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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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Departing England

From 1610 until early 1619, the settlers lived under martial law. What does that mean? Martial law is military law enacted during wartime.

The colonists argued that as of 1614, they were at peace with the natives and that martial law was unnecessary. Still, the Company didn’t revoke the laws, which one colonist said were harsher than any martial law in Europe. The laws including beatings for even small infractions.

Martial Dale had Anne Laydon and Joan Wright, the midwife, whipped for creating shirts that were too short. Anne and Mistress Wright had been at Jamestown a long time; they had no thread of their own to finish off the shirts as some of the women did. So the two pulled out the bottom of the shirts and used that thread. This resulted in a whipping, reported in later court records decrying the severity of the earlier years.

For Anne, the repercussions would be even more severe than they at first appeared.

Cat-o-nine tails



quoteI felt torn between wanting to run out and offer any comfort I could and being unable to face seeing the cat-o-nine tails lashing Annie. I wouldn’t be able to get near, I knew, but she might see me. She might know I was with her, that I knew she could never deserve such a fate.

“How did she look?” My voice was tremulous, a whisper.

“Angry. As angry as I’ve ever seen her. And defiant. The soldiers pushed her to the post. She had…” Tempie stopped and swallowed hard. “Annie was screaming, ‘No, no, please! Tell the governor. Mercy, mercy, for my baby. Mercy for my baby.’”

“Her baby? Was Ginny nearby? Was Annie afraid she’d see?”
How would a wee one, a little over two, feel seeing her mother that way?

“I…I don’t know, Joan. I didn’t see Ginny.”

We were still trying to take this in when a rapping came upon the door. I could hear a woman’s sobs and a man’s shaken voice. “Mistress Peirce knows herbs.”

I flung the door open to see my Annie, doubled in pain, her knees buckling beneath her, rips in her clothing from the whip, blood trickling through. Her face muddy, tear-stained and swollen, the color of beets.

Jack Laydon and Judith Perry supported her around her waist and helped her across the threshold. Annie’s legs trembled beneath her.

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