Mystery May
Now You See Them, Now You Don't - The Lost Colony, Part 2

Now You See Them, Now You Don't - The Lost Colony, Part 2
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.19

     challenging words:    blue-eyed, carving, Croatoan, eerily, foot-stomping, grandkid, hanky-panky, hitched, it-on, prunella, rank, resort, up-you, upright, course, deserted
     content words:    Native American, Roanoke Island, North Carolina, Chesapeake Bay, John White, Eleanor Dare, Virginia Dare, New World, Then Spain, Queen Elizabeth

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Now You See Them, Now You Don't - The Lost Colony, Part 2
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     Of course, the British weren't the first people to show up in America. Native American tribes had been there long before. John White's bunch weren't even the first white people. A group of men from Britain had come first. They landed on Roanoke Island off the coast of what is now North Carolina.
2     The men started the fort and did some manly exploring. But building houses and planting crops wasn't their idea of fun. They were really looking for ways to make money off the new land. The project was a flop. Most of this first group hitched a ride on the first ship back to England.
3     John White's bunch tried to be a little smarter. They chose a better place for a settlement. Chesapeake Bay was a little north of Roanoke. It had soil that would grow things. Roanoke Island, as anybody could see, was born to be a beach resort.
4     The settlers didn't get to the Chesapeake area, though. The pilot of their ship had other things on his mind. His hobby was grabbing Spanish ships. He couldn't wait to get the settlers off his ship so he could get his hands on some Spanish treasure. He dropped them off a tad short of their planned landing spot.
5     They ended up—you guessed it—on Roanoke. They weren't happy about it. But beyond some foot-stomping and a few choice words, there was nothing they could do. So they made the best of it. They still planned to move north as soon as they could.
6     John White was in charge of the new colony. His daughter Eleanor Dare and her husband were among the settlers. Eleanor was about to have a baby. Just a month after they landed, Virginia Dare was born. She was the first English child born in the New World.
7     The settlers were a little nervous in their new home. They talked White into going back to England right away. He would bring back supplies. Most of all, he would make sure the little colony wasn't forgotten by its mother nation.
8     As soon as his grandkid was born, White set sail. He'd be right back, he promised. For sure. As you might guess, stuff happened. It was the worst case of "a funny thing happened on the way back to the colony..." that you have ever seen.
9     The first return trip was cut short by a bunch of pirates. They seized the ship and took the colonists' supplies. White was freed, but he was sent back to England. Then Spain finally got tired of all the hanky-panky with its ships. It went to war with England. Queen Elizabeth pulled rank. No English ship was allowed to go anywhere except to war.
10     It was 1590 when White set foot again on the beach at Roanoke. I did the math. Three years is a long time to wait for someone who went out for gallon of milk. In any case, by the time he finally got back, White's colony had gone missing.
11     "Sounds kind of like losing an elephant," Rusty snorted. "What did he do?"
12     White checked everything out. When he'd been with the villagers, they'd worked out a code. In case of trouble, they were to carve a cross somewhere as a sign. Now, in searching the deserted colony, White found no crosses anywhere. In fact, he found no signs of a struggle. Everything looked as if they'd just walked away.
13     He did find some carving, though. Etched in a post was the word "Croatoan." The letters "Cro" were carved in a tree nearby. One of the tribes with which the settlers had been friendly was the Croatan. They lived south of Roanoke.
14     After all that, White's search was cut short. Soon after he got back to Roanoke, a hurricane came up. It threatened to drown him and his ship. He had to flee for England or be lost himself.

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