Anne looked at her husband, John. He didn’t need to say he was worried, she saw the
knitted eyebrows and tense lines around his mouth. They were facing their hardest
time since arriving on Virginia’s shore. She looked around their sparsely filled cabin,
and though hungry and needy, was thankful for all God had blessed them with.
Anne thought back on their short time together. John, a laborer, had landed in May
1607, with 103 other men. They had sailed from England aboard the Susan Constant,
the Godspeed, and the Discovery, the first of many to come.
Anne had arrived in the fall of 1608 on a ship bringing needed supplies, stock, and
more women to help tame this difficult new land. Her and John had married three
months later. Jamestown’s first wedding!
Now it was late December, 1609, winter had brutally claimed them, and the whole
colony was in danger.
The sun had shone hot without relief all summer and autumn, and rainfall was
non-existent. Crops had withered before producing their harvest. The Algonquin
Indians would sometimes trade food for copper and iron, but more often than not would
attack anyone going outside the fort’s walls. The Indians had also killed their hogs and
chased the deer away from the fort area.
“What shall we do, John?”
“Only our God knows, Anne,” John anguished. “I would that John Smith had not had to
leave. Mayhem has reigned in the abscence of his leadership and men are rising up
against each other. They’re afraid to venture out of the fort walls to fish, hunt, or gather
wood. They’re tearing wood off homes to burn in their fireplaces!” He lovingly placed
his hand on her rising belly, “I beseech our Holy God to protect me as I go out to find
food, and wood to keep us warm.”
“I thank God for you, John, and ask His protection be upon you.”
John hunted, gathered roots, acorns, nuts, and occasionally caught fish, escaping
Indian’s arrows by God’s grace.
The emptier men’s bellies became, the more evil reigned. Hunger drove some to acts
of brutality and utter savageness. Too lazy, weakened or sick, or too frightened to
leave camp, some even sunk into canabalism.
Desolation and despair overtook them. Hope was gone as the long, cold winter days
stretched on claiming most of the settlers.
Hope remained distant as winter began to relinquish its hold on them in April. Trees
budded. Days grew longer and warmer. But all provisions were gone, along with
hundreds of men, women, and children. Only sixty people remained, soon to be
Abigail was born May 1, 1910. She was on the skinny side, just like her parents, but
she was healthy. John and Anne gave thanks to God for their daughter’s precious life.
Still times were rough. “Annie, I don’t believe those of us left can hold out till new crops
are grown. I’ve gotten together with the other men and we’ve decided we should return
Anne nursed little Abby, and with tears filling her eyes said, “I trust God and you, John, to
take care of us. Do what you think is best.”
“We hate to give up our dreams here, Annie, but there’s nothing left. Soon we will all
be gone, if we stay.”
So the packing began for the return to England. Many wondered what was better. The
Indian’s slaughtering and lack of food, or facing the treacherous seas which had stolen
many of the ships and supplies bound for Jamestown.
But with the decision made, they abandoned their homes and began the voyage down
the James River. One day into the trip they came upon another ship. On board was
Thomas West, Lord de la Ware, who had been named governor over Jamestown by the
Queen of England. He ordered the survivors to turn around and head back to Fort
James. They were reluctant, but obeyed his orders.
Upon landing, Lord de la Ware announced, “God has surely meant to plant this new
land. We have with us one-hundred and fifty hard working men and enough provisions
for one full year.”
So John, Anne, and little Abby returned to their small home. The first night back they
ate till their bellies hurt. “Provisions for a year!” John rejoiced.
“How our God has provided, John! Let us offer Him praise and thanksgiving!”
Hard times stretched out before them, they knew, but winter was over and hope
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