The Original Dare Stone (Front and Back)

The Dare Stones

The famous – and, to some, infamous – Dare Stones have been a part of Brenau University lore since the late 1930s. It is a collection  of  a large number of engraved rocks that emerged at the height of the Great Depression purporting to solve the mystery of The Lost Colony of Roanoke, a group of settlers on an island off the coast of North Carolina that disappeared without a trace in the late 16th century. Although most of the stones are generally regarded as artifacts of artifice, the first remains of great interest to historians and archaeologists. It appears to be a message from one of the colonists, Eleanor White Dare, to her father, John White, the colony’s governor, who returned to America from a three-year trip to England to find his daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter missing along with all the others he had left at Roanoke.

Here is the transcript of the carving on the rock:

[Side 1]:

Ananias Dare &
Virginia Went Hence
Unto Heaven 1591
Anye Englishman Shew
John White Govr Via

[Side 2]:

Father Soone After You
Goe for England Wee Cam
Hither / Onlie Misarie & Warre
Tow Yeere / Above Halfe Deade ere Tow
Yeere More From Sickenes Beine Foure & Twentie /
Salvage with Message of Shipp Unto Us / Smal
Space of Time they Affrite of Revenge Rann
Al Awaye / Wee Bleeve it Nott You / Soone After
Ye Salvages Faine Spirits Angrie / Suddaine
Murther Al Save Seaven / Mine Childe /
Ananais to Slaine wth Much Misarie /
Burie Al Neere Foure Myles Easte This River
Uppon Small Hil / Names Writ Al Ther
On Rocke / Putt This Ther Alsoe / Salvage
Shew This Unto You & Hither Wee
Promise You to Give Greate
Plentie Presents

This stone, regarded by most authorities as the only Dare Stone, surfaced in 1937. A California man who found it while driving through the Carolina coastal region delivered the 21-pound rock engraved with strange markings to the history department of Emory University.

Through a curious series of events, the stone wound up in possession of Brenau, thanks to the curiosity of Emory history professor  Haywood Pearce Jr., who was also vice president of Brenau and the son of the schools owner and president, Haywood Pearce.

Pearce Sr. agreed, when Emory would not, to acquire the stone and foot the bill for further inquiry into its authenticity. After the Pearces advertised that they would pay a reward for any other stones with strange marking, Brenau’s collection grew – and the process of unraveling the mystery became more complex.

A comprehensive history of the Dare Stones and its connections to Brenau is available in the Brenau Window feature “Brenau’s Pet Rocks.”

For information on viewing, photography, videography and handling the Dare Stones please see our Dare Stones Policy document.

For more information about the Dare Stones contact us at

Additional resources:

Virginia Dare From a woodcut in “North Carolina Illustrated” in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 1857.


October, 2015

March, 2017