Tobacco brides

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In 1619, 90 young single women from England went to Jamestown to become wives of the men there, with the women being auctioned off for 150 pounds of tobacco each (to be paid to the shipping company), as that was the cost of each woman's travel to America.[1] All 90 of them did indeed become wives.[2] The youngest, Jane Dier, had been fifteen or sixteen years old when she left, and one of the oldest, Alice Burges, was twenty-eight.[3] Most of their fathers had died.[3] Such voyagers were called tobacco brides (or King's daughters, Casket girls, or Jamestown brides[4]) and 150 pounds of tobacco was the typical auction price for them, although they usually had the right to refuse the highest bidder.[5] However, tobacco brides were often sent to America against their will, and often sent at very young ages.[6] There were many women and girls who went to America for this purpose (the 1619 voyage being the first), with the women and girls promised free passage and trousseaus for their trouble.[6][3] Many tobacco brides came to America fleeing hardship, but many also suffered once in America.[7] 144 tobacco brides were brought to Jamestown by the Virginia Company between 1619 and 1622, but only thirty-five of them lived through their first six years in America.[7][8]


  1. ^ Voices of a People's History of the ... – Google Books. ISBN 9780825144608. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  2. ^ Sonia Weiss (2002). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Women's History. Alpha Books. pp. 133–. ISBN 978-0-02-864201-7.
  3. ^ a b c America's Women: Four Hundred Years ... – Google Books. September 1, 2004. ISBN 9780060959814. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  4. ^ Zug, Marcia (Fall 2012). "Lonely Colonist Seeks Wife". Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University School of Law. 20 (85): 85–125. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  5. ^ Honor O'Flynn. JP Bailey Productions. pp. 11–. ISBN 978-0-9847826-2-8.
  6. ^ a b Michel Hersen (11 November 2013). Handbook of Child Psychopathology. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-1-4615-7136-0.
  7. ^ a b Joyce Appleby; Eileen Chang; Neva Goodwin (17 July 2015). Encyclopedia of Women in American History. Routledge. pp. 196–. ISBN 978-1-317-47162-2.
  8. ^ "NWHM Cyber Exhibit, Building the New World: The Women of Jamestown Settlement". Retrieved 2016-05-20.