Topic Page

Women of the Bounty

Much of the material in this section, including the translations and hypothesized origins of the names of the women, are based on material by Pat Bentley, longtime HMS Bounty researcher, and graduate student at the University of Hawaii.

More…

Related Pages

Pictures & Records (0)

Show More

Stories

Faahotu~Consort of John Williams

She was known by several names:
  • FASTO - English: "fast" (afoot or sexually), adding a final 'o' is frequent in sea-slang
  • FA'AHOTU - be fruitful; the name of a goddess, the equivalent of 'Eve'

She was the consort of Williams. There is some question as to the cause of her death, with Jenny indicating a scrofulous disease which broke out on her neck, and Beechey indicating that she fell from a cliff while gathering bird's eggs. In either case, her death, and the resulting taking of Nancy by Williams, led to the warfare that resulted in the deaths of nearly all the Pitcairn settlers. She bore no children.

Maimiti~Consort of Fletcher Christian

She was known by several names:

  • MAUA TUA - mountain spirit
  • MI-MITTI - sick, sea
  • MA VATUA - with seasickness
  • ISABELLA - English: Christian's cousin's wife was Isabella Curwen
  • MAINMAST - English: tall and straight as the mainmast of the ship

She was said to be the daughter of a Tahitian chief, however, because Christian was at that time lower in rank to the 'English chief' Bligh, it is more likely that he would have been equated with ra'atira rank, thus it is likely that Isabella would have been of that rank as well. She was said to be very tall, perhaps 6 feet, which also speaks to her above average status. She would also have been a bit older, thus willing to settle down with one man, and if Gardner's estimate is to be believed, she is likely to have been somewhere around 35. She was a devoted wife to Christian until his death. The legend is that they were officially married on Tahiti in the custom of her people before leaving for Pitcairn.

In 1841, George Gardner, visiting the island, described her as the 'most perfect picture of an old hag I ever saw. She is surprisingly active, her age being estimated between 80 and 90. She remembers Captain Cook and speaks of him'. But even more interesting, she remembered Heywood, and being told of his success, later marriage, and recent death, she gathered several yards of beautifully decorated tapa cloth, made by her own hand, and gave it to Captain Jones as a present for 'Peter's wife'.

Other visitors of that period indicated that visitors would not talk to her, and considered her children to be mentally deficient (she did have one child who was, and another that had a club foot). Within a month of Gardner's visit, she had died in the epidemic.

Mareva~Consort of Manarii, Teimua, and Niau

She was known also as:

  • MALEWA - Derivation/Source unknown.
  • MOETUA - The name she was given in Nordhoff & Hall's "Mutiny on the Bounty" novel.

It has been suggested that Mareva was kidnapped by the mutineers and their male associates close to the time they were leaving Tahiti, although there is no convincing proof of this. On Pitcairn, she was shared as consort to the three Tahitians, Manarii, Teimua, and Niau.

After the Tahitian men had been killed, Mareva and Tinafanaea moved into the household of Vahineatua and John Adams. She died sometime between 1808 (the visit of the Topaz) and 1814 (the visit of the Tagus). She had no children.

Obuarei~Consort of John Adams

  • OPU ARAI - stomach/heart, beg/pray
  • OPUA REI - plan/settle, flower necklace
  • BAL'HADI - English: 'bald headed'

She arrived on Pitcairn as consort to Adams, the apparent result of a shipboard 'trade' with Martin and Jenny. She died in a fall from a precipice while gathering bird's eggs. She had no children.

Taio~Consort of William McCoy

She was known by several names:

  • MARY - English: reference unknown, likely named by McCoy
  • TAIO - friend
  • TEIO - Probably Taio, as pronounced by McCoy's accent
  • SORE MUMMY - English: perhaps a reference to pregnancy or childbirth

She was McCoy's woman in Tahiti, and when the party arrived on Pitcairn. After his death, she moved in with Adams, and lived many years with him, she was partially blind and ailing when Beechey married her officially to Adams, at his request, in 1825.

Teatuahitiaa~Consort of William Brown

She was known by several names:

  • TE ATUA HITIA'A - the god, with a reference to a particular district next to Pare, which could have been her home
  • TE RAHU - the tapa chant
  • TOHI MATA - to cut the face, as was common in rituals of severe mourning

She was the consort of Brown from the beginning, and little is mentioned of her later. She seems to have gotten confused in the texts with Jenny (Teehuteatuaunua).

She died of dropsy before 1814, leaving no descendants.

Teehuteatuaunua~Consort of Isaac Martin

She was known by several names:

  • TE EHU TEA TUA UNUA - discolored troubled one (pale, pain/rotten, yellow taro)
  • JENNY - English: reference unknown, likely named by Adams

On the Bounty's visit to Tahiti, she coupled monogamously with Adams, and was much of the reason for his decision to back the mutiny. It was Adams who tattooed her on her left arm, 'AS 1789'. But it was as consort to Martin that she arrived on Pitcairn, after apparently 'changing partners' on board the ship. During their sojourn on Tubuai, Adams was 'detained in pursuit of a Tubuaian girl', thus he was probably already on the make! In any case, the switch is likely to have been voluntary. Jenny appears to have been a very headstrong and emotional woman, and Adams might well have gotten tired of dealing with her.

Whether because she was childless, homesick, or just generally unhappy with life away from her people, Jenny was the leader of the attempt by the women to abandon the island.

Many of her recollections were recorded, and they form the basis for much of the detailed history, especially of the battles and conspiracies that bedeviled the colony in the early days.

She finally left Pitcairn to return to Tahiti in 1817 on the ship 'Sultan'. She was interviewed in 1818, and her understanding of the European mind was still not good. She fully understood the violence and the autocracy of the colony, and considered this to be the normal way of life as it should be. Her point of view is interesting and informative, because it reflects a very different vantage point that most other narratives.

She is said to have met up with the Pitcairners who resettled (albeit temporarily) on Tahiti in 1831, and was described as a heart-broken and disillusioned woman. Tahiti had undergone many changes by then. The missionaries had taken over, imposing harsh rules on the traditional way of life. Traders and fortune hunters had ravaged the countryside and exploited the population. Disease was rampant and people were dying in droves. She is said to have died soon after.

Teraura~Consort of Ned Young

She was known by several names:

  • SUSANNAH - English: Quintal's baby sister was Susannah
  • TERA URA - sacred dance
  • MATA OHU - curved face
  • DOUBIT - English: of my two, and appropriate coming from Young, the strongest supporter of polygamy among the English
  • TAOUPITI - Tahitian pronunciation of DOUBIT

Teraura was probably born on Moorea, the island adjacent to Tahiti. It appears that she may have been the daughter of a chief of some prominence. It is unknown whether she was one of the Polynesian women kidnapped by Christian and his crew when they left Tahiti in 1790, but several things are clear; at 15, she was the youngest of the women (Sully, of course, was an infant) and she was fiercely loyal to Midshipman Ned Young, who became her first "partner". She was not tall like Miamiti/ Mainmast, but was petite and her looks were constantly competed for by men on the Pitcairn.

Teraura always was in the center of the firestorms that encompassed Pitcairn. After five of the mutineers were killed by the Polynesians, it was Teraura who the Polynesian Timoa tried to win by playing the flute, causing a jealous Menealee to shoot Timoa. Later, when the surviving whites conspired to kill the remaining Polynesians, it was Teraura who beheaded Tetahiti while he slept with Will Brown's widow.

Although Teraura stayed with Ned Young until his death in 1800, she had no children by him. Ned was a polygamist of the highest order, the father of seven children with the widows of Fletcher Christian and John Williams. Teruara did have a child with the infamous Matt Quintal, however, leading to speculation that Quintal was killed by Adams and Young because of Young's jealousy of Quintal.

After the turn of the century when John Adams remained the only original adult male on the island, Teraura married Fletcher Christian's first born, Thursday October Christian. Thursday was merely 15 and Teraura was past 30. They had seven children, beginning the incredible legacy of the Christians on Pitcairn. Sadly, during the ill fated migration to Tahiti in 1831, Thursday died, leaving Teraura a widow once more.

Teraura lived to the age of 75, dying in 1850. She outlived the last other survivor, Miamiti, by nine years. In her later years, Teraura would cut locks of her hair, a hue of grey and black, to give to visiting sailors. Her demeanor was always affiable and she flashed that same hypnotic smile. She witnessed the first Burning of the Bounty Day in 1850.

It is indeed a tragedy that she was never interviewed, for a story of her life would be quite the historical tale.

(Source: Rick Sims)

Tevarua~Consort of Matthew Quintal

She was known by several names:

  • SARAH - English: Quintal's mother was Sarah Leverton
  • TEVA RUA - the soul
  • BIG SULLEE - English: big Sally
  • SULLEE-NUI - big Sally

Consort to the brutal Quintal, she undoubtedly was the most abused of the women on Pitcairn, and the one whose ear was supposedly bitten off by him in a fit of rage. She was however, incredibly faithful to him, a frequent characteristic of the wife of an alcoholic abuser, even today.

Like so many others, she fell from a precipice in search of food. However, it is interesting to note that she was killed soon after Quintal found out that Susannah was pregnant by him.

 

Tinafanaea~Consort of Tetahiti and Oha

She was also known as:

  • NANAI - The name she was given in Nordhoff & Hall's "Mutiny on the Bounty" novel.
  • TINAFORNEA - The way her name would have been pronounced by the mutineers.

She may have been from Tubuai and it is likely she came along voluntarily when the Bounty sailed from Tahiti for the last time. On Pitcairn, she was shared as a consort by the two Tubuaians, Titahiti and Oha. Some sources claim she was Titahiti's wife, but that he shared her with Oha.

When Adams' consort, Obuarei, died towards the end of the first year on Pitcairn, Tinafanaea was "given" to Adams. Earlier, Tararo's consort, Toofaiti had been "given" to Williams. This was more than the Tubuaian men and Tararo could tolerate, and the two outrages combined to set off the bloodshed that eventually wiped out almost all the men on the island.

Tinafanaea seems to have stayed in Adams' household even when he, after Mills was killed on Massacre Day, took Vahineatua as his consort. Tinafanaea died sometime between the visit of the Topaz (1808) and the Briton and the Tagus (1814). She left no descendants.

From: WAHLROOS, Sven. "Mutiny and Romance in the South Seas". Topsfield (MA), Salem House, c1989. p415-6.

Toofaiti~Consort of John Williams

She was known by several names:
  • NANCY - English: reference unknown.
  • TO OFA ITI - of stone, little
  • HU TIA - lower abdomen

Originally coupled with Tararo, it was she who Williams 'won' by drawing lots. It could very well have been that this pushy little lady had already begun to improve her status by earlier encounters with Williams, who was considered relatively high in status among the English (because of his skills). Prior to that, her status in the community as the consort of a tane (native man), to whom she may have been formally married, would have been quite low.

She is the woman who sang the warning when she heard of the original plot to kill the white men. She has been described by some authors as well-suited to the role of 'femme fatale', the role history thrust her. She seems to have been involved in the intrigues being waged on both sides on Pitcairn.

Vahineatua~Consort of John Mills

She was known by several names:

  • PRUDENCE - English: reference unknown, likely named by Mills
  • VAHINE ALUA - woman god

She arrived on Pitcairn as consort of Mills, to whom she was very attached. She moved into the Adams household when Mills was murdered. It was she that insisted on being the once to seduce Tetahiti in order that he could be taken off guard and murdered.

According to Jenny, Vahineatua, who had three children with John Adams, was "pierced by a goat while with child" and died. This has to be incorrect, and the comment was probably referring to another of the women, likely Tinafanaea.

Vahineatua was certainly among the Pitcairners who migrated to Tahiti in February of 1831. Nicolson ("The Pitcairners") reports that she died on Tahiti on 29 Apr 1831, one of the first to die there. According to Nicolson, she is also the Pitcairner who Captain Sandilands referred to having met her sister on Tahiti after so many years.

Topic Details

Add Facts

Looking for more information about Women of the Bounty?

Search through millions of records to find out more.

About this Memorial Page

This page is locked. Want to contribute to this page? Contact bgill

Contributors:
bgill
Created:
Modified:
Page Views:
2,089 total (13 this week)

×