THE NEXT WEBSITE UPDATE WILL BE THE WEEKEND OF APRIL 16th.
ARTICLES ON THIS PAGE:
1. NEW Article: Wear and Share a Piece of Christopher Newport History!
2. Native American and British Place Names in Hampton Roads: Part 3, The Shires.
3. CONTINUED Article: Native American and British Place Names in Hampton Roads: Part 3, The Shires.
4. Composite Map Makes Locating Early CNC at CNU Easy.
5. NEW Humor: Teen's Haircut Deal with Dad.
6. NEW Cartoons: Maxine Welcomes Spring.
"Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit."
(1887 - 1979)
Wear and Share a Piece of Christopher Newport History!
by A. Jane Chambers
In CNC's opening year, 1961-62, the students chose the school's colors, blue and gray, and assistant professor Dr. Augustine Maissen designed the college's first seal, including the wording Christopher Newport College and The College of William and Mary. In the second year, 1962-63, enterprising sophomore Claude Stanley received permission from Director H. Westcott Cunningham to have apparel made including the seal to sell to students. The October 23, 1962 issue of Chris's Crierstated when and where Claude would be to take orders for CNC "jackets and sweatshirts." In 2010, Claude sent me the one 1962 sweatshirt he still had (photo below) to be included in the special First Decade display in Trible Library from 2011-2012. To date, no one has found a 1962 CNC jacket.
Share the above history and wear the first-ever copy of the original sweatshirt or t-shirt by following the directions below sent by Katie Monteith, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations:
For the first time since the days of Christopher Newport College, we are proud to release exclusive offerings to the first Captains to grace our campus. As we celebrate the countdown to CNU DAY 2021, on Wednesday, April 14, we welcome you to explore and purchase merchandise saluting your days spent as a CNC student. Join us now as we re-introduce, for a limited time only, the first apparel of Christopher Newport.
Each purchase of one of these special throwback items from the CNU Day Vault includes a $5 gift to support CNU Day and the Christopher Newport Historic Preservation Fund.
CNU Alumni Relations Office photo.
AVAILABLE ONLY FROM NOW THROUGH APRIL 14. CLICK HERE TO ORDER:
PART 1 of this series gave the histories of the British place names Hampton Roads, Hampton, Cape Henry, Cape Charles, Point Comfort, and the Native American village Kecoughtan. PART 2 covered the British names Virginia, Jamestown, the James and York rivers (and the rivers' Native American names)--plus the native names Chesapeake (the bay) and Werowocomoco (the headquarters of Chief Powhatan). Published in September and October of 2020, both of these articles are now located in the website's ARCHIVES, under the sub tab THIS-N-THAT, about halfway down.
In just 17 years the little Virginia Colony that began in 1607 at Jamestown expanded significantly, with communities springing up in areas north, south, east and west of the Chesapeake Bay, primarily along its banks and rivers. The Algonquian-speaking natives fought to keep their land, but although greatly outnumbering the English, they found their arrows, knives, spears and tomahawks poor matches against bullets and cannon balls. Some tribes, like that in Kecoughtan, just gave up and relocated elsewhere. By 1634, with the Virginia Colony's population at about 5,000, King Charles I, son of James I, ordered a new system of government for the colony, dividing it into eight shires (soon renamed counties), as shown below.
Patterned after county government in England, each shire was governed by a lieutenant and an elected sheriff (from Mid. Eng. shire + reve, or reeve, a law enforcement officer). Discussed here first will be the Peninsula shires: Warwick River, Elizabeth City, Charles River, and James City--three of which (see map) were the smallest.
Warwick River Shire (now the City of Newport News)
Neon green on the Shire map and yellow on the County map above, Warwick River Shire was so named in 1634 because by that time Warwick River had become a major port on the James River. The name Warwick honored Sir Robert Rich, Second Earl of Warwick, a prominent member of the Virginia Company. The shire's first courthouse and jail were at Warwick Towne, the first county seat, abandoned In 1809 (Wikipedia).
The community of Denbigh, now a neighborhood in Newport News, was named for nearby Denbigh Plantation (also called Mathews Manor), home of Captain Samuel Mathews, who came to the Virginia Colony before 1618 and was the father of Colonel Samuel Mathews, royal governor of the Colony from 1656-1660. Denbigh was the county seat of Warwick from 1810 until 1952 (Wikipedia). The name Denbigh goes back to the 13th century. Below is an aerial view of the town of Denbigh in Denbighshire, Wales, and the remains of Denbigh Castle, built in 1282 by order of King Edward I. The Welsh name Denbigh means "little fortress"(Wikipedia). It is pronounced DENbee in the UK, Australia, and the USA.
Warwick County ceased to exist in the 20th century as the town of Newport News grew, largely because of the C&O Railroad and the Shipyard. In 1869, Newport News became an independent city. In 1952, the rest of Warwick County became briefly the City of Warwick, then it became part of the City of Newport News in 1958. The origin of the name Newport News is somewhat debatable, although the settlement was referred to as Newportes Newesas early as 1621 (Wikipedia). Probably the name originated in the "good news" Captain Christopher Newport brought to Jamestown, after the Starving Time (winter of 1609-1610), that a fleet of ships bringing more supplies and men had entered the James River on its way to Jamestown.
Elizabeth City Shire (now the City of Hampton)
Elizabeth City Shire and Norfolk's Elizabeth River were both named for Princess Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of King James I, in honor of her godmother, Queen Elizabeth I. The City of Hampton began In 1610, after the Starving Time in Jamestown. Under the leadership of Colony Governor Sir Thomas Gates, Jamestown colonists seized and settled the village of the Kecoughtan tribe located near Point Comfort on the Chesapeake Bay (map above). The small town they established there they first called Kecoughtan. In 1619, the area including their town was named Elizabeth Cittie. In 1634 it became Elizabeth City Shire. The colonists eventually named their townHamptonto honor Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southhampton, a major leader of the Virginia Company of London (Wikipedia). In 1705 Hampton was incorporated as a town and became the seat of Elizabeth City County The native name Kecoughtan remains in Hampton as the name of both a major road and a high school. Most streets in the Wythe neighborhood in Hampton have Algonquin names in memory of the 30 tribes who first owned the Virginia Colony area.
Charles River Shire (now York County)
Native Americans called the river on the north side of the Peninsula the Pamunkey, after a tribe that lived on its banks. In 1634 it was renamed the Charles River to honor England's King Charles I and Charles River Shire was formed. In 1643, after the English Civil War began, the river and shire (then county) and port town were renamed York after a city of that name in northern England. Yorktown, founded in 1691 as a port from which the English colonists could export tobacco, became the county seat in 1696 (Wikipedia). It still is, although Yorktown has never formally been incorporated as a town. It is best known as the place where the American Revolutionary War ended in 1781 with the surrender of General Cornwallis to General George Washington
The map above shows York County with the town of Poquoson to its right. Poquoson was incorporated in 1952 and became an independent city in 1975. Poquoson is an Algonquin word roughly meaning "great marsh." The native Americans used pocosin (spellings varied) to describe low ground, marshy and woody, that was usually covered by water in the winter but dry in the summer (Wikipedia). Salt marshes dominate the area. Poquoson has also long been called "Bull Island" because for centuries farmers let their cattle graze freely in its salt marshes. Today Poquoson residents still call themselves "Bull Islanders" as do the students at Poquoson High School, whose mascot is a bull.
James City Shire is the second of four shires called a "city" (originally spelled "cittie") in 1634--at a time when the entire population of the Virginia Colony was barely 5,000 people. To us, a city is a large town with thousands, if not millions, of inhabitants. However, "originally in early Middle English" the word cittiemeant "a walled town, a capital or cathedral town"(OED). Jamestown was a walled town and the Colonial Capital of Virginia from its beginning (1607) until 1699, when it was replaced by Williamsburg. The word cittie was first given to the Colony's most populated areas in 1619, then kept for four of the eight shires created in 1634--Elizabeth Cittie, James Cittie, Charles Cittie, and Henrico Cittie.
The four "City" shires included land on both the north and south shores of the James River (see above map). The maps below are two of several in this article showing how additional counties were created later from these shires as the Virginia Colony grew. The part of James City Shire located on the south side of the James River, for example, became the county of Surry in 1652. A century later, in 1754, the western part of Surry became the county of Sussex.
SURRY was named for the southern English county of Surrey. The name comes from an Old English word from the 8th century literally meaning "Southerly District." The meaning "two-seated, four-wheeled pleasure carriage" is from 1895, short for Surrey cart, an English pleasure cart first made in Surrey, England (OED). The county seat is the small town of Surry, The name Sussex will be explained later.
Two of the 1634 shires are not located in Hampton Roads: CHARLES CITY and HENRICO CITY. The names were chosen to honor the two sons of King James I--Henry (from the Latin Henricus) and Charles, who became King Charles I because Henry, the first born son, died at age 18 from typhoid fever.
On the Peninsula, the border between James City Shire and Charles City Shire is the Chickahominy River, named for the Chickahominy tribe, which is one of seven tribes in Virginia now recognized by the federal government.
Warrosquyoake River Shire (now Isle of Wight County)
Only two of the eight shires still had their Algonquin names in 1634, the Accomac Shire (or Accomack)--Virginia's Eastern Shore--and the Warrosquyoake River Shire (spellings vary), named after a river (now the Pagan River) settled by a tribe of that same name that had villages in the area. The tribe was driven away by the English settlers following the Great Massacre of 1622, in which the natives killed about 25% of all Virginia Colony settlers in an attempt to drive them out of the territory. The name Warrosquyoake was replaced in 1637 with the name Isle of Wight. after an island a few miles off England's southern coast in the English Channel (Wikipedia). Below are images of Virginia's (L) and England's (R) Isles of Wight.
Since I have lived in Virginia's Isle of Wight over thirty years, I have read various accounts of why the name was chosen for this county. Our Isle of Wight has little in common with England's. Our county, not an island, is mostly flat and rural, with a population of some 37,000 people in 363 square miles. England's island is filled with high hills and cliffs, has a population of over 140,000 in 146 square miles, and is primarily a resort known for its numerous beaches and sailing clubs. I've concluded that the name must have been chosen by 17th century settlers who once lived in England's Isle of Wight--a theory stated in Wikipedia.
The meaning of the word Wighthas mystified many, with all sorts of theories being offered. My own theory is that the word comes from the Old English wiht ,which does not mean "white" but "person," or "man" in the sense of any human being. This meaning was still very much alive in England in the middle ages and even in early modern English, as used by Lord Byron in his description of Don Juan: "Forsooth, he was a wicked wight."
The decision to replace the name Warrosquyoake with the name Pagan for the river that flows from Smithfield into the James seems strange. When replacing Native American names, the English usually picked names that honored important benefactors or rulers, or lovingly recalled places in Great Britain dear to them (towns, cities, counties). The English word pagan does not do either of those things. In fact, the word has had negative connotations since the 14th century, when it meant non-Christian or non-Jewish people. It came to mean also low class, rustic, uneducated people. Pagan and heathen basically were synonymous by the 17th century. Was the word chosen to insult the Native Americans? Show hatred for them? Relationships between the tribes and the colonists had indeed eroded seriously after a series of wars between them. And many settlers wanted to rid the Virginia Colony of what they considered "heathen" names.
Wikipedia suggests an entirely different meaning of pagan, however, quoting a 1993 Daily Press article by Peninsula author Parke Rouse, who wrote that the Smithfield river's name possibly came from the Algonquin word for pecan, meaning "that which is cracked with a tool," as nuts are. To support his theory, Rouse stated that 17th century English explorers noticed many pecan trees along the banks of that river.
Have you ever wondered where the CNC you knew and loved is? All of the buildings except one were demolished, and the one still there has changed so much inside and out that you might not recognize it. But a special map shown here will help you find the CNC campus you remember. CNU’s recently retired Executive Vice President, William L. (Bill) Brauer, also a CNC alumnus, provided this composite map below, which accurately shows exactly where the original CNC campus was (black & white aerial photo) in relation to the current CNU campus (buildings in blue overlay). He limited the map to the area that housed the old campus, so it does not show all of the present campus.
The divided road (double white lines) at the bottom right corner is the last part of The Avenue of the Arts, the main entrance to CNU, which begins at the Warwick Blvd. and J. Clyde Morris Blvd. intersection. The roundabout (white circle) crosses where Shoe Lane once was. The part of Shoe Lane which went to Warwick Blvd. (double yellow lines, top right corner) is gone, but the part to the left on the map is still there.
The Avenue of the Arts ends at Trible Library (blue building 28), which sits precisely where Smith Hall and Captain John Smith Library once sat (visible beneath the blue). Completed in 1967, Smith was CNC’s fourth building. The very light blue rectangle on the right end is the Smith Library addition of 1979, now replaced by a large Trible Library extension.
Left of the library on this map is David Student Union (blue building 7). It sits where over half of the ellipse was—the traffic circle that originally served also as the faculty/staff parking area. Visible also are the original Shoe Lane entrance and the driveway to the campus which once doubled as a parallel parking area for the students.
Directly facing David (7) is the large science building Forbes Hall (blue building 9), named after the mother of the late Dr. Sarah Forbes, a major CNU benefactor. At the right end of Forbes, on the Great Lawn, and facing David, you can clearly see the three roofs of Christopher Newport Hall (photo above, with ellipse), the first CNC Building, opened in Fall, 1964, and demolished in 2008. The large dark rectangle under the right wing of Forbes is the New Science Building built behind Newport in 1984.
Blue building 11, behind Forbes Hall, is the 2-story part of Gosnold Hall (photo below), used primarily at CNU for storage until demolished in July of 2019. A photo article on its demolition is in our website ARCHIVES, sub tab YOUR NEWS. Completed in 1965, Gosnold was CNC's second building, housing the sciences.
Blue building 25, left of Gosnold (11), is CNU's Ratcliffe Hall, created by renovating and extending to the left the original Ratcliffe Gymnasium, CNC’s third building, completed in Fall, 1967, shortly before completion of Smith. Beneath the number 25 you can see the original building. with its square roof. CNU's Ratcliffe Hall now primarily houses numerous offices, including many offices of faculty members.
To the right of Forbes is Luter Hall (building 16), home of CNU's School of Business. CNU’s close connection with Smithfield Foods is evident in the name of this building and Pope Chapel (number 22, near the campus entrance). Both Mr. Luter and Mr. Pope are major CNU benefactors. The dark thin rectangle under the number 16 is Wingfield Hall (photo above), the fifth and last building of CNC’s first decade, completed in 1970. All five were named after the captains in the 1607 Jamestown expedition.
Between Luter Hall (16) and Trible Library (28) was the first4-story building at CNC, the Administration Building (blue 2), opened in December of 1980. On that exact spot now stands another 4-story building, named (appropriately so) Christopher Newport Hall. On the third floor of that impressive building is the Cunningham Welcome Center, where every new student at CNU learns about CNC's first president, H. Westcott (Scotty) Cunningham, and Christopher Newport College of the College of William and Mary.
You can copy and paste this article if you want to keep it for reference when next you are on the CNU campus.
WILLIAM L. (BILL) BRAUER has a special connection with the people and history of the early decades of Christopher Newport. His father, Harrol A. Brauer, Jr., served the College from 1973 on the President’s Advisory Council, appointed by then President James C. Windsor. The year that Bill earned his BA in Business at CNC, 1977, his father became the first Rector of the newly independent College. In 1978, Bill’s wife, Michelle, also earned her degree at CNC, in Management Information Science (MIS). Bill’s service to Christopher Newport began in 1992, when he became VP of Administration and Finance. He held the post of Executive Vice President from 1996, appointed at the beginning of Paul Trible’s Presidency, until retirement in 2021.
VP Bill Brauer (R) with former CNC President Jim Windsor at Commencement 2014. CNU photo.
A teenage boy who had just passed his driving test asked his father when they could discuss his use of the family's car. His father said he'd make a deal with his son: "You bring your grade average up from a C to a B, study your Bible a little more often, and get that long hair cut. Then we'll talk about the car."
The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he'd settle for the deal, and they agreed on it.
After about six weeks his father said, "Son, you've brought your grades up and I've noticed you've been studying your Bible more, but I'm disappointed to see you've not yet had a decent hair cut."
The boy said, "You know, Dad, I've been thinking about that, and I've noticed in my close reading of the Bible that Samson had long hair, which made him strong, and that John the Baptist had long hair, and Moses had long hair too. And all the pictures I've seen of Jesus show him with long hair." He paused, rubbing his peach-fuzzed chin, then added, "And a beard, too."
His father replied, "Did you also notice that they all walked everywhere they went?"
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