Up-River Venture

Up-River Venture (HM2GPH)

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N 37° 31.231', W 77° 25.128'

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Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

—National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

On May 21, 1607, a week after establishing Jamestown, Christopher Newport led a small band of colonists, including John Smith, up the James River. They were carrying out orders from their sponsors, the Virginia Company of London, to discover "the river above you."

On this, the first of more than a dozen expeditions up the James, the explorers visited the Indian town of Powhatan, "of which place," wrote Smith, "their great emperor taketh his name." The town was situated near the river. Then, as today, the waters in this part of the James were important fisheries, especially when andromous fish such as striped bass and sturgeon came from the sea to spawn in fresh waters.

"...Captain Newport and myself with diverse others to the number of twenty-two persons, set forward to discover the river some fifty or sixty miles, finding... the country for the most part on each side plain high ground with many fresh springs, the people in all places kindly entreating us..."
- Captain John Smith, A True Relation, 1608

Sturgeon Comeback

In a brief listing of Algonquian words learned from the Powhatan, Smith includes "Copotone," for "sturgeon." Once plentiful in the James and a staple for natives and colonists alike, sturgeon

virtually disappeared by the 20th century. Recent spottings indicate they are coming back to historic spawning sites near the falls.

The smooth waters below the falls of the James have always attracted fishing—whether for sustenance, as in the time of the Powhatan or for recreation in more recent times. This 1895 image, colorized, shows the Anacrow's Landing area, looking west from Rocketts.
Placed ByNational Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, May 11th, 2019 at 5:03pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 286244 N 4155366
Decimal Degrees37.52051667, -77.41880000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 31.231', W 77° 25.128'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 31' 13.86" N, 77° 25' 7.68" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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