Vanishing witness

Virginians (and I’m one) used to be told that Virginia history began when Walter Raleigh bought a new cloak for an audience with Queen Elizabeth I.  Virginia almost didn’t happen because when Raleigh saw the Queen about to step into a puddle, he spread his coat before her.  When she later chastised him for showing up under-dressed, a witness to Raleigh’s gallantry spoke up on his behalf, and Raleigh goth three ships by way of thanks.

Virginians don’t learn that anymore, and North Carolinians never did.  To be propagated, history requires a certain density. In an effort to thicken up the past, note the following photo and two studies, done off Okisko Road in Pasquotank County, NC:


I know Virginia claims the first representative assembly (the House of Burgesses, 1619), but look who commemorated the birth of North Carolinian self-government.  That’s right, the Sir Walter Raleigh Chapter of Daughters of the Revolution.

Such self-confidence is inspiring. And it lasted longer than people think.  Two hundred yards from this marker sits this house, whose front porch in the Federal style is an example of the high tide of American architecture  that washed over even our distant countryside from 1750 until about 1830.  I got two studies of it–one in walnut ink and one in oil–and I intend to revisit it this spring and summer and make a large format work.

Like the Elliott barn and stable in my masthead, this home deserves to be known.

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