Alexander Young.

Chronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 online

. (page 13 of 44)
Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 13 of 44)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ship-loads of it were exported to
Europe. Monardes, a Spanish phy-
sician of Seville who pul)lished in
1574, his second part of his " His-
toria medicinal de las cosas que se
traen de nuestras Indias Occiden-

talesquesirven en medicina," after
mentioning its great efficacy in
dropsies, agues, liver-complaints,
&c. ends with exclaiming, fol. 62,
" Bendito nuestro Seuor, que nos
dio este tan excelentissimo arbol,
llamado sassafras, que tan grandes
virtudesy tan maravillosos efectos,
como avemos dicho, tiene, y mas
los que el tierapo nos enseilara, que
es descubridor de todas las cosas."
The roots were sold in England at
three shillings a pound in Gosnold's
time, (1602,) who partly loaded his
vessel with itfrom one of the Eliz-
abeth islands. Brereton, the jour-
nalist of that voyage, speaks of
" sassafras trees, great plenty, all
the island over, a tree of high price
and profit;" and Archer, another
of the voyagers, says that " the
powder of sassafras in twelve hours
cured one of our company that had
taken a great surfeit by eating the
bellies of dog-fish, a very delicious
meat." See Purchas, iv. 1646, 1649,
1653; Mass. Hist. Coll. xxiii. 257 ;
Michaux's Sylva Americana, ii.
144 ; Bigelow's Medical Botany, ii.
142, and Plants of Boston and its
Vicinity, p. 170. For the use of
Monardes, and of " Frampton's loy-
fuU Newes out of the New-found
Worlde," which is nothing but a
translation of it, printed at London
in 1596, I am indebted to the rich
library of Harvard College. — Sas-
safras is still found on Cape Cod,
but in a dwarfish form.

* The land on the south side of
the Pond is an elevated plain. F.



Indians had ibrmerly planted their corn.* After this, chap.


some thought it best, for nearness of the river, to go — v^-
down and travel on the sea sands, by which means 162

. Nov.

some of our men were tired, and lagged behind. So 16.
we stayed and gathered them up, and struck into the
land again ; ^ where we found a little path to certain
heaps of sand, one whereof was covered with old mats,

' " The Indian corn {zea mays)
called by the Mexicans tlaolli, by
the Haytians maize, and by the
Massachusetts Indians eachim/ni-
neash, is found everywhere on the
continent from Patagonia to Cana-
da, and next to rice and wheat, is
the most valuable of grains. There
can hardly be a doubt that it is a
native of America, unknown before
the discovery of Columbus. The
adventurers who first penetrated
into Mexico and Peru ibund it
everywhere cultivated, and in com-
mon use as an article of food among
the aborigines. Its culture did not
attract notice in Europe till after
the voyage of Columbus, nor is it
described in any work prior to the
end of the 15th century. It was
unknown to tiie ancient Greek and
Roman writers, the passages in
their works which have been sup-
posed to refer to it being more ap-
plicable toother grains, such as the
holms sorghum. It is not men-
tioned by the earlier travellers who
visited China, India, and other parts
of Asia and Africa, and w^ho were
very minute in describing the pro-
ductions of the countries which
they visited. Acosta, in his Natural
and Moral History of the Indies,
(published in 1596,) says, lib. iv.
ch. 16. " In our discourse on plants
we will begin with those which are
proper and peculiar to the Indies.
As wheat is the most common
grain for the use of man in the re-
gions of the old world, so in the
new found world the most common
grain is mays, the which is found
almost in all the kingdoms of the
West Indies. I do not think that
this mays is any thing inferior to

our wheat, in strength nor sub-
stance. To conclude, God hath
imparted to every region what is
needful. To this continent he hath
given wheat, which is the chief
nourishment of man ; and to the
Indians he hath given mays, which
hath the second place tow-heat, for
the nourishment of men and beasts."
"The maize is correctly figured in
Oviedo's General and Natural His-
tory of the Indies, in Ramusio,
Delle Navigationi et Viaggi, iii. fol.
131. See Hernandez, Historia
Plantarum Novae Hispanise, lib.
vi. cap. 44; Lamarck's Botany,
in the Encvclop^die Methodique,
xxxvi. 680, 'Planches, 749; and
Winlhrop's Description of Maize
in the London Phil. Trans, xi. 1065.

— The principal argument against
the American origin of maize
is that it has never been found
growing wild in any part of this
continent. This statement, how-
ever, is disputed. Cobbett, in his
Essay on Corn, ch. 2, maintains
that " the cultivation of Indian
corn is as old as the world itself,"
fnd draws his chief arguments from
the following passages of Scripture

— Matt.xii. 1; 2 Kings, iv.2; Job
xxiv. 24; Lev. ii. 14; xxiii. 14;
Deut. xxiii. 24, 25 ; Gen. xli. 5,
which he thinks are applicable to
maize, but not to wheat.

'^ Probably at the Great Hollow.
F. A mile south of the Pond vil-
lage, the bank on the bay is inter-
sected by another valley, called the
Great Hollow. This valley and
another near it, towards the south-
east, called the Great Swamp, con-
tain several houses. The Great
Hollow is separated from the Pond



CHAP, and had a wooden thinir, like a mortar, whelmed on


— ^— the top of it, and an earthen pot laid in a little hole at
162 0. the end thereof. We, miising what it might be, dig-

Nov. ' & & ' to

16. ged and found a bow, and, as we thought, arrows, but
they were rotten. We supposed there were many
other things ; but because we deemed them graves,
we put in the bow again, and made it up as it was,
and left the rest untouched, because we thought it
would be odious unto them to ransack their sepul-

We went on further and found new stubble, of which
they had gotten corn this year, and many walnut trees ^
full of nuts, and great store of strawberries,^ and some
vines.^ Passing thus a field or two, which were not

village by a high hill, which com-
mands an extensive prospect of the
ocean, Cape Cod harbour, and the
opposite shore, as far as the broad
bluff of Manomet, in Plymouth,
and the high lands of Marshfield.

* T. Morton says, ch. 2, "Of
walnut trees there is infinite store,
and there are four sorts ; it is an
excellent wood, for many uses ap-
proved." Wood says, ch. 5, " the
walnut tree is something different
from the English walnut, and bears
a very good nut, something smaller,
but nothing inferior in sweetness
and goodness to the English nut,
having no bitter peel." And Jossely n
says, p. 50, " the nuts of the walnut
differ much from ours in Europe,
they being smooth, much like a
nutmeg in shape, and not much
bigger; some three cornered, all of
them but thinly replenished with

^ " There is strawberries," says
Wood, " in abundance, very large
ones, some being two inches about;
one mav gather half a bushel in a
forenoon." Roger AVilliams, in his
Key into the Language of America,
ch. 16, says " This berry is the
wonder of all the fruits, growing
naturally in those parts. In some

places where the natives have
planted, I have many times seen as
many as would fill a good ship
within a few miles' compass." See
Mass. Hist. Coll. iii. 221. "The
common wild strawberry, {fragaria
Virginiana^Y^ says Bigelow, Plants
of Boston, p. 215, " is a very deli-
cious fruit, and when cultivated is
inferior to few imported species.
The berries ripen early, are of a
light scarlet color, exquisitely fla-
vored, but more soft and perishable
than the other kinds."

^ " Vines there are that bear
grapes of three colors, white, black,
and red. The country is so apt for
vines that, but for the fire at the
spring of the year, the vines would
so overspread the land, that one
should not be able to pass for them.
The fruit is as big, of some, as a
musket ball, and is excellent in
taste." T. Morton, ch. 2. " The
vines afford great store of grapes,
which are very big, both for the
grape and cluster, sweet and good.
These be of two sorts, red and white.
There is likewise a smaller kind
of grape, which groweth in the
islands, which is sooner ripe, and
more delectable." Wood, ch. 5.


2:reat, we came to another/ which had also been new chap.


gotten, and there we found where a house had been, — v-^

and four or five old planks laid toirether.- Also we 1620.

. . Nov.

found a great kettle, which had been some ship's ket- i6.

tie, and brought out of Europe. There was also a

heap of sand,^ made like the former, — but it was

newly done, we might see how they had paddled it

with their hands, — which we digged up, and in it we

found a little old basket, full of fair Indian corn ; and

digged further, and found a fine great new basket, full

of very fair corn of this year, with some six and thirty

goodly ears of corn, some yellow, and some red, and

others mixed with blue,"* which was a very goodly sight.

The basket was round, and narrow at the top. It

held about three or four bushels, which was as much

as two of us could lift up from the ground, and was

very handsomely and cunningly made.^ But whilst

' From the Great Hollow the in this manner it is preserved from

sixteen adventurers travelled south destruction or putrefaction, to be

to tlie hill which terminates in used in case of necessity, and not

Hopkins's cliff (or Uncle Sam's else." T. Morton, ch. 13. "Their

hill, as it is now vulgarly called.) corn being ripe, they gather it, and

This they called Cornhill. The dry it hard in the sun, convey it to

Indians formerly dwelt in great their barns, which be great holes

numbers on this hill ; and the digged in the ground, in form of a

shells, deposited by them on it, are brass pot, ceiled with rinds of trees,

still ploughed up in abundance, wherein they put their corn."

Hopkins's cliff'is between the Great Wood, ch. 20.

Hollow and Hopkins's creek, or ^ This corn of mixed colors on

Pamet little river, as it is now the same cob, yellow, red, and blue,

called. is still common at Truro.

^ This was probably the remains ^ " In summer they gather flags,

of a hut built by some shipwrecked of which they make mats for

sailors. houses, and hemp and rushes, with

^ " Their barns are holes made dying stuff', of which they make

in the earth, that will hold a hogs- curious baskets, with intermixed

head of corn apiece. In these, colors, and portraitures of antique

when their corn is out of the husk, imagery. These baskets be of all

and well dried, they lay their store sizes, from a quart to a quarter, in

in great baskets, with mats under, whicli they carry their luggage.""

about the sides, and on the top; Wood, ch. 30. " Instead of shelves,

and putting it into the place made they have several baskets, wherein

for it, they cover it with earth, and they put all their household stuff.


CHAP, we were busy about these thin£;s, we set our men sen-

IX "^

— ^ tinel in a round ring, all but two or three, which digged

1620. up the corn. We were in susiDense what to do with it


16. and the kettle ; and at length, alter much consulta-
tion, we concluded to take the kettle, and as much of
the corn as we could carry away with us ; and when
our shallop came, if we could lind any of the people,
and come to parley with them, we would give them
the kettle again, and satisfy them for their corn.^ So
we took all the ears, and put a good deal of the loose
corn in the kettle, for two men to bring away on a
staff. Besides, they that could put any into their
pockets, filled the same. The rest we buried again ;
for we were so laden with armor- that we could carry
no more.

Not far from this place we found the remainder of
an old fort or palisado, which, as we conceived, had
been made bv some Christians.^ This was also hard
by that place which we thought had been a river ;
unto which we went, and found it so to be, dividing
itself into two arms by a high bank,^ standing right

They have some great bags or ish's grandsons is said to have been

sacks, made of hemp, which will in possession of his coat of mail,

hold five or six bushels." Roger His sword and that of Carver and

Williams, in Mass. Hist. Coll. iii. Brewster, are in the cabinet of the

212. Massachusetts Historical Society.

' It will be seen that within six Some doubt however is thrown on
months they scrupulously fulfilled this point from the circumstance
this their honest intention, and that the Pilgrim Society of Ply-
gave the owners of the corn "full mouth have also in their posses-
content." The censure of Baylies, sion "the identical sword-blade
i. 54, on their conduct as " inexcu- used by Miles Standish." See
sable," and as "compromising their Belknap's Am. Biog. ii. 216, 336;
consciences," might as well have Thacher's History of Plymouth,
been spared. p. 258, second edition.

^ It is worthy of notice that the ' Perhaps by the same persons

Pilgrims were cased in armor. See who owned the kettle and built the

pages 125 and 123. One of their hut. See page 133.
corslets would be a far more pre- * Bradford, in his History, as

cious relic than a cuirass from the quoted by Prince, p. 163, says " a

field of Waterloo. One of Stand- high cliflf of sand at the entrance."



bj the cut or moutli, which came from the sea. Th;
which was next unto us was the less.' The oth(
arm ^ was more than twice as big, and not unlike to 1^6 2 0.


be a harbour for ships ; but whether it be a fresh river, i6.
or only an indraught of the sea, we had no time to
discover ; for we had commandment to be out but two
da vs. Here also we saw two canoes : ^ the one on

This is an accurate description of
the entrance of Patnet river. The
high bank of sand, is called Old
Tom's hill, after an Indian chief,
who in former times had its seat
on its summit, and who received
this name from the first English
settlers. It is the termination of a
neck of land situated between the
two creeks, called Indian Neck,
it having been reserved to the In-
dians on the first settlement of
Truro, about the year 1700. Prince,
p. 163, has fallen into a great mis-
take in supposing that Barnstable
harbour was the place here de-
scribed. The description does not
suit the harbour of Barnstable, or
any other creek or inlet in the bay,
except Pamet harbour; and, as
Belknap rightly observes, (Am.
Biog. ii. 196,) neither the time nor
distance can agree with Prince's
conjecture. Biirnstable is fifty
miles from Cape Cod harbour by
land; a distance which could not
have been travelled, and back
again, in three short days of No-
vember. F.

' The smallest creek, which was
next to the travellers, is called
Hopkins's creek, or Pamet little
river. There is on it a body of salt
marsh, which runs half way across
the township of Truro. The depth
of water in this creek, when the
tide is in, is five feet. F.

* Pamet river, which is a creek
forced into the land from the bay,
and extends almost across the
township, being separated from the
ocean by nothing but a narrow
beach and embankment, which the
water has been known to break

over. The creek runs through a
body of salt marsh. The mouth of
it lies nearly south-east from Cape
Cod harbour, nine miles distant.
It is about a mile south of the
Great Hollow, and is a little to the
north of what is called the shoal
ground, without Billingsgate Point.
The part of Truro, south of Pamet
river, on the bav, is called Hog's
Back. See Mass'. Hist. Coll. iii. 196.
^ " Of the birch bark the salvages
of the northern parts make them
delicate canoes, so light that two
men will transport one of them
over land whither they list, and
one of them will transport ten or
twelve salvages by water at a time."
T. Morton, ch. 2. " Their canoes
are made either of pine trees, which,
before they were acquainted with
English tools, they burned hollow,
scraping them smooth with clam
shells and oyster shells, cutting
their outsides with stone hatchets;
these boats be not above a foot and
a half or two foot wide, and twenty
foot long. Their other canoes be
made of thin birch rinds, close rib-
bed on the inside with broad thin
hoops, like the hoops of a tub;
these are made very light; a man
may carry one of them a mile;
being made purposely to carry from
river to river, and bay to bay, to
shorten land passages. In these
cockling fly-boats, wherein an Eng-
lishman can scarce sit without a
fearful tottering, they will venture
to sea, when an English shallop
dare not bear a knot of sail, scud-
ding over the overgrown waves as
fast as a wind-driven ship, being
driven by their paddles ; being



CHAP, the one side, the other on the other side.' We could


- ^ - ^ not believe it was a canoe, till we came near it. So
1620. ^ve returned, leaving the further discovery hereof to

Nov. ' & _ J

16. our shallop, and came that night back agam to the
fresh water pond ; and there we made our rendezvous
that night, making a great fire, and a barricado to
windward of us, and kept good watch with three sen-
tinels all night, every one standing when his turn
came, while five or six inches of match ^ was burning.
It proved a very rainy night.
Nov. In the morning, we took our kettle and sunk it in
the pond, and trimmed our muskets, for few of them
would go off because of the wet ; and so coasted the
wood ^ again to come home, in which we were shrewdly
puzzled, and lost our way. As we wandered we
came to a tree, where a young sprit ^ was bowed
down over a bow, and some acorns strewed underneath.
Stephen Hopkins said, it had been to catch some deer.
So as we were looking at it, William Bradford being
in the rear, when he came looked also upon it, and as
he went about, it gave a sudden jerk up, and he was
immediately caught by the leg.^ It was a very pretty

much like battledoors ; if a cross trees and smooth wrought cords ;

wave (which is seldom) turn her so strong as it will toss a horse if

keel upside down, they by swim- he be caught in it. An English

ming free her, and scramble into mare, being strayed from her own-

her again." Wood, ch. 17. er, and grown wild by her long

' That is, of the bank, in the two sojourning in the woods, ranging

arms of the creek. up and down with the wild crew,

* This proves that their guns stumbled into one of these traps,

were matchlocks. See p. 125. which stopped her speed, hanging

^ The wood was terminated by her, like Mahomet's coffin, betwixt

the Pond, by the side of which they earth and heaven. In these traps

travelled, and then through a valley, deer, moose, bears, wolves, cats and

which is continued from it, east, foxes are often caught." " The

toward the ocean. F. salvages" says T. Morton, ch. 5,

■* A sapling, a young tree. " take the deer in traps made of

' Wood says, ch. 15, " their deer their natural hemp, which they

traps are springs made of young place in the earth, where they fell


device, made with a rope of their own making, and chap.


having a noose as artificially made as any roper ^ in ^^-v-L.
England can make, and as like ours as can be ; which 1620.

. Nov.

we brought away with us. In the end we got out of 17.'
the wood, and were fallen about a mile too high above
the creek ; ^ where we saw three bucks,*^ but we had
rather have had one of them. We also did spring three
couple of partridges ; ^ and as we came along by the
creek, we saw great flocks of wild geese and ducks,^
but they were very fearful of us. So we marched
some while in the woods, some while on the sands, and
other while in the water up to the knees ; till at length
we came near the ship ; ^ and then we shot off our
pieces, and the long Iwat came to fetch us. Master
Jones and Master Carver being on the shore, with
many of our people, came to meet us. And thus we
came both weary and welcome home ; ^ and delivered
in our corn into the store to be kept for seed, for we
knew not how to come by any, and therefore were
very glad, purposing, so soon as we could meet with
any of the inhabitants of that place, to make them
large satisfaction. This was our first discovery, whilst
our shallop was in repairing.

Our people did make things as fitting as they could,

a tree for browse ; and when he * Probably the Canada goose,

rounds the tree for the browse, if {anser Canadensis,) and the dusky

he tread on the trap, he is horsed duck, {anas obscura).

up by the leg, by means of a pole * They probably went down the

that starts up andcatcheth him," west side of East Harbour creek,

' Ropeniaker. and near the moutii forded it, as is

^ This brought them about a still done at low tide. They then

mile south-east of the head of East waded through Stout's creek, and

Harbour, and about a mile north of also through Mill creek, near Gull

the Highland Light. hill, and passed on to the end of

/ See page 1:^0. Long point, near which the ship

* The partridge, {perdix Virgini- lay. See note ' on page 120.

a?ia,) or quail, as it is called in New 'They had been absent three

England, is still found in Truro. days.



CHAP, and time would, in seekino; out wood, and helving; of

IX. . . .

-^^ — tools, and sawing of timber, to build a new shallop.

162 0. Btit the discommodiousness of the harbour did much
hinder us ; for we could neither go to nor come from
the shore but at high water, which was much to our
hindrance and hurt ; for oftentimes thej waded to the
middle of the thigh, and oft to the knees, to go and
come from land.' Some did it necessarily, and some
for their own pleasure ; but it brought to the most, if
not to all, coughs and colds, (the weather proving sud-
denly cold and stormy,) which afterwards turned to the
scurvy, whereof many died.

When our shallop was fit, (indeed before she was
fully fitted, for there was two days' work after bestowed
on her,) there was appointed some four and twenty
men of our own, and armed, then to go and make a
more full discovery of the rivers before mentioned.
Master Jones was desirous to go with us, and we took
such of his sailors as he thought useful for us ; so as
we were in all about four and thirty men.^ We made
Master Jones our leader ; for we thought it best herein

Nov. to g;ratifv his kindness and forwardness.^ When we

27. ° -^

were set forth, ^ it proved rough weather and cross
winds ; so as we were constrained, some in the shallop,
and others in the long boat, to row to the nearest shore
the wind would suffer them to go unto, and then to
wade out above the knees. The wind was so strong
as the shallop could not keep the water, but was forced
to harbour there ^ that night. But we marched six or

' See note' on page 120. wronged ihem. Seenole' on page

" Of course ihey had ten of 102.
Jones's crew. ■• This was ten days after their

^ This s')ows that they could return from their first excursion,
have liarbourcd no suspicion * In East Harhour. The men

that Joaes bad betrayed and who uiarcbed several miles, and


seven miles further, and appointed the shallop to come chap.
to us as soon as they could. It blowed and did snow — -^
all that day and night, and froze withal. Some of our 16 20.
people that are dead took the original of their death

The next day, about eleven o'clock, our shallop came ^ov.
to us, and we shipped ourselves ; and the wind being
good, we sailed to the river we formerly discovered,
which we named Cold Harbour ; to which when we
came, we found it not navigable for ships ; yet we
thought it might be a good harbour for boats, for it
flows there twelve foot at high water. ^ We landed
our men between the two creeks,^ and marched some
four or five miles ^ by the greater of them, and the
shallop followed us. At length night grew on, and our
men were tired with marching up and down the steep
hills and deep valleys,^ which lay half a foot thick
with snow. Master Jones, wearied with marching,
was desirous we should take up our lodging, though
some of us would have marched further. So we made
there our rendezv^ous for that night under a few pine
trees ; and as it fell out, we got three fat geese ^ and

what they supposed to be six or straight line. The tradition is, that

seven miles farther, were landed on Paniel river was formerly deeper

Beach Point, which forms this har- than it is at present, and therefore

hour. F. the shallop miaht easily follow

' See pages 120 and 138. them. F.

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 13 of 44)