Monday, October 28, 2013

"The Fishing Fleet'



The Fishing Fleet of 1620

Beside gray and choppy shore of the river, James,
preening men strutted before the "Fishing Fleet" -
seventy women strong, "old maids", widows,
handful of virgins,

from England they'd sailed, supplied with new petticoat,
gloves, rug, and sheet.  Domesticity's price? "One hundredth
and fifie pounds of the best leafe Tobacco".

Preacher warned, "one man at a time!", judge declared,
"Consummate or set her free!", indentured servants they were not,
but plucky women who gambled, tried to beat the odds -
did for two years

until Opechancanough spared no "man woman or childe",
proceeded to "deface, drag, and mangle the dead into many pieces -
triumphant."

Triumphant for a time,
as the hand of "revenge" is never-ending.

by Margaret Bednar, October 28, 2013

A replica of the first Protestant church in America located inside the Jamestown Fort -
I assume the "Fishing Fleet" couples were married here.

HERE is Bob Deans the author of the book I am currently reading, "The River Where America Began".  He is a gifted speaker and this is a C-Span Video Library link.  It is thoroughly educational and enjoyable.

The Fishing Fleet was a true group of women (age 15-24) who came over to find husbands within the  Jamestown colony.  Most of these women were killed two years later in the "Great Indian Massacre".   Opechancanough was Powhatan's powerful brother who took control after the great chief died.  I find it a fascinating topic and Mr. Deans states briefly that their stories are fascinating (which leads me to believe there are journals and/or documents about them).  I wish there were books or a documentary about them, but I can find nothing.

Below is a photo of my youngest son standing very near the location where the Jamestown people were massacred (the people inside the fort were warned in advance and did not suffer devastating losses).  So much history, so much violence along the James River.  This is linked with "I Heart Macro Week 24".


I signed up to view National Geographic - HERE is a great article on Jamestown, but it will ask you to sign up as a member (which is really easy).

I am linking this with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Open Link Monday" and will link with "dVerse - Open Link Night #120" on Tuesday.

Finally found an image painted by Sidney King "Arrival of the Maids".  The website is HERE

Sidney King "Arrival of the Maids" (to Jamestown Colony 1620)

15 comments:

Sherry Blue Sky said...

What an INCREDIBLE story. I cant imagine the scene of the massacre.........this would make a powerful film for sure.....

Susie Clevenger said...

It truly is an incredible story...we too often forget the tragedy so many suffered in the birthing of a nation.

Sumana Roy said...


The last two lines describe the way of the world.....the hand of revenge is never ending....how true...

razzamadazzle said...

I love the way you use your very talented pen and camera to shed light on some of the little known yet fascinating pieces of American history. Nicely done.

Mama Zen said...

What a fantastic story!

Laura said...

Fascinating piece of history, and expressed so well in your poem. Your son's portrait is lovely! Thanks for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro:-)

Grandmother (Mary) said...

The photo of your son is lovely with the light outlining his features. I'd not heard that story and find it fascinating.

Robert Bourne said...

there is so much hidden in the archives and history ...stories that need to be read... great post...

Jim said...

Thank you, Margaret, for this nice lesson (but not nice subject matter) of American history. I remember Powhatten but not this massacre nor anything of Opechancanough.

My relatives, the Fletchers may have been there, in the fort, by then. Our Fletcher (Moses) cousin came with the Mayflower but was dead by the first Thanksgiving.
..

Björn said...

History is a great inspiration of poetry.. this was a great reminder of past times.. and they could probably have been saved inside the fort... O cruelty.. and what a lovely picture of your son.

Brian Miller said...

what a story eh? i have spent quite a bit of time in and around jamestown...my son went there with his gramma last year...hard to imagine those first couple years here you know...on either side...

Mary said...

What a fascinating, but tragic, story! I'd like to know more as well.

Vandana Sharma said...

A nice read

Kathryn said...

Powerful piece and such a sad story.

girlwiththepen1118 said...

Well well Margaret, shipped me off then make me shutter! Sad reality about women's dismissed role in history but, God sees all, & despite all his overflowing mercy, he is JUST. Great historical piece! Lovingly Debbie