Jamestown Thought to Yield Ruins of Oldest U.S. Protestant Church
JAMESTOWN — For more than a decade, the marshy island in Virginia where British colonists landed in 1607 has yielded uncounted surprises. And yet William M. Kelso’s voice still brims with excitement as he plants his feet atop a long-buried discovery at the settlement’s heart: what he believes are the nation’s oldest remains of a Protestant church.
The discovery has excited scholars and preservationists, and unearthed a long-hidden dimension of religious life in the first permanent colony.
It may prove to be an attraction for another reason: the church would have been the site of America’s first celebrity wedding, so to speak, where the Indian princess Pocahontas was baptized and married to the settler John Rolfe in 1614. The union temporarily halted warfare with the region’s tribal federation.
Last week Mr. Kelso, the chief archaeologist at the site, hopped into the excavated pit topped with sandbags and pointed to where Pocahontas would have stood at the altar rail. Orange flags marked the church’s perimeter. The pulpit would have been to the left and a baptismal font behind, with a door opening toward the river....
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