The Journal of John Fontaine: An Irish Refugee’s Account of Life in Early Virginia
John Fontaine was born in 1693, in Ireland. His family were Huguenot refugees who had settled there after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. In 1717,Fontaine decided to travel to Virginia in order to join his brother James, who had settled there some years earlier.
The journal which he kept during his voyage and subsequent time in Virginia provides a unique insight into the early history of the colony, as well as the experiences of an Irish refugee settling in a new land.
2. The impact of the journal
Upon his arrival in Virginia, John Fontaine was employed by Robert Beverly to assist with the settlement of Germana. This was a planned community which had been established by a group of wealthy Virginians in an attempt to create a more orderly and efficient society.
Fontaine’s journal provides a detailed account of life in early Virginia, including information on the relationship between the settlers and the Native Americans, as well as the difficulties involved in trying to establish a successful settlement.
Fontaine also describes his experiences working as a doctor at Christanna, another plantation settlement which was founded by Sir Alexander Spotswood. Here, he treated both Indians and Europeans for various illnesses and injuries.
In 1719, Fontaine journeyed westward into the Blue Ridge Mountains, becoming one of the first Europeans to explore this region. His journal contains descriptions of the landscape and wildlife which he encountered during his travels.
fontaine eventually settled in what is now known as the Shenandoah Valley, where he established a successful farm known as Burlington. He also became involved in local politics, serving as a justice of the peace and as a member of the House of Burgesses.
In 1724, John Fontaine returned to Ireland in order to visit his family. He subsequently emigrated to Pennsylvania, where he became a successful merchant in Philadelphia.
3. The legacy of John Fontaine
The journal of John Fontaine is an important historical document which provides valuable insights into the early history of Virginia and the United States more generally.
In particular, it sheds light on the experiences of Irish refugees who settled in America during the eighteenth century. Fontaine’s story is also significant for its portrayal of interactions between Europeans and Native Americans at a time when tensions were high and conflict was common.
All in all, John Fontaine’s “The Journal of John Fontaine” is an important work that has helped contribute and shape American history today