Andrew and Molly Finale

Molly went about her business as usual.  With four children under five, the house and homestead to run, she had all she could handle.  Even with Malcolm and Martha Wilson’s help and Rosemarie to nurse the baby, every moment held its demands.  The farm was now in excess of five hundred acres.  Will managed it for her, as well as continuing his blacksmithing.  They’d planned to negotiate for three more bondsmen and increase the timber harvesting the next spring.  Molly had hopes she Andrew could work their situation out, but he’d not approached her, though she did see him helping Will about his blacksmith shop.

The older couple strolled over after supper that evening. Will spoke to Molly.  “Molly, you and Andrew have matters you need to discuss.  God joined you together and you were separated through no fault on either part.  Your circumstances are tangled.  Neither of you benefits from antagonism.  Andrew wants to meet to discuss your situation.  Are you willing?  He’d like to come over if you are ready.”

“We do need to talk.  We vowed to love each other once.  This is a test of that promise.  It would be best for everyone if we find common ground.”

In minutes Will was back with Andrew.  “Can I see the baby?” Rosemarie reluctantly surrendered the baby but stayed at his side.  “He looks recovered.  His cheeks are round again.  I am grateful.”  Rosemarie beamed when he handed the baby back.     “I was wrong to reproach you for marrying.  Will has explained your danger.  I had no right.  The child is my son.  The Indians held another captive, the wife of a trader.  She was killed when we were escaping.  I want you back.  Will you think about it?

Molly thought long before she answered.  “We are not the same people who loved each other then, but we have needs and there are children who need us both.  I have been leaning on Will and Aggie too long.  You need to know, James left half the farm to me, the rest to the children, so it will never be yours.  I have the final say in its use, but land we get from this day forward we share.  Can you agree to that?”

“All I have thought of was getting back to you.  I was a bondsman, then a slave.  The life you offer is more than I ever hoped for.  We are still young enough to have a long life together.  I am willing.”  he answered.

“Will, can you fetch the reverend?  We need marrying.”

They were  married more than thirty years and had five more children.  Like all couples, they wrangled many times, but together increased their holdings.  It was a good life.

 

 

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Andrew and Molly Part 18

Andrew slept most of the next forty-eight hours, only waking long enough to tend his needs and ask after the baby.  With Rosemarie in attendance, the baby had little need of anyone else.  Ecstatic at her reprieve, she’d barely relinquish her hold on the baby, sleeping on a pallet by its cradle.  The little girls were delighted at the acquisition of the baby, vying for the chance to kiss its pink cheeks and rub its blond fuzzy head.  Even Jamie wasn’t too proud to hold it, being thoroughly tired of girls. They insisted it was their brother, though Molly kept reminding them they didn’t know whose baby it was.  “That man gave us this baby.” Addie insisted.  “When Pap gave  us a puppy we got to keep it.  We didn’t have a baby.”

“No Aggie.  That’s not the way it works with babies.  This baby may have a mother who’s looking for it, right now.” Molly explained.

“That’s not fair.  She can just get another one.  We need this one.” Addie insisted.

The baby quickly plumped up with regular feedings.  The childrens’ hand-me-downs were put to good use.  Rosemarie fairly doted on it, lavishing on it all the love she meant for her lost baby.

Late on the afternoon of the second day, Andrew woke and wandered through looking for Molly, encountering Rosemarie nursing the baby.  He asked after Molly.

“Mistress Wharton stepped across to see Mistress Bartles.”

“No, I am looking for my wife Molly, not Mistress Wharton.” He explained.

“The only Molly I’ve met is Mistress Molly Wharton. I just came after the baby got here.”  she answered.

He found Molly watching the children at play in the backyard.  “Whose children are those?”  he asked.

“They are mine.  After you were gone, we all thought you were dead.  I found I was to have your child.  To save me from trouble, James Wharton married me.  You know what can happen to a bondswoman found with child.  Jamie is your child, though James Wharton gave him his name.”  she paused.

“You married Wharton! How could you marry Wharton?  Why didn’t you wait?  You didn’t even give me the chance to get back!  How could you marry so soon?” he demanded of her.

Will and Aggie walked up, having seen them in conversation.  It was clear Andrew was overwrought. Will addressed Andrew.  “Hold your peace, man.  Wharton saved her by the marrying.  She could have been punished or sold to another.  She was fortunate he offered.  She’d have been foolish to refuse.  Your capture left her in a grave situation.”

Molly spoke.  “I’ll thank you to compose yourself.  Will, can you put him up?  Come children!”  With that, she left them, stalking to the house.

 

Molly and Andrew Part 17

Molly was stunned to see Andrew standing before her.  She’d long ago given him up. He was emancipated and scarred, little resembling the healthy man she’d last seen.  He dropped to the ground at her feet, wrapping his arms around her legs. “Molly, Molly, I thought I’d never see you again.”

Overwhelmed at his unexpected return after so long, she was bewildered and confused.  As he wept and buried his head in her skirts, she dropped to her knees and held him.  The little girls clung to their mother as she called to Jamie,  “Go get Pap and Gran!  Run! Run!”

Jamie whirled and ran, shrieking, “Pap!  Gran!  Ma wants you!  Hurry!”

Molly felt no connection to the poor wretch she was trying to comfort. Her crying girls added to the confusion by pulling at her.  Amid all this, she heard the weak cries of an infant coming from his pack.

“”Feed him, please.  He’s had nothing since yesterday morning.”  With this, Andrew struggled to work a pack off his back.  He lay it on the ground, tenderly unwrapping it to reveal a starving baby boy, bound in a malodorous blanket.  The child could have been no more than a few weeks old.  “Help please,” he beseeched her.  “He may yet die.”

“God in Heaven!  Poor baby!  Hurry girls.  We have to feed him!”  Forgetting Andrew, she scooped up the wailing baby and ran for the house, pulling Hannah by the hand. Aggie kept up the best she could.  She couldn’t see Will, Aggie, and Jamie reaching Andrew behind her.  With the baby in one arm, she heated milk in a pan over the fire.  As it warmed, she hastily washed the baby, wrapping it snugly in a towel.  Dipping a clean cloth in warm milk over and over, the baby sucked. Meanwhile, Will and Addie supported Andrew between them, seated him at the table, and got him food and drink.  Afterward, Will helped him bathe and get into James’ nightshirt then into bed in spare room.

In the meantime, Molly and Addie bathed and dressed the baby, settling it in the cradle.  Once it was full, warm, and dry, the baby gave them no trouble.

As the excitement settled and the children played at their feet, Molly, Will, and Addie tried to piece the story together.  Apparently, Andrew and a few others had been enslaved by the Powhatan tribe, since his capture.  They had been able to escape after a recent trader brought measles, decimating the village, leaving no one to pursue them.  They’d been traveling several days and he the baby were the only survivors.

Molly had no idea what to make of Andrew’s return with the baby.  She’d married Andrew in England and then, thinking him dead, married James in Jamestown.,  She had no idea where this left her, but today there was business to tend.  At Addie’s suggestion, she sent Will to pay to fine and bargain for the indenture of a sixteen-year-year old girl who was sitting in jail for the crime of having had a bastard child.  It had been stillborn yesterday, so she should still be able to nurse this baby.

She would just deal with what had to be done today and let tomorrow take care of itself.  For now, everyone under her roof was fed and safe.

Andrew and Molly Part 16

James Andrew Wharton  made his appearance seven  months later, a hearty little fellow.  His parents and Will and Aggie Bartles purely doted on him.  Molly was amused that she’d ever thought James or Aggie stern, especially as they coddled and spoke nonsense to Jamie.  Molly and Aggie enjoyed their new status as free citizens and were active in church.

James Wharton lost some of his austere persona with the happiness of his marriage.  Molly’s relationship with him blossomed as she had leisure to spoil him, a luxury she and Andrew had never enjoyed.  She was surprised to find him a skilled and generous lover with none of the urgency she’d experienced with Andrew.  Before Jamie was a year old, she was pregnant again.  James was ecstatic to see his family increasing.  He engaged a young bondswoman woman to help Molly as soon as he could.  James had expanded his acreage and engaged another man soon after they married.

Molly gave birth to a girl she named for Addie then little Hannah the next year.  She teased James that he’d tricked saying he wouldn’t be a virile husband then landed her two babies in a year.  He added rooms as the family grew, including one for Josie, the bondswoman.  The children called Addie and Will grandparents.  The family truly thrived.

The four years Molly shared with James were precious, all the more because she knew she wouldn’t have him with her forever.  One evening after supper, he took her hand.  “Mollygirl, I am old.  When I work hard, it pains my chest.  I want you to know, you are the best part of my life.  I have my affairs in order.  I will engage another man to ease my labor, but I won’t be with you much longer.”

Molly wept softly in his arms.  “I will always love you, dearest.”

He began spending his days around the house with Molly as the bondsman worked the farm.  Two months later, Molly went to wake him for breakfast and found he’d left left.  She’d lost two husbands before she was twenty-five.

She grieved James as Will Bartles helped her learn to run the farm along with the two bondsman, though not a day passed that she didn’t think of his strength and kindness.  One morning as she hung clothes on the line, a man in buckskins came running from the woods.  She was gathering her little ones to run when she heard a familiar voice calling, “Molly!  Molly!”

 

Andrew and Molly Part 14

Aggie and Molly sat down with Bartles at the day’s end telling her troubling situation.

“Molly, if I had money, I’d gladly buy your bond.  We hardly have two pennies to rub together.  I’ll talk to Master Wharton for you.  He’s a fair man.  Losing two bondsmen has left him in a dire situation as well.  I will speak to him now.”  With that, he left the women, and strode to Master Barton’s house on his mission.  In an hour or so he was back.  “Molly, Master Wharton wants to speak with you.  Aggie, come with us as witness.”

Molly felt panicked, not prepared to deal with her fate so soon.  She had no idea what awaited her as she walked in his back door.  Master Wharton greeted them.

“Come in the front room.  This is no talk for the kitchen.”  Though she’d cleaned it every day since her arrival, Molly felt she was seeing the room for the first time with its golden pine walls, large fireplace, table and chairs, and bench.  A large quilt covered-bed filled one corner.   She’d swept and scrubbed the pine floor with lye-water till it was white-bleached.  Even though it had never been her home, it had become familiar and dear, especially since she and Andrew had so recently occupied the small bedroom off the kitchen.  It was certainly the most comfortable dwelling she’d ever lived in.

“Let’s get straight to our business.”  Molly felt a sense of doom at his terse demeanor. Battles has explained your situation.  You know mine. We have to assume Andrew is dead.  I have to engage another bondsman or a couple.  My cash stores are depleted.  A woman in your position is in peril.  I have two offers to buy your bond, both single men.  There is the possibility, but no promise you might be offered marriage, though of course, neither man is aware of your condition.  I cannot guess how that might change their offers.

I have grown fond of both you and Andrew over the past months.  I loathe the idea of your falling into peril.  Though I am an fifty-seven years old and you but a girl, I offer you marriage.  I realize you cannot expect the comfort a young man could give you, but offer I marriage if you desire it.  I would welcome your child as my own.  I had never thought to know the joy of a wife and children again after losing my family.  You can take some time to think before giving me your decision.

Molly had come in expecting to learn she’d be cast out, not offered marriage.  Even though she’d had little time to grieve Andrew’s loss, she knew she needed Master Wharton’s protection.  This was a time for reason, not emotion.  The welfare of her child was her main consideration.

“I’d be honored to be your wife.” She answered.

Wharton nodded.  “I’ll ask the minister to announce the banns.  Battles, can Molly reside with you till our marriage? I want no gossip.”

“Certainly, Master Wharton.  We’d be honored.”  He and Aggie were beaming.

“And call me James.  You are a free man now.” He directed.

“Yes indeed, James.  My name is Will. “The men shook hands heartily and James embraced Aggie.  He turned to Molly.  “I won’t kiss you till after we wed.  James, make sure there is no gossip on my wife’s good name.”  With that, he took both Molly’s hands in his.  “I will keep out of the house while you are about your duties until we marry.”

Andrew and Molly Part 13

Molly felt a change in the air when she went into the post with Aggie with trade goods.  A pretty woman attracted a lot of attention where men vastly outnumbered women.  From time to time, a ship arrived bearing women convicts involuntarily indentured.  As often as not, they were offered marriage.  Should they go to a house without a wife and not be offered marriage, their future was unsure.  Rape was an ever present concern for a bondswoman with punishment for pregnancy out of wedlock a surety.  Molly felt the men looking at her differently, now Andrew was gone.  One or two who’d been eyeing her tried to buy her bond from Wharton, though thankfully, so far he’d declined.  Molly knew with the spring work looming ahead, he’d have to engage help.  She kept as close to home as possible, hoping not to attract attention.

In her grief, she wasn’t thriving, going about her tasks by rote.  Aggie treated her much more warmly, initiating conversations and sharing tales of her girlhood, courtship and early marriage.  Without her to take her mind off her troubles, Molly had little else to think of except her fear and grief.

After a few weeks, Molly’s fears eased a bit when Master Wharton made no move to change their situation.  She worked hard, trying to make his home comfortable and Aggie made sure she knew just how he liked his favorite dishes and how he liked things done.  When her appetite returned, she thought it was because she took pride in her cooking.  When she started throwing up and her breasts got tender she feared it was something else.  Molly had confided to a friend at chapel, she was sleeping in the barn again to guard against the appearance of evil.  While Bartles and Aggie were glad she was protecting her reputation, they were fearful her confidence might attract unwelcome company.  Master Wharton insisted she keep the door barred and Jackie at her side when she was abed.  Between them, Wharton and Bartles resolved to keep her safe.  Sure enough, it wasn’t long before Jackie woke her lunging at the door and barking.  Master Wharton fired shots at a man fleeing in the woods.

Aggie noted Molly going about her labors with her collar button opened when she came over with some baking.  “Why is your collar button undone?  It’s a cool morning?  When I was in the family way, the first thing I noticed was a tight collar button.  How long since you had your courses?”

Molly stammered.  “I’m not sure.  I think it was a week or so before Andrew was lost.”

“I thought you had the look of breeding.  Have you been sick in the mornings?”  Aggie went on.  “Do you have cravings?  How long since you had your tea every day?”

Molly looked devastated.  “I never thought of it since the trouble, till I got sick in the mornings and my breasts felt tender, but Aggie, I can’t give this child up, no matter what.  It’s the last of Andrew.  What if he comes back?  I know I could punished for breeding, but there has to be a way.  Anyone can count back and know when this babe was conceived.  It would be too cruel to take it from me when I’ve nothing else.  What am I going to do?  Is there any way you and Bartles could buy my bond?  I’ll work for you as long as you ask me to if you’ll just help me save my baby!”

“Oh Molly, we have just a few coins after equipping our cabin.  It’s not possible for us to buy a bushel of corn, much less your contract.  Of course, you and the child could stay with us, but the master has already lost two bondsman.  It’s doubtful he could give you your freedom, even if you stayed with us.  We’ll have to talk to Bartles about all this.  It puts you in a terrible place.  A woman in the family way with no man is in terrible danger in this place.”

Andrew and Molly Part 12

vincent_van_gogh_-_mourning_woman

Vincent Van Gogh’s Mourning Woman

Molly shrieked Andrew’s name, hoping he’d come out of hiding, till Aggie coolly took control, quickly aware of the danger to them all.  “Quiet yourself, woman!  Go for Master Wharton.  You may bring them down on us!  We must tend the one at hand and let the men seek the others.”

Terrified, Molly raced for the cabin rousing Master Wharton to the calamity.  He was dealing with a neighbor who raced for reinforcements among the other settlers.  It had only been a brief twenty years since the Jamestown Massacre and there had been trouble several times recently.  Master Wharton and a party of twenty or followed a trail into the woods.   From broken branches, it was clear someone was being dragged.  Other women joined Aggie and Molly, helping get Bartles into the cabin.

Though he’d lost blood and was in shock from scalping and  other grave injuries, he was able to confirm they’d been attacked by Indians.  With that, he slipped into unconsciousness, unable to give any word of the other men.  Aggie  covered his head wound with a poultice bandage and treated him the best she could with herbal remedies.  He lingered between life and death for days.  When he finally roused, he remembered nothing about the incident.

The men were gone through the night while the two wives tended Bartles.  Fearing attack, the other women returned to the enclosure of the settlement, promising to return the next day with supplies and medicine.  Toward morning, the party returned with Benjamin White, barely alive, suffering from broken ribs and broken legs and arms.  The Indians had no doubt intended him for slavery, but apparently when he couldn’t keep up, they’d broken his legs, kicked in his ribs and left him for dead.  He’d also been scalped and could tell them nothing. The women and the injured returned to the safety of the settlement while the injured men fought for their lives.  Amazingly, Bartles, the older, recovered while the younger man who’d languished in the woods for hours perished from a suppurating head wound and fever.

Naturally, the colonists were terrified of a return to hostilities and remained cloistered together for days.  Molly was wild with grief at Andrew’s abduction, but held a little hope he’d survived and might somehow escape to return to her, though the hope dwindled day by day.  She’d heard enough tales to be aware he might have already been slaughtered or was enslaved at the very least.  If he didn’t manage to get away soon, he’d not likely survive long.

After the initial terror, life had to go on.  Crops had to be worked, animals tended, and work donei.  The settlement could not support the influx of outsiders for long, so they returned to their homes and lives.  Molly stayed with Aggie and Bartles in their tiny cabin to help tend Bartles during the night for a time, returning to her duties during the day.  She repaired to the barn room left vacant by Benjamin’s death as soon as Aggie could spare her, not wanting to share a cabin with Master Wharton.  A bondswoman could easily to fall into trouble that would continue her servitude.

Molly moved through her days woodenly, lost in her grief.  At first, she tried to imagine scenarios where Andrew escaped and would be returning to her.  In her dreams, he held her in his arms as they counted off the days till they’d be free with their own land, just as he’d always done.  They’d have a fine farm, extend their acreage, engage servants of their own, and have many strong sons and sweet daughters to share their lives.  They’d looked forward to growing old surrounded by loving family.  She was always devastated to awake to the reality of continuing a life of servitude alone.   Through gossip, she even learned that Master Wharton could compel her to complete Andrew’s contract when she finished her own.  The possibility of six more years faced her.  In her fear, she avoided any conversation about her future situation with Master Wharton.  She prayed he’d continue to treat her kindly, but understood he’d have to acquire a new bondsman or couple.  He’d lost two workers.  Where would that leave her?  The barn room would be needed if he only engaged a man.  Should he engage a couple and a single man, he might sell the remainder of her time to another.  God only knew what a new master might demand.  There weren’t many single women in the colony.  A woman was in danger of being abused then punished should she fall pregnant.  The best she could hope was that a fair man would buy her time and offer her marriage.  The thought of her future was terrifying.

 

 

 

 

Andrew and Molly Part 11

img_1866Image pulled from internet

Master Wharton bought the indenture of Benjamin White, a recently arrived bondsman, in anticipation of Bartles and Aggie’s completed contract.  As soon as their cabin was complete, the older couple moved over, though they’d continue to work another month for Master Wharton.  The young couple moved into the house, looking forward to the comfort of the fireplace the next winter.   They took their precious bed-linens but left their furniture in the barn-room.  Aggie passed her old bedding on to Benjamin since she and Molly had made all new for Aggie’s new home.  Molly had proudly presented Aggie with toweling of her own making, the first gift she’d ever been able to give anyone.  Aggie and Bartles would go to their new home on twenty-five acres with a cow, horse, plow, bed-linens, seed for their first crop, and a suit of clothes each, their entitlement for completing their indenture.

Bartles, Benjamin, and Andrew planned to work on Bartles’s barn roof as long as the light lasted one August evening.  Aggie and Molly served Master Wharton’s dinner and did needlework as they waited for their men.  As the light faded they strolled over to the unfinished barn to see what progress they’d made.

“You must be looking forward to be working for yourself,” Molly said companiably.  “I’ll miss working by your side, but am glad to see you ready to move to your own place.”

“The four years have been long , it’s true. But if we’d stayed in England, we’d never have come to all this.  I never thought to have my own house and land.  In three years, you will move to your own place.”

“That will be a fine day.” Molly agreed.

The men were nowhere in sight when they entered the clearing, not answering when the women called out.  Rounding the house, they found Bartles unconscious with his bloody body lying amid scattered tools. His bare skull showed through clotted blood where a wide strip bare of scalp.  There was no sign of the other two men.

Aggie perceived instantly that the men had been attacked by the Native Americans indigenous to the area. The colonists had a long history of difficulties with the neighbors they considered savages. In 1622, three-hundred-forty colonists were massacred, nearly ending the settlement. Colonists had long felt God intended the land for them, a concept the natives had difficulty embracing. As a result of many lies and betrayals, hostilities often erupted to rupture the friable peace.

The three bondsmen had fallen victim, two missing and one clinging to life.

Andrew and Molly Part 10

I finally got Part 10 up after a long absence.

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/andrew-and-molly-part-6/

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/andrew-and-molly-part-7/

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/andrew-and-molly-part-8/

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/andrew-and-molly-part-9/

Aggie lived up to Molly’s first impression, a terse and demanding taskmaster.  She worked Molly hard, setting her to bread-making, sausage making, ironing, washing and ironing. Then came the spinning and weaving.  No wonder Master Wharton hadn’t been concerned, knowing he had an expert in house. From the wool not needed by the house, Aggie told the master sold her blankets and yarn for good prices, earnings they shared. When Molly looked discouraged at her tasks, Aggie was quick to remind her “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”  It seemed Aggie begrudged her even a breath of fresh air at the back door.  Aggie was kind enough to give her a blanket and some mattress ticking for their lodgings in the barn, for which Molly was very grateful. Nights buried up only in the hay would have been very uncomfortable.  Covers over and under hay proved a great boon.  Aggie also gave her some of her fine homespun for drawers and petticoats. Molly was trying hard to like her, but found it hard going when Aggie abraided her for clumsiness or ignorance at her new tasks. Molly found little in the dour woman to recommend her beyond her gifts.  Despite her taciturn nature, Aggie began to share a few bits of their life before coming to Jamestown.  Learning they’d lost three children to a fever in one week made Molly more understanding of her distance and left her feel more warmly toward Aggie, though she never broached a personal remark, expecting a rebuff.  Master Wharton never interfered in the running of the house, only advising if there would be a guest for dinner or an order for weaving.

With good food, both Molly and Andrew filled out.  With the hard work of timbering and farming, Andrew’s muscles bulged.  He enjoyed the days working with the voluable  Bartles.  Master Wharton sometimes joined them at their tasks, swinging an ax or harvesting tobacco. In the late afternoons, they spent a couple of hours at the forge.  After a few tries, Andrew was turning out the precious nails and learning to shoe horses. Should they finish early enough, Bartles helped Andrew a bit with the room he was constructing in the barn. Andrew used some of the first lumber to build a rope-bed for himself and Molly.  The straw-stuffed ticking and blanket finished off a fine bed, soon to be joined by a table, chairs, and chest.  They often took their suppers and Sunday meals in their snug room. Aggie helped Molly weave a second blanket before the cold winds of winter moved in, which Molly appreciated despite her resentment.

Andrew and Molly had their Sundays to themselves attending church and socializing with others of their class, soon learning they were in a good situation.  Many indentured servants were poorly fed and abused, not living long enough to work out heir time.  Should an unmarried bondswoman fall pregnant, she could be punished with up to thirty lashes or levied a fine of the equivalent of thirty-seven dollars, as well as have up to two hundred forty days service could be added to her time for lost work and the master could petition to have her child placed out for care.  Quite often, women were raped then punished should they become pregnant.  Should an English bondswoman give birth to a mulatto child, the punishment could be greater.

Andrew and Molly practiced withdrawal during sex, fearing pregnancy, despite the Biblical injunction against it.  Their time already looked far too long for them to chance increasing it by having a child.  Despite these precautions, a few months in, Molly’s courses were several days late.  She kept her worry to herself, not wanting to trouble Andrew unnecessarily.  One Saturday, her anxiety came to a head when she and Aggie went to the post to deliver some weaving and saw a young girl publicly flogged  for the crime of pregnancy out of wedlock.  Molly wept at the cruelty.  When she could not be consoled, Aggie guessed the reason for her distress.  “Are you breeding?”  Molly dropped her eyes, not answering.  “I’ll make you a tea that will fix you right up.  You’ll drink a cup a day and these things won’t trouble you.  Our lives are not our own.” 

Gratefully, Molly drank her tea and bled the next day.  Every day thereafter, she had a cup of Aggie’s tea and had no more scares.  She felt closer to Aggie after that, knowing she was softer than her crusty exterior belied.

Andrew and Bartles spent their mornings laboring over the money crop, tobacco.  When John Rolfe had introduced tobacco to England, colonists had gone wild over tobacco, devoting all their efforts and land to its cultivation.  They’d nearly starved after refusing to plant food crops needed to make the colony self-sufficient, till a law was enacting requiring them to plant food crops to be added to public larder.  In addition to tobacco, they grew corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, yams, and several other vegetables.  They raised, cows, pigs, goats, and sheep as well as availing themselves of game and fish to enrich their diet.  In the afternoons, they cleared timber, always leaving some time for blacksmithing.  Soon Andrew was turning out the priceless nails, latches, hinges, and horseshoes colonists were desperate for.  Bartles confided his own share from the sales would soon be sufficient to set himself a forge and smith when he worked his time out.  Andrew should have skill enough by the time he left to take over.  They always saved a little time back to work on the room Andrew was framing up in the barn for himself and Molly, even knocking together a table, benches and rope bed.  They took their meals alone in their home on Sundays. 

Though Jamestown was not established on the principles of religious freedom, it was assumed colonists would attend Anglican services, the established English religion.  Andrew and Molly eagerly attended, using the opportunity to mingle with other indentured servants, learning they were fortunate in their master.  Starting out as a bondsman was no impediment to moving up socially once a servant worked out their time, but they wouldn’t have expected to socialize in the homes of colonists.  Unfortunately, disease was rampant and conditions so harsh, that almost half died before working out their time.

Unlike slaves who had also been transported to Jamestown, indentured servants did have rights and could appeal to the legal system, though it was most often relatives who appealed successfully on their behalf.  They had no say in who indentured them, could be beaten, and earned no wages nor could they marry without the master’s consent. 

Though they weren’t free, they had a good master and the last year of Bartles and Aggie’s service passed quickly.  The two would be soon moving to twenty-five acres where Bartles and Andrew had built a cabin with an outbuilding that would serve as a blacksmith shop and barn.  The barn and smithy were much more commodious than the cabin, since they were necessary for their livelihood.  The twelve by twelve foot cabin could be expanded at any time.  For the present, it was tight and sufficient to their simple needs with its fireplace stretching half-way across one end, its rope bed, a table with benches, and a chest for linens.  A couple of shelves held a few crocks and pots.  It would be easy enough to add rooms with the rich store of available timber.