2007-02-22 / Letters to the Editor

Land agreement dates clarified

In the Feb. 15 issue of the Jamestown Press, a notice appeared about a celebration committee being formed for the 350th Anniversary of Jamestown. I would like to make a clarification of these dates and events, for consideration by this committee and any other interested persons.

The Land Agreement, recently purchased by the Jamestown Historical Society, was created to determine how the island would be divided among approximately 100 settlers. It was later ratified by these settlers, most of whom lived in Newport. A third date was the deed of sale of "Quononaqutt" island by Chief Sachem "Cashanaquont", to the Purchasers.

The handwritten dates signed in these agreements are :

+ Creation of the Land Agreement: March 10, 1656.

+ Ratification of the Land agreement: Feb. 12, 1657.

+ Sale of Conanicut Island: April 17, 1657.

The above dates were based on the Julian calendar, which was in effect at that time in Great Britain and the colonies.

In 1752, the British government

adopted the Gregorian calendar and required it of the American

colonies. New Year's Day was moved to Jan. 1 from March 25, and the day following Sept. 2, 1752 was called Sept. 14, 1752. Thus, George Washington's birthday, which had been Feb. 11, 1731, became Feb. 22, 1732)

So now we have three additional dates for Jamestown's anniversary, according to the Gregorian calendar.

+ Creation of the Land Agreement: March 20, 1657

+ Sale of Conanicut Island: April 27, 1657

+ Ratification of the Land Agreement: Feb. 22, 1658

You will note that the ratification of the Land Agreement was actually after the sale of the island, not before, as previously believed.

For further understanding of the various calendars, you can check any World Almanac under "Calendar."

I have made transcriptions of the Land Agreement document and the Sale document and would be willing to send a copy to the celebration committee if they would like to have them.

Nancy Logan,

Jamestown

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