First, Rachel heads to Cleveland, Tennessee, and shares the tragic tale of Nina Craigmiles and her family — plus the hauntings that followed! Then, Emily visits Dare County, North Carolina to share the history of the Lost Colony of Roanoke and offers some possible explanations for what happened to the 115 colonists. Hopefully, you’re horrified.
Trigger Warning: colonization, child death, hauntings
Hi, welcome to horrible history. I’m Emily Barlean.
And I’m Rachel Everett. Hey, dirty 40 Is that a thing? Or is it only dirty? 30? I don’t know. Dirty 40 doesn’t really rhyme but like, flirty and 40 and thriving.
My birthday is like, this comes out it will have just happened like, days ago. I don’t like to talk about 40 because I’m not. I’m not there yet. I’m not close. Yeah, I’m not even halfway there yet.
As someone six months older than you. I think you should come visit for my birthday. That’s all I’m saying.
yes. decision made I will decision may come in February. Yeah. What how’s your day? Are you okay, so Rachel is hosting a baby shower tomorrow, you guys, which it’s in the past? If you’re listening anyway, whatever.
Yeah. If you’re listening at all,
how are you doing? Are you prepared?
Um, I am prepared. I usually humblebrag type 3. Yeah, I ordered all of the decorations months ago, I have all of the like, cute little it’s a boy stuff I ordered, like 40 cupcakes. And I’m very excited. Only weird thing is I’m hosting it with my ex husband. So that’ll be fun.
So I did not really realize that it’s a co Ed baby shower. It’s a co Ed oh my gosh, mutual friends. That is fun.
So he’ll be doing the grill and I will be doing everything else. But let’s go on to do the grill. grilling. Right, right. The beautiful thing about a baby shower is people are focused on the mom. Yes. Not me with my existing three and four year old that which I will talk about in hot, horrible minute because boy, do I have some stories for you. But I want to know how is your yard work? How is all of the things going? You are like outdoor nesting?
Here I am. It’s like I’m prepping for the winter. I don’t know why it’s like, more like I’m type three to where I’m like parts of my yard are still ugly. And I need to fix threeing all over the place. Yeah, everywhere. Um, so for those of you who haven’t been following along, I don’t know how you would up anyways, but like so. I bought my house. insides gorgeous. They flipped the inside. I bought the house in the winter. When there was like a foot of snow on the ground. You cannot see how horrific all of the yard was like you just saw the ugly fence which you’ve already taken.
The Ugly fence which I was like I can fix events no big deal. Well, the snow melted and I found that every single part of the yard was terrible. So I have put 1000s of dollars into fixing this yard trees removed bushes removed planting flowers digging up. Like today I dug up. I don’t know square footage, surprise, surprise, but like 28 feet long by probably three feet wide worth of like cracked concrete that was like six or seven inches deep. So just like hours of like just shoveling and lifting into a barrel and then like wheeling it back to my garage and like unloading it somewhere else.
You really are preparing to help somebody hide a dead body. Like oh, we’re working the dead body muscles is what you’re doing and shovel like nobody’s
and so then I went to Lowe’s and I, you know, made my little plan for landscaping. Oh, so so I had like, done the backyard. I’ve done the east side of the houses, flower beds, all the south side of the house has flower beds. And then the west side of the house was like the last side that still had cracked up concrete and nothing else. So I removed all of that. And then I’m like, Okay, what am I going to do here and it’s like the side of the house that goes down to the gate that goes to the backyard. Right? So it has to be like, I don’t know, kind of, it can’t just be all flowers like it has to be accessed, like easily maintainable as well easily. And it’s a part of the yard that doesn’t, it just is dead. Like it just doesn’t grow grass very well, because it’s in the shade completely. And like I walk over it all the time.
So I decided I was gonna do like kind of like a half moon flower bed and then a mulched area that has stepping stones in Yeah, it’s really cute so far. It’s gonna be really cute, really easy to maintain. I won’t have to mow or anything back there which is great.
That’s so I went to Lowe’s and I picked up 14 stepping stones there each 32 pounds heavy FYI. I, and then I got 30, like bricks to lay to like go around my bushes and stuff that are existing. And then just like all this stuff, and so I had to load it from the shelf to the cart, and then from the cart to the car. Then I got home and from the car to the ground on the garage. Then like as I’m doing things back to the car and over to the area where I need to work. So I’m like, so sore, my whole body hurts. I just keep thinking, if anyone ever looks at me and is like, why don’t you have a husband? I’m just like, I am my husband.
Like, I don’t need anyone. I’m fine. Teach me your ways Obi Wan.
I will teach you. it just reminded me of that. I don’t know the quote Exactly. But Cher at some point. I think her mom was like, you need to marry a rich man. And she was like, I am a rich man like or whatever. And I was like, that’s me. Like, I don’t even know, man. But yeah, I got halfway done. Tomorrow finish. It’s gonna be good. Yeah, that’s an I’m excited to chat. Tell me where you’re going today.
Well, Emily, thank you so much for asking.
You’re so welcome.
Travel Tips: Cleveland, Tennessee
This week, I’m going to Cleveland, but not in Ohio. I swear I am not going to help. I was going to Ohio for a third time in a row. No, no, no. I am going full on recommendations from our patron Amanda who is
Hi, Amanda. You’re so sweet.
So sweet. She writes us the sweetest messages. So I’m going to tell you ahead of time that she actually gave us a bunch of stories to cover. And if you were more recent than what we generally take on here. So for those of you who are new, Emily and I were born in 1987. So we tend to make our history for the main episode. Post or I’m sorry, pre 1987.
Yeah, it’s history to us prior to our waking knowledge is what’s actually the definition was
we straight up Google the definition of history when we started this podcast because we are nerds and if you have not figured that out yet. Welcome, welcome. So I’m going to be doing the old story the recommendation that she sent us today. And for those of you who are $5 patrons. A more recent story that she sent us is going to be my focus for happy hour. So patreon.com slash horrible history. By first let’s explore the other Cleveland,
Cleveland the other white meat?
Yeah, babies now! So Cleveland, Tennessee is nothing like Cleveland, Ohio. It has the headquarters for the Cherokee national forests. And it boasts a ton of outdoor adventure. So I love camping but I’m bougie. So I definitely want to take an RV or maybe find a cabin.
You camp like Tom on Parks and Rec
exactly that I will bring DJ Roomba like I need electricity, ice cream machine all the comforts of home. But once we’re in the Smoky Mountains, we could go whitewater rafting or hiking which is fun.
I also love the Smoky Mountains.
Oh my god it beautiful, beautiful. Cleveland Tennessee also has a ton of places to eat and drink including a bunch of locally owned coffee shops that look adorable. But I think I would need to check out the international market and bakery which is a little family owned grocery store with a bakery inside and their sweets look so good. So I was creeping on their Instagram and they had all different flavors of macaroons. I saw watermelon, lemon cranberry, you will get where I’m going so it they are adorable. They look so good. So good. But for the morbid curious headed to Cleveland. Yeah, they’re white meat. Make sure you stop to check out the blood stained crypt of Nina Craigmiles.
Story 1 – Nina Craigmiles
And that’s what I’m going to be talking about today. So thank you again, Amanda, for the recommendation. Exciting. Nina Craigmiles was born August 5 1864. So in 1871, she was a sweet seven-year-old girl who loved riding and horse-drawn buggies, like cute horses. On August 18 1871, she was out for a ride with her maternal grandfather, Dr. Gideon Blackburn Thompson. There are lots of fancy names in this episode, so get ready again, when the buggy was hit by a locomotive in downtown Cleveland.
Oh my god by a train. She’s out for a ride to do to do hit by a train. Have you got to h ear that coming? Good lord?
That’s a great question. I don’t know. And because the story is so old, we don’t know exactly what happened. Some people say that grandpa was holding the reins. Other people say that he had let Nina drive that day. Regardless, Nina Craigmiles was killed instantly. Grandpa was thrown from the buggy, but survived. Hmm.
Oh, he must feel terrible.
Yeah, I can’t imagine the guilt that that man felt. Obviously, Nina’s parents were heartbroken. And especially her father. It seemed like Nina was very much a daddy’s girl. And apparently, daddy was loaded. Lots of money. And Nina was an only child for the record. sad, sad, sad. She got everything she wanted, though. Mm hmm. So john Henderson, Craigmiles, bought the land where Nina and actually her mom as well were born, which was just a few blocks from where Nina was killed. Then he commissioned a church to be built on the property. He named it St. Luke’s Memorial Episcopal Church, which is fitting as August eight teen, which was the day Nina died is St. Luke’s Day.
And this will come out on the 19th
Oh, look at that. The church opened on August 18 1874, which was the third anniversary of Nina’s death.Now, as a parent myself, I cannot begin to fathom what it’s like for a parent to lose a child. We’ve talked about it on the podcast before. It is honestly my biggest fear. Yeah, but I think I’m safe to say that what john did next was a little extra. Which is saying a lot considering he built a church. And for the record. He spent $22,000 on the church in 1870s and 1870s money. And then he dropped another 20 grand on an elaborate mausoleum for Nina.
Wow, Daddy does have money loaded. And remember, like you said this was 1874 so I googled the money time converter, but it only went back to 1913. Even still in 1913 that much would have been 1.2 million between the church and the mycelium dam.
So probably a little more than that even Oh, yes. That’s still almost 50 years prior.
Yeah, I like 40 4040 ish. So this mausoleum was ornate. It was like, I can only imagine the 1870s version of like House Hunters or something on HGTV because it was made of white Carrara marble. From Italy Of course,
Love carerra marble.
Everyone does. We’re bougie we know this. It’s the walls were four feet thick. And it spire was over 37 feet high. And for the record, I didn’t know what a spire was. So I googled it and it’s the tall thing that sticks out above the rest of the structure. I’m sorry if that’s wrong, but it looks kind of like an antenna, like the steeple or more know like if there’s any like, flagpole situation if you google spire, they have it on like castles where there’s just one skinny pole that kind of goes up higher, that’s higher.
Yeah. four feet thick walls is intense. Like, yeah, that mausoleum will survive a nuclear attack.
Seriously, that’s like where people are going to go when the zombie apocalypse happens.
Did I say that right, nuclear? Yes, you did. Yeah, ever since the george bush and George Bush. Nu-cu-lar, but it’s nice to know every time I questioned myself, I’m like, did I say it right and i George by saying it the ignorant way? Am I ignorant or not?
Am I the bush?
Am I bushwhacked? I don’t know.
Anywho the mausoleum is the size of a small house. It was finally finished in 1877. And Nina was laid to rest in a marble tomb, beneath a carving off her body adorned with a blanket a crown and across
What did they do with her body pre burial since it obviously had to wait several years? I don’t know.
I’m imagining they must have had some sort of like salt preservation or like mummify, I don’t know. They must have had some sort of way to keep her, Yeah, preserved. Yeah, I don’t know. I didn’t see anything about that. Unfortunately, this beautiful monument to their daughter is not the end of the tragic story of the Craigmiles family.So first, in 1899 john Henderson, Craigmiles who’s daddy dearest dies after slipping and falling on an iced over street
he falls and gets a bleed not great. And her mother, Myra adalia, Thompson, Craigmiles, remarried and went on to live until she was 80 when she was run over by a car while crossing the streets. What the fuck? Don’t laugh!
Sorry! it was just one of those weird like shock. I was like, yeah, that is horrible. Yeah, cuz they’re like great cars at first when she was alive. So she that’s probably true. Yeah, she lives till 80 and then gets hit by a fucking car.
Her daughter died in a buggy like the streets of Cleveland. Were not safe for this family or probably a lot of people.
Seriously you think the rich people would be able to survive god that was insensitive. But
But True. True. Jeffrey Bezos.
So I love I keep seeing these tiktoks of like Amazon trucks just like being like a tornado. There was one we saw or was he was driving delivering packages, even though it’s a tornado. And then I saw one and it was a semi, like a full semi. And they were stuck in traffic. just turned and drove through the median to get to the other side. I was like,
I know. They got it. I gotta get. Yeah, or like in the flood one where everybody’s pulled over. And the little Amazon truck just keeps trucking along. just keeps going. Yeah. Both of Nina’s parents were interred next to her even though Adelia had been married to somebody else when she died, because she got hurt.
Right? Yeah. So this feels like a lot of untimely death. So obviously, you have to know where I’m going with this. It’s haunted.
Oh, my gosh, I was like, this is a very short story, or there’s something coming.
Yeah, it is a short story. But I couldn’t even pause for effect. As I said, at some point, after the death of the Craigmiles, red blotches started appearing on Nina’s pure white marble tomb,
and listen. So like, I already knew I was doing the story for our 40th episode, I had it on my episode list. And Erin, my friend slash our patron had sent us this amazing where in the world stuff seriously, if you’re not on Patreon, it’s really good. She is so lucky. She married someone who grew up in a fucking haunted house. Now she has his stories,
So in that story, I’ll just say bleeding window. And I already know that I was doing the bleeding tomb so, so excited.
Oh, my gosh. Oh, lucky. But I also hope none of my walls ever. That’s terrible. also true.
So no one truly knows why there are red blotches on the pure white marble or when exactly they started appearing. But they couldn’t be cleaned away.
And some folklore will say that the marble blocks that were stained had been replaced multiple times. But the red stains always came back.
Oh my god.
Right. And there’s no science that will explain this. Not that I read anywhere. Some people say that while visiting the crypt. They’ve seen a little girl dressed in 1800s of tire playing quietly.
Oh, she was sweet. She was oh my god. What? I want to see a picture. Is it like blood red or like dress and now?
I’ve got one.
Yeah, cuz I already recorded a tiktok.
How would that be? It’s blood! it’s almost like rust. But marble doesn’t rust, so it can’t be that. Oh, yeah. Has blood that’s blood for sure. That’s a blood stain.
Remember, if you’ll recall, back in the beginning of this story when I said that morbid curious could stop by the tomb and Cleveland Tennessee. It is still there. The church has gothic style architecture and maintains its integrity.
Yeah so over Yeah, four foot thick walls. Nothing’s gonna wreck it.
the church’s there too. Oh wow. Over the years the only thing that’s been changed is adding electricity so and heating and air conditioning,
And trying to scrub the blood off the walls Good lord. Yeah.
But are replacing that you know, but you can go see the church and the mausoleum where Nina was laid to rest. Checking out the ornate sculptures of angels and lambs. etched into the mausoleums doors are the words, Nina October 1871.
So that’s the whole story. Thank you so much, Amanda. And if you think that was a good recommendation, I have a more modern story. I’m doing the tanning bed murders of the 90s from. And now there’s more murder, and now there’s more murders. And it is my least favorite. Emily’s most favorite thing.
unsolved mystery. So if you’re into that patreon.com slash verbal history, how many more times can I plug it in a 20 minute period?
So a list of things I love that Rachel doesn’t love unsolved mysteries, natural disasters, except for tornadoes, and medical things.
Oh, man, gross medical things. Well, and you have a fucking unsolved mystery, you got a big one. I have a big unsolved mystery.
Travel Tips: Dare County, North Carolina
Also a recommendation from a tiktok follower. So thanks so much. But before I dive into what the story is, let’s visit let’s go and we’ll travel excursion. This story takes place in a state well in the state that your parents want to retire in North Carolina,
North Carolina, North Carolina. Apparently you can get a beachfront property in North Carolina for cheap so and we’re going for the tip. So exciting.
So we’re going to dare county which is like a locate an area within North Carolina. It’s basically a peninsula on the far east coast of the state. And then this one of those crazy like long skinny peninsulas, you know, that’s like, how is it even an island? I mean, I’m sure it’s like a mile wide. But yeah, on the like, how’s it connected? It’s still break off any second. Sure. And so that peninsula includes locations such as the kill devil hills, Kitty Hawk, man’s Harbor, stumpy point and Nags Head, straight points. It includes the county seat, which is manteo.
If we were traveling to this lovely little East Coast escape, here’s what I would say we should do. First. There were a lot of options for horse related things like horseback rides, which I was like, I won’t force you to do that. Don’t worry.
I’m not a horse girl. I don’t. It’s scary.
You do have your hair and a side braid today. I love you.
It’s because when we record these, these headphones are huge. I have to get it out of my face or just like I was like fucking Hermione. If I leave it like my hair does not know what to do. Seriously?
Well, so I won’t force us to go on a horseback ride on the beach.
It does sound romantic though. Ah.
But I do think the trip would honestly mostly be us like enjoying the 70 plus miles of scenic and historic coastline. Yeah, that like meanders through separate little islands and between various quaint villages. I’ve just such a beach person. Like I am totally gamed to sit on a beach and watch the waves and put my feet in the sand. I mean, honestly, I’d rather a resort where there’s no Sand in my butt crack, but a beach is still lovely. Yeah. But since we probably have to eat and like do a few other things here something whatever, I guess.
There are a number of water related activities. Obviously. I saw dolphin sightseeing tour sites that are like hang gliding, like over the water. I don’t think it’s called hang gliding when you do it over the water. That’s a thing. You know what I’m talking about? Where Yeah, when you’re on the boat, or you behind the boat,
parasailing, and I even saw an opportunity to ride one of those sweet jetpacks water guy from your terrible today. Yeah, who did it up by the plane to get up 3000 feet, see a plane. we would of course eat Lot of fresh seafood, obviously. And there are so many restaurants. I thought the names of the towns were funny. These restaurants have incredible names for you. Fork-et-me-not. tail of the whale, Spanky’s grill.
I mean there for sure.
Obviously, I got your crabs.
Don’t go there
Tortugas lie like turtles lie, which I’m like, okay, don’t trust the turtle. Got it. Okay, how could we ever choose? I don’t know. Yeah, we probably have to stop by a few of them get some poboys have some crayfish, you know?,But if we wanted to go somewhere fancy pants, which I always like to have one nice. Fancy Pants. Yeah, asked. I think we should go to this place called the blue point. I would probably order the seared jumbo sea scallops with curry ginger. varro comfy little tomatoes and a coconut milk lime sauce. That sounds good. Right? I love scallops, too.
They also though have sauteed local jumbo lump crab and how smoked salmon with an herb onion spoonbread and marinated tomatoes, which also sounds good. I love a good salmon because I don’t make salmon very well. And so if I can get it made for me. Yeah, hard to get it perfect. Yeah.
But then once we were like satiated, but not really cool because you know, a fancy restaurant. It’s like the serving sizes are small. Right? Then we could go grab a beer and some dessert at the Outer Banks Brewing Company, which I looked at their menu and it looked Okay, like, that’s why I was like, let’s not eat there. But a dessert menu. Oh, my God, like they have something called the peanut butter balm. I love anything peanut butter, frozen chocolate and peanut butter mousse, topped with candied nuts and Oreo crumbles. Holy crap. And they also have a pecan tart with housemade salted caramel ice cream. And they have a key lime cheesecake love cheesecake love key lime, and of vanilla bean creme brulee
Yeah, I am drooling. I had this like pecan pie cupcake today when I picked up the cupcakes for the baby shower, because obviously if I’m going to walk into a cupcake shop,
you’re gonna get one.
Yeah, well, I got five, because
well, you got 40
Plus I got 40 plus five, because I needed to get one for each of my kids. And I knew they weren’t gonna want to share with me. And then we were going to my parents house. So I got one that I thought each of my parents would like, and then one that I would like. And then I couldn’t decide if I wanted to have the lemon or the pecan. So I cut them both in half, and then a half of both, and then left the other half for my dad and I was like you also get both. Isn’t that great? It’s just like you said
But you’re like here’s treat for you.
For you. I’m a thoughtful person. You’re welcome. Oh my gosh, but it was delicious.
I love pecan pie. But like yeah, I want one slice on Thanksgiving. And never again for the rest of the year because it’s like so sweet.
It’s very sweet. Can I say something controversial?
You say p can no
No, no. Oh my god. No. What if we make pecan then your pumpkin? pecan spice latte? Make it very like fall. Seriously, how does that sound? Why don’t they have some sort of like a pecan like a cinnamon or Maple cinnamon.
Dibs call Starbucks. Call it immediately get the red phone does that with like a scoop of vanilla ice cream? Oh, I need to call Ben and Jerry, who’s my entire mouth just filled up with saliva. I need to move on. So if we’re going to end our trip with a walking ghost tour and downtown montejo and the guide will tell us stories and history that make the Outer Banks one of the most haunted beaches in America. And they say this tour is especially unique because they equipped tour members with EMF detectors. It’s legit.
I know right? Sounds like a such a good trip. I’m like okay, adding North Carolina to my list. Sounds awesome.
Story 2 – Lost Colony of Roanoke
So, now that we have our bearings, let’s talk about why we’re in dare county because it’s like who picks a county city like I do? Yeah, I got to pick New York. Okay, guys deal with it. You can’t go back to Boston. I actually I’m not kidding you. I went through my list. And I was like, I had la on it again. And I had Boston on it again and I took them off. I was like No, I moved on way down to like Next year. Yeah, I still want to do those stories. But I will wait. Yeah, we need to wait until we’ve gone to those places and have some good stories for content. Yes, exactly. But so we’re going to a whole county because this story is kind of an ambiguous location. Because it is no longer a location, because we’re going to try to solve the mystery of the last colony of Roanoake.
I put on my Sherlock Holmes cap. I’m ready.
Yeah, Big thanks to the tiktok fan for recommending this to us. In some of our previous posts. They were like next to their last colony of Roanoke. Yeah. I don’t think any of them listen, they’re just in it for the two minute video. But you’re gonna get that too.
After this, and then we’ll post the video obviously. Hopefully, there’s one or two of them listening now. I hope we’ve converted if you give the last day one was 9000 followers. What’s up one or two of them are here. message us and let us know if you are crazy. Want to know that conversion?
Was that desperate? I’m sorry. Being single is not gonna work out. Well, for me. Also follow us on Patreon.
Someday, we won’t have to beg.
Please tell me your story.
Okay, and we’re back. Okay. So if you’ve never heard of this story, the basic gist is that long, long ago, in 1587, over 30 years before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, a group of men, women and children made history on Roanoke Island, by establishing the first attempted settlement of its kind in America. And at some point there leader john white left to go back to England to get resources. But when he returned, three years later, the community he had left behind had completely vanished without a trace.
It’s long been a question, what happened? Were they murdered? Did they die? Did they leave? Like what the hell? So I’m gonna tell you the story surrounding this mystery, and then we’re gonna solve it. Yeah, solved it. Okay. So the story that I just kind of briefly ran through is not actually the very first part of the story.
I’m actually going to start a little farther back in 1585. So a couple years prior, with a man named Sir Walter Raleigh, so Raleigh was an English adventure and a writer.
And the teacher’s pet of Queen Elizabeth the first. No, she was all about Walter like she knighted him in 1585. And appointed him captain of her guard and 1587 like, Girl was into him. But so back a couple years earlier than that, even Raleigh had met this man named john white. And the reason that Raleigh and white met was because this, john white had gone on these expeditions. He was also an adventure. He gone to Greenland a few years prior, because they were really into trying to find the Northwest Passage back then.
And so white was actually an artist. And so his role on voyages generally was to illustrate the things that they found. So he would draw images of the people that they met and, you know, the flora and the fauna and everything like that, because obviously they couldn’t take pictures back then. Sure. And he was so good at it that this news about like these beautiful pictures traveled all the way to the Queens number one man, Sir Walter Raleigh.
So white and Raleigh meet up and probably got drunk and like hatched a magical plan, right as you do.
Yeah. The 1500s like, what else are you gonna do?
They’re like, you know what, we should go to America, except I don’t know that they knew existed, but like, we should just like sailboat sail and totally, like, hit land. It’s like people are like, I just want to drive and just aim towards the west and go, you know, like, that was their thing. Except they went to float Island. They definitely did know that America existed at this point or this.
Yeah, cuz Columbus was in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. For the record. We do not stan Christopher Columbus. Please continue.
Christopher Columbus do not stand hate. I don’t stan. So they were going to embark on a series of voyages designed to establish an English colony. So they wanted to find this location that would serve as a haven for English privateers. And, I mean, they’re very idealistic. They want to find a source for silver and gold and they just like us. And that’s what was here land of plenty who doesn’t. And they wanted, of course, an opportunity to christianize the natives. Yeah, colonizer.
So they together head out on this first voyage to Roanoke. And they launched from Plymouth, England in April 1584. And they were charged with prepping the area essentially. So there was going to be a larger expedition the next year. So they were part of this small group that went and they actually made friendly contact with the Native Americans of awesome Comac, which is a region populated by various Algonquin, and Iroquois and speaking groups, and after about two months of being there, and like making contact and whatever, they actually sailed home back to England. And they actually took with them like voluntarily not via kidnapping
Two high ranking natives, Wanchese and Manteo. So Wanchese and Manteo helped teach john white and the crew, the language and the culture and after a while, because they had come back with them to England and they were in England and like teaching them these things, because that was the plan right to go back and establish this colony. And so after a while, they took off on their second voyage to head to Roanoke. This was in 85.
Again, they launched from Plymouth, same kind of exact story. Okay, this time, sir RichelGranville commanded the ship. And he actually took about 600 colonists and crew with them about half the more more military men, different kinds of guys. Yeah. So on the way the boat stopped in what would be present a Puerto Rico and john white had a lovely time painting the islands, flora and fauna. to report back to the queen, obviously, here’s some flowers, the lady pictures of flowers, put them in a vase. And then they eventually arrived at the Outer Banks, which is where Roanoke was in June. But the boat got stuck. And they actually lost most of their provision.
So after a while, they established this camp on the island. And Greenville or Granville returned to England to report back leaving this man named Ralph lane in charge. Okay, so if you remember, during the first visit, the relations with the local Native Americans were mostly friendly.
This group was a bunch of military hard heads. So this time,
This time. It’s what yeah, I mean, it’s like when you think of colonizers, it’s like these dudes. They knock the relationship around about like, they were having a dick swinging contests for lack of a better word. Like we’re in charge, actually, oh, no, we’re in charge, you know, whatever. So on top of their hardheadedness, there was a drought and things just got tense because the provisions were waning bite start to break out. And then finally, a man named Sir Francis Drake arrived kind of unexpectedly with provisions. The his ships got scattered by a hurricane. And so he just a band in the colony, he was like, nope, jet.
Okay, so it was just a big mess, essentially. And so everyone who has left that didn’t like die from the drought and hunger and everything like that, or fights, just were like Peace out, they just left, they retreated back to England. Essentially, this attempt to colonize was a failure. Okay. But this Sir Walter Raleigh, who was kind of the head guy in charge of all of this was really determined could not let down his queen, right? She needed them. He owed her she was depending on him while t while t bring me back some fun from America. Yeah.
Yeah. I don’t know. So in 1587, it was time to try again. And this time, they’re like, Huh, the military folks didn’t fare so well. Let’s send laborers and craftsmen and farmers and their families. So this time, women and children got involved. So they’re actually all of these people who were sent this time, were meant to pay their own way to go in exchange for land when they got there. Which I’m like, why is it their land to give? Yeah.
So we’re gonna steal somebody else’s land. But say it’s yours because we put this white people flag on it. Exactly.
So their whole plan was to send these people who actually knew how to work the land and like survive to make this self sustaining colony, which is a better plan. If you totally ignore that it was not their land. It wasn’t just unclaimed land, it was uninhabited, like actually unclaimed land and not things that people not land that people had been living on for hundreds, if not 1000s of years show fully established land. Exactly.
But so Raleigh also had this fear that he was going to send another boat that would get like stuck in the shallow waters that had ruined boats in the past. So he thought he’d send the colony to settle near Chesapeake Bay, which white had explored in 1585 at one point, but you know, they didn’t know it as well as the Roanoke area. But so on January 7 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh drew up this charter and was like, you’re going to go and colonize and he named john white as the future governor of the new colony,
Yeah, it was a weird choice.
There’s a lot of accounts too, that are like this was odd because White was not a leader. Like he did not have leadership abilities or, you know, any experience there but he was still like, you go, you’d be the governor.
just picturing like, the artist. You know, in the movie, Wedding Crashers, the brother who’s like, he’s, I made my art. He’s like, I made you a painting and it’s just like, you’re naked Vince Vaughn with a big leaf.
When he like throws the painting into the ocean later.
Yes, just like that. Listen, no offense, if you’re an artist, probably we’re just a little jealous because neither one of us is especially artistic.
Hey! Speak for yourself!
Okay, I’m speaking only for myself. I don’t have an artistic bone in my entire body. But like the artist, I don’t see artists and I’m like you be the governor. Like, you know somebody a little bit more countercultural like a Frida Kahlo or something
I just I don’t see you as a male artists kind of
that that’s what it is. nobody’s looking at like Salvador Dali. And they’re like, dear artists, we love you. That guy should be in charge and President Yeah, you know, that guy? Maybe some mental illness perhaps.
You know, it is there is something about like, right like, right brain left brain like someone so creative is probably not as, and this is not just shit that’s being said. Like, this is what this incident is backed up with. Like, he couldn’t deal with conflict. He was such a pushover. Like, he just wasn’t the type that was like a strong leader tight, right? Not necessarily because he was an artist, but he just was. Yeah. So Raleigh was not going because the Queen needed him too bad. She had just made him her, you know, Captain, the guard. And so she’s like, no, you’re not going to America. Sorry. And so he’s like, I will put the least threatening man possible
so I can come back and reclaim it. Exactly.
That might actually be why strategic. There were about 115 settlers that were on board. And among them was john white, his wife, his pregnant daughter, Eleanor dare remember dare count, right? Oh, yeah. So named after her. Her husband and Anna Nyah stare. And the Native American Chief Manteo, who had been in England this whole time as an ally. You know, teaching them about culture and stuff. So they did their whole little flow across. It makes it flow across the neck and
a little like tugboat.
It’s like how I would draw. Yeah, like, it’s like a halfmoon with a stick and then a triangle up.
This is the bitch who just told me to speak for myself when I said that neither of us was artistic.
But actually, I just can’t draw. Okay.
You know, I never mind. Okay. I do. I know. Like, you can look at something and like figure out how it should look and go, like, much better than I had drawn.
And I can draw I drew the paintings over my bed. Oh.
Oh my god. Those are so cute. All right. I’ve been proven wrong. Fine.
It’s funny, though. Hey, like Yeah, no, that’s exactly how.
So they float across. They get there they land. although they actually aimed for Chesapeake Bay. But they went to Roanoke anyway, like, I don’t know what exactly happened there. But they were like,
they pull the Christopher Columbus. They’re like, this is India, right? what? No, it’s fucking not
they put john white in charge. And he was like, oh, let’s just go where we know,guys. So if it’s land, let’s stop. Let’s put a flag. Yeah. So they get there, they unload their belongings and their supplies. And they actually repaired an old fort that had previously been erected on the island, and started to establish the colony right. Now remember in your story where you had a special date of August 18, interestingly enough, shortly after their arrival on August 18, w
hy is our brain the same?
Right, which I was like, okay, anyone listening today on the day it came out August 18 was yesterday. And if you’re a patron, you can listen, August 18 is today,
or a day early at patreon.com/horriblehistory. And boom, that’s 4.
So, on August 18, Eleanor darr gave birth to a daughter that she named Virginia. And that made Virginia the very first English child born on American soil.
Okay, that’s kind of cool. When you look at and I’m hearing like, Raleigh and Virginia. Okay. I gotcha.
Yeah, exactly. I know. It’s funny, because it’s like, they didn’t go to Virginia, they went to North Carolina, but like, I mean, they’re essentially, they’re very close. They’re they, they sit on top of one another. So this was obviously a joyous occasion. Everyone loves the baby. But the English people were suffering. The crops that they were used to growing in England, just weren’t working well in America. Their supplies were super low. And so just 10 days after his granddaughter’s birth, john white, left to head back to England, to get supplies and come back, okay, because he was like, I gotta do something, you know, like, I have to save my family. Unfortunately, it was the last time that he would ever see his family.
Dun, dun, bah. Hi. Did so just like everybody die or what happened? I need to solve the mystery. Tell me.
Oh, my God. My next line. I have another dad leaving to get groceries and never coming back.
What’s wrong with us?!?!
I was proud of that one.
It was really good.
Rachel, like doubled over. She left the frame of the video for a while.
fine. So here’s what happened. So john had to get on a boat and travel across the ocean to get back to England, right? Sure. A trip across the sea in a boat back then usually took a good two or three months. Then john gets back to England. He thinks it’s going to just be a quick stop and grab and go right. But when he got there, he found England locked in a battle with the Spanish during the Spanish Armada. So the queen is like thank god another ship No, you cannot take a ship back to rescue 117 people I got a goddamn country is worth the people to protect like you’re staying and I’m using this boat.
The needs of the many outweigh the needs a few which is like sounds heartless but it’s a good leadership position.
A good leadership approach. Yes. And he was like,
But so he had to wait. He had to wait to go back until the war was over. That’s because his family’s there. sucks because his family’s there. his granddaughter. And so it wasn’t until 1590 that he was finally able, which is three years later, finally able to acquire a boat and like sneak away to head back to Roanoke. So he does that. Took some take some three, three months to get across the sea.
A couple years in England waiting for the Armada to be done three months back over. He gets back to the island on his granddaughter’s third birthday. And I’m sure he’s like, super excited to see her and like, he probably brought her a gift and like, you know, it’s like my grandbaby and his family. But the settlement was completely deserted. overgrown. all the buildings that had been there had been taken down. Not burned, not demolished, like down constructed. Wow. Yeah. Which seems really odd, obviously. So he starts looking around, you know, what the hell, where’s my family? And he finds a stone that has a carving on it a single word: croatoan.
What does that mean?
I’ll get there, okay. Also, a nearby tree had the letter c, r o carved into them. And, you know, let’s deduct that. That’s the beginning of the word croatoan. But one thing that was not included in these carvings was the symbol of a cross, which gave john hope, because before he had left, he had talked to the colony and said, like, if anything bad happens if you’re attacked, if you know people start dying, or something like, leave me this specific mark, so that I know, that wasn’t there. It was just this work, not the cross. So he’s like, thank God, like, they’re fine. They’re just not here.
He takes it as assigned to me and they may be moved to the inland location of croatoan, which was the home of Chief mantos people. Okay. It was south of Roanoke in the Outer Banks in present day Hatteras Island. So he’s like, Oh, great. They were just like, giving me a note as to where they went.
So, yeah, so why in a few of his men decided to go searching for the colonists. They go up to croatoan nothing’s there. So they’re like, Well, shit. So they go back to the area and also croatoan Yeah, okay. Also, like, no one’s there.
Not even. The natives?
Not even the native people. The native. Okay. Yeah. So then they go back to Roanoke. And they start digging, right? They’re like, well, let’s see if we can find bones. Like maybe there was some sort of mass death and like they’re buried, no remains. No mass graves, no indication that a bunch of people had died there by any means. They did find several chests of like, things buried or left to the elements and then buried. So it’s like, some of the things were still there. He actually wrote later that it pained him to see his goods ruined. All right, you’re missing the point there. Right. But he also said like, but I was glad to find any indication that my family had been killed.
So you know, sure. Good, but my stuff = why didn’t you take better care of my stuff?!?!
Oh, my God, why does everything bad? Or what’s Ross say? When the like, the shampoo explodes in a suitcase? He’s like, why moisturizer? Why do bad things happen to good people? Sorry, there’s a Friend’s reference for everything. So unfortunately, after a lot of searching with no success, a big storm came about probably a hurricane. And the ships are sitting there like at risk of being damaged. And basically, the crews are like, we have to leave.
Yeah, like, we are going to get trapped here. We have to leave. And you know, pushover, john White is like, Okay, I guess which I’m like, I guess it’d be hard to know what I would do in that situation. Because like, part of me says, Why didn’t he stay like, why didn’t he personally stay when he wants to do anything to find his family?
But you’re also talking about like staying in deserted nothingness with like, no resources, like you’re probably signing yourself a death warrant if you do that. So yeah. I don’t know. So they get on their boats and they leave and they go back to England.And White made many attempts to get back over. But he was never able to raise funding to make the trip. And the queen and Sir Walter Raleigh had kind of given up hope of a settlement.
So there was no reason for them to send him back because I like nah just not gonna work. And so a few years later, he died never knowing what happened to his family or the colony. The 117 pioneers of Roanoke Island had vanished into the great wilderness and into folklore and their collective fate is subject to a many theory and controversies. So let’s talk about some of them.
Yeah. What the hell happened to these people?
The leading theory is, of course, that they went to crotone Island, now known as Hatteras Island. And one scholar that really supports this theory as a man named Scott doll Dawson, and he’s the co founder of the Crow, Otto and archaeological society. So he knows what he’s talking about. And I guess he and his excavation team found a slate, writing tablet, oh, when they were like checking out the area, and a 16th century gun, parts of swords, pottery shards, and even like a floral clothing class that belonged to a woman. So he’s like, I think the colonists came and just lived with these friendly crow talons. They eventually intermixed.
Sure, because if you’ll remember, this was the colony or like, the tribe of Manteo, who had gone with the Englishman. So you, you have to think that if the English people came, and were like, remember, yes. Like, your chief like, does that they’d say, like, yeah, okay, you can look and then they all like migrated elsewhere. Yeah, exactly. So eventually, and I don’t exactly know, when. But eventually, they did find like, the croatoans years later, I guess. And so there are some accounts, from those years afterwards that described some of these native american people having blue or gray eyes, and sometimes blonde hair. Yeah. And so it’s like, oh, like there was some intermixing happening here. Yeah.
And so they really think that it’s like, it just would have made sense that the crotons took the colonists in, help them fight, you know, survive against the elements, obviously, they had no freaking idea how to grow crops there. And so they’re like, let us introduce you to corn, you know, whatever. Yeah, the stereotypical Native American Thanksgiving story is, so that’s one theory, but this one seems more likely because of the way that they had interacted in the past. Exactly, exactly.
The second popular theory is that the colonists relocated to an area called the salmon Creek area. And in 2011, the first colony foundation in conjunction with the British Museum, which I’ve been to the British Museum, it’s amazing.
They made a discovery on john White’s 1585 map that he had drawn when he had been there in 1585, is if you’ll remember, he was the artist and also there for the mapmaker. Right. And they actually found that the map he had made back then had hidden symbols on it that indicated different fort locations, one near salmon Creek, okay. So in 2012, this foundation kind of did an investigation into the location of the fort. They went to this location that was on the map, and they found English pottery and weapons, like, buried there. So they were like, Oh, interesting. And then they found another hidden piece of his map, another site that was like two kilometers north. In 2015, an archaeologist found some English pottery shards and there and some like Spanish Olive jars.
So they’re like, Okay, this suggests food storage by like a small family unit. They found English pipes, and other artifacts that seemed like they were not late enough in time to belong to residents of Jamestown, which was the first like successful colony. And so they were like, hmm, so maybe he had these kind of like two other locations that he had, like, told people about but hadn’t specifically told everyone about because he wanted to, like, give his family a place where they could go if they needed to, like get away from people.
I don’t know. But it was weird that they like why wouldn’t he have looked for them there? When he went back? Yeah. And I thought the same thing and I think, in my mind, I’m picturing this whole like, there’s a storm I come in and we need to go as being like, cutting everything short for him. Yeah. Just thinking of like, how long it takes to travel a few miles back then like on foot and like, it probably was just like, we have to go
We’re gonna get trapped here. You’ll come back. Yeah. And then he just never did you know, so I don’t know. But yeah, that’s a good question for sure. Another suggestion is disease. A lot of times, encounters between old and new world peoples ended catastrophic. Like, most of the time it was the natives, so coming to European diseases like smallpox and influenza, but historians don’t rule out the possibility that the colonists also perish from a new world disease. So that’s an option.
But holes in this theory, no remains, no grades, no traces of personal belongings, or evidence of a major contagions. So that kind of like mucks up that idea. Yeah. Especially because the Americas didn’t have that many dangerous germs. Yeah. back then. Now we’ve read it. There’s one that had the right. Yes. Like, my answer. Yeah, that we read in there. Yep.
So especially because the all of their belongings had disappeared. Yeah. That’s why most people suggest like movement took place some sort of movement to another place. There were, there are some other theories like there was a natural disaster that like took them out, but again, where their belongings go, but the things that like support the natural disaster angle, is that there was apparently one of the worst droughts in eight centuries, right during that time. So maybe they like, died from lack of food, or like, tried to move because of the drought and then like died elsewhere, which would explain the lack of bodies.
I guess scientists have examined trees near that area, and tree rings do show that there was a severe drought right at that time. But again, who knows? There’s some of the most controversial evidence that has been found is this thing called the dare stones. So during the Great Depression, a tourist named Louis E. Hammond found this stone that in the chowan River, and he like brought it to Emory University in Emory University. And it had this like chiseled message on it that described misery and war both spelled really wrong.
I was like, What is that first word is like m i s, a, r, ie.
Sorry, and there’s like, oh, Misery got it. And war is W ar e. Whoa, all right. Whoa, all right. So I guess the, like there’s writing on this stone, and it mentions like illness and murder by the natives and it’s signed e WD. Okay, Eleanor white dare is how its interpreted. But here come the linguists like apparently, people didn’t really use initials like that back then. Like that’s more of a modern practice, which I did not know. But that’s kind of fascinating. So scientists basically discredited the find, but the stone did have significant weathering, so they were kind of like,
Wow, it does seem like it could have come from that time period, but still seems fishy. And then 47 more stones like that. turned up. Shortly after weird this man. Bill Everhart brought these other stones forward, and it created this big frenzy. I guess back then, like the mysteries that solved Sure. No, right. They were forgeries,
for sure. I’m just thinking of like, did you ever have to do a history project in school and you burn the pages to look older?
Somebody like dirtied up these stones? It’s fine. Exactly. Or we did a VBS project once. It was a picture of Jesus. We burn the edges of that, like, I don’t even know.
Yeah, this Oh, for those of you not in the know who didn’t grow up in a sheltered life we did. VBS Vacation Bible School. It’s like day camp for Jesus in the summer.
Jesus day camp. It’s the best. We watched veggietales a lot. Yep. Not the murder version. Okay, just regular type.
That’s a throwback.
So the first stone still does remain in academic limbo. They can’t like accept or reject it, but the others are like these are. These are falsified. Of course, you can’t have a mystery without something spooky. So the disappearance of the colonists has also been linked to evil spirits, witches and monsters. Yeah, so the Croatoans apparently believe that a reptilian devil worked in the woods of North Carolina looking to possess people
lizard person. Mitch McConnell is that you?
So they say that this reptilian devil made people jealous and paranoid and violent. And these Native Americans also believe in witches and black magic. And so a lot of people think that like something happened that was, you know, spooky, spooky. There’s this woman, Sally, South Hall cotton, who wrote a poem in 1901 that spoke of what supposedly happened to Virginia Dare.
The poem was really long, I’m just gonna read it, but it’s super, super long, and that flowery language like you were talking about, so it’s like, hard to understand in general. But the gist of it is that this little girl, the first little girl born in America, was like, adopted by one of the tribes and then like later got engaged to one of the chieftains, and then a jealous which turned her into a white doe in order to stop their marriage.
And she was roaming the woods and then one of the tribesmen like, shot her with an arrow, because he thought that she was just a doe. And then she turned back into herself and like, it was this horrible tragedy. Yeah, it’s like, obviously in the piece kinda exactly, reverse. reversed. And then, of course, aliens, you know, are another sure side of the thing, the coin where it’s like, oh, maybe they were abducted and taken to another dimension, like, maybe. So we’ve got they just left. They died somehow. And their bodies were never found.
They were abducted by aliens. Lots of theories here, lots of theories here. But to me, honestly, it just feels like they thought john white was coming back and like, it’s been two years and they’re like, he probably died like his boat probably crash.
And so they were struggling. So they packed up all their stuff and left the island, probably to go up to be with their The only friends that were nearby, the croatoan tribe. That’s that, but like, it’s still super unclear as to what happened after this little mini migration, like, whether they stuck together or went their separate ways. Were they welcomed warmly by the tribe, or were they slaughtered when they got there?
Like, yeah, geologic geologists, and experts kind of agree. historical evidence says that that’s where they like, where they went, and what happened. They went up to the crotone Island, or inland location. But we don’t know from there. It’s all that we know. We don’t know for sure. JOHN white went to his grave without knowing. And truly, it’s all just suppose supposition, like the truth will probably never really be known. But we can all take our own guesses. Yeah, what we think happened.
I’m with you, I think they probably moved and found more supplies and tried to find, you know, people that they could make alliances with. And, I mean, it sounds like this particular group of colonizers, although still claiming land that wasn’t theirs and not excusing that. We’re not trying to mistreat Native Americans the way that other many, many, many other groups of colonizers were. Especially because these were just like farmers and their families like, right, we’re just told by a higher up, like, you’ll get land and they’re like, okay, you know, right. And they, yeah, okay, still not okay to take. They’re not okay, but like, Yeah, I don’t think that they were trying to like pick fights with the Native Americans or whatever.
So right. I just, yeah, I just tend to think that they probably, at some point realized john wasn’t coming back and probably nominated a new person to be their leader, maybe someone who wasn’t an artist, and they decided eventually that they needed to head elsewhere so they could survive and yeah, left some of their like, maybe buried some of their things that were too clunky to bring with them. Like, they’re like fuck, john. white Let’s leave his shit here.
You’re not going to take his shit it’s not useful to you.
Yeah, I don’t want this art set. God.
I’m so sorry. Artists like, it’s in jest, in jest., man, but yeah, so that is the unsolved mystery of what happened to the last colony of Roanoke. What do you any other things you want to toss out there as ideas?
Nope. I waited for You take a drink to do that. No, but you can get a hold of us, please. I am not going to rep the Patreon again. But we also have Gmail firstname.lastname@example.org we’ve got a website horriblehistorypodcast.com Find us on Instagram and TikTok at horriblehistorypod. Thank you so much for listening.
hopefully you’re horrified.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Learn more about Horrible History, contact us and check out our new merch store at: www.horriblehistorypodcast.com