Prior to Governor White's departure back to England, he and the colonists had agreed that the colony would move from Roanoke Island, 50 miles inland. Elannor begins her message to her father Governor White, that the colony made it to the agreed-upon 50-mile point, she states: "Father soone after yov goe for Englande wee came hither (hither - traveled here)". On a map made by the colony, it shows 4 sub-tribes of the Weapemeoc Indians located inland at the 50-mile point in an area known today as Edenton Bay. Of all the Indian sub-tribes located in the region, those 4 are the only sub-tribes shown on the entire map. At the 50-mile point is plotted the Rocky Hock tribe and that would be where the colony assimilated with the Weapemeoc Indians.
Elannor next explains in her message that there had been: "Only misery & war two year." She does not say that any of the colonists died during those two years. In Governor White's testimony of his return to Roanoke Island in 1590, he describes there being a palisade around the village on the island where there wasn't one upon his departure back to England 3 years prior. He states in his testimony; "...But we found no signe of distresse (a Cross); then we went to a place where they were left in sundry houses, but we found them all taken downe, and the place strongly inclosed with a high Palizado, very Fortlike; and in one of the chiefe Posts carued in fayre capitall Letters CROATAN, without any signe of distresse..." He describes that the colony's time at Roanoke Island was relatively safe from harm. He says there was a palisade erected by the colonists but that it was in good shape in that he does not say that from attacks it was falling down and broken or filled with arrows. He states that the village had been removed, but the palisade had not. On a period map, there shows a fort structure at the west end of the Albemarle Sound. From recent archaeological excavations at the Chowanock Indian village of Metaquem, where the fort is plotted on the west bank of the Chowan River, from those excavations, it was reported that no post holes from any kind of a structure were found there, the fort was also covered over with a patch. So the colony did not build a fort for protection beyond Roanoke Island and they left a good palisade behind on the island, thence the Indian tribes were warring against each other, not against the colony.
Next, Elannor writes that after 2 more years "Above half dead here two year more from sickness being four & twenty (24)." According to Elannor, by the beginning of the colony's 3rd year, and by the end of their 4th year, 91 of the 115 colonists had died from a sickness. This same scenario played out with the Jamestown Colony in their 3rd and 4th years also, Captain John Smith called it the "bloody flux", Elannor called it a "sickness". In the book publishing Roanoke: the abandoned colony, K.O. Kupperman wrote regarding the privateering ships at sea: "The overcrowded ships were filthy; dysentery, which they called "bloody flux," and scurvy, produced by a diet of salt and biscuit that was virtually devoid of fresh food, were rampant." Sir Francis Drake, hero of the defeat of the Spanish Armada, he died of dysentery (bloody flux) also. Jamestown President Captain John Smith reported, that beginning in their 3rd year the colony began dying from the bloody flux and by the end of their fourth year there were only about 65 survivors of 500 settlers still alive. Some of those deaths were from Indian attacks.
It was discovered that certain parts of the Dare stone message were written in coded messages. The messages reveal details regarding an Indian attack on the remaining 24 colonists. When reading the message, one should take into account that Elannor is trying to convey sensitive information to her father via a written message. At the same time, she is trying to hide the information that she is conveying from any enemies that may come in contact with the message, be it the native Indians or Europeans.
Elannor next describes of an Indian attack that killed 17 of the remaining 24 colonists, including her husband Ananais and their daughter Virginia, and that she and 6 of the other colonists were all that remained alive. She explains: "Indian with message of ship unto us / small space of time they affrite of revenge ran all away / We believe it not you / Soon after the Indians say spirits angry / Suddenly murder all save seven / Mine child Ananais too slain with much misarie." She states that the colonists had received a message from an Indian messenger regarding the arrival of a ship. She then states that after word of the ship's arrival had spread through the village, the Indian's became afraid and all ran away. She then states, "We believe it not you" (her father's ship), and that all but 7 of the colonists were then murdered by the Indians including her husband and daughter. It seems that Elannor is trying to convey here that the Indians that attacked the colony had arrived via a ship. She explains that an "Indian with message of ship unto us." She then says that the Indians were afraid and they all ran away;"small space of time they affrite of revenge ran all away." Whoever the Indians were on the ship evidently scared the hell out of the Weapemeoc tribe as they were afraid of revenge, from the Indians on the ship and they all ran away! Elannor then says that the colonists did not believe that the ship was her father's; "we believe it not you." By inserting that line between the two statements (regarding the Indians), she turns the two statements into two different entities, the Indians that ran away, and the Indians that made the attack. She then separated part of a statement that could very well have been written as one: "Indian with message of ship unto us we believe it not you." Instead, she inserted half of that statement "We believe it not you" next to the Indians that made the attack showing that they arrived via a ship. She writes; "Indian with message of ship unto us / small space of time they affrite of revenge ran all away / We believe it not you / Soon after the Indians say spirits angry / Suddenly murder all save seven." She says that she did not believe the ship was her father's, "we believe it not you." Why would she say that? After 17 of her friends had just been massacred by the occupants of a ship, what would make her think that her father may have been an accessory to 17 counts of murder? Of course, it wasn't her father. When you lift the veil of secrecy surrounding that statement and take into account the location of it within the message and that her father was an Englishman, it seems that Elannor is trying to tell him that it was an English ship with Indian warriors aboard that attacked the colony. But why would the English murder 17 of their own?
The Dare stone message suggests that the colony was attacked by Indians that arrived via an English ship. If this is so, then the English government becomes implicated in the murders of 17 English, men, women, and children. If an English ship at the Outer Banks had sent a pinnace ship with Indian warriors aboard, then it is doubtful their flags would have been flying from either ship. So what made the colonists think that the ship was an English ship vs a Spanish, or a French ship, or other?
According to Governor White's testimony, before he departed Roanoke Island on his return to England in 1587, at least 1 armed pinnace ship with canon was left behind for the colony. During the Governor's return in August of 1590, while searching Roanoke Island for his colony, he states in his testimony; "We went by the shore to seeke for their boats but could find none, nor any of the Ordnance I left them." In 1587, Governor White and his colony sailed to Roanoke with three ships: the Admiral (120 tons, with the Governor), a “flie boat”, and a “pinnesse” (not named). A pinnace ship may not have survived a trip across the sea on its own. On a map made by the colonists, it shows the pinnace ship that was left behind at the west end of the Albemarle Sound (below). After their arrival at Roanoke Island and with a dwindling food supply, the boats may have been used in trade with the tribes in exchange for food. It is known that the Powhatan tribe traded food with the Jamestown colony in exchange for metal tools, European copper, etc.