Regarding the arrival of 20 or so Africans to Jamestown in 1619, it would seem appropriate also to recognize the arrival the same year of 100 children, boys and girls, orphans and abandoned, who were swept off the streets of London and shipped to Virginia.

City authorities, anxious to rid themselves of homeless street children struggling to survive, rounded up a group, placed them in Bridewell prison, and then sent them off to the colony either as indentured servants or left to make their way as best they could.

The event is possibly the first of many examples of Britain’s solution to getting rid of undesirables by shipping them to the Western colonies or to the Antipodes, a policy lasting more than 200 years.

Only two of the original group are known to have survived and established families who exist today. Both are listed on the first census of 1624-25 and therefore are legitimate First Families of Virginia.

Bob W. Tatum

Albemarle County

References:

“Adventurers of Purse and Person: Virginia, 1607-1624/25,” Vol. 3, Pages 260-261

Get Breaking News Alerts

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
Load comments