Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chelmsford Essex- based anthropologist, scholar, former teacher and author, Dennis Olding is well known for his extensive knowledge of American Indian culture. But it was not until 1997 that he discovered the important connection between Essex, England and the famous Rappahannock Indian Tribe of Virginia.

During the preparations for the commemoration on both sides of the Atlantic of the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in the future U.S.A. which was at Jamestown, Mr. Olding's knowledge of Indian culture has been indispensable. Added to this is his friendship with a prominent Virginian Indian - Chief Anne Richardson of the Rappahannock Tribe.

In Mr. Olding's recently published book, "Newport, James City & the Powhatans," he tells the story of how, on 4 May 1607, the then Rappahannock Chief met Captain Christopher Newport of Harwich at Paspahegh. Mr. Olding describes Christopher Newport as "the founder of the Commonwealth outside Europe, from the small beginning at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. The fact that Virginia left the Commonwealth in 1783 does not diminish this distinction."