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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wives Imported into the Colony Series: The Need

Because of the large number of male residents in the Colony of Virginia, it became necessary to import wives. Those women belonging to the lower orders in England were chosen especially for their previous good character. The largest band of potential wives to arrive was in the year of 1620, when ninety landed.  During September of the same year the Virginia Company of London wrote that thirty-eight maids had been sent out. There was a price of acquiring one of these wives. Each maid was acquired at the rate of one hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco or twelve pounds sterling, which was intended to reimburse those members of the company who had borne the expense of transportation. However, these maids did not quickly become the wives of the tenants. First, the company ordered that they should be well cared for until married, and the Virginia Assembly requested that they should always bring victuals with them for their support in this interval.  Also, the maidens had the freedom of selecting their husband. (There were three single tenants to each maid).

Source: Abstracts of Proceedings of Virginia Company of London, Vol. I, p. 67; Randolph, MS Vol. III, pp. 165-166..

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