Saturday, August 2, 2014

"Not many more than 60"

Jamestown, 1610: “Of 500, within 6 months after there remained not many more than 60 most miserable and poor creatures.” --The Proceedings of the English Colonie in Virginia (1612).

Aboard the newly arrived vessels in Chesapeake Bay, the Patience and the Deliverance, were 135 castaways who had spent the past ten months shipwrecked on Bermuda. Expecting to find a thriving settlement at Jamestown, they had brought only enough food for their voyage.
Gates’s men in the longboat rowed back to the Deliverance as quickly as their oars could pull though the water. They must soon have shouted out the good news: this fort was called Algernon Fort, and it was English, and all of the Sea Venture ships but one had reached Virginia!

Little did they know what horrors had taken place there.

The Deliverance made fast her longboat, and with the Patience she prepared to draw closer to shore. As the two little ships sailed towards Algernon Fort, William Strachey, one of the new arrivals, would remember that  “a mightie storme of Thunder, Lightning, and Raine gave us a shrewd and feareful welcome.”

It was an ominous sign.

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