Author: David B. Quinn


Gabriel Archer (ca. 1574–ca. 1610)

Gabriel Archer chronicled an expedition to New England in 1602 and was among the first settlers of the Virginia colony at Jamestown in 1607. Probably born in Essex County, England, Archer attended Cambridge University. In 1602, he joined Bartholomew Gosnold in exploring Cape Cod, or what was then known as North Virginia, and his account of the trip was published posthumously in 1625. It is the first detailed English account of any part of New England. Five years later Archer was wounded in an attack by Virginia Indians upon first landing on the James River, but soon recovered. He joined Christopher Newport in exploring up the river, writing a narrative of that expedition, too. When John Smith returned from captivity among the Indians, Archer sought his execution but Newport intervened in Smith’s favor. Archer returned to England not long after. A second stint in Virginia began in 1609 and included more conflict with Smith, who left the colony in the autumn of 1609. Archer died sometime that winter during the so-called Starving Time.