In Memoriam: Scott Burgess Krutilek

Scott Krutilek, flanked by Governor Scarlett Stahl and wife Sandy at 2016 SCGS Jamboree

We regret to report the passing of our valued and steadfast member, Scott Burgess Krutilek; April 24, 1938 ~ February 28, 2017. He was active in our company’s Council for many years, a friend to many and brought joy and a large measure of good will to our meetings. He is missed.

Past Governor Ginny Gotlieb’s remembrance:

“Scott served the First California Company as Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Councilor and always as a kind and dedicated member and wise advisor.  He and his wife and fellow member Sandy have staffed our table for many years at the Southern California Genealogy Society’s annual Genealogy Jamboree.  It was through Scott’s suggestion that we began to participate in the Jamboree.  He was always willing to help in ways big and small and was modest about his efforts and contributions.  He and Sandy brought their granddaughter Kathleen into the Society and FCC and she, too, has helped us at past events.”

Our company is making a memorial donation to the Society’s Wingo Fund for records preservation. Individuals who wish to augment this with a personal donation can do so as follows:

  1. Use the “Donate  Now” button on the Society’s website, and designate it for the Wingo Fund and dedicate your donation to a Memorial for Scott Krutilek.
  2. You can mail a check payable to the Jamestowne Society with the memo Wingo Fund in memory of Scott Krutilek.
Posted in First California Company, geneaology, Gotlieb, In Memoriam, Jamestowne Society, News, Officers and councilors, Scarlett Stahl, Scott Krutelik, Uncategorized | Comments Off on In Memoriam: Scott Burgess Krutilek

Our Winter Meeting: A Celebration of the Life of Pocahontas

Governor Scarlett Stahl convened our 2017 Winter Meeting in post-deluge Los Angeles on February 18. Nineteen members and guests met to exchange greetings, enjoy fellowship and celebrate the life of Pocahontas.

We began with Dr. Jessica Stern’s engaging and informative presentation on Pocahontas; Her Life and Times in England and the 400th Anniversary of her Death in March 1617.

In her talk, Jessica sought to answer this question: how did Pocahontas feel when she went to London in 1616, around the age 20? We have ample evidence about how the Virginia Company saw her visit. Seizing on a new peace forged between the Chesapeake Algonquian and the English in Virginia (manifested with Pocahontas’s 1614 marriage to John Rolfe), the Virginia Company hoped to use her visit to promote colonization. As made clear in this portrait commissioned during her trip, they sought to emphasize that Pocahontas was Native AND English, and solicit investment in a missionary school. But what about her? Did she feel excitement? Or did she feel captured and homesick?

After showing a digital depiction of how 17th century London may have appeared to Pocahontas, Jessica suggested that, at the very least, the sights, sounds, smells, and crowds must have been jarring. She (much more so than Rolfe) was treated with great pomp and circumstance, which exhausted her – treated to plays, at court, and at the Tower. She and her family moved to an estate in the suburbs to give her some rest. It was there John Smith came to visit her, and it is his account of her views that is the most revealing. As he recalled, she revealed that she feels like a stranger in this land, is duty bound to be Smith’s “child and countryman,” and believes the English “lie often.”

To Jessica, this suggests that Pocahontas saw her trip to England as an extension of the role she assumed the day she participated in the adoption ritual of Smith in 1608 (which he interpreted as her having saved his life out of affection). Then, as in England, she was working to forge a peace between the English and Natives, a role that to which she seemed resigned. But this dutiful life was cut short. As her ship began its trip back to Virginia in March 1617, Pocahontas fell ill, probably of a lung ailment like tuberculosis and died. With her, she had carried 100 pounds that had been donated to start the mission school. She was buried at St. George’s church in Gravesend.

After luncheon was served, new member Gale Hewes was introduced and the meeting moved on to company business, including officers’ reports and announcements. They included:

  1. Treasurer Suzy Leif will coordinate and respond to requests for carpooling to help facilitate transportation to future meetings.
  2. First California Company will again have a table at Southern California Genealogical Society’s 2017 Genealogy Jamboree on June 10, staffed by Governor Stahl, Historian Jim Shepherd and Scott and Sandy Krutilek. We will distribute our recently reprinted company brochure to all attendees.  Members can also obtain them from Governor Stahl.
  3. As previously reported, Governor Stahl will attend the Pocahontas 400 Life Commemorative Church Service on March 21 (400th anniversary of her death) in St. George’s Church, Gravesend, England, participate in the parade and an event the Old Town Hall. She will present the Company’s donation of $100 to St. George’s for help in upkeep of the Pocahontas memorial garden.
  4. Governor Stahl gave a report with an update on the national Society. She and Historian Jim Shepherd will attend its spring Governors’ Forum and meetings in Williamsburg May 19-20.
  5. Jim McCall reported on efforts to stop the proposed construction of view-destroying power transmission towers across James River near Jamestown. The US Army Corps of Engineers’ has been evaluating the requisite permit application since 2013 and now appears to be near to reaching a decision. Until the decision comes down, opposition efforts will continue.
  6. Jim also announced that he is raising funds to help produce a documentary film in tribute to Bill Kelso, the honored archaeologist who has enabled Jamestown Rediscovery to emerge as America’s most important archeological site. This special film tribute is being produced with the endorsement and cooperation of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation that serves as fiscal agent for the production.

We will next convene for our 2017 Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 24 in Carlsbad at the Green Dragon restaurant, which is modeled after the Boston tavern where the American Revolution was plotted.

Our Speaker, Dr. Jessica Stern, surrounded by past Governor Donna Derrick, Governor Scarlett Stahl and Councilor Jim McCall



New member Gale Hewes and her husband, Phil, at left

Guest Margaret Willcox, Jim Shepherd, Suzy Leif, past Governor Donna Derrick, Governor Scarlett Stahl, and Speaker Dr. Jessica Stern

Sandra Bill, past Governor Joanne Murphy, Dorothy Peterson and guest Sue Pitney

Guest Beth Ullman, Harry Holgate, Susan Holgate and past Governor Virginia Gotlieb

Jim McCall, Erica Hahn and past Governor Martha Gresham.







Posted in 1607, Donna Derrick, Dr. Jessica Stern, Early American History, First California Compoany, Jamestown Rediscovery, Jamestowne Society, Pocahontas, Scarlett Stahl, SoCal Genealogical Jamboree, St. George's Church, Uncategorized, Virginia, Winter 2017 | Comments Off on Our Winter Meeting: A Celebration of the Life of Pocahontas

Jamestown in Winter

It’s been a tough weather week in Historic Jamestown.

We here show a You Tube video of  Jamestown in Winter shot from a drone by the Jamestown Rediscovery staff. This makes us appreciate our California weather, no matter the current rains. Note how the reenactor also helps us appreciate what our earliest ancestors had to endure; it was then the Little Ice Age. John Smith described how he had to chop through river ice in visiting the Powhatans and exploring the Chesapeake. Not all summer-like and mosquitos.

Also, below are photos that were among those posted by Jamestown Rediscovery on its Facebook page. As some readers of this page do not access Facebook, we are posting these so all can share them. You can click on them for more detail.

All were taken on January 9 (when it was 10 degrees) by JR staff, two of which were notably taken by Merry Outlaw, its Curator of Collections.


The Island in Winter



Memorial Church and 17th century tower in the snow (Merry Outlaw)

James Fort in the snow.


Site of the 1608 church in winter (Merry Outlaw)

Posted in 1607, 1608, 2017, Early American History, geneaology, Historic Jamestown, James Fort, James Fort extension, Jamestown Church Bell Tower, Jamestown Rediscovery, John Smith, News, Updates, Virginia, Winter 2017 | Comments Off on Jamestown in Winter

Our February 18 Winter Meeting in Los Angeles Will Celebrate Pocahontas’ Life

Governor Scarlett Stahl at Pocahontas Statue at Gravesend, England with Reverend Chris Stone

A Message from Governor Scarlett Stahl:

We will next meet on Saturday, February 18 in Los Angeles to celebrate the life of Pocahontas. She was my tenth great-grandmother and the ancestor I chose to join Jamestowne Society with. I have made several pilgrimages to her former sites…such as the 400th Wedding Reenactment at Jamestowne on April 5, 2014, the Pamunkey Indian Reservation in Virginia (the main tribe of Powhatan, Pocahontas’ father) and St. George’s Church in Gravesend, England, where my ancestor was buried March 21, 1617. I also enjoyed our March 2014 First California Company luncheon at the LA Airport Marriott Hotel; Commemoration of the 400th Wedding Anniversary of Pocahontas and John Rolfe.

Her marriage to John Rolfe secured peace between the settlers and the Indians. It was approved by both Chief Powhatan and the Virginia Company Governor for that very reason. Pocahontas died of an unknown illness 400 years ago in March 1617 and was buried at St George’s Church, Gravesend.

There are a series of events commemorating  her Life Celebration at Gravesend. I am excited and privileged to share that I have personally been invited by the Rector, the Reverend Canon Chris Stone, to attend on March 21, the Pocahontas 400 Life Commemorative Church Service in St George’s Church, Gravesend, England, where the Pocahontas Gardens are and which I have previously visited. Following the services, I have been invited to be in the parade and then enjoy refreshments with the Mayor in the Old Town Hall in High Street. I hope to have a report and photos of the festivities for you.  Please contact me if you wish to learn more.

However, it also is fitting to commemorate her death with a Life Celebration at our own First California Company meeting on February 18 at the Tam O’Shanter, one of Los Angeles’ long-established culinary institutions.

Tam O’Shanter

Our meeting is being held at one of my own favorite restaurants, which is modeled after a Scottish pub, housed in a Tudor-style building with plaid-clad waiters serving us. It opened in 1922 and has been operated by the same family in the same location. It was Walt Disney’s favorite restaurant.

Our speaker, Jessica Stern Ph.D., is associate professor of History at California State University Fullerton, who will tell us about Pocahontas: Her Life and Times in England and the 400th Anniversary of her Death in March 1617.

Here are some possible highlights: Thursday, January 5 marked 400 years since Pocahontas was presented to James I at Whitehall Palace in London, where she attended a masque at Whitehall Palace as visiting American royalty.  She had traveled with her husband John Rolfe, of Heacham, Norfolk, but he was excluded from the masque as a commoner. The couple’s links to the village are believed to still be apparent today, as it is said that Pocahontas, John Rolfe and their son may have visited Heacham in 1616 to meet his family. Legend says she planted a mulberry tree in the village, which some believe to be the larger tree which is still growing there.

Please join us in our Life Celebration. We will assemble at 11:30 AM for socializing, then hold a short business meeting for members and enjoy our luncheon, followed by of our program.

We will meet in the Guards’ Room at Tam O’Shanter, which is located at 2980 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Phone: 323-664-0228. NOTE: The I-5 corridor is often congested with Saturday traffic, so please allow extra time to travel.

The cost of the event is $40 and you can choose from prime rib of beef, roasted chicken and a seasonal vegetarian entree. Reservations must be received  by February 10. You can make one by contacting our Treasurer, Suzy Leif.

As always, guests, prospective applicants to the Society and members of other companies are very welcome.

I hope we will see you there to join once again in Jamestowne Society fellowship and sharing to help further our mission:

  • To discover and record the names of all living descendants of those early settlers who made the great sacrifice to establish our English-speaking Nation; and to unite these descendants to honor the memory of our settler ancestors;  and to record their deeds, and to do homage to the birthplace of Virginia and the Nation.      
  • To associate those descendants as members of the corporation.      
  • To bring the members into closer association through activities revolving around matters of common historical and genealogical interest.

Scarlett Gathings Stahl, Governor

First California Company, Jamestowne Society






Posted in 1614, 1617, 2014 Meeting, 400th Anniversary Pocahontas Rolfe Wedding, Early American History, First California Company, Gravesend, Historic Jamestown, Jamestowne Society, John Rolfe, News, Pocahontas, Scarlett Stahl, St. George's Church, Uncategorized, Virginia | Comments Off on Our February 18 Winter Meeting in Los Angeles Will Celebrate Pocahontas’ Life

Whose Ancestors are Buried in the Jamestown Church?

There have been six churches at Jamestown. The most meaningful were the second, built in 1608 – the site of the 1614 Rolfe/Pocahontas wedding and where graves of four founders were found; the third, built from 1617 to 1619 – the site of the first elected representative legislature in the New World in 1619; the fifth, built sometime in the seventeenth century – its tower is the sole remaining edifice from the colony; and, the sixth, built in as the 1907 Memorial Church, built over and around the sites of the second and third churches.

The second and Memorial churches are located as numbers 18 and 27 on Jamestown Rediscovery’s Map of Discoveries.

With the $50,000 donation announced by Governor Jerry Zillion in the Society’s Fall 2016 Magazine, Jamestown Rediscovery has now expanded its archaeological dig to the interior of the Memorial Church. This is in preparation of the 2019 commemoration of 400th anniversary of the First Assembly, but also to investigate which of our ancestors may be buried there. Two recent news articles report on their progress, one local and the other picked up and published nationally by the Associated Press. There are links within these articles that offer more details of the dig.

The Society requests members and companies interested in supporting this work to make donations to the Society, which will then forward the designated contribution. Donors have three options: (1)  by going to the Roll of Honor page on its website, where online, digital contribution instructions are at the bottom of the page, (2) using the form for mailing donations on the same page, or (3) using the Donate Now button on the Society’s Home page and specifying Archaeological Dig Fund in the provided field.

This is summarized on our Jamestown Archeology page, where we have and will include links to published progress reports from time to time. We will post news of any remains that are found in the church excavation.

Posted in 1607, 1608, 1608 Church Chancel, 1614, 17th Century Church Bell Tower, 17th century church tower, 2016, Daily Press, Early American History, First California Company, Founders' Graves, geneaology, Historic Jamestown, James Fort extension, Jamestown Rediscovery, Jamestowne Society, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Whose Ancestors are Buried in the Jamestown Church?

Our Fall 2016 Meeting Had a Romantic Twist

Governor Scarlett Stahl

Governor Scarlett Stahl

Governor Scarlett Stahl convened First California Company’s fall 2016 meeting on November 12 at Knotts Berry Farm Hotel in Buena Park with 27 members, friends and guests attending. All officers and councilors were present, with the exception of Treasurer Suzanne Leif, Chaplain Sandra Orozco and Councilors Jim McCall and Anita Guenin.

Governor Stahl presided and reported as follows:

Our speaker was Professor Stewart Davenport, who received his Ph.D., in History from Yale University and is an Associate Professor of History at Pepperdine University.

Governor Scarlett Stahl with Professor Stewart Davenport, our speaker, and Lt. Governor Julie Plemmons. Both Scarlett and Julie are holding the tobacco leaves, which were grown and provided as decoration by Historian Jim Shepherd.

Governor Scarlett Stahl with Professor Stewart Davenport, our speaker, and Lt. Governor Julie Plemmons. Both Scarlett and Julie are holding the tobacco leaves, which were grown and provided as decoration by Historian Jim Shepherd.


His presentation was on Tobacco in Colonial Virginia: From Boom to Bacon’s Rebellion. Table decorations included real dried tobacco leaves, which had been grown by our Historian, Jim Shepherd and little tobacco bags filled with candy, which were provided by former Governor Donna Derrick and Lieutenant Governor Julie Plemmons. [Ed. Note: Dr. Davenport’s remarks complemented Jim Shepherd’s recent account of his experience as our Company’s only tobacco planter.]

The first order of business was to ratify the Council’s appointment of Erica Hahn to serve as Secretary for the remainder of the 2016- 2018 term as successor to Michelle Chatelle, who had found it necessary to resign. Additionally, we ratified Suzanne Leif’s Council appointment to serve as Treasurer for the remainder of the term 2016-2018 as successor to David Grinnell, who also found it necessary to resign. Both motions were voted upon and adopted. We expressed our appreciation to both for their willingness to serve.

The minutes from the May 21 meeting had been emailed to all members and the Secretary received no corrections or additions.  There were no objections, and the minutes were filed as approved.

Erica Hahn, Secretary, read the Treasurer’s Report as well as the proposed 2017 Budget in the absence of Treasurer Suzanne Leif. These were voted upon and adopted.

Chaplain for the Day, Claire Murphy, reported that our Chaplain, Sandra Orozco was home from the hospital after her fall.

Marty Sommercamp, Membership Chair, introduced two new members, Sally Shepherd Stovall and her seven-year-old nephew, Lucas Lapp.

Susan Shepherd Lapp, Sally Shepherd Stovall, Jim Shepherd (Historian) Scarlett Stahl (Governor) and Lucas Lapp at the new American Flag that was donated by the Shepherd Family.

Susan Shepherd Lapp, Sally Shepherd Stovall, Jim Shepherd (Historian) Scarlett Stahl (Governor) and Lucas Lapp at the new American Flag that was donated by the Shepherd Family.

The Shepherd family presented a new U.S. flag and pole and a matching pole for the Jamestowne Society Flag, as a  gift to our First California Company, which was met with applause.

Parliamentarian Martha Gresham, as a member of the Bylaws Committee, presented amendments to our Bylaws, which were voted upon and adopted.

In Jim McCall’s absence, Jim Shepherd gave a status report on efforts to Save the James.

Jamestowne Society news: Jerry Zillion was re-elected Governor at the Society’s November 4 Fall Meeting. The Lieutenant Governor, Secretary, Auditor, Chaplain, Treasurer all were re-elected.  About 4 others are new officers. Several new councilors were elected [Ed. Note: see the Society’s website.]

Anne Stokes Moore is no longer Companies’ Chair and is now Historian. She has been replaced by Jane Congdon, who is now Regional Chairmen Coordinator, a new office to oversee the nine regions into which companies have been organized. Jane was also elected Registrar for the Society at the Fall meeting. Jane (“Xan”) Alexander is our Western Regional Chair; more information will be sent to all governors by their Regional Chairs, who now will liaison between the Society and companies in their areas.

The Jamestowne Society would like to honor our members who have served in the U.S. military and has created a new pin to recognize U.S. military veterans.  Governors are to compile lists of veterans in their respective companies. In late February or March, the nine Regional Chairmen are to receive those reports from the governors. Jane Congdon will then compile them to create the Society’s complete veteran list. This is ongoing project and names will continually be added just before each national meeting for updated lists at the meetings.

Veterans standing, wives standing for their husbands and daughters standing for their fathers in recognition of Veterans Day.

Veterans standing, wives standing for their husbands and daughters standing for their fathers in recognition of Veterans Day.

First California Company veterans were asked to stand when their name was called, stating their name and branch of service. Also, ladies were asked to stand and give the names and branch of service for their spouses or fathers. The names read were as follows:

George R. Horne, # 7544, Captain, U. S. Marine Corps Reserve. 1958-68 (Not called back on active duty for Vietnam)

John E. Cahoon #6569, Chief Petty Officer, U. S.  Navy Reserve, Retired Served aboard the USS Essex CV 9 (Carrier Vessel), during WWII and during the Korean War as well. He stayed in the reserves and retired after 24 years.

Ward C. White, #8651, S/Sgt. U.S. Air Force, Korean War Veteran, Service: 21 July 1949 to 12 December 1952

James A. Shepherd, # 8690,  Lt. Col., U. S. Marine Corps, Retired. Vietnam War Veteran.Service: 16 April 1958 to 1 July, 1980.

James H. McCall #5883 Private, U. S. Marine Corps Reserve 1955-59 (Injured and eventually discharged.)

Lieutenant Governor Julie Plemmons advised that our next meeting will be on February 18, 2017, with a Los Angeles-area venue to be advised.

The meeting’s Romantic Twist: Scarlett Stahl and Jim Shepherd announced their engagement, and she slightly sheepishly showed off her engagement ring.

Our youngest member, Lucas Lapp (seven years old,) holding tobacco, which was the theme of the speaker’s address.

Our youngest member, Lucas Lapp (seven years old) holding tobacco, which was the theme of the speaker’s address.


Posted in 2016 Fall Meeting, Buena Park, Bylaws, Dr. Stewart Davenport, Early American History, First California Company, First California Compoany, geneaology, Jamestowne Society, Jamestowne Society Governor, Jim Shepherd, New Members, News, Officers and councilors, Planter, Save the James, Scarlett Stahl, Stewart Davenport, Tobacco, Uncategorized, Updates, Virginia | Comments Off on Our Fall 2016 Meeting Had a Romantic Twist

Our Fall Meeting: November 12 in Buena Park

kbf-hotelOur 2016 Fall Meeting will be held on Saturday, November 12 at Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel, La Palma Room, First Floor, 7675 Crescent Avenue, Buena Park, CA 90620.

We will convene at 11:30 AM to give you an opportunity to renew old and develop new friendships among our members, prospective members and other guests and spouses. We will have short business meeting preceding lunch.

A message from Governor Scarlett Stahl:

“As your new Governor, I hope I can welcome you personally at our 2016 Fall Meeting on Saturday, November 12. Our speaker, Professor Stewart Davenport of Pepperdine University, will discuss Tobacco in Colonial Virginia: From Boom to Bacon’s Rebellion. Having heard Professor Davenport three times, I am sure you will find him both knowledgeable and entertaining. I look forward to seeing all of you there.

“I have been working closely with our Lt. Governor, Julie Plemmons, in planning for our proposed venues and speakers. We expect to have three meetings during this, our 17th, year …one in the San Diego area, one in the Los Angeles area and one in between. We hope to see more members become active in our Company and encourage prospective members to get acquainted.”

Scarlett Stahl

Dr. Davenport

Dr. Davenport

Dr. Stewart Davenport received his Ph.D. in History from Yale University in 2001, and is Associate Professor of History at Pepperdine University, teaching courses in American Religious History, and American History, more generally from the colonial era through Reconstruction.





Cost: $40.00. Menu selections: Mrs. Knott’s Famous Fried Chicken OR Vegetarian Lasagna; Dessert of Boysenberry Pie

Please RSVP by November 2, 2016 and make check payable to First California Company, Jamestowne Society (Must be received by November 2, 2016).

Mail to: David Grinnell, Treasurer, 3501 Desert Creek Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92262-9754. Contact info: email:; phone: 760-322-1702

Please include the attendee name(s): email and phone: indicate FCC Member; FCC Friend; Prospective Member; or Guest. Please make your menu selection: Mrs. Knott’s Famous Fried Chicken Lunch $40; Vegetarian Lasagna Lunch $40. Also, indicate if you would like any Knott’s Berry Farm Adult Park Tickets @ $40  and Children’s Park Tickets (ages 3-11) @ $30.

For answers to questions and more information, please contact Governor Scarlett Stahl at

For  a map with the location of our meeting venue, please click here.


Posted in 2016, 2016 Fall Meeting, Agriculture, Buena Park, Dr. Stewart Davenport, Early American History, First California Company, geneaology, Jamestowne Society, News, Planter, Scarlett Stahl, Tobacco, Virginia | Comments Off on Our Fall Meeting: November 12 in Buena Park

Sweet Virginia Tobacco

By Jim Shepherd

When the first settlers came to Virginia in 1607, their main problem was food; the 1609-10 winter was known as the Starving Times. They had trouble trading with the local Indian tribes for food.

It is not mentioned in history books, but they must have had an area like Boston Common; a place where they could raise a garden and pasture for livestock.

The Spanish were already selling tobacco in Europe. The first plant was brought to England in 1565, and by the 1610’s there was a ready market in England, especially for Spanish tobacco from the West Indies.

The local Indians raised tobacco for ceremonial purposes, but the English did not care for its bitterness. In 1611, John Rolfe, who would marry Pocahontas, obtained some Spanish seeds from a ship’s captain. By 1612, he was growing a hybrid of the sweeter Spanish tobacco and the local variety, which would be then known in England forever as the Virginia blend. The exact location of his crop was is not known, but it was probably on Jamestowne Island.

In 1619, the first General Assembly enacted requirements for the inspection of tobacco and mandated the creation of port towns and warehouses.

In the meantime, the settlers found that tobacco would grow well in Virginia and sell profitably in England. This was wonderful news, considering that many of the Jamestown colonists had died or suffered miserably as their farming efforts had been relatively unsuccessful. The potential cash value of tobacco soon captured imaginations throughout Virginia and the greater Chesapeake. They began to plant it in every available clearing, from fields to the forts and streets of Jamestown and, eventually, much of Tidewater Virginia. “Dominating the Virginia economy after 1622, tobacco remained the staple of the Chesapeake colonies, and its phenomenal rise is one of the most remarkable aspects of our colonial history.”

If you have ever been involved in clearing land of trees, you know it is a difficult task. Removing a stump from your yard with modern tools is a lot of work. The early settlers had only hand tools. They would have cut the trees for building materials and firewood and left the stumps. They would “ring” the trees to kill them, let light in, and then cut them down later. In the meantime, they planted crops around them.

When I was 9 to 12 years old, I lived on a small farm in Western Montana. We had an area that the trees had been cut down and the stumps left. My mother wanted to expand the hay field.

Old MuleI spent all winter of 1950-51 burning stumps. A few times I could talk the neighbor out of some dynamite. That was fun; break up those big pine stumps and they burn faster.  Behind the hay barn at right is where the small trees were that I cleared. It seems to me that, in 2014, the old mule came to check me out and get a nose pat.

In early Virginia, the settlers built small mounds to place the seeds on and covered them with brush. It was not the pretty cultivated land you see today.

Eventually the stumps would rot out or the settlers would burn them during the winter.

Tobacco is labor intensive. Each slave or indentured servant working on a tobacco plantation in colonial days may have planted, weeded and harvested about two acres of cleared land with 9-10,000 plants, requiring bending over perhaps 50,000 times.

Tobacco wears out the land, exhausting minerals and nutrients from the soil. The first Virginia colonists to acquire ownership of land were in a position to gain great wealth, as they could abandon old fields and plant in fresh ones that would produce great quantities of the crop. The old land would take 10-20 years to recover.

Here is a typical description of a land patent: “Scarlett’s Choice. 400 acres lying south of the James River between the third and fourth creeks below the falls.” The falls of the James River prevented ships going any further upstream.

They needed land and labor. Importing indentured servants for head rights provided them with 50 acres for each one, which created both a labor force and more land to cultivate. The supply of interested immigrants from England declined after the end of English Civil War and when Charles II reclaimed the throne in 1660. Religious and economic refugees were recruited from France and Germany. They had to be Protestants, as Virginia required that they had to attend the Anglican Church. That often meant that they were French Huguenots; many Huguenots had fled to Germany, where they intermarried, and emigrated to Virginia. By 1700, it was clear that the Virginia leaders had committed to getting their labor from Africa. Virginia had a strange law. If your mother was a free woman, you were born free; it did not make a difference who your father was. Something was going on behind the barn. Inter-racial marriages were against the law and, in many states, until the 1970’s.

You have to continually pick off the tobacco worms.

I had a friend that grew up in Tennessee. Her father raised tobacco. Every morning, she and her little sister took a coffee can of soapy water to the field. They went down every row picking tobacco worms. When they were finished, they made a count to see who the winner was that day. They could then tell their father. She who won received the most praise that day.

In addition to that, once the plants want to bloom, you have to remove the flower stems (suckers), so they devote their energy to the leaves. They grow back about as fast as tobacco worms multiply.

Tobacco Shed

Tobacco Shed

I have lived in Virginia, traveled through NC and SC. I have seen tobacco growing but never in bloom. Two years ago I raised some to see the flowers. I have a 17th century yard, bare dirt, flowers and aloe.

That story follows.


Moving outside to harden

Moved outside to harden


Their New Home

Their New Home


Getting ready to bloom and a bug bite

Getting ready to bloom and a bug bite


What I went through all the work for

What I went through all the work for


Going to seed; I have 1000's

Going to seed; I have 1000’s

You can sun dry or air dry, I did both. I started to see little holes. Eggs hatching little worms!!!

You can sun dry or air dry, I did both. I started to see little holes. Eggs hatching little worms!!!

These are hands; when they are limp, an expert can use a leaf to tie them together

These are hands; when they are limp, an expert can use a leaf to tie them together

My daughter-in-law’s father was born and raised West Virginia. His father had a tobacco patch. He was the oldest son and worked with his father as long as he can remember. As the oldest son he had to sleep in the tobacco barn during the winter to keep a fire going so it would continue to dry and cure.

When he graduated from high school, he joined the Navy to get away from all of that.

I may be the only tobacco planter in the Company or have seen it in bloom. It is labor intensive.  I could fix everyone up with at least 50 seeds.

The only tobacco planter in the comnpany

The only tobacco planter in the company

Jim Shepherd is First California Company’s Historian 

Posted in 2016, Agriculture, Early American History, First California Company, First California Compoany, Jamestowne Society, Jim Shepherd, John Rolfe, News, Planter, Tobacco, Uncategorized, Virginia | Comments Off on Sweet Virginia Tobacco

Our New 2016-18 Council

Message from Governor Scarlett Stahl:

Back row: Sandra Orozco, Chaplain; David Grinnell, Treasurer and Secretary Pro Tem; Jim Shepherd, Historian; Jim McCall, Councilor; and, Martha Pace Greshan, Past Governor and Parliamentarian. Front Row: Marty Sommercamp, Membership Chair; Anita Guenin, Councilor Scarlett Stahl, Governor; Julie Plemmons, Lieutenant Governor; Donna Chilton Derrick, Past Governor and Councilor.

Back row: Sandra Orozco, Chaplain; David Grinnell, Treasurer and Secretary Pro Tem; Jim Shepherd, Historian; Jim McCall, Councilor; and, Martha Pace Gresham, Past Governor and Parliamentarian. Front Row: Marty Sommercamp, Membership Chair; Anita Guenin, Councilor; Scarlett Stahl, Governor; Julie Plemmons, Lieutenant Governor; Donna Chilton Derrick, Past Governor and Councilor.

First California Company’s 2016-18 Council met July 16, 2016 at immediate past Governor Donna Derrick’s home in San Diego. The new Council includes Governor Scarlett Stahl; Lt. Governor Julie Plemmons; Treasurer David Grinnell; Historian Jim Shepherd; Chaplain Sandra Orozco; Membership Chair Marty Sommercamp and Councilors Donna Derrick, Anita Guenin and Jim McCall.

Secretary-elect Michele Chantelle is unable to serve, and the Council subsequently voted to temporarily fill the vacancy with David Grinnell as Secretary (Pro Tem). Erica Hahn has recently volunteered to become our new Secretary. Erica will be introduced to our Council and voted on at our next meeting on November 12 (see below). We are grateful to David for stepping up temporarily but we prefer that no Council member be burdened with more than one position.

Donna Derrick presented the Governor’s Insignia to Scarlett Stahl, and Donna Derrick was presented the Past Governor’s Emblem.

Meeting dates and programs were discussed, and a tentative list is as follows:

  • Nov 12th, 2016, at Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel, Buena Park. Details and program to be announced.
  • Feb 25, 2017, Los Angeles.
  • June 17th, 2017, (annual meeting) Carlsbad.

We will establish committees to help increase members’ participation. Jim Shepherd, David Grinnell and Jim McCall will assist Membership Chair Marty Sommercamp in this effort.

Posted in Donna Derrick, Early American History, First California Company, Jamestowne Society, News, Officers and councilors, Scarlett Stahl | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Our New 2016-18 Council

New Member Lucas Lapp 

Lucas Lapp headBy Jim Shepherd

He really is not that new, he has been a member of Jamestowne for about a year, a member of the Company since May of this year; you just have not met him.

He is by far the youngest at age seven and in the second grade.

He is an interesting little character. He has always loved books. When you could sit him on your lap to read to him after you read the page, named everything and try to turn the page he would slap your hand. “I want to study this more and I will turn the page when I am ready.”

When he could sit up by himself, all you had to was dump him on floor with a pile of books and he entertained himself.

His grandmother died when he was 21 months’ old. He would come in and go running to see her. I moved all furniture around so he would not expect her in her chair.  About a month later he looked at me and said, “Nana is up with stars”. I said, “Yes”. He has never mentioned her again.

Then his mother got him a book on Dinosaurs. He learned their names. That was his passion for quite a while and brought the book with him. I can’t tell one from another let alone pronounce their names.

We went through bugs, birds, and I lost track. His father took him up to Temecula to pan for gold. His bucket had two flakes. Now he has his own pan for when they go camping in the mountains. They are always going to the beach and bought him a metal detector for Christmas.

His first find on the beach was a half full pint of whiskey. He was pretty proud of it. His mother, with no sense of humor, poured out the booze and insisted on washing it before it went home. Ladies, if you lost your $10,000.00 engagement ring on the beach, he is still looking

Lucas Lapp King TutThen King Tut came to town. He got a book on him. Made up his mind he wants to go to Egypt to dig for gold and old bones. For his 6th birthday party, he wanted an ancient Egypt theme. His parents complied; he and his little cousins were wrapped in toilet paper.  

He  is also into Legos. The first time I watched him put a box together, I could not figure out what he was doing. The little rascal was reading the directions. Men don’t do that, that is the last resort.

He may sound like a book worm, but he is pretty well balanced. He likes to go for walks and hiking with his parents, plays baseball. Walks the dog.

Likes school, reading, writing and math.

His life Membership in Jamestowne is  a lifelong gift, which I hope he will always enjoy.

Lucas Lapp girl

He and this little girl are members of the Huguenot Society of the Colony of Virginia. He was 4 months old and she was about 3 years at the time.

When I showed him this picture, I told him I have partner for you. She speaks French and English and is halfway there. There is nothing wrong with older women.

Jim Shepherd is First California Company’s Historian

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We Exhibited at the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree

By Scarlett Stahl

Once again, First California Company participated in the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree, one of the premier national events of its kind, which is put on annually by the Southern California Genealogical Society.


Governor-elect Scarlett Stahl with long-time members Scott and Sandy Krutilek

The 2016 Jamboree was held June 3-5 at the Burbank Marriott and 1,500 registrants received our brochure. We arranged for our table for Saturday June 4, where we displayed our copies of the Adventures of Purse and Person, the current Roster of Qualifying Ancestors and magazines and other information material. Long-time and knowledgeable members Scott and Sandy Krutilek joined me in managing the table throughout the day.

One Jamboree visitor who lived in the Jamestown area noticed our Save the James poster and asked what it was all about.  When Sandy Krutilek started her narrative, she said, “Dominion Power is my power company.”  The visitor was stunned and very angry.  Residents in her area have not heard the plans to build power lines across the James River.  Dominion has not informed their customers according to the visitor.  She wondered why she had to find out “by accident” in California, but not in Virginia.

Twelve visitors signed up to obtain more information as they thought they had ancestors in Virginia during 1607- 1700. All enjoyed being able to sit down and study Adventurers of Purse and Person. As there are a limited number of people that can qualify for the requirements, there were not that many signers, though many wished they were. Many of those who found they weren’t eligible were still informed about the Save the James project and were instructed on how join us in our opposition, along with many other national organizations, including the National Park Service, Preservation Virginia and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Most of the visitors had signed up for various classes throughout the day and our table was convenient when they were passing by. Many came back to talk and look thru our books after their classes.

Posted in Early American History, First California Company, Genealogical Help, geneaology, Jamestowne Society, News, Qualified Ancestor, Save the James, Scarlett Stahl, SoCal Genealogical Jamboree | Comments Off on We Exhibited at the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree

We Held Our 2016 Annual Meeting and Council Elections

We met May 21, 2016 at the Officers’ Club at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, San Diego for a joint meeting with the Mayflower Descendants of San Diego. Our program was a presentation of a history of the flags of the United States by the National Sojourners. About 70 attended, including seven Stephen Hopkins descendants who are eligible for both societies.

Following lunch, we adjourned for our 2016 Annual Meeting. Because Governor Donna Derrick, immediate past Governor and Councilor Ginny Gotlieb, Historian Scarlett Stahl and Julie Plemmons were in Williamsburg for the Society’s spring meetings, Martha Gresham, organizing Governor, presided and called our meeting to order at 1:35 PM.

Seventeen persons were in attendance, including three guests. New members Jim Shepherd and Robert Holcombe were introduced and each briefly discussed his lineage.

DD2 @ Williamsburg_2Sandra Orozco read Governor Donna Derrick’s Report, as follows:

“I am very sorry not to be with you today as we elect new Officers and hear reports from activities of this past year. I want to thank each of you for making this a successful year for our First California Company of the Jamestowne Society.

“We have completed all that has been asked of us by our National Headquarters and even more.

“One of our most important efforts has been to oppose the application of Dominion Power Company to the U S Army Corps of Engineers to place 300’ electric towers across the James River. Some of these towers will have red blinking lights 24/7 that will be visible from Jamestowne Island and the Colonial Parkway between Williamsburg and Jamestowne Island. We were invited to become a ‘Consulting Party’ by the Corps of Engineers who must approve the permit to build these towers. Our efforts have been led by Jim McCall who has written many letters and participated in conference calls.

“I feel partially due to our presence and pressure, Jamestowne Society finally came out against these lines within the past year. Again Jim helped draft their presentation at the public forum held last fall.

“I think we can be proud of our Company for taking an early stand against these visible power lines that evidenced national interest in this issue. I hope we will continue to urge the power company to use other methods to take power lines across the James River in view of our historic Jamestowne Island.

“We have welcomed 7 new members this past year. To them I say that we are proud and pleased to have you as a member of our Company, and appreciate the effort you have put forth to complete your paperwork.

“To our members of longer standing, your support of our Company means everything and you are what has made this Company a success. What the newer members may not know is that for several years, we were the only Company in the entire state of California. Then about three or four years ago, new companies were formed in northern California and the Santa Barbara area. These two new companies really ate into our membership but we have re-built with new members and renewed interest in Jamestowne, the first English speaking settlement in this new world.

“I think you will agree that we have enjoyed diversified programs this past year, and I am sure of more to come.   This also has sparked interest, as attendees want to learn more about Jamestowne and its inhabitants. As this Administration comes to a close, I know each of you join with me in looking forward to further growth for our Company in both membership and learning about our Jamestowne. I thank each of you for your support these past two years.”

Donna Chilton Derrick

Treasurer Suzy Leif presented her 2015-16 financial report and budget for 2016-17.  Chaire Murphy gave the Chaplain’s report. Jim McCall reported on the status of the effort to encourage the US Army Corps of Engineers to deny Dominion Power’s permit application. We are awaiting further word from USACE. He emphasized that we were just one of seventeen Consulting Parties that were advising the Corps, which include the National Park Service, National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Virginia.

Mrs. Gresham noted that the Genealogical Jamboree is to be held at the Burbank Marriott June 3rd, 4th and 5th. Scarlett Stahl and Sandy and Scott Krutilek will be managing our table, and our brochures will again be in the bags of all registrants, estimated at 1,500.

We elected the following to the Council for 2016-17, to take office July 1:

  • Governor: Scarlett Stahl
  • Lieutenant Governor: Julie Plemmons
  • Chaplain: Sandra Orozco
  • Secretary: Michele Chatelle
  • Treasurer: David Grinnell
  • Membership Chair: Marty Sommercamp
  • Historian: Jim Shepherd
  • Councilors: Jim McCall, Anita Guenin and Donna Derrick
Martha Gresham and new Council Members who were present

Martha Gresham and new Council Members who were present: Sandra Orozco, Michele Chatelle, Jim Shepherd and Jim McCall

Posted in 2016 Annual Meeting and Elections, Donna Derrick, Elections, First California Company, geneaology, Gotlieb, Jamestowne Society, Membership, New Members, News, Officers and councilors, Scarlett Stahl, SoCal Genealogical Jamboree, Stephen Hopkins, Updates | Comments Off on We Held Our 2016 Annual Meeting and Council Elections