Near Varina in Henrico County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Captain John Smith’s Adventures on the James
— www.johnsmithtrail.org —
Advice of the Natives was no doubt helpful to the English when navigating a succession of oxbows in the river below modern Richmond. Laced with creeks and cloaked in marsh, some of the low peninsulas become islands at high tide. Modern river travelers follow a more direct course through man-made channels.
Capt. John Smith’s Trail
John Smith knew the James River by its Algonquian name: Powhatan, the same as the region’s paramount chief. Smith traveled the river many times between 1607 and 1609, trading with Virginia Indians to ensure survival at Jamestown. What he saw of Virginia’s verdant woodlands and pristine waters inspired him to explore
Osborne Boat Landing is across the river from the historic village of Osborne. Named in honor of one of the colonists and located at the mouth of Proctor’s Creek, Osborne was once a busy port. A ferry operated here between Henrico and Chesterfield counties.
Peter Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson’s father, was born here in 1708 and later married at this little settlement. Unfortunately, Osborne was deemed unsuitable for farming, so the House of Burgesses approved the motion that the land be sold in 1761. The site was divided into 120 lots, but the project was largely unsuccessful.
In 1781, during the Revolutionary War, British troops under Benedict Arnold burned the town and engaged American vessels in a fierce battle just offshore.
Erected by Captain John Smith’s Trail, James River Association, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network. (Marker Number 8.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Exploration • Native Americans • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1607.
Location. 37° 24.075′ N, 77° 23.19′ W. Marker Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9680 Osborne Turnpike, Henrico VA 23231, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Naval Assault at Drewry’s Bluff (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Osborne Landing (here, next to this marker); Curvy Course (within shouting distance of this marker); Empty Victory (approx. 1.1 miles away); Fort Hoke: Empty Victory (approx. 1.2 miles away); Guns of Fort Brady (approx. 1˝ miles away); Powder Magazine (approx. 1˝ miles away); a different marker also named Powder Magazine (approx. 1˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Varina.
More about this marker. On the lower left is a depiction of the exploration of the James River by English colonist. The photo carries the caption, "“The New World” © MMV, New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by Merie Wallace. Photo appears courtesy of New Line Productions, Inc."
On the upper center is a sketch of an English shore party with the caption, "Drawing by Marc Castelli E.W. Haile’s book Where None Hath Stood Before. © 2006”
On the upper right is a map of Captain John Smith's Trail with the caption, "Capt. John Smith’s Trail on the James is a 40-site water trail and auto tour for modern explorers."
On the right of the sidebar is an "Excerpt of “A New and Acurate Map of Virginia,” which shows the historic town of Osborne (Osburns). This map was created by John Henry and published in 1770. Image Courtesy of the Library of Virginia."
Also see . . . Captain John Smith’s Trail. (Submitted on February 22, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on February 22, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,201 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 22, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. 5. submitted on November 25, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.