The Jenny Interviews and Other Sightings: Needle(s) in the Proverbial Haystack(s)
Albert, Donald Patrick
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On April 28, 1789, acting Lieutenant Fletcher Christian disposed “Captain” William Bligh and 18 crew from the HMAV Bounty just of Tofua, South Pacific Ocean. Bligh’s successful open-boat journey to Timor ranks amongst the greatest survival stories in naval history. Christian’s returned to Tahiti, failed settlement at Tubuai, and eventual “rediscovery” of Pitcairn Island are well known among Bounty enthusiasts. Hundreds, if not thousands, of books and articles have been written on the Bounty/Pitcairn Island Saga over the last 230 years including those written by naval officers, early visitors, descendants (Rosalind Amelia Young, Glynn Christian), journalists, and scholars from most notably history, but also those with credentials in anthropology, sociology, geography, and even psychology. Prior to Henry Evans Maude’s (1958) article published in The Journal of the Polynesian Society (volume 11, 1964) titled “In search of a home: From the mutiny to Pitcairn Island (1789-1790),” the Bounty’s post-mutiny peregrinations from its return to Matavia Bay, Tahiti, on 6 June 1789 and the "rediscovery” of Pitcairn Island on January 15, 1790, were sketchy at best. Maude, a former colonial administrator and subsequent research fellow at the Australian National University, located two “lost” newspaper articles pertaining to the Bounty and Pitcairn Island. These articles contained interviews with Teehuteatuaona (aka Jenny), the consort initially of mutineers Alexander Smith (John Adams) then Isaac Martin. In these interviews Jenny provided geographic references and clues that elucidated the Bounty’s path post mutiny. Jenny’s accounts also illuminated life on Pitcairn Island, especially the violence that occurred during its first ten years.