Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jamestown 3

From last post
The Second Supply of 1608 mentions that there were "some others" on the trip. Could Thomas Shelburne have been one of these others? A Welsh boy of 13 as cabin boy to the Welsh Captain Peter Wynne? Wynne would die the next year.

The first women at Jamestown came on that Second Supply trip as well. The wife of Thomas Forrest and her maid, Anne Burras, made their way on that third installment. Anne would be the first of the English to marry in the New World--to John Laydon. And she would be the first to give birth in Jamestown, although the first English baby born was Virginia Dare in the Roanoke Colony. Born in 1587, her eventual fate is unknown.

Those first few years of the Jamestown settlement were brutal. Because of the poor conditions, someone died almost every day. The swampy water around the peninsula where they built their fort was arguably part of the problem. It was unsuitable for drinking. The immediately surrounding land was unsuitable for farming. Almost two thirds of the first group to arrive would be dead less than five months after their first landing.

They arrived in one of the worst droughts the region had seen in seven hundred years. They had run out of supplies and it was too late for planting. In part that was why the Native Americans had not used it. Facing drought themselves, the surrounding peoples had less to give than they might have in another decade.

Within days of settling on the peninsula, they would be attacked for a couple months by some of the surrounding tribes, although they were initially greeted by the Powhatan Nation. The interaction of the settlement with the Native Americans must have been puzzling. At times some were friendly enough and traded for food. At other times some attacked.

Most of those who came were not prone to work. They were gentlemen who had little practical knowledge and expected others to work for them. The first President of the settlement was Edward Wingfield, but when the First Supply returned, he was in the brig for hoarding food.  He was sent back to England with Captain Newport.

The second President was John Ratcliffe. He also was ousted, leaving Captain John Smith as the third president of the colony. John was a hard man for hard times. His motto was based on 2 Thessalonians 3:10: "He who does not work, shall not eat." Smith was the one in charge when Newport arrived with the Second Supply...

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