First Settlers to Jamestown Purchased Wives

Wives were Sold in Jamestown, Virginia

Because of the hardships endured in the early settlement of James Town, one of the things permitted by the London Company was the purchasing of wives. In tracing these families, I have discovered a number of persons, before and after the 1622 massacre particularly, who returned to London to acquire a wife. First, disease and rat poison from the vessels caused a rank loss of life and the later massacre, of course, killed off a number of families. The London Company investors added this provision to their charter. Nearly 400 persons were lain in the colony on March 22, 1622.

Ships Transporting Wives

Twelve women were sent in the Marmaduke and fifty in the ship and pinnace called Tyger. The London Company detailed in their records that it was their intent to providing their first landing and to dispose of them in marriage. The passage was 12 pounds sterling and 150 pounds of the best leaf tobacco for each. Should any one or more of them die, then the proportional addition was to be paid by the rest. They were to be delivered to Mr. Ed who was to keep an accounting. “This and theire owne good deserts together with your favor and care, will we hope, marry any of them shall unwarily or fondly bestow (for the liberty of marriage we dare not infringe) upon such as shall not be able to give present satisfaction, we desire that at least as soon as ability shalbe, they be compelled to pay the true quantity of tobacco proportioned, and that this debt may have precidence of all other to be recovered.” All this possible because in 1622 a monopoly for the importation of tobacco was granted to the Virginia Company and Somers Island Company. Source: The London Company on Buying Wives. …. more Virginia Genealogy and Historical Articles on Jamestown … http://www.virginiapioneers.net/counties/countyjamescity.html

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