From the Jamestown Settlement to the New York Tenement

Students, please take some time and visit the following interactive sites on the Jamestown Settlement. When you are finished viewing and playing through the sites, please answer the following questions below the last link.  You will be exploring Jamestown in Social Studies this week, and this blog prompt will be a good source of background information.

The Jamestown Online Adventure

America in 1607: Jamestown and the Powhatan

Jamestown Exhibit

Why is Jamestown important?

Explain three things that you learned about Jamestown from visiting these sites. Be specific so I can tell by your answers that you actually explored these sites.

Any thoughts on the interactives?

Tenement Museum

An immigrant to New York between 1890-1924 faced challenges similar to those of the settlers of Jamestown.

What did you learn about life as an immigrant in New York? Share three things you learned from this site.

Do any of you have ancestors who immigrated to New York via Ellis Island?


  1. I think Jamestown is important because it was the first permanent settlement in North America. It was also a starting place for other colonies to branch off. One of the things that I learned was that Pocahontas actually saved the John Smith by throwing herself in between the executioner and him. I also learned that the site of Jamestown was probably, originally chosen to defend their area against Spanish Warships. I also never knew that Pocahontas later married John Rolfe (what’s with all the Johns?) John Rolfe was a tobacco planter, and fell in love when Pocahontas was captured, and he was her English tutor. I thought all the interactive were kind of fun, the last one was a bit long, but it was still cool.
    Life as an immigrant is very hard. You have to start allover again, like you can only bring the bare necessities. Once you get to Ellis Island you have to pass a hard medical exam, and if you don’t you are sent back to where you came from. After you pass and get to New York you have to decide what you are going to do for a living, and find a space to live in. My guess is that wherever immigrants lived for the beginning wasn’t very nice because they probably didn’t have much money. I’m almost positive I don’t have any ancestors on my dad’s side that went through Ellis Island, but it’s possibly there may be somebody on my mom’s side.

  2. Jamestown is very important because it was the first English colony of the new world. I learned that the colonist threw their trash anywhere. Also, the wildlife was about half of their meat diet, and they had no forks for eating.
    I learned that they had gas lighting back then. Also, you can only get cold water, and you must be healthy enough to earn a living or you can’t pass through Ellis Island. My mom told me that I have four ancestors who immigrated to New York and had to go through Ellis Island. They were my great-grandparents from Italy and great-grandparents from Ireland.
    I thought that the interactives were good and helped me learn a lot of new things.

  3. In 1606, Jamestown became was the first colony in the New World, and many things were happening.
    I learned that in 1624 Jamestown was struggling

    I learned that the Age of Exploration or Discovery was a competition for wealth and power.

    Another thing that I learned was that even though the west side was, new, they had a variety of indigenous cultures.

    I learned that corn was the moat preferable vegetable or plant to be grown because it grew the best, and I found some of this out on the Jamestown Online Adventure.

    I would say that the Jamestown interactive weren’t amazingly fun but I did kind of like the New York interaction. I thought it was cool how you could explore Victoria’s house and you could learn about her life and how things were back then.

    Another thing that I learned that was that at an amazingly low price, (well at least in our time) it was only a nickel to go see Nickelodeon

    I learned that in New York people were very cautious about people coming into their country. So cautious that they have lice check, and the check under your eyelids, and they did this because they didn’t want anyone bringing a disease and killing many people

    I learned that people, for fun, could go to Coney Island, play stickball, go to the Nickelodeon or listen to the Victrola, which is like a music playing machine.

  4. I think Jamestown is very important because it was our first New World colony ever. I learned that the colonists they didn’t really burn their trash they would just walk around and throw anywhere whenever we finished (good thing they didn’t have cops back then.) I then leaned that had eaten fried snake, shad, turtle soup, oysters, and rockfish. I also learned that the Powhatan spoke the language Algonquian. I thought these were great sites overall, and thankyou a lot Mrs. Cobb. Life as an immigrant must have been one of the toughest things to do back then. Once you got to Ellis Island you have have to take a verydifficult medical test and if you didn’t make it you would be sent all the way back from once you came. I am almost 100% sure that I have ancestors that I have some ancestors on my mom and dads side because I am German and Irish.

    1. Sorry Mrs. Cobb in the fourth line I had put “we” instead of “I.” Also in the eleventh line I forgot to space out “very” and “difficult.”

  5. I think Jamestown is important because it was the first permanent settlement in North America. I learned that the site of Jamestown was chosen to defend their area against Spanish Warships. Another thing I learned is that adventurers in the 1600s left England and tried to establish the first English colony, which is in modern day Virginia. I also learned that the Native Americans thought that the English colonists were invading their land and attacked them. I thought the interactives were pretty cool. My favorite was the online adventure because you got to choose everything and see how it turned out.

    I thought that it was interesting that they used a thing for shoe buttons to check if the immigrants were sick with any eye infection. The second you enter the building someone is always watching you. I also learned that their apartments had only three rooms, which were a bedroom, parlor, and kitchen. If you wanted hot water then you have to burn the coal on your stove.

    I have one family member that we can remember who immigrated via Ellis Island is my great-grandpa Sadler. He came from Germany. He ended up marrying a Cherokee Indian named Kora Long.

  6. Jamestown is important because it was the first permanent English settlement in the New World. I learned that it takes a lot of thinking and help to make a settlement. Also, it was probably hard to deal with the Indians (I mean, loosing half of your men in a fight, that’s a lot of people). I also know that workers included craftsmen, indentured servants, farmers, and other manual laborers. Gentlemen were not expected to work with their hands. They usually only had military skills. Many people tried exporting tobacco to England in 1624. I liked the first one because you got to think about what you would have done if you were there, build your own fort, choose your own location, decide what you hunt, and more.

    I learned that it would be very nerve racking to go to live in a place that you have never been to. You would be nervous to go through the security when you get off of the boat. Also, when you get on the boat, you would probably be wondering if something would go wrong. When you finally get to the New World, you would probably want to see what neighborhood you would be living and what house you will be at. I have learned that the homes/apartments are very small. None of my family came to Ellis Island because they were already here.

  7. Jamestown was important because it was the first of Britain’s permanent outposts or settlements in America. It was a foothold that marked change in North America. Britain was expanding its domain and Jamestown was the first of many to come to the Americas. I knew that the settlers and Indians fought, but never to such extremity as in 1622. The Native Americans killed 350 colonists. While exploring the second site I found an Indian population map dating 1491, before contact with Europeans. There was background information on the Indians themselves. I found out that woman were the farmers. I thought that woman only cared for the children, and I assumed some men hunted and others farmed. I didn’t know that six tribes formed a thing called the Powhatan Confederacy. I knew about the Powhatans, but not that they were in an alliance with so many other tribes. I really liked the third interactive. I thought that looking through the magnifying glass was really cool.

    The entire process of immigrating to Ney York via Ellis Island must have been a rather monotonous event. I learned that the eye man would come and look around your eye for any sign of disease. I didn’t know they checked you that extensively. Another thing I learned was the Germans brought hot dogs to America in the 1800’s. I knew it wasn’t American, but not its exact origins. I learned that all the immigrants’ apartments were exactly the same size. There is no varying. It is just a parlor, a kitchen, and bedroom. I don’t have any relatives that went through Ellis Island.

  8. In 1606, colonist set off from England to try and establish a permanent English settlement in the New World. They had intended to land in the present day New York City but northern wind took them down. They settled in the state of Virginia and called their colony James Towne (Jamestown), in honor of James I, King of England. Not soon after they arrived in Jamestown, they were attacked by native Indians. Due to the poor settlement location and the management of resources, most of the settlers died and decided to abandon the town. While they were leaving, a resupplying ship arrived with an important governor who ordered them to go back. Jamestown expanded their boundaries and made Tobacco their major crop.
    From Life as an Immigrant in New York, I learned that the apartments were very jam-packed and small. I thought that it was interesting that you had to pass through many health checks to be able to enter the United States. I also learned that their apartments had only three rooms, which were a bedroom, parlor, and kitchen. And they didn’t have any hot water, so you have to burn the coal on your stove to warm it up.
    I do not have any ancestors who immigrated to New York via Ellis Island; all of my ancestors came from the big Irish potato famine.

  9. Tobacco was a major crop in Jamestown. It was like gold. On the way there a lot of people died from disease and hunger. A lot of people did from hunger after they got there too. They were just abandoning Jamestown when a man came to replenish the food, people, and tools. Jamestown flourished.

    There were a lot of Indians around. Some were peaceful and would trade. Some were not peaceful and would attack. The Powhaten Indians were enemies. The men shaved one side of the head, and the other side was long. They used shells to cut hair and there were different styles depending on age.

  10. Jamestown was important because it was one of the most early settlements in the new world. It kind of started a wave of different colonies. Jamestown failed mostly because of disease. Jamestown was built in a very bad area. It was very marshy and humid. The marshiness didn’t help with the ground. It was loose and hard to build on. To make it worse, in the marshes there were bugs with different sicknesses.
    The second thing i learned was that Jamestown was a huge producer in tobacco. in 1639 over 750 tones of tobacco was shipped back to England. Third one was that the colonists traded metal tools and beads for food. Some of the websites were fun but others were confusing like Tenement Museum. I never knew that it was so hard to become an American Citizen. No, I don’t have any ancestors that immigrated through Ellis Island.

  11. Jamestown was important because it was the first permenant settlement from Europe to settle on New World. The colonists went through tough times, but managed. Without the colonist sailing to New World, we might not even live in America. While looking through the web sites I learned that Jamestown was named after the King of England, James I. I learned tobacco was a major crop in Jamestown. They exported it to England. I also learned the journey to the New World happened in a period called the Age of Exploration and Discovery. I learned that you can’t bring many items to America and the health inspection doesn’t sound very fun. You get a new life and chose how you want to live it.

  12. Jamestown, the first permanent colony in the New World, may have let its significance reign by how flawed it was.

    One particular example is the English’s poor choice in foundation, a low, marshy area. Primarily chosen to defend against rival foreigners, like the Spanish, the placement of this colony was key in protection, but it lacked in sanitation. Often times, people died because of disease and starvation. Disease was sometimes delivered by the mouth of the mosquito, infecting that person with malaria. Examples of other diseases from various insects at Jamestown were dysentery and typhoid fever. The swampy waters were also high in salt, making it a terrible component of rich soil, drinking water, and growing food.

    Copper, beads, metal tools, and firearms were something that the Powhatan Indians looked for in a trading ally. The English had just that. They set up a deal that involved the English receiving corn, deer meat, and other various items in return for the items that the Powhatan desired. To the supreme Powhatan chief, copper and beads were treasured (not to say that they weren’t by the rest of the Powhatan) and the chief could use them to reward loyal warriors and other chiefs.

    What also caught my attention is how Africa used to be divided into many large kingdoms and small chiefdoms. Some actually had slaves, which could be used to sell to the Europeans. Slavery has been going around for many centuries; it is a very ancient practice and widely utilized one at that. Slowly but surely, individual nations constructed laws prohibiting slavery. It surprised me to know that the Africans partook in slavery considering they didn’t enjoy being slaves to the Americans.

    The precautions that an American took while letting someone enter Ellis Island were remarkable! I found out that you had to pass a health test in order to live in America. There was even an “eye man” who would lift up your eyelids with a metal hook to check for eye disease and infection. Also, kids played a sport called stickball, a variation of baseball. You play on a street and you use a broomstick to hit a ball called a spaldeen. Another interesting fact is that the apartments on Orchard Street were three rooms: a bedroom, a parlor, and a kitchen. Many times, people were crammed in their homes.

    My mom said that some of my family immigrated from Ellis Island, but she didn’t say who because she wanted to go to sleep.

  13. I think Jamestown is important for many reasons. The first reason is if it was not founded America may not be here today. The second reason is that if Jamestown was not founded Thanksgiving may not have started. I learned a lot from the simulations. One of the things I learned was that people in the boats that came to america could pay for better rooms. I don’t know if I had any family who lived in New York. On the other hand I did have family who came on the Mayflower.

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