| || Notes for RALPH LANE, JR.:|
From Gene Cowherd:
>BIOGRAPHY OF SIR RALPH LANE Junior one of Maud Parr's sons
>Written by John W. Shirley
>In (ca. 1740- 1795)
>William S. Powell, Ed. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 4.
>Chapel Hill NC: The University of North Carolina Press, pp. 14-15.
>Lane, Sir Ralph (ca. 1530- October 1603), first governor of "Virginia," was
>born in Lympstone, Devonshire, England, the son of Sir Ralph Lane (d.1541)
>and his wife Maud Parr (daughter of William Lord Parr) of Northamptonshire.
>He is believed to have been a cousin of Edward Dyer, the poet. In 1563 he
>entered the service of Queen Elizabeth I as equerry and did a variety of
>court tasks, including searching Breton ships for illegal goods in 1571. In
>general, however, Lane was better suited as a soldier than a courtier.
>After serving as sheriff of County Kerry, Ireland, from 1583 to 1585, he
>was invited by Sir Walter Raleigh to command an expedition to America. He
>sailed on 9 April 1585 under Sir Richard Grenville, with whom he soon began
>to quarrel. Towards the end of June, they arrived at Wococon on the North
>Carolina Outer Banks and established a colony with Lane as governor.
>After Grenville departed for England in August, the colony moved to Roanoke
>Island where it remained for the next eight months. As supplies became
>scarce, the colony was plagued with bickering and quarrels among its
>members and with the natives. Lane reportedly was not diplomatic in dealing
>with the Indians and often reacted violently to provocation.
>He quarreled with Wingina, an Indian chief, who was attempting to organize
>neighboring tribes to attack Lane's group. Lane solved this problem by
>killing Wingina on 10 June 1586 before the surrounding tribes convened and
>then managed to disperse the rest of the group. The next day, 11 June, Sir
>Francis Drake arrived and promised to leave men, supplies, and a ship.
>However, a hurricane blew the ship out to sea and plans were changed. Lane,
>discouraged, decided to return to England. In the frenzied rush to be gone,
>three colonists, exploring up-country, were left behind, and in an effort
>to lighten the ship's load, valuable records were thrown overboard. Lane
>returned to England on 27 July 1586 and never again commanded a colonial
>Expedition. Ironically, Grenville's relief squadron arrived shortly after
>Drake sailed for home, causing widespread criticism of Lane for leaving
>Virginia when he did. It has even been suggested that Lane's distrust of
>Grenville led to his abandoning the colony.
>It is thought (without much proof) that Lane was the first to introduce
>tobacco to England. Following his return, Lane set down a "Discourage on
>the First Colony," which was sent to Sir Walter Raleigh and later printed
>in Richard Hakluyt's Principal Navigations (1589). Afterward, Lane wrote
>another treatise on his experiences as a colonial commander and sent it to
>Lord Burghley on 7 Jan. 1592. In it he emphasized the need for strict
>discipline to avoid illness among the soldiers.
>Among the colonists of this Virginia expedition were John White, an artist,
>and Thomas Harriot a mathematician, who took meticulous notes and made
>remarkably accurate drawings of the wildlife, fauna, and natives of the New
>World. These efforts have been preserved in their book, A briefe and
>true report of the new found land of Virginia, published in 1588 and 1590.
>Lane wrote the foreword to this book.
>After Lane's return to England, he performed a series of petty tasks for
>the court, including in 1588 the office of muster- master of the camp at
>West Tilbury in Essex and the next year at muster- master general of the
>army on the Spanish and Portuguese coast. In January 1592 he took the post
>of muster-master general and clerk of the check in Ireland. He remained in
>that country for the rest of his life.
>Lane apparently never married but continued, as he had throughout his
>career, to beg favors from the well-placed for himself and his relatives.
>On 15 Oct. 1593 he was knighted by the lord deputy of Ireland, Sir William
>Fitzwilliam. In 1594 Lane was badly wounded in an Irish rebellion. He never
>regained his strength and his office was generally neglected during the
>last years of his life. Edward E. Hale summed up his career: "He seems to
>have been an eager courtier, a bold soldier, a good disciplinarian, an
>incompetent governor, a credulous adventurer, and on the whole, though not
>a worthless, an unsuccessful man."
>SEE: DAB, vol. 5 (1932); DNB, vol. 11 (1967); Edward E. Hale, "Life of Sir
>Ralph Lane," Transactions
>and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society, vol. 4 (1860); David
>B. Quinn, ed., The Roanoke
>Voyages, 1584 -1590, 2 vols. (1955).