Virginia History Series
Historical Hall of Fame: John White (c. 1540 – c. 1593) was an English artist and an early pioneer who documented English
efforts to settle the New World.
In 1585 John White, the artist, worked with Thomas Harriot throughout the Roanoke region to make a visual record that complemented
Harriot's written account of the environment and its inhabitants. White created probably hundreds of drawings of the area's indigenous
peoples, as well as of plants, animals,and birds, of which only seventy-five survive.
In 1587, Raleigh dispatched another group
of 150 colonists to establish a colony somewhere on Chesapeake Bay. They were led by John White. They were ordered to gather
Grenville's men who were left at Roanoke, and they arrived there on July 22, 1587. They found nothing except a skeleton that may have
been the remains of one of the garrison. The fleet's commander, Simon Fernandez, refused to let the colonists re-board the ships,
insisting that they establish the colony on Roanoke. After more trouble with local indians, White returned to England for help
leaving 115 colonists including his daughter and grandchild "Virginia Dare" -- the first English child born in the Americas.
of the continuing war with Spain, White was not able to mount another resupply attempt for three more years. White returned
on August 18, 1590, but found the settlement deserted. His men could not find any trace of the 90 men, 17 women, and 11 children,
nor was there any sign of a struggle or battle. Thereafter, this colony was known as the "Lost Colony".
.In 1590, Theodor De
Bry published Harriot's A Briefe and True Report in four languages—Latin, German, French and German—together with engravings based
on White’s maps and drawings of Native Americans, shaping the European conception of the New World for centuries. White’s surviving
watercolors did not become public until the nineteenth century and were published only in the twentieth century. The originals reside
in the British Museum.
Family of John White from "Baptism of Virginia Dare".