In August 1609 the ships that weathered the hurricane came wallowing up the James River, one by one. And there were women aboard at least some of them. Anne Laydon must have been overjoyed. Some of these women would have been near her own age. One of them would have been the fourteen-year-old girl whose cannibalized bones were recently found.
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Some day we may know who this young girl was, but we already know the identities of a precious few of these women: Temperance Yeardley, Joan Pierce and her four-year-old daughter, Jane; and Thomasine Causey. Temperance and Joan had husbands they feared lost aboard the Sea Venture, but Thomasine’s husband was already at Jamestown, waiting to greet her. She and her husband, Nathaniel, rejoiced. The other women did not.
The nine ships in the largest expedition yet sent to Virginia supposedly contained "4.to 500 men and 100 women,” but those numbers may have been inflated. Subtracting the 150 Sea Venture passengers and allowing for deaths on board the other ships, about 300 to 350 newcomers (including an unknown number of women) arrived at Jamestown that summer. At least two of the women had given birth to infants who died at sea. All had been at sea for three or four weeks. Their food aboard ship had nearly run out. Many people were sick, suffering from the tropical malady known as the “calenture,” or wracked by fever and chills from typhus,
And now John Smith, who did not have enough food for the two hundred colonists already there, had three hundred more mouths to feed--if they lived that long.