Meanwhile in Jamestown

In Jamestown, between August 11 and August 14, 1609, the other seven ships of the Third Supply arrive. Captain Gabriel Archer on the Blessing reports that they were in high winds and seas for about 44 hours, less than half of the more than 96 hours that the Sea Venture endured. The Sea Venture doesn’t arrive and is thought lost.

The other seven ships of the Third Supply add about 400 settlers to Jamestown.

Other Ships of the Fleet

John Ratcliffe

The second largest ship of the fleet is the Diamond. It is the vice admiral and is commanded by Captain John Ratcliffe who was captain of the Discovery, one of the three ships that arrived in Jamestown in 1607. The Falcon is the rear admiral or third largest ship of the fleet. It is commanded by Captain John Martin, one of the original Virginia settlers who returned to England in 1608 and is on his way back to Jamestown. The Falcon’s sailing master is Francis Nelson, who went to Jamestown in 1608 as captain of the Phoenix, a pinnace that took 40 settlers to Jamestown as part of the First Supply.

The fourth ship in the fleet is the Blessing captained by Gabriel Archer. The fifth ship is the Unity. The sixth ship is the Lion. The seventh ship of the fleet is the Swallow. On the Swallow as sailing master is the nephew of Admiral George Somers, Matthew Somers. The eighth ship is the pinnace Virginia which was the first ship built in North America in the failed Popham colony at Sagadahoc, Maine. It is commanded by Captain James Davies who was on the expedition to Maine. The ninth ship is a small unnamed ketch.

Other Passengers of Note on the Sea Venture


Two Indians, Namontack and Matchumps, who earlier were sent to England by John Smith, are returning to Virginia. Reverend Richard Bucke, an Anglican minister, age 27, is on board. Also on board are Captain George Yeardley whose wife Temperance sails on the Falcon; William Pierce whose wife Joan and 10 year old daughter Jane sail on the Blessing; Mistress Horton and her maid Elizabeth Persons; William Strachey, the gentleman poet who knows Ben Jonson and other literary types and who will become Secretary of the colony and who writes a detailed account of his adventures; Ralph Hamor, who will become Secretary of the colony after Strachey; Stephen Hopkins, a preachy Puritan layman who will later go to the Plymouth Colony with his wife and children but who leaves them behind in England for his Virginia adventure; and Silvester Jourdain, who writes an account of his adventures.

John Rolfe and Sarah Rolfe Sail on the Same Ship, Unlike Other Couples, and Intend to Settle in Virginia

John Rolfe, as played by Christian Bale

John Rolfe’s ambition, bravery, and commitment all show in his decision to bring his wife along with him. Most of the men consider themselves adventurers, not settlers, and leave their wives in England. Since Sarah Rolfe is recently pregnant, she would be especially uncomfortable on the journey. Sarah Rolfe is, perhaps, even braver than John Rolfe, as she is one of very few women to go to Virginia.

John Rolfe is fortunate that his wife accompanies him on the same ship, the Sea Venture. Edward Eason and his wife also sail together on the Sea Venture. But several other adventures on the Sea Venture, William Pierce and Captain George Yeardley, bring their wives along to Virginia, but their wives sail on different ships. William Pierce’s wife Joan and his 10-year-old daughter Jane sail on the Blessing. Some years later, the daughter Jane Pierce will become very important to John Rolfe. Captain Yeardley’s wife Temperance sails on the Falcon.

Perhaps having his wife with him on the flagship of the fleet is an indication of John Rolfe’s people skills which would later show themselves in his political and marketing astuteness.