The View: River of history

The beauty of the James River, here partially shrouded in fog, is matched only by its storied past. Photo: Robert Llewellyn The beauty of the James River, here partially shrouded in fog, is matched only by its storied past. Photo: Robert Llewellyn

Upon finding the source of the Jackson River, parent to the James River, Earl Swift writes in Journey on the James: Three Weeks through the Heart of Virginia: “From this trickle grows a river that offered sustenance to Indian and early colonist, carried pioneers to new lands of the West, bloomed red with the blood spilled in three wars. No other feature of American topography has so witnessed the country’s history. The continent’s first permanent English settlement, Jamestown, rose on the river’s bank. George Washington explored it, fought on it, and hatched plans for a grand canal system along its shore. On the run  from the Redcoats, Thomas Jefferson may have holed up in a cave in its bluffs.”