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

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not known that his name was
Thomas, nor is there any evidence
that he ever returned to this coun-
try. See Thacher's Plymouth, 168.

^ Bradford adds, in his History,
" In the morning they find the
place to be a small island, secure
from Indians. And this being the
last day of the week, they here
dry their stuff, fix their pieces, rest
themselves, return God thanks for
their many deliverances; and here
the next day keep their Christian
Sabbath." Prince, p. 167.



And in the morning we marched about it, and found chap.


no inhabitants at all ; and here we made our rendez- ^-^
vous all that day, being Saturday, 10th of December. 1620.

On the Sabbath day we rested ; and on Monday we lo.

sounded the harbour, and found it a very good harbour

for our shipping. We marched also into the land,^

' This is the ever-memorable
day of the Landing of the Fathers
at Plymouth. " The place of the
landing is satisfactorily ascertain-
ed. Unquestionable tradition had
declared that it was on a large
rock at the foot of a cliff near the
termination of the north street
leading to the water. In the year
1774 an attempt was made to re-
move this rock (over which a wharf
had been built) to a more central
situation. The rock was split in
the operation. The upper part,
weighing several tons, was re-
moved, and now stands in front of
the Pilgrim Hall, enclosed by a
very appropriate iron railing, of an
elliptical form. It is regarded by
the inhabitants and by visiters as
a precious memorial of that inter-
esting event, the arrival of the first
planters of New England at their
place of settlement. The 22d of De-
cember, corresponding to the llih,
old style, has long been observed
at Plymouth in commemoration of
the landing of the Fathers. It has
there universally the familiar and
endearing appellation of Forefath-
ers' Day." See Morton's Memo-
rial, p. 48, and Thacher's Ply-
mouth, pp. 29, 199.

President Dwight, of Yale Col-
lege, says, "Plymouth was the
first town built in New England
by civilized men ; and those by
whom it was built were inferior in
worth to no body of men whose
names are recorded in history dur-
ing the last 1700 years. A kind of
venerableness, arising from these
faets, attaches to this town, which
may be termed a prejudice. Still,
it has its fouQdation in the nature


of man, and will never be eradi-
cated either by philosophy or ridi-
cule. No New-Englander, who is
willing to indulge his native feel-
ings, can stand upon the rock
where our ancestors set the first
foot after their arrival on the Amer-
ican shore, without experiencing
emotions very different from those
which are excited by any common
object of the same nature. No
New-Englander could be willing
to have that rock buried and for-
gotten. Let him reason as much,
as coldly, and as ingeniously as he
pleases, he will still regard that
spot with emotions wholly differ-
ent from those which are excited
by other places of equal or even
superior importance." Travels
through New England, ii. 110.

De Tocqueville, in the second
chapter of his work on America,
says, " Ce rocher est devenu un
objet de veneration aux Etats Unis.
J'en ai vu des fragmens conserves
avec soin dans plusieurs villes de
I'Union. Ceci ne montre-t-il pas
bien clairement que la puissance
et la grandeur de I'homme est tout
enti^re dans son ame? Voici une
pierre que les pieds de quelques
miserables touchent un instant, et
cette pierre devient celebre ; elle
attire les regards d'un grand peu-
ple ; on en v6nere les debris, on
s'en partage au loin la poussiere.
Qu'est devenu le seuil de tant de
palais? Qui s'en inquiete ?" —
" This rock has become an object
of veneration in the United States.
I have seen bits of it carefully pre-
served in several towns of the
Union. Does not this sufficiently
show that all human power and



CHAP, and found divers cornfields, and little running brooks,


-^v-^ a place very good for situation. So we returned to
162 0. our ship' again with good news to the rest of our peo-
14. pie, which did much comfort their hearts.

greatness is in the soul of man ?
Here is a stone which the feet of a
few outcasts pressed for an instant ;
and this stone becomes famous ; it
is treasured by a great nation ; its
very dust is shared as a relic. And
what has become of the gateways
of a thousand palaces ? Who cares
for them ? " — Reeves's Trans.

'■ They left the Mayflower in
Cape Cod harbour, December 6,
and were three days in getting to

Plymouth. They probably started
on their return to the ship on the
13lh, and striking across the bay, a
distance of 25 miles, reached her
on the 14th. They found that
the day after their leaving the
vessel, December 7, Dorothy, the
wife of William Bradford, who was
one of the party in the shallop,
fell overboard, and was drowned.
See Prince, p. 165.



On the 15th day we weig:hed anchor to go to the chaf,
place we had discovered ; and coming within two ^ - ^^-
leagues of the land, we could not fetch the harbour, but 1620.

. . Dec.

were fain to put round' again towards Cape Cod, our 15.*
course lying west, and the wind was at northwest.
But it pleased God that the next day, being Saturday
the 16th day, the wind came fair, and we put to sea 16.
again, and came safely into a safe harbour ; and within
^"^^ an hour the wind changed, so as if we had been
.etted but a little, we had gone back to Cape Cod.

This harbour is a bay greater than Cape Cod, com-
passed with a goodly land ; and in the bay two fine
islands,^ uninhabited, wherein are nothing but woods,

' In the original, roome ; mani- ber 6, 1635, two shallops going,

festly an error of the press. laden with goods, to Connecticut,

^ Clark's island is now the only were taken with an easterly storm,
island in Plymouth harbour. It andcast away upon Brown's island,
has sometimes been supposed that near the Gurnet's Nose, and the
a shoal, called Brown's island, men all drowned." Dr. Freeman,
which lies near the entrance of the in his note on this place, considers
harbour, about half a mile east by this passage as confirming the sup-
north of Beach point, was above position. But Morton, in record-
v^ater at the time the Pilgrims ing the same event in his Memo-
arrived. Gov. Winthrop, in his rial, p. 182, says, " the night being
History of New England, i. 169, dark and stormy, they ran upon
has the following record : '' Octo- a skirt of a fiat that lietK near



CHAP, oaks, pines, walnuts, beech, sassafras, vines, and other
— v^^ trees ' which we know not. This bay is a most hope-
162 0. ful place; innumerable store of fowl,^ and excellent

good ; and cannot but be of fish in their seasons ;

skate, cod, turbot,^ and herring, we have tasted of;

abundance of muscles, the greatest and best that ever

we saw ; crabs and lobsters,^ in their time, infinite.

It is in fashion like a sickle, or fish-hook.^

Monday, the 18th day, we went a land,^ manned


the mouth of the harbour." This
seems conclusive of the point that
Brown's island was then under
water. The other island I suppose
was Saquish, which, although a
peninsula, very much resembles an
island, and may very naturally
have been mistaken for one ; or at
that time the water may have
flowed across the narrow neck
which now unites it with the Gur-
net, and completely isolated it.
Oldmixon, i. 30, commits an egre-
gious blunder when he states, that
" the harbour (Plymouth) was a
bay larger than Cape Cod, and two
fine islands, Rhode Island and
Elizabeth Island, in it !"

' The only forest trees now on
Clark's island are three red cedars,
which appear to be very old, and
are decaying. This wood was the
original growth of the island, a
tree which loves the vicinity of
rocks, which abound here. A few
years since, the present proprietor
of the island, whilst digging out
some large roots on its margin,
found a number of acorns four feet
beneath the surface. Blackberry
vines are still found there. On
Saquish there is one solitary tree,
which has weathered the storms of
ages. In 1815 there were two.
In earlier times the town forbade
felling trees at Saquish within 40
feet of the bank. See Mass. Hist.
Coll. xiii. 182.

- Wild fowl are yet abundant in
Plymouth harbour.

^ Skate and cod are still caught
here. The European turbot, it is
well known, is not found in our
waters. The first settlers probably
gave this name to the flounder or
small halibut. See Storer's Report
on the Fishes of Massachusetts,
pp. 140, 145, 146. Higginson, in
his New-England's Plantation,enu-
merates the turbot among other
fish. T. Morton, in his New Eng-
lish Canaan, ch. vii. says, " there
is a large-sized fish, called halibut,
or turbot; some are taken so big
that two men have much ado to
haul them into the boat." Wood,
ch. ix. says, "the halibut is not
much unlike a plaice or turbot,
some being two yards long, and
one wide, and a foot thick." And
Josselyn, p. 26, says, "some will
have the halibut and turbot all
one; others distinguish them; there
is no question to be made of it but
that they are distinct kinds of fish."
The turbot and plaice are very
much alike in appearance. See
the figures of them in Yarrell's
British Fishes, i. 209, 233.

* There are muscles in Plymouth,
but generally small, and clams;
the Journal probably refers to the
latter. Crabs and lobsters are very
abundant in the summer season.

* The form of Plymouth Bay,
which includes Kingston and Dux-
bury harbours, is accurately de-

" The words " in the long-boat"
seem to be omitted.



with the master of the ship and three or four of the chap.
sailors. We marched along the coast in the woods ^-v-^
some seven or eight miles/ but saw not an Indian nor 16 20.


an Indian house ; only we found where formerly had is.
been some inhabitants, and where they had planted
their corn. We found not any navigable river, but
four or five small running brooks ^ of very sweet
fresh water, that all run into the sea. The land for
the crust of the earth is, a spit's depth,^ excellent black
mould, and fat in some places ; ^ two or three great
oaks, but not very thick, pines, walnuts, beech, ash,
birch, hazel, holly, asp, sassafras in abundance, and
vines ^ every where, cherry trees, plum trees, and many
others which we know not.*^ Many kinds of herbs we
found here in winter, as strawberry leaves innumera-
ble, sorrel, yarrow, carvel, brooklime, liverwort, water-

' Which ever way the travellers
went, they could not have walked
seven miles; because northwest,
at the distance of four miles, they
would have come to Jones's river
in Kingston, and southeast, at the
distance of three miles, to Eel
river. These rivers, though not
large, cannot be denominated
brooks. F.

* North of the village, towards
Kingston, there are five brooks,
which were named by the original
planters First Brook, Second Brook,
&c. in order, beginning from the
town. Half a mile south of the
village is Wellingsly Brook, by
the side of which dwelt Secretary
Morton. Double Brook, or Shingle
Brook of the first settlers, runs
northerly by the post road to Sand-
wich, and unites with Eel river.
Beaver Dam Brook is in the village
of Manomet Ponds. Indian Brook
is ^till further south on the shore.
See Mass. Hist. Coll. xiii. 178, and
Thacher's Plymouth, p. 322.

^ See note ' on page 123.

'' This is an exact description of
a strip of land, between the hills
and the sea-shore, where the gar-
dens now are. The soil too is
good on Clark's Island, Saquish,
and the Gurnet.

5 The wild grape, both white
and red, the blackberry and the
raspberry, are found here now.

® All the trees here enumerated
are now found in Plymouth. The
asp, or aspen, was probably our
native poplar. The beach, about
three miles long, which lies in
front of the village, extending from
Eel river, N. N. West, and pro-
tecting the harbour, was originally
well wooded. Towards the north-
ern part, till 1770, it was quite
thickly covered with trees. The
inner side of the beach was cover-
ed with plum and wild-cherry
trees, and the swamp with large
pitch pine and beech wood. Beech
plums, wild gooseberries, and white
grapes were found here in great
quantities in their proper season.
See a list of the trees, in Mass.



CHAP, cresses, great store of leeks and onions/ and an excel-



- - lent strong kind of flax and hemp.^ Here is sand,
1620. gi-avel, and excellent claj, no better in the world, ex-
cellent for pots, and will wash like soap, and great
store of stone,^ though somewhat soft, and the best
water "* that ever we drunk ; and the brooks now begin
to be full of fish.^ That night, many being weary
with marching, we went aboard again.

The next morning, being Tuesday, the 19th of De-
cember, we went again to discover further ; some went
on land, and some in the shallop. The land we found
as the former day we did ; and we found a creek, and
went up three English miles, a very pleasant river *^ at
full sea. A bark of thirty tons may go up ; but at low
water scarce our shallop could pass. This place we
had a great liking to plant in, but that it was so far
from our fishing, our principal profit, and so encom-
passed with woods, that we should be in much danger
of the salvages ; and our number being so little, and
so much ground to clear ; so as Ave thought good to

Hist. Coll. xiii. 165, 172, 206;
Thacher's Plymouth, p. 328.

' These were probably the alli-
um Canadcnsc.

* The Indian hemp (apocynum
cannabmum.) Wood says, ch. 5,
" this land likewise affords hemp
and flax naturally;" and Captain
John Smith mentions " a kind or
two of flax, wherewith they make
nets, lines and ropes, both small
and great, very strong for their
quantities." T. Morton too, says,
ch. 2, "there is hemp, that natu-
rally groweth, finer than our hemp
of England." See Mass. Hist.
Coll. xxvi. 120.

' The sand, gravel and clay are
aptly described. There is not
much stone at Plymouth ; a few
bowlders of sienite.

* Plymouth is abundantly sup-
plied with springs and brooks of
excellent water. F. See p. 129.

^ Some years since, before the
Town Brook was obstructed, tom-
cods were abundant in December;
eels and smelts enter the brooks in

^ This was Jones's river, in
Kingston, so called, it is supposed,
by the Pilgrims, in compliment to
the Captain of the Mayflower ;
which they would not have done
had they entertained any doubt of
his fidelity. Jones's river parish
was set off from Plymouth in 1717,
and incorporated in 1726, as the
town of Kinsston. See note ^ on
p. 13S. and Mass. Hist. Coll. xiii.
20S and 217.


quit and * clear that place till we were of more strength, chap.
Some of us, having a good mind, for safety, to plant -^v^ -
in the greater isle, we crossed the ba_y, which is there 1620.
five or six miles over, and found the isle about a mile
and a half or two miles about,^ all wooded, and no
fresh water but two or three pits, that we doubted of
fresh water in summer, and so full of wood as we could
hardly clear so much as to serve us for corn. Besides,
we judged it cold for our corn, and some part very
rocky ; yet divers thought of it as a place defensible,
and of great security. That night we returned again
a shipboard, with resolution the next morning to settle
on some of those places.

So in the mornine;, after we had called on God for Dec

. . 20.

direction, we came to this resolution, to go presently

ashore again, and to take a better view of two places
which we thought most fitting for us ; for we could
not now take time for further search or consideration,
our victuals being much spent, especially our beer, and
it being now the 19th of December. After our land-
ing and viewing of the places, so well as we could,
we came to a conclusion, by most voices, to set on the
main land, on the first place, on a high ground,^ where
there is a great deal of land cleared, and hath been
planted with corn three or four years ago ; and there
is a very sweet brook"* runs under the hill side, and
many delicate springs of as good water as can be
drunk, and where we may harbour our shallops and
boats exceeding well ; and in this brook much good

' I think the word not is here * Now called Town brook. It
accidentally omitted. issues from a pond called Billing-

* See note ' on page 160. ton Sea. F.

' On the bank, facing the har-


cHAi\ fish in their seasons : on the further side of the river


— -^^ also much corn-ground cleared.^ In one field is a
16 20. great hill,^ on which we point to make a platform, and
plant our ordnance, which will command all round
about. From thence we may see into the bay, and
far into the sea ; and we may see thence Cape Cod.'
Our greatest labor will be fetching of our wood, which
is half a quarter of an English mile ; but there is enough
so far off. What people inhabit here we yet know not,
for as yet we have seen none. So there we made our
rendezvous, and a place for some of our people, about
twenty, resolving in the morning to come all ashore
and to build houses.
Dec. But the next morning, being Thursday, the 21st of
December, it was stormy and wet, that we could not
go ashore ; and those that remained there all night
could do nothing, but were wet, not having daylight
enough to make them a sufficient court of guard, to
keep them dry. All that night it blew and rained
extremely. It was so tempestuous that the shallop
could not go on land so soon as was meet, for they had
no victuals on land. About eleven o'clock the shallop
went off with much ado with provision, but could not
return, it blew so strong ; and was such foul weather
that we were forced to let fall our anchor, and ride
with three anchors ahead."*
^1*^" Friday, the 22d5 the storm still continued, that we

' On the spot now called the Duxbury, and the shores of the bay

Training Green. for miles around, is unrivalled by

2 The Burial Hill, rising 165 feet any sea-view in the country,

above the level of the sea, and co- ^ In a clear day the white sand

vering about eight acres. The hills of Provincetown may be dis-

view from this eminence, embrac- tinctly seen from this hill,

ing the harbour, the beach, the ■* "Dec. 21, dies Richard Britte-

Gurnet, Manomet Point, Clark's rige, the first who dies in this har-

island, Saquish, Captain's Hill iu bour." Bradford, in Prince, p. 168.


could not ffet a land, nor they come to us aboard, chap.
This morning goodwife Alderton ^ was delivered of a — v^ -
son, but dead born. 16 20,

Saturday, the 23d, so many of us as could went on Dec.
shore, felled and carried timber, to provide themselves ^^*
stuff for building.

Sunday, the 24th, our people on shore heard a cry 24.
of some savages, as they thought, which caused an
alarm and to stand on their guard, expecting an
assault ; but all was quiet.^

Monday, the 25th day, we went on shore, some to 25.
fell timber, some to saw, some to rive, and some to
carry ; ^ so no man rested all that day. But, towards
night, some, as they were at work, heard a noise of
some Indians, which caused us all to go to our mus-
kets ; but we heard no further. So we came aboard
again, and left some twenty to keep the court of guard.
That night we had a sore storm of wind and rain.

Monday, the 25th, being Christmas day, we began
to drink water aboard. But at night the master caused
us to have some beer ; and so on board we had divers
times now and then some beer, but on shore none at

Tuesday, the 26th, it was foul weather, that we 26.
could not go ashore.

Wednesday, the 27th, we went to work again. 27.

Thursday, the 28th of December, so many as could 28.
went to work on the hill, where we purposed to build

* This was the second child born. ' Bradford adds, in his History,

Its father was Isaac Allerton. " they begin to erect the first

^ " Dec. 24, this day dies Solo- house, about twenty foot square,

mon Martin, the sixth and last who for their common use, to receive

dies this month.^-' Bradford, in them and their goods." See Prince,

Prince, p. 168. He must have p. 168.
been a son of Christopher Martin.

22 ^


CHAP, our platform for our ordnance/ and which doth com-
-^v-^ mand all the plain and the bay, and from whence we
16 20. may see far into the sea,^ and might be easier impaled,
having two rows of houses and a fair street. So in the
afternoon we went to measure out the grounds, and
first we took notice how many families there were,
willing all single men that had no wives to join with
some family, as they thought fit, that so we might
build fewer houses ; which was done, and we reduced
them to nineteen families. To greater families we
allotted larger plots ; ^ to every person half a pole in
breadth, and three m length ; and so lots were cast
' where every man should lie ; which was done, and
staked out. We thought this proportion was large
enough at the first, for houses and gardens to impale
them round, considering the weakness of our people,
many of them growing ill with colds ; for our former
discoveries in frost and storms, and the wading at Cape
Cod had brought much weakness amongst us, which
increased so every day more and more, and after was
the cause of many of their deaths.
Dec. Friday and Saturday we fitted ourselves for our la-
3Q bor ; but our people on shore were much troubled and
discouraged with rain and wet that day, being very
stormy and cold. We saw great smokes of fire made
by the Indians, about six or seven miles from us, as
we conjectured.^

' Vestiges of this fortification ^ The single lots were S.i feet

are still visible on the Burial hill, front by 49^ in depth.

See Holmes's Annals, i. 163. * " Here," says Prince, p. 169,

^ I think there is something " Governor Bradford ends his First

omitted here. The house-lots were Book, containing ten Chapters, in

not laid out on the hill, but in front fifty-three pages folio." I conceive

of it, onLeyden-street, which runs that much of this Relation is in

from the Town Square to Water- substance, and often in language,

street. Gov. Bradford's History.


Monday, the 1st of January, we went betimes to chap.

work. We were much hindered in lying so far off -

from the land, and fain to go as the tide served, that 1621.

° Jan.

we lost much time ; for our ship drew so much water i,
that she lay a mile and almost a half off,^ though a ship
of seventy or eighty tons at high water may come to
the shore.

Wednesday, the 3d of January, some of our people 3.
being abroad to get and gather thatch, they saw great
fires of the Indians ; and were at their corn-fields, yet
saw none of the savages, nor had seen any of them
since we came to this bay.

Thursday, the 4th of January, Captain Miles Stand- 4.
ish, with four or five more, went to see if they could
meet with any of the savages in that place where the
fires were made. They went to some of their houses,
but not lately inhabited ; yet could they not meet with
any. As they came home, they shot at an eagle and
killed her, which was excellent meat ; it was hardly to
be discerned from mutton.

Friday, the 5th of January, one of the sailors found 5.
alive upon the shore a herring, which the master had
to his supper ; which put us in hope of fish, but as yet
we had got but one cod ; we wanted small hooks.^

Saturday, the 6th of January, Master Marten was 6.
very sick, and, to our judgment, no hope of life. So
Master Carver was sent for to come aboard to speak

* Being a vessel of ISO tons, she gory Priest." Bradford, in Prince,

probably anchored in the Cow p. 182.

Yard, an anchorage near Clark's " This was a singular oversight,

island, which takes its name from If they had had fish-hooks, they

a cow whale which once came into could hardly have suffered so much

it, and was there killed. See for want of food. Winslow, in his

Mass. Hist. Coll. xiii. 182, and Good News from New England,

Thacher's Plymouth, p. 331. —"The says they wanted "fit and strong

year begins with the death of De- seines and other netting."


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