On this day in 1587, Virginia Dare was born on Roanoke Island, inside the Outer Banks of present-day North Carolina. Back then, of course, it was Virginia, and the child was so-named for being the first child born to English parents in the colony. Virginia’s parents were Ananias—a top adviser to Governor John White—and Elinor, the governor’s daughter. And the occasion of the birth must have been miraculous and happy. After all, Elinor managed to survive the transatlantic journey while pregnant, and now three generations celebrated a new beginning in the New World.
Of course, there was the business with George Howe and the sixteen arrows, so not all was well. And Governor White decided to sail back home for supplies, a journey we all know lasted an unexpectedly long three years. But what’s kind of amazing is that it was on this day exactly three years later, in 1590, that John White finally returned to Roanoke to find his daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, not to mention everyone else, disappeared.
It was little Virginia Dare’s third birthday. Was she dead, alive, or somewhere baking cakes? We’ll never know.
IMAGE: Virginia Dare Flavoring Extracts label