Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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LANE, Sir Ralph, governor of Virginia, born in Northamptonshire, England, about 1530; died in Ireland in 1604. He was the second son of Sir Ralph of Orlingbury, and Maud, first cousin of Catherine Parr, queen of Henry VIII. The son entered the queen's service in 1563, was an equerry in her court, held a command in Ireland in 1583-'4, and in 1585, by invitation of Sir Walter Raleigh, took charge of the colony that the latter was about to send to Virginia. Sir Richard Grenville (q. v.), who commanded the fleet that bore the colony to this country, left Lane with 107 men on Roanoke island, and on 25 August returned to England. Lane at once erected a fort, and began to explore the coast and rivers of the country within a radius of about 100 miles. He soon became convinced that a mistake had been made in settling on Roanoke island on account of the dangerous coast and bad harbor, and resolved to move the colony to Chesapeake bay as soon as supplies should arrive from England. Provisions soon ran short, there was trouble with the Indians, and Lane and his men finally abandoned the colony on 19 June, 1586, returning to England in the fleet of Sir Francis Drake. Lane served as a colonel under Drake in the Portuguese expedition of 1589, was muster-master-general in Ireland in 1591, where he was dangerously wounded, and was knighted by the lord deputy in 1593. Several letters of Sir Ralph are preserved in Hakluyt's "Voyages" and Francis L. Hawks's "History of North Carolina" (1857), and have been edited by Edward E. Hale in "Archaeologia Americana," vol. iv. (1860). These letters show that enmity between Lane and Sir Richard Grenville, which began on the voyage to Virginia, probably had much to do with the former's abandonment of his enterprise.
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