The Henry Bagwell Story

English Adventurer, Virginia Planter 1589-1663

Non-Fiction - Historical
214 Pages
Reviewed on 02/01/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

Margaret A. Rice's The Henry Bagwell Story is the first-ever published biography of a prominent character related to the Accomack Plantation in Virginia and a fascinating journey into the hard life of the pioneers of the 17th century. Bagwell was born in Exeter, Devon, in the southwest of England in 1589, and after leaving his homeland to move to America, he became the first clerk of the Accomack Plantation. He recorded the events he experienced, thus writing the oldest records in English-speaking America. Through careful research of the sources, Rice portrays this man and his contemporaries, giving us an idea of ​​their living conditions and hindrances. With attention to even the smallest detail, The Henry Bagwell Story is a fascinating representation not just of a single man but an entire group of people.

I am fascinated by history, and having the chance to learn more about those who helped make America the nation it is today makes me understand at what cost this country was created. Margaret A. Rice is to be praised for her research and especially for the way she used the material. Starting from the trips to America before Bagwell's and concluding the book with the stories of his descendants, Rice has given us a thorough and accurate picture. I was thrilled by reading The Henry Bagwell Story because of Rice's detailed information, which gave me the impression of seeing the places and the dwellers' lives. I recommend The Henry Bagwell Story to readers interested in 17th century American history and who value painstaking historical research.

Erin Nicole Cochran

Margaret A. Rice’s The Henry Bagwell Story: English Adventurer, Virginia Planter 1589-1663 describes the journey of one of the first inhabitants of Virginia, that of Henry Bagwell. It not only goes into depth about the trials and tribulations that beset the man but also gives an encompassing perspective into what all the new residents of Virginia experienced at that time just to get to the state. Pictures and illustrations of documents, along with actual wording of the time period fill the book to paint a more expansive look into the 1600s. I found this quote on page 93 so captivating: “The clerk was asked to keep a list of the dead and was tasked with preparing the graves ready for burial.” This clearly depicts such a different time in our history when occupations were very diverse from what they are as we know them today.

The Henry Bagwell Story is so fascinating because it is a treasure trove of the lineage of Henry Bagwell and his descendants, as well as friends and neighbors that surrounded him. While it is the story of Henry Bagwell, you can’t help but let it hit close to home with yourself. You start to wonder about your own history and you start to think about the country we come from in a different way. It opens your eyes to how far we’ve come as a human race and what we are capable of when we set our minds to something. Margaret A. Rice’s The Henry Bagwell Story will help you look at history in a completely new way.

Foluso Falaye

The Henry Bagwell Story is a biography about Henry Bagwell, an adventurer who made it through a dangerous sea voyage that took many lives and risked dying of hunger and disease to shape what would become the United States of America with fellow settlers. Margaret A. Rice details the family Henry Bagwell was born into in Devon, England, his tumultuous sea journey to another continent, and how he built a life for himself in his new settlement. Henry Bagwell's story is rife with several challenges: bloody attacks, mutiny, drought, and more. Additionally, the book includes information about the early explorers of Virginia and the challenges of establishing a permanent colony, slavery, land division, tobacco trades, and the passing of new laws to reduce disorderliness.

Margaret A. Rice dives into the social, political, religious, and commercial situation of a time when many were more dependent on their strength and toughness for survival as they became involved in farming, dealing with starvation and disease, and fighting in territorial battles. With an abundant supply of information, it was easy to picture the daily life of the settlers and contrast it with that of people in the present age. It's amazing how something as minute as nails can be so important. Some pictures are included in the book, along with several references for those who need more information. I liked how the story is relayed with little judgment and more praise. Lovers of books about early English migrants in America should consider adding The Henry Bagwell Story to their reading list