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

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' Tiie mouth of Pamet river is ' This is an exact description of

twelve feet deep at high water, the land on Pamet river. F.

Thence the water gradually de- Truro is composed of hills and

creases to five feet, which is the narrow circular valleys. There are

depth at the lower bridge. This is also some long valleys, running at

to be understood of the lowest tides, right angles with the shore. The

during the summer. F. tops of some of the hills spread

^ The men were landed al the out into a plain,

foot of Old Tom's hill. F. ® " There are three kinds of

, ■* From Old Tom's hill to the goose, the gray goose, the while

head of Pamet river the distance goose, and the brant." Josselyn,

is about three miles and a half, as p. 9. "There are geese of three

the hills run, or three miles in a sorts, viz. b.rant geese, which are




CHAP, six ducks ^ to our supper, which we eat with soldiers'
— v-^ stomachs, for we had eaten httle all that day. Our
1620. resolution was, next morning to go up to the head of
this river, for we supposed it would prove fresh water.
But in the morning our resolution held not, because
many liked not the hilliness of the soil and badness of
the harbour. So we turned towards the other creek,
that we might go over and look for the rest of the corn
that we left behind when we were here before. When
we came to the creek, we saw the canoe lie on the
dry ground, and a flock of geese in the river, at which
one made a shot and killed a couple of them ; and we
launched the canoe and fetched them, and when we
had done, she carried us over by seven or eight at
once. This done, we marched to the place where
we had the corn formerly, which place we called
Conihill ; and digged and found the rest, of which

pied, and white geese which are
bigcer, and gray geese wliich are
as big and bigger than the tame
geese of England, with black legs,
black bills, heads and necks black ;
the flesh far more excellent than
the geese of England, wild or
tame. There is of them great
abundance ; I have had often a
thousand before the mouth of my
gun." T. Morton, eh. 4. "The
geese of the country be of three
sorts; first a brant goose, which is
a goose ahnost like the wild goose
of England. The second kind is
a white goose, almost as big as an
English tame goose; these come in
great flocks about Michaelmas;
sometimes there will be two or
three thousand in a flock ; those
continue six weeks, and so fly to
the southward, returning in March,
and staying six weeks more, re-
turning to the northward. The
third kind of goose is a great gray
goose, with a black neck and a

black and white head, strong of
flight, and these be a great deal
bigger than the ordinary geese of
England ; most of these geese re-
main with us from Michaelmas to
April. They feed on the sea, upon
the grass in bays at low water, and
gravel, and in the woods of acorns,
having, as other fowl have, their
pass and repass to the northward
and southward." Wood, ch. S.

' " Ducks there are of three kinds,
pied ducks, gray ducks, and black
ducks, in great abundance ; they are
biscer bodied tlian the tame ducks
of England." T. Morion, ch. 4.
" The ducks of the country be very
large ones, and in great abundance.
So there is of teal likewise. If I
should tell you how some have
killed a hundred geese in a week,
fifty ducks at a shot, forty teal at
another, it may be counted almost
impossible, though nothing more
certain." Wood, ch. 8.


we were very glad. We also digged in a place a chap.
little further off, and found a bottle of oil. We went - -^
to another place, which we had seen before, and dig- 16 20.
ged, and found more corn, viz. two or three baskets
full of Indian wheat, and a bag of beans, with a good
many of fair wheat ^ ears. Whilst some of us were dig-
ging up this, some others found another heap of corn,
which they digged up also ; so as we had in all about
ten bushels, which will serve us sufficiently for seed.
And sure it was God's good providence that we found
this corn, for else we know not how we should have
done ; for we knew not how we should find or meet
with any of the Indians, except it be to do us a mis-
chief. Also, we had never in all likelihood seen a
grain of it, if we had not made our first journey ; for
the ground was now covered with snow, and so hard
frozen that we were fain with our curtlaxes^ and short
swords to hew and carve the ground a foot deep, and
then wrest it up with levers, for we had forgot to bring
other tools. Whilst we were in this employment, foul
weather being towards. Master Jones was earnest to
go aboard ; but sundry of us desired to make further
discovery, and to find out the Indians' habitations. So
we sent home with him our weakest people, and some
that were sick, and all the corn : and eighteen of us
stayed still and lodged there that night, and desired
that the shallop might return to us next day, and bring
us some mattocks and spades with them.

The next morning, we followed certain beaten paths Nov,


and tracks of the Indians into the woods, supposing
they would have led us into some town or houses.
After we had gone a while, we light upon a very

* Indian corn is still meant. F. * Cutlasses.


CHAP, broad beaten path, well nigh two foot broad. Then
— '-^ we lighted all our matches,' and prepared ourselves,
1620. concluding; that we were near their dwellings. But,

Nov. . '^ , b '

30. in the end, we found it to be only a path^ made to
drive deer in, when the Indians hunt, as we supposed.
When we had marched five or six miles into the
woods, and could find no signs of any people, we re-
turned again another way ; and as we came into the
plain ground, we found a place like a grave, but it was
much bigger and longer than any we had yet seen. It
was also covered with boards, so as we mused what it
should be, and resolved to dig it up ; where we found
first a mat, and under that a fair bow, and then ^ an-
other mat, and under that a board about three quar-
ters ^ long, finely carved and painted ; with three tines
or broaches ^ on the top, like a crown. Also between
the mats we found bowls, trays, dishes, and such like
trinkets. At length we came to a fair new mat, and
under that two bundles, the one bigger, the other less.
We opened the greater, and found in it a great quan-
tity of fine and perfect red powder, and in it the bones
and skull of a man. The skull had fine yellow hair
still on it, and some of the flesh unconsumed. There
was bound up with it a knife, a packneedle, and two
or three old iron things. It was bound up in a sailor's

' See note ^ on page 125. gut of this hedge, they set deer

* " The Indians," says Wood, traps." See the description of them

ch. 15, "have other devices to kill on page 136.

their game, as sometimes hedges a ' In the originaW^erc — undoubt-
rnile or two miles long, being a edly a typographical error,
mile wide at one end, and made * Of a yard,
narrower and narrower by degrees, * Tines, prongs; broaches, spits,
leaving only a gap of six foot long. Tines is a word still in common
over against which, in the day use in the interior of New Eng-
time, they lie lurking to shoot the land ; e. g. the tines of a pitch-
deer which come through that fork,
narrow gut ; in the night, at the


canvass cassock and a pair of cloth breeches.' The chap.


red powder was a kind of embalment, and yielded a
strong, but no offensive smell; it was as fine as any ^ 6 20.
flour. We opened the less bundle likewise, and found 30.
of the same powder in it, and the bones and head of a
little child. About the legs and other parts of it was
bound strings and bracelets of fine white beads.^
There was also by it a little bow, about three quarters
long, and some other odd knacks.^ We brought sun-
dry of the prettiest things away with us, and covered
the corpse up again. After this we digged in sundry
like places, but found no more corn, nor any thing else
but graves.

There was variety of opinions amongst us about the
embalmed person. Some thought it was an Indian
lord and king. Others said, the Indians have all black
hair, and never any was seen with brown or yellow
hair. Some thought it was a Christian of some spe-
cial note, which had died amongst them, and they thus
buried him to honor him. Others thought they had
killed him, and did it in triumph over him.

Whilst we were thus ranging and searching, two of
the sailors which were newly come on the shore, ^ by
chance espied two houses, which had been lately dwelt
in, but the people were gone. They having their

' See pages 133 nnd 134. plank upon ihe top, in the form of

* Waiiipoin, made of the peri- a chest, before they rover the place

■winkle. F. with earth." And Roger WilJianis

^ " It is their custom," says says, cii. 32, " after the dead is laid

Wood, eh. 19, "to bury with their in the grave, sometimes, in some

deceased friends their bows and parts, some goods are cast in with

arrows, and good store of their them ; and upon the grave is spread

wampompeag." Morton says, ch. the mat that the party died on, and

IJ, that " in the grave of the more the dish he ate in."
noble they put a plank in the hot- * Having come from the ship

torn for the corpse to be laid upon, in the shallop when she relumed

and oa each side a plank, aud a afier carrying Jones on board.


CHAP, pieces, and hearing nobody, entered the houses, and
— -^- took out some things, and durst not stay, but came
162 0. again and told us. So some seven or eight of" us went

Nov. ^. ^ . . .

30. With them, and found how we had gone within a flight
shot of them before. The houses ^ were made with
long young sapling trees bended, and both ends stuck
into the ground. They were made round, like unto
an arbour, and covered down to the ground with thick
and well wrought mats ; and the door was not over a
yard high, made of a mat to open. The chimney was
a wide open hole in the top ; for which they had a mat
to cover it close when they pleased. One might stand
and go upright in them. In the midst of them were
four little trunches^ knocked into the ground, and
small sticks laid over, on which they hung their pots,
and what they had to seethe. Round about the fire
they lay on mats, which are their beds. The houses
were double matted; for as they were matted with-
out, so were they within, with newer and fairer
mats. In the houses we found wooden bowls, trays,
and dishes, earthen pots,^ hand-baskets made of crab-
shells wrought together ; also an English pail or buck-
et ;'' it wanted a bail, but it had two iron ears. There
was also baskets of sundry sorts, bigger and some
lesser, finer and some coarser. Some were curiously

' For the description of the In- little and mean. The pots they

dian wigwams, see Roger Wil- seethe their food in are made of clay

liams's Key, ch. 6; Wood's New or earth, almost in the form of an

England's Prospect, ch. 20; Mor- egg, the top taken off. Their

ton's New English Canaan, ch. 4; dishes and spoons and ladles are

and Gookin's Historical Collections made of wood, very sn)ooth and

of the Indians in New England, ch. artificial, and of a sort of wood not

3, sec. 4, in Mass. Hist. Coll. i. 149. subject to split." Gookin, ch. 3,

' Truncheons, sticks. sec. 6.

' "They have dainty wooden "* This probably belonged to the

bowls of maple, of high price persons who built the hut and

amongst them." T. Morton, ch. owned the kettle, mentioned on

12. " Their household stuff is but page 133.


wrought with black and white in pretty works, and chap.
sundry other of their household stuffJ We found also ^^C-^
two or three deer's heads, one whereof had been newly 16 20.

"^ Nov.

killed, for it was still fresh. There was also a com- 30.
pany of deer's feet stuck up in the houses, harts' horns,
and eagles' claws, and sundry such like things there
was ; also two or three baskets full of parched acorns,^
pieces of fish, and a piece of a broiled herring. We
found also a little silk grass, and a little tobacco seed,
with some other seeds which we knew not. Without
was sundry bundles of flags, and sedge, bulrushes, and
other stuff' to make mats.^ There was thrust into a
hollow tree two or three pieces of venison ; but we
thought it fitter for the dogs than for us. Some of the
best things we took away with us, and left the houses
standing still as they were.

So it growing towards night, and the tide almost
spent, we hasted with our things down to the shallop,
and got aboard that night, intending to have brought
some beads and other things to have left in the houses,
in sign of peace, and that we meant to truck with
them ; but it was not done by means of our hasty
coming away from Cape Cod. But so soon as we

^ " Some of their baskets are velty." Williams's Key, ch. 16.

made of rushes, some of bents, " They mix with their pottage,

others of maize husks, others of a several sorts of nuts or masts, as

kind of sz7A- ^ross, others of a kind oak acorns, chestnuts, walnuts;

of wild hemp, and some of barks these husked, and dried, and pow-

of trees; many of them very neat dered, they thicken their pottage

and artificial, with the portraitures therewith." Gookin, ch. 3, sec. 5.

of birds, beasts, fishes and flowers ^ " They make mats of several

upon them in colors." Gookin, ch. sorts, for covering their houses and

3, sec. 6. doors, and to sleep and sit upon.

* " They also dry acorns ; and in The meaner sort of wigwams are

case of want of corn, by much boil- covered with mats made of a kind

in^ they make a good dish of them ; of bulrush." Gookin, ch. 3, sec. 4

yea, sometimes in plenty of corn, and 6.
do they eat these acorns for a no-



CHAP, can meet conveniently with them, we will give them

IX .

■ - v-^ full satisfaction.' Thus much of our second discovery.
16 20. Havino; thus discovered this place, it was controver-

Dec. ® .

sal ^ amongst us what to do touching our abode and
settling there.^

Some thought it best, for many reasons, to abide
there. As first, that there was a convenient harbour
for boats, though not for ships. Secondly, good corn-
ground ready to our hands, as we saw by experience
in the goodly corn it yielded, which would again agree
with the ground and be natural seed for the same.
Thirdly, Cape Cod was like to be a place of good
fishing ; for we saw daily great whales, of the best
kind for oil and bone, come close aboard our ship, and,
in fair weather, swim and play about us. There was
once one, when the sun shone warm, came and lay
above water, as if she had been dead, for a good while
together, within half a musket shot of the ship ; at
which two were prepared to shoot, to see whether she
would stir or no. He that gave fire first, his musket
flew in pieces, both stock and barrel ; yet, thanks be
to God, neither he nor any man else was hurt with it,
though many were there about. But when the whale
saw her time, she gave a snuff, and away. Fourthly,
the place was likely to be healthful, secure, and defen-

But the last and especial reason was, that now the
heart of winter and unseasonable weather was come
upon us, so that we could not go upon coasting and
discovery without danger of losing men and boat, upon

' See page 137 and note ' on page ' That is, at Pamet river.

* Controverted, says Morton, in
his Memorial, page 42.


which would follow the overthrow of all, especially chap.
considerino; what variable winds and sudden storms do -^ - ^

there arise. Also, cold and wet lodgino; had so tainted 1620

^ * Dec.

our people, (for scarce any of us were free from vehe-
ment coughs,) as if they should continue long in that
estate, it would endanger the lives of many, and breed
diseases and infection amongst us. Again, we had
yet some beer, butter, flesh, and other such victuals
left, which would quickly be all gone ; and then we
should have nothing to comfort us in the great labor
and toil we were likely to undergo at the first. It
was also conceived, whilst we had competent victuals,
that the ship would stay with us ; but when that grew
low, they would be gone, and let us shift as we could.

Others, again, urged greatly the going to Anguum,
or Angoum,' a place twenty leagues off to the north-
wards, which they had heard to be an excellent harbour
for ships, better ground, and better fishing. Secondly,
for any thing we knew, there might be hard by us a
far better seat ; and it should be a great hindrance to
seat where ' we should remove again. Thirdly, the
water was but in ponds ; and it was thought there
would be none in summer, or very little. Fourthly,
the water there must be fetched up a steep hill.^

But to omit many reasons and replies used hereabouts,
it was in the end concluded to make some discovery

' Agawam, Ipswich ; Smith calls building their town, for protection

itAugoam. Little was known at against the Indians, on tlie high

this time of Massachusetts Bay, or bank, called Old Tom's hill, near

the distances from one place to the entrance of Pamet river. This

another ; that little was derived hill is still very steep. There is a

from Smith's map and Description Avell now in front of it on the shore,

of New England. See Mass. Hist, where vessels water. The Pilcrims

Coll. xxiii. 1, and xxvi. 118. seemed to have relied on runnmg

* Perhaps an error for whence. streams, and never thought ol sink-

^ I suppose they contemplated ing wells.



CHAP, within the bay ; but in no case so far as Angoum.
^^^ Besides, Robert Coppin, our pilot,^ made relation of a
16 20. oieat navigable river and good harbour in the other head-
land of the bay,- almost right over against Cape Cod,
being, in ^ a right line, not much above eight leagues
distant, in which he had been once ; and because that
one of the wild men with whom they had some trucking
stole a harping iron' from them, they called it Thievish
Harbour. And beyond that place they were enjoined
not to go. Whereupon a company was chosen to go
out upon a third discovery. Whilst some were em-
ployed in this discovery, it pleased God that Mistress
White was brought a bed of a son, which was called

The 5th day we, through God's mercy, escaped a
great danger by the foolishness of a boy, one of Fran-


* Coppin was second mate of the

^ The other headland of the bay
was Manomet Point, and the river
was probably the North river, in

^ The word in I insert from Mor-
ton, p. 43.

* A harpoon.

* In the Boston News Letter, of
July 31, 1704, the 15th No. of the
first newspaper printed in New
England, is the following article of
intelligence. " Marshfield, July
22, Captain Peregrine White, of
this town, aged 83 years and eight
months, died here the 20lh inst.
He was vigorous and of a comely
aspect to the last ; was the son of
William While and Susanna his
wife, born on board the Mayflower,
Capt. Jones commander, in Cape
Cod harbour, Nov. 1620, the first
Englishman born in New Eng-
land." In the records of Plymouth
Colony is the following entry under
Oct. 1665, when Thomas Prince
was governor. " In reference unto
the request of the King's commis-

sioners in behalf of Lieut. Pere-
grine White, desiring that the
Court would accommodate him
with a portion of land, in respect
that he was the first of the English
that was born in these parts ; and
in answer unto his own petition
preferred to this Court respecting
the premises, the Court have grant-
ed unto him 200 acres of land, ly-
ing and being at the path that goes
from Bridgewater to the Bay, ad-
joining to the Bay line." A list of
his descendants, some of whom are
still living, may be seen in Thach-
er's Plymouth, p. 23.

" Dec. 4, dies Edward Thomson,
servant of Mr. White, the first that
dies since their arrival. Dec. 6,
dies Jasper, a boy of Mr. Carver's.
Dec. 7, Dorothy, wife to Mr. Wil-
liam Bradford, (drowned.) Dec. 8,
James Chilton." Gov. Bradford,
in Prince, p. 165. Prince had
Bradford's pocket-book, which con-
tained a register of deaths, births,
and marriages, from Nov. 6, 1620,
to the end of March, 1621.



cis Billington's sons,' who, in his father's absence, had chap.


got gunpowder, and had shot off a piece or two, and
made squibs; and there being a fowling-piece charged 1620.
in his father's cabin, shot her off in the cabin ; there
being a little barrel of powder half full, scattered in
and about the cabin, the fire being within four foot of
the bed between the decks, and many flints and iron
things about the cabin, and many people about the
fire ; and yet, by God's mercy, no harm done.

Wednesday, the 6th of December, it was resolved Dec.
our discoverers should set forth, for the day before was
too foul weather, — and so they did, though it was
well o'er the day ere all things could be ready. So
ten of our men were appointed who were of them-
selves willing to undertake it, to wit. Captain Stand-
ish. Master Carver, William Bradford, Edward Wins-
loe, John Tilley, Edward Tilley, John Houland,^ and

• Billington was not one of the
Leydeti church, but slipped in
among the Pilgrims in England.
His accession was of no benefit to
the colony. He was a mischievous
and troublesome fellow. The first
offence in the settlement was com-
mitted by him. In March, 1621,
he was " convented before the
whole company for contempt of the
Captain's (Standish) lawful com-
mands, with opprobrious speeches,
for which he was adjudged to have
his neck and heels tied together."
Gov. Bradford, in a letter to Cush-
man, written June 9, 1625, says,
" Billington still rails against you,
and threatens to arrest you, I know
not wherefore. He is a knave, and
so will live and die." The pro-
phecy was fulfilled, for he was hung
in Oct. 1630, for waylaying and
shooting a young man, named John
Newcomen. Gov. Bradford says,
in his History, " The said Billington
was one of the profanest among us.

He came from London, and I know
not by what friends shuffled into
our company." John, his eldest son,
who probably fired the powder, was
a young scape-grace, who the next
spring wandered off down the Cape
as far as Eastham, causing great
anxiety to the infant colony, and
putting them to the trouble of send-
ing an expedition after him. Fran-
cis, the other son, was the disco-
verer of Billington sea, which will
immortalize the name. The mo-
ther's name was Helen. See
Prince, pp. 189, 192, and 319.
Mass. Hist. Coll. iii. 37; Hutchin-
son's Mass. ii. 464; Hubbard's
New England, p. 101.

^ John Howland, the 13th signer
of the Compact, is counted as be-
longing to Carver's family, whose
daughter Elizabeth he married.
The Plymouth Colony records say
that " he was an ancient professor
of the ways of Christ ; one of the
first comers, and proved a useful



CHAP, three of London,^ Richard Warren,^ Steeven Hopkins,
-^v— and Edward Dotte, and two of our ^ seamen, John
162 0. Alderton and Thomas English. Of the ship's com-
pany there went two of the master's mates, Master
Clarke and Master Coppin, the master gunner, and
three sailors.^ The narration of which discovery fol-
lows, penned by one ' of the company.

Wednesday, the 6th of December, we set out, being
very cold and hard weather. We were a long while,
after we launched from the ship, before we could get
clear of a sandy point,^ which lay within less than a fur-
In which time two were very sick,



long of the same.

instrument of good, and was the
last of the male survivors of those
who came over in the Mayflower
in 1620, and whose place of abode
was Plymouth." John Alden, of
Duxbury, outlived him 15 years.
The last survivor of the Mayflower
was Mary Cushraan, daughter of
Isaac Allerton, who was alive in
1698. Rowland died in 1672 at
Rocky Nook, in Kingston, aged
80. He had four sons and six
daughters, some of whose descend-
ants are still living in the Old
Colony and in Rhode Island. A
genealogy of the family, written by
one of them, the venerable John
Rowland, President of the R. I.
Historical Society, is inserted in
Thacher's Plymouth, p. 129. See
Farmer's Genealogical Register of
the First Settlers of New England,
A pp. art. Howland; Mitchell's

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