Saturday, December 21, 2013

“The first marriage we had in Virginia”

People at Jamestown lived in close quarters: Two hundred people lived inside the walls of the log fort, a triangular enclosure with an area of about the size of two football fields. Housing was two large barracks-like structures and a few lean-tos.

            Everybody knew everybody.

            Within three months, Mistress Forrest’s young serving girl, Anne Burras, had found a husband. By December 1608 she and John Laydon (he was listed among the “Labourers” who had come in 1607), were married. She was fourteen; he was twenty-eight.
            John Smith recorded their nuptials as “the first marriage we had in Virginia.” Presumably the wedding took place in the little thatch-roofed church inside the fort. Perhaps there was some wine to toast the newlyweds afterward. No one knows. Mistress Forrest may not have attended. Her name does not appear in any records after 1608, and she may have died. No one knows.
             In the absence of Mistress Forrest, Anne Laydon would have been the only female inside the fort at Jamestown. She turned fifteen sometime in 1609, and sometime in that year she became pregnant.

            But Anne would not be the only woman for long. More women were on the way.
            And no one was hungry--yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment