September 6, 1716, John Fontaine
“We crossed this river which we [named]… I got some grass hoppers and fished. And another and I ‘catched’ a dish of fish… The others went a hunting and killed deer and ‘turkies...’ The highest of the mountains we named Mount George, and the one we awed over Mount Spotswood.”
John Fontaine and his leader, Governor Alexander Spotswood, believed they were the first Europeans to see this great valley, its river, and the bordering Blue Ridge Mountains. Little did they know their 1716 expedition had been preceded by at least 47 years, and the names of the river and mountain peaks they christened would be forgotten.
In 1710 Spotswood was appointed Her Majesty's Lt. Governor, and Commander in Chief of the Colony of Virginia. We often hear Spotswood titled “Royal” Governor, but these officials almost all stayed in England during the Colonial period, not wishing to suffer the rigors of life in the New World’s “backwater wilderness.” However, Spotswood thrived in Virginia and its small, but beautiful capital- Williamsburg.
Alexander had been an adventurous military man in England and served under the Duke of Marlborough. As with many men who rose in stature, he met the “right people” and eventually found himself in Virginia, commissioned as England’s “on-site Royal Governor.”
One hundred years after Jamestown’s settlement, Virginians still lived within a hundred miles of the Atlantic Coast while areas to the west remained unexplored. Hostile Indians and thick, impenetrable forests made it risky to live, or even explore, far from eastern settlements.
[Article originally appeared on ShenandoahValley.com during October, 2007.]Read more...
Hiking on Blue Ridge Mountain trails, canoeing and kayaking on the Shenandoah, catch an outdoor concert or sip Virginia wine or craft beer at a huge variety of festivals. Shenandoah is the place to be in the Summer!
Meet at the Lexington Visitor Center. Every Friday at 3 p.m., from April through November. Rain or shine. No reservations required. Wear comfortable shoes. For more information, call 540-463-3777.
15 N. Loudoun St. Bud`s Collective, with The Plate Scrapers. Bluegrass music. For more information, call 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.brightboxwinchester.com.
10 S. Market St. The Winter`s Tale. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com.
Davidson Park. Gary Ruley and the Mule Train. Benefits local SPCA and Autism Center. No pets. No outside food or beverages. Free admission. For more information, call 540-460-2656.
Carriage rides through the arboretum. Pulled by Belgium and Percheron teams of horses. For more information, call 540-568-3194 or visit www.jmu.edu/arboretum.
Duvall Designs Gallery, located near historic Burwell-Morgan Mill. Monthly rotation of featured artists. Open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call: 540-336-9632.
Town Square, intersection of King and Queen Sts. Fridays at Five. Local musicians, bands and Martinsburg artists perform jazz, rock, bluegrass, pop, classic rock, country, Americana and more. Bring your own chairs and blankets. For more information, visit www.mainSt.martinsburg.com.
Founded in 1867 as a school for girls. It now offers co-ed liberal arts education in a Latter-Day Saint environment. Historic main building overlooks the town.