The 2017 (96.3) issue of the prestigious North Carolina Historical Review contains an article by FCF researcher Eric Klingelhofer, now Emeritus Professor of History at Mercer University. The article tracks down the identity of Captain Edward Stafford, one of Lane’s senior officers in 1585-6 and the captain of the pinnace accompanying John White’s settlers in 1587. Little was know about Stafford, except that he later served in Plymouth under Raleigh during the threat of invasion by Spain. Dr. Klingelhofer’s two-year research drew upon British archival documents as well well as complicated genealogical relationships. The result, though, was to discover that Stafford as a boy may have met the queen in 1568, when she visited his father, the sheriff of Berkshire. Soon after returning from North Carolina, Stafford married a rich heiress – the widow of Anthony Babington, the traitor who plotted against Elizabeth’s life to put Mary of Scots on the throne. It was through the benevolence of Elizabeth and Raleigh that Stafford and his wife were able to retain the estate left to Babington’s daughter. It is thought that Stafford died shortly after Elizabeth, and his descendants later moved away from Berkshire. Unfortunately, no picture survives of the early explorer of America.
Following the seminal work of the late Professor David Quinn, Professor William Powell, and Ms. Lebame Houston, all supporters of the work of the First Colony Foundation, our researchers plan to undertake future investigations on the lives of the men and women who contributed to the First Colony.
Eric Klingelhofer, Captain Edward Stafford of the Roanoke Colonies