Historic Jamestowne commemorates First Assembly Day

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Near the James Fort of 1607 at Historic Jamestowne (Courtesy of National Parks Service)
Near the James Fort of 1607 at Historic Jamestowne (Courtesy of National Parks Service)

On Saturday, Historic Jamestowne will commemorate the anniversary of the first representative legislative assembly in English North America, which convened at Jamestown from July 30 to August 4, 1619.

According to a news release from the National Park Service, visitors will be able to immerse themselves in history, with costumed interpreters portraying Governor Sir George Yeardley and Secretary John Pory as they recreate the historic first meetings of the House of Burgesses. The interactive programming will run in 30-minute intervals at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

After a brief introduction with interpreters, visitors will be able to discuss and debate the laws that were important to the colonists in 1619, the release stated. Saturday’s events will take place near the Memorial Church, which was constructed in the early 20th century to memorialize the location of the original church where the first assembly convened.

For those unable to attend Saturday’s event, a special 45-minute program will be conducted at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., inside the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center Theater on August 4. Participants will have the opportunity to meet three people from Jamestown’s past and hear their stories about Virginia and its government during the colony’s earliest years.

Costumed interpreters will portray John Rolfe, a member of Governor Yeardley’s Council and an assembly counselor; John Pory, counselor and speaker of the first General Assembly; and a female resident of the colony will provide her perspective of the 1619 assembly. Following each program, participants can ask questions of the settlers.

For more information visit www.nps.gov/jame/index.htm.