In 1699, a fourteen year-old girl, Honor O’Flynn, is kidnapped in Ireland and brought to Maryland to be sold as a contract bride. She is devoutly Catholic and promises her father that she will remain chaste, return home, and become a nun. Throughout her odyssey, she is frustrated in her schemes to accomplish those goals and fights with God and the Man who buys her contract.
Under near slave ship conditions, Honor’s voyage to the colonies is horrific. She meets an English woman, Comfort Smyth, who helps her survive many indignities and begins to teach her what it means to be righteous. She becomes angry with God for what seems like punishment for imagined sins.
In Maryland, William Logsdon, a thirty five year old Anglican planter and a good man finds himself in need of a wife. He is attracted to Honor and agrees to purchase her as a house servant, and writes a letter to her father asking for money to send her home. It is against the law for a single man to have a single woman in his home without a chaperone, so William puts Honor up in a boarding house.
While separated, Honor is emotionally abused by the boarding house operator and over time William comes to desire Honor as a wife. He returns to Annapolis and attempts to persuade her to stay. She accuses him of inappropriate intentions and nearly destroys their budding relationship. If they wed in a Catholic ceremony, she will not be able to fulfill her childhood dream; if they wed and she returns home, he will not be able to remarry. Seeking another place for her to live, they visit with an Anglican Parson from whom they learn that if they wed in the Anglican Church, but do not consummate the marriage and she leaves, then he can get an annulment and re-marry. They agree to the Anglican wedding and to wait for the letter from her father.
At the plantation, Brotherly Love, Honor grows to love her new life, but remains adamant about waiting for the letter. During an Indian raid William is badly wounded, and Honor must nurse him back from death’s door. The nursing effort convinces Honor that she is needed in America and truly loves William. She prays for guidance and gets the message, “Plant you garden where you are and give God the glory for your increase.”
The couple goes to Baltimore to find a priest to remarry them in a Catholic ceremony. William learns that her father’s letter has arrived and he has sent the money and decides to tell her of the letter, but is compelled to first ask what she would do if the money came. She shares her belief that God wants her to be his wife and her willingness to stay.
Honor and William did marry, had eight children. Honor is mentioned on page 364 of Benjamin J. Webb’s 1844 book, Centennial of Catholicity in Kentucky, “Neither were the Durbins nor the Logsdons descended from stock that was known to be Catholic beyond a couple of generations previous to the appearance in Kentucky of the families spoken of in the text. An ancestor of one of the families — I am uncertain as to which — intermarried with one Honora O’Flynn, an Irish girl of great piety, and it was through her, no doubt, that is to be traced the faith that has distinguished one or the other of the Kentucky families referred to, both of which have for generations been consistent exponents of its teachings.”
The picture is just what a girl from Ireland might look like at 14 years.