Oldest and Largest Jamestowne Society Company in Mississippi
The Jamestowne settlement forged the beginnings of our country’s democracy. Early Jamestowne settlers brought personal possessions such as clothing and tools from England. They also brought English ideas about political rights and English habits of self government, ideas and habits which took root in the New World, to the lasting benefit of all inhabitants of this country. The Jamestowne settlers initiated representative government in the Americas. In 1619, the Virginia Company authorized Virginia settlers to elect representatives (burgesses) to a General Assembly to enact legislation for the colony on economic, social, and religious matters and to advise the governor. That body met in Jamestowne until 1699 when the colonial government moved to Williamsburg. That representative body exists to this day as the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Self-government at Jamestowne would lead, ultimately, to Virginia and twelve other British colonies banding together to assert the rights of their inhabitants, initially as English subjects of the Crown, and later, when King and Parliament proved obdurate, the right to independence from Great Britain, all of which occurred in less than one hundred and sixty years.
John Smith (baptized 6 January 1580 – 21 June 1631) was an English soldier, explorer, colonial governor, Admiral of New England, and author. He played an important role in the establishment of the colony at Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in America, in the early 17th century. He was a leader of the Virginia Colony between September 1608 and August 1609, and he led an exploration along the rivers of Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay, during which he became the first English explorer to map the Chesapeake Bay area. Later, he explored and mapped the coast of New England. He was knighted for his services to Sigismund Báthory, Prince of Transylvania, and his friend Mózes Székely.
Jamestown was established in 1607. Smith trained the first settlers to work at farming and fishing, thus saving the colony from early devastation. He publicly stated, “He that will not work, shall not eat“, alluding to 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Harsh weather, lack of food and water, the surrounding swampy wilderness, and attacks from Native Americans almost destroyed the colony. With Smith’s leadership, however, Jamestown survived and eventually flourished. Smith was forced to return to England after being injured by an accidental explosion of gunpowder in a canoe.
Smith’s books and maps were important in encouraging and supporting English colonization of the New World. Having named the region of New England, he stated: “Here every man may be master and owner of his owne labour and land. …If he have nothing but his hands, he may…by industries quickly grow rich.” Smith died in London in 1631.
As a member company of the Jamestowne Society, First Mississippi Company supports the work of the Society:
- Unites descendants of Jamestown settlers prior to 1700 and to inform members and the public of the significance of the establishment, on May 14, 1607, of the First Permanent English Settlement in the New World.
- Promotes the relevance of these early beginnings and connects them to the present day by supporting continuing research on Early Settlers and genealogical lines; historical research about the lives, contributions, events, and accomplishments of Early Settlers; archeological work on Jamestowne Island; archeological work by Rediscovery Virginia; education about Jamestowne and its settlers; preservation of colonial records; funding scholarships; publishing print and digital materials;
- Holds national meetings in May and November each year.
Organized in 2001, First Mississippi Company of Jamestowne Society meets twice each year, in April and October, usually in metropolitan Jackson. Members and guests can socialize and learn more about the founding, development, and significance of the Jamestowne Colony. FMC meetings include informative and interesting programs about Jamestowne. FMC supports an annual scholarship of five hundred dollars for qualified applicants. FMC provides financial support to the Society and its historical projects. In 2021, FMC became the first member company to reach the Founder level of cumulative giving to the Society (fifty thousand dollars).
State Flower: Magnolia
State Bird: Mockingbird
The Seal of the Jamestowne Society is a pointed oval in design, embodying a likeness of King James I, with the words “Jamestowne Society,” the dates 1607-1700, and the words “pro concilio primae coloniae Virginiae” which means “Council of the first colony of Virginia.”
The Seal of the Jamestowne Society is reminiscent of the Seal of the Virginia Company, chartered in 1606 by King James I.