6) Van den Dorpe

By Manuel Royal
May 28, 2020 · 206 words · 1 minute


The Weird, The Wild, The Southeast: a Tourist's Guide
by Jonas Birdsong
(Copyright 2006)

[Excerpt from entry on Donnetown.]

Diederic van den Dorpe led a bizarre life, exhaustively examined elsewhere by people with letters after their names. But all you, the tourist of the odd, need to know is: 1) Van den Dorpe came in 1661 to what was then Virginia, and immediately bought a donkey and a large wooden cart; 2) He founded Donnetown in 1666, the first and only Flemish settlement in the English colony of Carolina (using the English naming style in deference to his poetic idol); 3) He established all essential elements of government in that same wooden cart, which his faithful donkey Libertine hauled all over the settlement thrice weekly; 4) Donnetown did not legally exist until 1690, when for obscure reasons James II granted it a charter.

And, 5), which is the entertaining part. The charter included provisions for "the continuance of such peripatetic governance." To this day, Donnetown City Hall is contained in a 59-foot long semi, driven around the town's single freeway loop by Deputy Mayor Ricky Ticcavi (infamous for responding to irate citizens by parking City Hall in front of their house and leaning on the air horn until they come out).

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