Following John Smith's Path

Following John Smith's Path

Presentation will cover life on the Potomac in the 1600s.

A local naturalist will demonstrate how Virginia's Native Americans made arrowheads in the early 1600s at a June 3 talk at the Torpedo Factory.

The demonstration will be one of several items in Mark Kelly’s talk on John Smith’s 1608 voyage up the Potomac that children may like, said Kelly, director of the Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center in Alexandria.

The talk is aimed at children over 8 as well as adults, he said.

Smith was one of the first leaders of the Jamestown settlement, which was founded on the James River in 1607 in what is now Virginia. It was the first successful English settlement in the Americas.

Smith took two voyages north from Jamestown in June and July of 1608 to survey the Chesapeake Bay area.

“Smith was very important by pulling together his writings of the time into ‘A General History of Virginia’ (published in 1624),” Kelly said. “He left a lot of general ethnographic history of Native Americans that we would not have had without his writings.”

IN JUNE 1608, Smith traveled north on a barge with 14 other Jamestown settlers. In his explorations of the bay he traveled up the Potomac as far as what is today Georgetown.

Smith and the others wanted to figure out what resources the bay could offer for economic exploitation, Kelly said.

Along the way Smith paused at Native American villages immediately above and below what is today Alexandria.

At the time this area was the home to the Conowy, Doge, Nameroughquend and Assaomeck tribes, Kelly said. The tribes actively traded game meat, corn, animal skins and mineral resources.

During his talk, not only will Kelly demonstrate how Indians made arrowheads but he will also show Indian artifacts.

Kelly will also present slides and some illustrations. He will take questions at the end of his 45 minute presentation.

The free talk will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum in the Torpedo Factory.