In conjunction with the first regional conference of the Church in eastern Virginia, three General Authorities and their wives visited a "monument to the historic background of the United States."
President Howard W. Hunter, Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve and Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy toured restored Colonial Williamsburg April 28. As President Hunter toured the Governor's Palace and the old Capitol buildings, he spoke of the marvel of the restoration of the colonial culture and the life styles, along with the rebuilding of many old structures."How marvelous is the preservation of the great institution which Williamsburg represents," he commented. "No citizen could come here without feeling the thrill of patriotism and appreciation for our choice land."
The tour also included a movie showing the first settlement at nearby Jamestown and the suffering and determination of early colonists.
Three ships float in the James River at Jamestown - replicas of those which came across the Atlantic in 1607, bringing the colonists who established the first permanent English settlement in America. After decades of struggle and growth, the capital of the colony was established at Williamsburg about 1690.
The restored Williamsburg is a living history museum. Here the people dress as the early residents dressed and raise the same type gardens and flowers that historical accounts indicate were grown in the community for centuries. There are no heating and cooling systems or running water in the original and restored structures. The families who "live" in the homes are there to greet tourists. They explain how early Williamsburg residents made bread, put together poultices to cure sickness and went about their day-to-day business. A cobbler, tool-maker, plowman and oxen are all there.
Williamsburg stands in the middle point of a triad where America's history was made. Just seven miles away is Jamestown, which was settled by the English in 1607, and a few miles to the north is Yorktown, where Charles Cornwallis, commander of British forces during the American Revolution, was defeated and young America became a free and independent nation.