Thursday, October 14, 2021

Have the Lost Colony Cats been found?

photo by Friends of Felines-Cape Hatteras Island
One year after the settlement of the first English Colony, Governor White set sail for England to replenish supplies. Upon arriving in England Governor White became aware of the English Spanish war.

During the English Spanish war, Queen Elizabeth I, required all sea vessels to defend England. It was three long years before Governor White would again set foot on his beloved island.

When Governor White finally reached the settlement he found it abandoned. The only sign found was a tree that had a carving of letters. The letters read "Croa." Governor White had asked the colonist to leave a sign if they had to abandon the settlement. 

Governor White interpreted this carving to mean "Croatan" which is now Hatteras Island. Governor White took comfort in his belief. Due to failing health and lack of support of the crew, Governor White was not able to pursue further exploration and return to England where he died before ever truly knowing what happened to his beloved Lost Colony. Did the Virginia Colony move to Hatteras Island?

Roanoke Island where the Lost Colony was settled was surrounded by brackish water, that limited fishing grounds. Hatteras Island offered the colonist not only the brackish sound waters but the Atlantic Ocean fishing grounds. In addition, Hatteras Island has a much larger landmass for hunting grounds. Did the colonists move to Hatteras Island and take their beloved cats with them?

It was over twenty years later under the rule of King James I, that a permanent English Colony was established. The Jamestown Colony kept records much like the captain of a ship keeps the log of a ship. It is through the records of Jamestown that we get a glimpse as to what may have happened to the Lost Colony.

In reading the records of  Jamestown it is noted that explorers of Jamestown encountered blond-haired blue-eyed natives. Did Governor White's Virginia Colony assimilate into the native Hatteras Island culture? Were these blond-haired blue-eyed natives descendants of the Lost Colony?

Today there is a very large feral cat colony on Hatteras Island. This cat colony has caused much debate among modern-day citizens. It has been estimated by the non-profit organization, Friends of Felines-Cape Hatteras Island, that there are over 3,000 free-roaming feral cats on Hatteras Island. Could this large cat colony on  Hatteras Island be the descendants of the cats brought from England by the first English Colony, the Lost Colony?

If you have not read about how the cats and kitten arrived with the first English Colony, please read  "The Lost Colony's Cats"You can also learn how you can help the colony of cats on Hatteras Island by reading  "National Feral Cat Day on the Outer Banks!"

                                                                                                           Dare Greene

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