A 1617 illustration of John Smith, the first leader of Jamestown.

John Smith was a soldier who became the primary leader of the Jamestown colony of Virginia in September 1608. He oversaw some of the worst years of in the colony’s history, including the deaths of almost half the colonists during the severe winter of 1608. Smith left Virginia in 1609 after he was badly injured in a gunpowder accident.


These are the lines that shew thy face but those
that shew thy Grace and Glory, brighter bee
Thy Faire-Discoveries and Fowle-Overthrowes
Of Salvages much Civililz’d by thee
Best shew thy spirit and to it Glory wyns
So thou art Brasse without-but Gold within