Anne Orthwood

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Anne Orthwood’s Bastard tells the story of John Kendall and Anne Orthwood and their bastard son, Jasper. It began with John and Anne’s meeting and ended when Jasper came of age. This book gave a detailed description of sex and law in early Virginia and how it differed from the law in England at the time. Two of the main themes seemed to be respectability and social mobility. During the 1660’s and 1670’s in Virginia, respectability and social mobility were two of the most important aspects people during that time aspired to accomplish. If one could climb the social ladder and gain the respect of their town, they were considered extremely successful. A person’s ability to gain this acceptance and move up in the social community ultimately had a direct correlation with what blood lines they married into, where they came from, and their family’s status within the community. However, these things did not guarantee one’s social status as the examples that follow indicate.

William Kendall started out as an indentured servant. When he reached adulthood he sought out opportunities in Yarmouth. There he met his first wife, Ruth, but after she died he decided to go to Virginia. Because of William’s “mercantile talents”, his owner Strangridge incorporated him into his business. Once William was free he had many more chances to work for money than the typical freedman. William stayed in close touch with Strangridge and when Strangridge died he left half of his estate to his “loving friend” William and the other half to his wife, Mary. After Stangridge’s death, William married Mary, making her his second wife. Mary was thirteen years older than William and once she died he then married his third wife, Susanna Baker Eyre Pott. Susanna owned 3,000 acres of land, which made her very appealing to William. William held the position of churchwarden, was a member of the county court, and a member of the Assembly. His role in these had the community believe that he would “provide...
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