The ceremonial heart of the Nansemond Indian district stood a mile east on Dumpling Island in the Nansemond River. In 1608, Capt. John Smith led colonists upriver to obtain corn from the Nansemonds, who attacked but were defeated and forced to feed them. The next summer, anticipating what was later called the "starving time" Smith transferred Capt. John Martin and 60 of the Jamestown colonists to the Island. After his advance party disappeared, Martin attacked the Nansemonds, looted and burned their houses and temples, despoiled their dead, and seized their corn. The Indians soon counterattacked, driving the colonists back to Jamestown.