A. E. (Abram English) Brown.

Governor Winthrop's farm. A chapter of old Bedford history online

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GOVERNOR WINTHROP'S FARM.



A CHAPTER OF OLD BEDFORD HIST(3RY.



By Abrani English Broto/i.



IT was an early custom in the Colony
of Massachusetts Bay to reward the
labors of leading men by grants of
the common lands. When John Win-
throp, the "father of the colony" and
"founder of Boston," arrived with his
associates at Salem, there were thousands
of acres extending inland from tide
water, of which but little was known,
save that they were inhabited by Indians
and wild beasts. Samoset's " Welcome,
Englishmen," confirmed by Massasoit,
was the greeting which encouraged the
Pilgrims to penetrate the wilderness about
Plymouth, within sound of their own



guns, which they had early planted on
the brow of the hill. A company, in
which were unprincipled men, had begun
the settlement of Wassagusset, (Wey-
mouth), and pushed inland far enough
to arouse the animosity of the natives
by injudicious treatment. The few set-
tlers at Saugus (Lynn) and Mishawum
(Charlestown) had been too much oc-
cupied in their struggling settlements to
peer far into the wilderness beyond them.
John Endicott and his Puritan followers
had scarcely time to establish homes for
themselves at Naumkeag (Salem), when
the " great immigration " took place, and



32G



GOVERNOR WINTER OP'S FARM.



John Winthrop came as Governor, with
Thomas Dudley as the Deputy. Five
days after the arrival of these eminent
men at Salem, the former records in his
diary: "Thursday 17 (June) We went
to Mattachusetts to find a place for our
sitting down."

This exploring journey between Salem
and Charlestown was made on foot.
While they doubtless kept within sight of
the shore, they must have had an eye to
the vast forests which covered the jilains
and capped the hills toward the setting
sun. As landed estates were the basis
of wealth and influence in the mother
country, it is reasonable to supjwse, and
by subsequent actions of these men con-
clude, that they were not so oblivious to
self-interest as to pass these unexplored
tracts without thinking of the possible
wealth that lay beyond them.

The years that immediately followed
the temporary settlement at Charlestown,



.\tlantic. It is difficult at this day to
conceive of the burdens that were cheer-
fully borne by John Winthrop during the
formative period of the colony. At first
there was so much unanimity among the
peoi)le that the governor was elected by
a "show of hands." But this harmony
did not continue long ; differences of
opinion arose among the freemen and
found expression at the elections, and
the office of chief executive alternated
between Winthrop and Dudley, with an
occasional change from both. John
Winthrop was so thoroughly determined
to establish a permanent colony and an
independent church where they could
"enjoy God and Jesus Christ" (as he
wrote to his wife), that he graciously
stepped from the leadership to minor
positions, according to the caprices of
the freemen, and labored always with an
eye single to the prosperity of the enter-
prise.
















The Two Brothers.



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of Winthrop and his associates, and their
permanent location at " Trimontaine "
(Boston), were full of hard work and
anxiety for all, but especially trying for
the one who had been intrusted with the
charter, during the voyage across the



When the more important matters of
government had been adjusted, and new
settlements had been commenced beyond
the limits of the Bay, the General Court
took measures to explore the land in the
vicinitv of the rivers and determine "as



GOVERNOR IVJNTHROrS FARM.






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Online LibraryA. E. (Abram English) BrownGovernor Winthrop's farm. A chapter of old Bedford history → online text (page 1 of 2)