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Will the Company
Abandon Them?

Cecily in Lady
Gates’s Care

Cecily’s Journey

Plymouth and

The Spanish

Babies Arrive
amidst Turmoil

Brutal Martial Law

Nothing to Eat

Hope: the First General Assembly

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Cecily in Lady Gates's care

Sign at ColyfordJuly 2011 in Colyford, Devon, England

We drove the main road running through Colyford, a borough of Colyton, in Devon. Sir Thomas Gates was born in Colyford, baptized at old St. Andrews in Colyton, and probably had a drink or two at the Colyford pub, The Wheelwright Inn. It was to Colyford that Gates returned in the fall of 1610. There, he explained that, though he had returned safely—he would not be home long. For he had much work to do in Virginia. And he had one other question to ask his wife.

Wheel wright


quoteHe asked her if she would take their two daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth, to the home of one Tom Phippen in Dorset.

“There you will find a young girl named Cecily, the daughter of one of my men. I have promised his wife in James Town that I will bring Cecily with us when we come, that you will tend to the child as if she were your own until we make Virginia. The mother, Mistress Peirce, survived the Starving Time,” he said by way of explanation. “There is a younger daughter in James Town as well.”

Gates handed his wife a letter. “From Mistress Peirce for her daughter, given me before my departure from James Town.” The letter, he imagined, contained some little about the famine, about the the father’s survival of the hurricane, and of the Peirces’ desire that Cecily join them when Gates returned to Virginia.

“This child is just older than Margaret, and I believe the little sister is near the age of Elizabeth,” he finished.

Lady Gates held the letter with due care. “A daughter without a mother is a sad thing,” she said thoughtfully. “As well, two sisters separated. They should have the joyous reunion we’ve had. Aye, Cecily will be mine aboard ship as you wish, and our own daughters will be delighted. This mother in James Town need not worry for her little girl.quote

From When the Moon Has No More Silver by Connie Lapallo © 2011


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