ANNE JACKSON, SURVIVOR
In the late 1610s, the Virginia Company realized that they could use the economic downturn in England to their advantage. The men who had turned their backs on England and gone to North America to try their hands at prosperity were tired of only working. Their Christian, European background was slipping away with time. The company acknowledged this. They saw that the Indian maidens were not good partners for the men. They needed women who could guarantee security, permanence and a continuation of European traditions.
Starting in 1619, the company advertised for sensible, honest young ladies to join the men in Virginia and marry if they found someone who could attract them. They were guaranteed no punishment if they did not find a husband. The men, on their side, were obligated to pay the 12 pound sterling, each, that it cost to transport the women, if the company had paid the fee.
One of the many who were willing to voyage over was Anne Jackson, whose father was William Jackson, a gardener of Westminster. She needed to get letters of recommendation from her church and needed her father to give his consent to his daughter’s request. He had a son already living there in the hamlet of Martin’s Hundred. Ann and 56 other women arrived in Jamestown in late 1621. She moved to her brother, John’s, place.
The first few months were probably enjoyable, getting used to the land, her brother’s family and the different weather. However, on Good Friday, March 1622, the outlying farms and hamlets were attacked by Powhatan Indians. Over 300 settlers were killed, including the famous John Rolfe. Anne and eighteen other women were kidnapped.
Over the next eight years, the women were either bought back, returned by negotiation or died. Anne was the last to come home, in 1630. The only way she could have survived is through strength of mind and body, and tenacity. Apparently, she was, by then, at the end of her psychological rope. Such an experience proved to be too much of an impact on her. The court ordered her brother to keep her safe until she could go aboard a ship and return home.
History has lost the rest of her story. We can only hope that some kind Englishman was willing to accept a fragile woman to care for the rest of her life.