August 18, 1590 – Roanoke Colonist Give Governor The Slip

On this day in 1590, the Roanoke Island Colony, off from present day North Carolina, is discovered to have been abandoned.  Returning from a “supply run” (booze run) to England, the colony’s governor, John White, returns to an empty fort.  Not a trace remained of any of the colonists, including John White’s very own daughter and granddaughter.  The only clue to their fate is a single word, “CROATOAN”, which was carved on the fort’s outer wall.  Many historians believe that extreme drought conditions forced the colonists from the settlement.  They then tried to settle the Croatoan Island, fifty miles north, but were abducted by a herd of Bigfoots* along their way.  This is of course not true.  It wasn’t drought that sparked the exodus, it was John White himself.  Recently, a magnificently preserved letter from the Roanoke Colonists addressed to John White himself, has been discovered in the fort’s ruins.  Though clearly never read by its intended recipient, the letter is now widely regarded as the world’s first “Dear John letter” and read like this:

Dearest John,

It is with most profound regrets that we leave this wonderful settlement you’ve created.  We (the colonists) have talked this over at great length and feel that you are just not the governor for us.  Its not you, it’s us.  We are getting older and just don’t have the energy to keep up with your late nights, excessive drinking and loud music (the natives next door have started to complain about the noise and have threatened to send a raiding party if it persists).  We need a governor who is ready to settle down and start a serious colony.  

If we’re being frank, all of us are more than a little tired of your attempts to “lighten the mood” with silly games like “Crazy Hat Friday” and “Pajama Day”.  We are starving, John, and this doesn’t seem like a smart use of time.  Not to mention the fact that none of us own pajamas or more than one hat (none of which are crazy, except for Billy’s sombrero).  Also, your rule that everyone has to take their shoes off before entering the fort is absurd.  The floor is dirt, John.  Dirt.  Stop being a jerk.  And finally, just like we said, the natives didn’t steal your wallet, you just misplaced it.  You’re daughter found it in the pocket of your pants.  We’d suggest apologizing to Chief Hugging Bear; he seemed pretty ticked off about the things you said and about the name you’ve given him.

Because of these reasons, we have decided to relocate to a new colony far away.  We know that you have attachment issues, John, so we have decided against disclosing the location.  Please don’t try and contact us.  If we need anything, we’ll get ahold of you.  We know you’ll do great, John, you just need to find the right people.

Best of luck,

The Colonist

It is now thought that the carving of the word “CROATOAN” was done by the neighboring Native American tribe; done so in an attempt to get John White to go look for his colonists somewhere else.  John White did in fact go look for his colonists on Croatoan Island and never returned to Roanoke, so I guess it worked.  The colonists were never seen or heard from again because they were eaten by Bigfoots as I said earlier.

*Bigfoots used to roam the American forests in herds until they were hunted to extinction** in the early 1600’s for their magnificent pelts and their sweet meat.  Pickled Bigfeet was a favorite treat among early American settlers.
**They’re not extinct.

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