Henry

Newton, Humfrey

Nicholes, William

*Pattenson, Hugh

*Payne, Henry (or Paine)

*Payne, Rose (woman)

Phevens, Thomas

*Pierce, Jane (woman)

Powel, Edward

*Powell, Winnifred (or Wenefred, a woman)

Prat, John (woman)

Prat, Roger ("Assistant")

Rufoote, Henry

*Sampson, John ("Assistant")

*Sampson, John (child)

*Scot, Thomas

Shaberdge, Richard

Smart, Tomas (child)

*Smith, Thomas

Sole, William

Spendlove, John

Starte, John

*Stevens, Thomas ("Assistant")

Stilman, John

Sutton, Martyn

Tappan, Audry (woman)

Taverner, Richard

Tayler, Hugh

*Taylor, Clement

Tomkins, Richard

Topan, Thomas

Towaye, a "savage" from England

Tydway, John

*Viccars, Ambrose (child)

*Viccars, Ambrose

*Viccars, Elizabeth (woman)

Warner, Thomas

Warren, Joan (woman)

Waters, William

*White, Cutbert

*White, John ("Governor")

Wildye, Richard

*Wilkinson, Robert

*Willes, William

*Wood, Agnes (woman)

Wotton, Lewes

*Wright, John

Wyles, Brian

Wyles, John

Wythers, William (child)


The Governor, John White, and ship captain, Simon Fernando, returned to England. George White, an Assistant to Governor White, was killed by Indians soon after the colonists arrived.


Many of the other names were found among the Indians in Robeson County, North Carolina, as late as 1888 and "the traditions of every family bearing the name of one of the lost colonists, point to Roanoke as the country of their ancestors". These names are indicated with an asterisk ("*") in the list above.


Sources and further reading:

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