In 1984 the Town of Manteo in North Carolina made a request that a Native American named Rowley be honored. On June 23 that request will be granted when a memorial plaque is placed at St. Mary’s Church in Bideford, England where Rowley is buried.
According to the Outer Banks Sentinel, Rowley traveled from Roanoke Island to England on one of the first return voyages. He was presented at the court of Queen Elizabeth and stayed there. On March 12, 1588 he was baptized and on April 7, 1589 he walked on.
“There is a considerable difference in the climate in England and Roanoke Island,” lebame houston, Roanoke Island Historical Association historian, told the Outer Banks Sentinel. “The Native Americans did not adjust too readily, and the New World also didn’t have the diseases they had in England, so the Indians were highly susceptible to European diseases.”
Rowley is the first Native American to be baptized and buried in England, says the Outer Banks Sentinel.
Former Manteo Mayor John Wilson is “thrilled” that the commemoration for Rowley is finally happening after all this time, as he’s been a part of the process since the beginning. “The Church of England works slowly,” he told the Outer Banks Sentinel.
The plaque will be unveiled in Bideford, England on Saturday, June 23 at 11 a.m. and will be followed by a reception.