I have within the recent past had occasion to attend seminars on a subject I choose to call, “Which is America’s Hometown”. We all know the Dallas Cowboys are thought by some to be America’s football team, but “home town” is a bit more complicated.
First I attended in 2007 in Marshfield. Massachusetts a day long symposium held at the 1699 Isaac Winslow House entitled Is Plymouth Really America’s Home Town.
Representatives from all over eastern North America, including:
• St. Augustine, Florida (established 1565);
• Acadia (Nova Scotia & Maine, established 1604);
• Roanoke, Virginia (established 1589);
• Jamestown (established 1607); and
• Plymouth (established 1620)
appeared at the historic Winslow House to make their case in the manner of an old-fashioned stump speech as to why their settlement is really “America’s Home Town”.
After a spirited debate, the audience voted a tie to the competing cities.
Then in 2008 I attended an exhibition at the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis entitled Jamestown, Québec, Santa Fe: Three North American Beginnings. This exhibition originated at the Virginia Historical Society and then traveled to St. Louis and other cities. It utilized rare surviving Native and European artifacts, maps, documents and ceremonial objects from museums and royal collections on both sides of the Atlantic. A 1622 broadside advised English settlers on what to pack for the journey to Virginia. A wampum belt from the French royal collection illustrated how gift-giving became an important tactic as the French sought alliances with the Huron people. Spanish armour engraved with Christian symbols exemplified the religious dimension of the Spanish conquest of New Mexico. This exhibit surfaced several additional first cities:
• Jamestown (established 1607);
• Quebec, Canada (established 1608). In 1608 Samuel de Champlain installed a fur trading post in Quebec after an earlier winter settlement by Jacque Cartier in 1535;
• Santa Fe, New Mexico (established 1608) and settled by Juan Martinez de Montoya.
This event was an exhibition and did not have an audience vote.
But what do you think?