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Liberty Letters: Personal Correspondence of Elizabeth Walton and Abigail Matthews, The Story of Pocahontas, 1613

Liberty Letters: Personal Correspondence of Elizabeth Walton and Abigail Matthews, The Story of Pocahontas, 1613

by Nancy LeSourd

The Liberty Letters series explores the lives of teens who courageously lived out their faith and commitment to God in challenging times. Using letters between good friends to tell the story, the series reveals the power of friendship, courage, ingenuity, and faith to make a difference in the key events of U.S. history.
In this book, Elizabeth Walton of London,


The Liberty Letters series explores the lives of teens who courageously lived out their faith and commitment to God in challenging times. Using letters between good friends to tell the story, the series reveals the power of friendship, courage, ingenuity, and faith to make a difference in the key events of U.S. history.
In this book, Elizabeth Walton of London, England corresponds with her friend, Abigail Matthews. Abigail is a daring adventurer who sets sail from London to make her home first in Jamestown, and then in Henricus, Virginia. The young women's letters tell the exciting story of life in the New World and of Pocahontas and her conversion to Christianity.
Liberty Letters is a tribute to America's foundation of faith and freedom. A historic photo section gives a snapshot of life during the era of this story. And now, a new generation can experience history as they discover how God works through ordinary people in extraordinary times.
Through imaginative and innovative products, Zonderkidz is feeding young souls.

Product Details

Publication date:
Liberty Letters
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Liberty Letters: Personal Correspondence of Elizabeth Walton and Abigail Matthews

The Story of Pocahontas, 1613
By Nancy LeSourd


Copyright © 2003 Nancy Oliver LeSourd
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-70351-4

Chapter One

* * *

London, England

June 12, 1609

Dearest Abigail,

It is so hard to believe you are gone. If I had not been at the harbor myself to tell you good-bye, I would have to pinch myself to believe my dearest friend in the entire world is in another world-the New World of America. I stayed and watched until the Blessing sailed out of sight.

You always were the first to try new things, but I never thought you would leave your homeland to travel to such an unknown land. I wish I shared your sense of adventure. But alas, my dear friend, my own dreams belong here in England.

Papa is not sure the Company exercised wisdom in sending Lieutenant Governor Sir Thomas Gates, Admiral George Somers, and Vice Admiral Captain Newport on the same ship-the Sea Venture. Papa is particularly fond of Admiral Somers, who he describes as a man of true character, giving and selfless. Papa says he has never known a nobler man and believes that if anyone can see this fleet of ships safely to Virginia, it is Admiral Somers.

Mother hugged the Rolfes good-bye. She thinks they are very brave to leave just now when Mistress Rolfe is pregnant with her first baby. Mother hopes the voyage will not be too much for her. At least they are on the Sea Venture. It will not pitch and roll so much as the smaller vessels. I am also comforted knowing that your family is together on the Blessing, and that your dear friends, the Pierces, traveled with you. That is, except for Captain Pierce. He is needed with the other leaders on the Sea Venture. Little Jane looks up to you so much. You must help her if she becomes afraid and misses her father on the journey.

John could not take his eyes off the six horses and two mares that the Captain ordered hoisted up in the air and over the edge of the pier onto the Blessing. You will have interesting company on your ship, my dear friend. One day you will be able to tell your grandchildren you sailed the seas with Virginia's first horses.

However, for the life of me, I cannot understand how Temperance Flowerdew is going to make it in the New World. She is such a scaredy-cat. Now I know you do not like her much, but she is one of the few girls your age, and you will need her company. With that in mind, I gave her a grand farewell as she boarded her ship, the Falcon.

Dear friend, I will not forget my solemn promise to pray for you every day and ask the Lord to watch over you and keep you safe. Now when you get this letter, you must not forget your solemn promise to me to tell me of all your adventures!

Your friend, Elizabeth

* * *

Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean

July 25, 1609

Dear Elizabeth,

This note must be short, and I do not know if you will ever have an opportunity to read it. But even if I am drowned, there is still a chance that this note could reach you. I want you to know that you have been my dearest friend ever, and I love you.

We are experiencing terrible gales and winds. The ship lists from side to side, and we are deathly afraid it will blow over. All hands are on deck-even Father-and he is not a sailor. I heard someone say it is a hurricane. If it is, we may all be doomed. Oh dearest Elizabeth, have I left my home and friends only to die on the way to my adventure? I must go. We are all needed to bail water.

Your friend forever, even in heaven, Abigail

* * *

On Solid Ground in the Colony of Virginia

August 18, 1609

Dearest Elizabeth,

I must write this posthaste. Mother and Father and I are well-but many have been lost.

Several weeks into our journey, the sky darkened to a deep black. The wind increased and tossed the Blessing to and fro for three days. Our ship lost contact with all the others. The blackness of the night continued even into day as waves as high as the sky washed over the deck.

As the hull of the ship filled with water, women and children took buckets and scooped water and handed them to the next person in line. At the end of the line below the deck, one of the men lifted them up to the other men who threw the water overboard. All the men, whether they were sailors or not, had to report to the captain on the ship's deck. Our courageous captain instructed all of us in what to do. He never appeared frightened. But, dear Elizabeth, I was afraid.

Finally, the winds calmed down. We had not slept for three days, and we were all surprised that the Blessing was still afloat. We cheered our captain who, though weary, was much relieved. The captain told us that he and his men were working to rechart our course. It seems that Admiral Somers had given instructions as to what to do if the ships became separated. All the captains were to head to Bermuda, where they could meet up again.

A week after the winds calmed, the Blessing caught up with the Lion and the Falcon. I was ever so glad to see Temperance Flowerdew on the deck of the Falcon. The Unity was sore distressed-only the captain and one poor sailor were left alive. As the winds were strong for Virginia, the captains of the ships decided to head that way. We landed just one week ago. Yesterday, the Diamond and then the Sparrow docked. The Sparrow was barely afloat. There was great joy when we all were on the ground again, but our rejoicing was short-lived.

The wonderful new home we were all looking forward to is in great distress. Many of the people in the colony are sick-they call the summer months the "sickly time" as many suffer from disease. The colony is ill-prepared for so many new arrivals. There is precious little food or shelter. The bugs are horrible. I swat at my face and arms most of the day. It is hot and miserable. Father has spoken in hushed tones with Mother about the Indians as well.

I will write more soon.

Your friend, Abigail

* * *

James Towne, Virginia

August 26, 1609

Dear Elizabeth,

We are hungry. The food we had on the ships spoiled from the seawater getting into it. We have no place to sleep but under the stars. Many are sick. The new leaders of the colony, with orders from the King, are on the Sea Venture, and it has not yet arrived. There is bickering among the leaders as to who will govern if the Sea Venture has been lost. With each week that passes, we grow more anxious about that ship.

Captain John Smith is furious with the so-called leaders, especially Captain Ratcliffe. He took men to Point Comfort to build a stockade. Others have been sent out to look for food.

I must close now. I hope you have heard word of the Sea Venture and that they are safe as well. Little Jane cries herself to sleep each night with worry about her father.

Your friend, Abigail

* * *

London, England

August 27, 1609

Dearest Abigail,

I have been worried sick. I fear so for your life. Oh, how I hate to wait for news. I know that I may not hear from you soon-it could be months before a ship returns to London with your letters. I am just praying you made it there safely and that I will hear from you before too long. Mother tells me I should think good thoughts of you and not the worst, and so I will.

I will envision you on your grand adventure. I imagine the colonists there were quite happy to see all the ships arrive. What did they think of the horses? Where are you living? Did you find a wonderful home waiting for you? Papa told me that the leaders of James Towne all knew this third supply was coming, and so I am sure you are well provided for now. Please give my love to your dear parents, and know that I am thinking of you now in August, no matter when you actually receive this letter.

Your devoted friend, Elizabeth

* * *

James Towne, Virginia

August 31, 1609

Dear Elizabeth,

Captain Tucker and Father have been working to build shelters for the families. Captain Tucker tells Mistress Pierce and Jane that if anyone can survive a hurricane, it is Captain Pierce. We still have had no word about the Sea Venture.

Our two blacksmiths work night and day making nails for building homes. The newcomers must build as many homes as possible inside the fort before winter. We will likely have several families or more in each home. I hope we are with Captain and Mistress Pierce and little Jane. I am quite fond of them.

For now, we are in a lean-to made of small trees and mats woven of reeds from the marsh. Mother and I weave the mats and my fingers are cut all over from the effort. We soak the reeds in water until they are soft and then weave them back and forth until we have a strong, tight mat. Father says our work will keep the rain from soaking us and he keeps us in good spirits as we weave. Temperance is not at all interested in weaving mats. I do not think she is ready for this adventure at all.

Your friend, Abigail

* * *

James Towne, Virginia

September 2, 1609

Dear Elizabeth,

I have heard word that one of the supply ships will return to England next week. I will try to write as much as possible so my bundle of letters can reach you soon. I know you are very curious about my life here. Mother wants me to try to write to you after our day's chores are finished and before the sun is entirely gone. This is because there is so much work to be done.

We have all but given up hope that the Sea Venture will be saved. It has been six weeks now and no one has heard any word of the grand ship. All are feared dead. Mistress Pierce is very brave around Jane. At night, when Jane is asleep, I hear Mistress Pierce crying. Mother cares for her and comforts her. Poor Jane. I cannot imagine what it would be like without Father.

The so-called leaders of the colony continue to disagree. In my opinion, they are all selfish. No one thinks about what is good for the settlers. Winter will soon be here. Father says we must do what we can to preserve food. It seems most of the leaders are more interested in finding gold than finding food for the colonists. Father and Mother speak in hushed tones about food. I know they are concerned. I have seen Mother squirreling away as much of her ration as she can preserve, but food spoils so easily in this heat. Mother and Mistress Pierce are trying to garden, but as Mistress Pierce told Mother, the seeds are poor and have been sown late. We are not very hopeful.

I am trying to be nice to Temperance. I know you think she will be a friend and companion here, but, Elizabeth, there is not an ounce of adventure in her soul. She whimpers and frets and is simply not pleasant to be around. I will try, for your sake, to be her friend, but oh, she is tiresome. She worked beside me in a small garden plot today. All she could talk about was the market in London where she used to select her fresh vegetables. Well, this certainly is not London. If we are to have vegetables at all, we must work to get them.

Your friend, Abigail

* * *

James Towne, Virginia

September 4, 1609

Dear Elizabeth,

Horrible things are happening here. John Martin, who came over on the Falcon, and sixty men went up river to trade with the Indians. Messengers were sent to offer copper and hatchets. The Indians killed them all. Apparently, Martin and his men took vengeance on the Indians and a deadly battle began. Many have died-both English and Indian.

Do you remember meeting Henry Spelman on the London dock? He came over on the ship with us and is twelve years old-the same age as you and me. Captain John Smith offered him in a trade for a Powhatan village! This village is filled with dry houses for lodging and land ready to plant. As part of the bargain, John Smith gave them Henry! Apparently, this is a way to show goodwill. We leave an English boy with the Indians, and they give us an Indian boy to live among us. It is all too strange for me. But think how strange it must be for poor Henry!

On his way back, Captain John Smith was terribly burned from an explosion. A spark ignited his gunpowder in a pouch at his waist. It is rumored he will return with the ships to England. Then who will govern? And what about poor Henry if Captain Smith is not there to retrieve him!

The ship that takes Captain Smith back to England will also carry my letters to you. I have tied them in a bundle. I miss you dearly, Elizabeth. Tell your father that the state of things here in Virginia is not good at all, and beg him to do all in his power to convince the Company to send us supplies. The colony was not at all prepared for us and now we number nearly 500 souls. If only the Sea Venture had not been lost. Father tells me I must not be discouraged and that trying times are turning times. I do not know what he means. This new world is not at all what was described to us in London.

I suppose your summer was full of gala parties in the country. How very far away that all seems now. Please write to me soon. I will await your bundle of letters with great expectation.

Your friend, Abigail

* * *

James Towne, Virginia

October 28, 1609

Dear Elizabeth,

I have nothing but bad news to give you. So many dreadful things are happening so fast. As soon as Captain Smith was injured, George Percy took over as president. He is very concerned about the shortage of food for the colonists.


Excerpted from The Liberty Letters: Personal Correspondence of Elizabeth Walton and Abigail Matthews by Nancy LeSourd Copyright © 2003 by Nancy Oliver LeSourd. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Nancy LeSourd is an author, attorney, wife, and mother of two, who lives in the Washington D. C. area. She has a B.A. in political science from Agnes Scott College, a M.A. from Tufts University in secondary education with an emphasis on American History, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. A William Robertson Coe fellow in American history, she taught American history to middle and high school students. For more information, visit www.libertyletters.com

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