Sunday, April 28, 2013

Virginia Dare

I was at a stamp show for collectors and one of the dealers had this stamp for sale.   I bought it but had no idea who Virginia Dare was.  The stamp was issued in 1937 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the birth of Virginia Dare and the settlement of Roanoke Island.  The stamp design was based on a vignette painting by William A. Roache.   The painting is much more clear and with details more readily seen than the stamp.   The stamp has a pale blue color.

This is the actual stamp that I bought which has some yellowing to it which may be from age.   After all it is 67 years old.   It could also be due to the gummed adhesive on the back of the stamp bleeding through the paper.

The stamp that I purchased is unused.   This stamp did not come off of an envelope because there is no cancellation marks on it.   I prefer stamps that are unused because I think that the cancellation marks take away from the artistry of the stamps.

The Virginia Dare stamp is rather old.   This means that for an unused stamp someone had to buy this stamp in 1937 and hold onto it for 76 years.   That is a long time to store a stamp.   How much did I pay for this 76 year old unused stamp?   15 cents.   I would have thought that it would have been worth much more than that because of its age.   Nope, it was only 15 cents.   But back to the stamp, who was Virginia Dare and why is there a commemorative stamp honoring her?  After researching the stamp I found that Virginia Dare is the baby who is being held by her mother Eleanor White Dare.   The middle name of the mother, “White”, is her maiden name.   Keep that tucked away in the back of your mind.   That name White will pop up again in this blog.   The man is her father, Ananias Dare.  He is holding a musket rifle.    As it says on the stamp above, Virginia Dare was born in 1587 on Roanoke Island in the Virginia Colony in America.   Specifically, she was born on August 18, 1857.    She was named Virginia because she was born in the Virginia colony.   The Virginia colony got its name from Sir Walter Raleigh who named the colony after Queen Elizabeth I of England who was known as the “virgin queen”.    What makes Virginia Dare notable is that she was the first English child born in America and was baptized as depicted here in this painting.   What a momentous event that must have been.

Virginia Dare's parents were among 117 settlers that sailed from England to America to establish a colony.   Sir Walter Raleigh was attempting to establish a colony in the New World of the Americas.

Sir Walter Raleigh.

I remember Sir Walter Raleigh from a very early age.   Actually I remember his image on the packs of Raleigh cigarettes.
The Raleigh cigarettes had a coupon on the back of the pack enclosed under the clear cellophane wrapping.

These coupons could be saved and redeemed for prizes.
And there were also the cans of Raleigh pipe tobacco.
There were evidently also cards but I never saw any of them.    I must admit that the card is very colorful picturesque (did I spell that right?).
But enough on tobacco.  Leaving England on May 8, 1587 they sailed on a Caravel ship called The Lion.

The ship was captained by Simon Fernandez, a Portuguese pilot who was familiar with the area.   They sailed from England on May 8, 1587 and arrived at Roanoke in July, 1587.   A two month passage at sea.  

A little digression for a moment.
Aren't we lucky to be able to sail the oceans on luxurious cruise ships instead of the small sailing ships of old.   If you have never been on a cruise on one of these massive ships, then be sure to add it to your "bucket list".   What is a "bucket list"?    A list of things that you want to do before you "kick the bucket".    And no, a long bucket list won't make you live longer, just have more fun with your allotted time.

But these colonists weren’t so lucky as our modern day travelers.   Fortunately they didn’t squeeze all 117 people onto one boat but rather had a fleet of ships.   How many, I don’t know but they had to carry enough food to feed all of these people plus the sailors for two months.   I wonder how much food they had left when they reached Roanoke.   They couldn’t unload all of the remaining food supplies from the boats because some of the food had to be saved for the sailors for the two month return trip to England.
Nine days after the birth of Virginia Dare her grandfather, Governor John White, left the colony and sailed back to England to obtain more supplies for the colony.   Remember earlier I mentioned to remember Eleanor White Dare maiden name of White?  Yep, Governor John White was her daddy.   The colonists had arrived in America in August and it was too late to plant any crops.   And without the supplies that Governor White would bring back it would be a very cold and hungry winter.   Governor White made it back to England but now there was a war between England and Spain, and England needed all ships to fight the Spanish Armada.   It was three years before Governor White made it back to the Virginia colony on Roanoke and arrived on August  1590.   The settlement was abandoned and the colonists had carved the name Croatoan into a large tree indicating that they had gone to a nearby island where a tribe of indians, the Croatoan, lived.

The infant Virginia Dare had disappeared along with the other colonists.  It is believed that they may have been attacked by hostile indians and what survivors there may have been were absorbed into the Croatoan tribe.   The fate of the colonists of The Lost Colony has remained a mystery to this day.
       All this and more, I learned because of my curiosity about a pale blue stamp.   The commemorative stamps all have fascinating stories connected with them.   And there is a wealth of information on the internet about each stamp.  Pick an old commemorative stamp and research it and read its history on the internet.   I am sure that it will get you interested in the commemorative stamps and the stories that they tell.    Lew

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tammy's boyfriend

Our cat Tammy seems to have a boyfriend.   A stray tomcat that hangs around the house for food.   His name is Oscar.

Not to worry though, Tammy has been spayed.   I opened the garage door this morning and saw them both by the base of the oak tree.   I thought that it would make a nice picture so I ran inside to get my camera.  
By the time that I got back outside (which was less than a minute, Oscar had turned around and now his backside was facing the camera.

Isn't that always the way with pets?   I can't get the camera in time to get that perfect picture.   Did you notice in the picture above that Tammy is laying in the shade of the tree?  She likes to be in the shade and avoid the sun.

And on a warm day in the shade of the camphor tree in the backyard she really relaxes.

Have a nice day and enjoy some time with your pets whatever they may be.   Unless it is a gator climbing a fence.

An amazing picture.   Take care.    Lew