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Object ID 2010.1025.01
Title Pioneers of the Potowmack
Object Name booklet
Date 1961
Creator Horace P. Hobbs, Jr.
Description Booklet titled Pioneers of the Potowmack, by Horace P. Hobbs
Illustrations by Horace P. Hobbs, Jr.
Published in 1961, first edition
Being a brief historie of ye Discoverie & Exploration of ye River Patawomeke, containing ye True & Remarkable Adventures of certaine Bolde Mariners, Missionaries, Traders, Settlers, & Rangers that ventured into ye Remotest Parts of that River, & what Dangers, Warrs, & Strange Wilde &Salvage INdians thereof.

From p. 56:
"Never before have I beheld a larger or more beautiful river," said Father Andrew White as he stood on the deck of the "Ark" with Governor Leonard Calvert and the first settlers of Maryland. It was the cold and blustery month of March 1634, and the new settlers were looking for a place to land, build a fort and a Catholic chapel on the banks of the Potomeack River .

The night before, as the "Ark" and the "Dove" approached the river from Chesapeake Bay, the passengers had seen signal fires blazing along the riverbanks. This morning hostile Indians had kept them from going ashore. Farther upstream now, they anchored near a marshy island inhabited not by Indians but by "infinite swarmes of herons." Here Governor Calvert, Father White and some of the others went ashore, set up a wooden cross, and took possession of the island and the surrounding country in the name of the Savior and the King of England.

But Herons Island was too small and too swampy for a townsite, so the Governor decided to look for a better place to settle. Leaving the "Ark" at the island, the Governor went up river in the "Dove" until he came to the wide mouth, or bay, of Piscataway Creek where he was surprised to see a small English bark lying at anchor. The master of the bark was none other than Captain Henry Fleete, who was trading with the Piscataway Indians.

Captain Fleete had been expecting to meet a strange ship because the Indians had told him that they had seen "a Canow as bigg as an Island" coming up the river "with as many men as there are trees in the woods." Wondering if they might be Spaniards, Fleete had armed his men and advised his friend Wannis, the Emperor of Piscataway, to be ready to repel an invasion if the Spaniards tried to land.

So when the "Dove" swung into Piscataway Creek, Governor Calvert and his peaceful English settlers were greeted by 500 fierce-looking Indians lined up on the shore with their bows and arrows.

Captain Fleete and Emperor Wannis went aboard the ship to meet the Governor, and when Calvert told them he was looking for a place to plant a colony, the Emperor replied that "he would not bid him goe, neither would he bid him stay, but that he might use his own discretion." Well, that was not exactly an invitation to stay, and the 500 Indians on shore didn't look any too friendly. So, at Captain Fleete's suggestion, the N/larylanders followed him down the river to Yowaccomoco where he knew they would be welcome — and where they would be less likely to interfere with his trading.

The Indians of Yowaccomoco had been having a lot of trouble lately with their enemies, the Susquehannocks, and had already decided to abandon the village and move to some other place. When the newcomers arrived with presents of axes, rakes, and cloth, the Indians quickly agreed to let them occupy half of the village. Later on, after the next harvest, they could have the whole village and all the surrounding country within thirty miles.