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Women on the Virginia Frontier
April 9 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The women who came to Virginia during the early decades at Jamestown faced many challenges: separation from family and friends back home, fear of attack, crude living conditions in a community of strangers, hard work that included fieldwork, a shortage of basic supplies, and a high death rate that led to short life expectancies and and complicated family structures. Yet, these women endured and lived meaningful lives despite the hardships. This talk will start by discussing the challenges of the Jamestown experience for women.
Over the decades as settlement moved west from Jamestown, women on the Virginia frontier still faced many of the same challenges. The talk will then shift to the eighteenth-century Virginia frontier and cost on the life of Mary Draper Ingles. Mary and her family had many of the same issues. As she began her married life, she lived in a new settlement with a diverse community on the edge of Virginia. While she was hard at work creating a household with limited supplies, a war broke out between England and France that left Augusta County vulnerable to native attacks. MAry’s settlement in Draper’s Meadow in the New River Valley suffered one of the native raids. Mary’s mother was killed, her sister-in-law injured, and herself and her two boys were captured and taken to modern day Ohio. The rest of the talk will discuss Mary’s long journey home and her life after that terrible day in July of 1755.