Cover image for Searching for Virginia Dare : a fool's errand
Searching for Virginia Dare : a fool's errand
Hudson, Marjorie, 1953-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Wilmington, N.C. : Coastal Carolina Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xvii, 181 pages : illustrations, maps 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F229 .H86 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The disappearance of the infant Virginia Dare, the first English child born on American soil, has dogged historians for more than four centuries. All we know is that she was born, baptized, and abandoned, within a two-week period, on the shores of the Outer Banks. Fiction writers, poets, politicians, and archeologists have all taken stabs at solving the mystery: What became of Virginia Dare and the Lost Colony? Inspired by legends, hoaxes, and reports of blue-eyed Indians, author Marjorie Hudson leaves behind the dusty tomes of the library and begins her quest to find an answer. In her pursuit, Hudson delves into ships' logs, talks to scholars, visits archeological sites, and gets chased up the coast by a major hurricane. Following the trail of Virginia's family, she stumbles upon cotton fields ragged with neglect; the Great Dismal Swamp, "dripping with spotted snakes"; and back roads that lead to towns with names like Waterlily. Undaunted by the appearance of a mystery writer in a white jumpsuit and a matching white helicopter, she continues her search across eastern North Carolina and Virginia.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1587, before Plymouth Rock and Jamestown, three English ships filled with stouthearted men, women and children landed on Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina. Within two months, a child was born Virginia Dare the first baby ever born of English parents on American soil. Less than two years later, Virginia and the rest of the "Lost Colony" had vanished. Their fate continues to fascinate scholars of early America. Did the settlers starve from lack of supplies? Were they killed by Native Americans? Wiped out by a hurricane? Or did some of the colonists survive? These questions drive Hudson's admittedly quixotic quest. Put off by the far-out legends and obsessive theories of her predecessors, Hudson begins her search with no preconceptions. She interviews folklorists and archeologists, studies archival records and personal letters, and examines ancient artifacts, only to find what we already knew: nobody really knows what happened to the settlers. Without a central theory to propel the book forward and create suspense, the narrative meanders and loses its way. Hudson ultimately argues that the mystery and loss surrounding Virginia Dare represent a quintessential American story: "Loss reminds us that life is a mystery; that death lurks beneath the surface of our cheerful days; that everything can change in an instant." Nevertheless, the book, Hudson's first, breaks no new ground for serious historians, and its unusual blend of history, fiction and memoir presents too many threads to keep a reader passionately on the hunt. (Apr.) Forecast: This may have regional interest, but most readers interested in the history of the Roanoke colony will likely prefer last year's Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony by Lee Miller. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Hudson's Journeysp. xvi
Timeline of Significant Eventsp. xvii
Chapter 1 In Search of Virginia Darep. 1
Chapter 2 Stepping into the New Worldp. 11
Chapter 3 The Road to Manteop. 29
Chapter 4 In Search of Rosebudp. 51
Chapter 5 Legendary Roanokep. 71
Chapter 6 The Poetry Ladyp. 83
Chapter 7 In Greenvillep. 101
Chapter 8 What's in a Name?p. 115
Chapter 9 The Road to Robesonp. 133
Chapter 10 Back Homep. 155
Epilogue: In Search of Virginia Darep. 169
Notesp. 175
Selected Bibliographyp. 181