Wednesday, April 19, 2017



Captain Samuel Argall, renowned English mariner , sailed into the Cape Henlopen capes in 1610, a year after Captain Henry Hudson. Hudson had named the bay before him the ”South River” since he had named the Hudson River of New York the “North River”. Argall named the river at Cape Henlopen , De La Warr, after the ailing Thomas West, a leader of the Jamestown, Virginia, colony.

Thomas West was born July 9 1576, in Hampshire, England to a well to do and politically active family, had studied at Oxford, briefly a member of Parliament , and an investor in British efforts to establish settlements in the new world of America. In 1610 he was appointed governor of Jamestown, then a failing colony, where the settlers there were in preparation to return to England on the first boat available. These settlers had enough of America, out of 500 only 59 survived the “Starving Time”.

West arrived on Captain Argall's ship with supplies, took control of the colony, ordered the settlers who had already boarded a ship to leave, back to the colony and their huts, and sent the Argall ship out to find additional food stuff.

It was on this voyage that Argall found European fishermen near Cape Cod, procured cured fish, plus finding the Cape Henlopen capes and the bay and river behind them, and after a brief stay and naming the estuary De La Warr, returning to Jamestown with enough food to survive the up coming winter.

West had taken sick with with scurvy , soon left Jamestown to go to the Azores where he found fresh fruits to eat and regaining his health, only to die a few year later without recognition for saving the Jamestown settlement, nor the introduction of the cure for scurvy by consumption of fresh citrus.

Thomas West was quickly relegated to history’s bottom drawer and had it not been for Captain Argall calling the new South River, the De La Warr, West would have been completely forgotten today.

Abstract Michael Morgan, Delaware Diary, Delaware Coast Press, April 19, 2017.


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