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

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CHAP, with him about liis accounts ; who came the next



Monday, the 8th of January, was a very fair day,
and we went betimes to work. Master Jones sent
the shallop, as he had formerly done, to see where fish
could be got. They had a great storm at sea, and
were in some danger. At night they returned with
three great seals,* and an excellent good cod, which
did assure us that we should have plenty of fish shortly.

This day Francis Billington, having the week before
seen from the top of a tree on a high hill a great sea,^
as he thought, went with one of the master's mates to
see it. They went three miles and then came to a
great water, divided into two great lakes ; the bigger
of them five or six miles in circuit, and in it an isle of
a cable length square ; the other three miles in com-
pass, in their estimation. They are fine fresh water,
full of fish and fowl. A brook ^ issues from it ; it will
be an excellent place for us in time. They found
seven or eight Indian houses, but not lately inhabited.

' Seals still haunt the harbour of margin. See page 149, and Mass.

Plymouth and the Bay of Cape Cod. Hist. Coll. xiii. ISl, and Thacher's

^ The beautiful pond, so accu- Plymouth, p. 320.
rately described in the test, bears ^ Town Brook. It passes through
the appropriate name of Billington the town, and empties into the
Sea. In the first century it was harbour a little south of Forefathers'
called Fresh Lake. It is about rock. It has proved an "excellent
two miles southwest from the place" indeed, its stream supplying
town, proving that the distances in an unfailing water power for nu-
this Relation are overstated ; and in merous manufactories. In 1636, it
it are two small islands. It is now, was " concluded upon by the Court,
as at first, embosomed in a wilder- that Mr. John Jenney shall have
ness of woods. The eagle still liberty to erect a mill for grinding
sails over it, and builds in the and beating of corn upon the brook
branches of the surrounding forest, of Plymouth." Before the brook
Here the loon cries, and leaves her was so much impeded by dams,
eggs on the shore of ihe smaller vast quantities of alewives passed
island. Here too the beautiful up through it annually to Billington
wood-duck finds a sequestered re- Sea. In a single season SOO bar-
treat; and the fallow deer, mindful rels have been taken. See Thach-
of their ancient haunts, still resort er's Plymouth, p. 321, 332; Ply-
to it to drink and to browse on its mouth Colony Laws, p. 56.



When they saw the houses, they were in some fear ; chap.

for they were but two persons, and one piece. ^ • — ^

Tuesday, the 9th of January, was a reasonable fair I62i.


day ; and we went to labor that day in the building 9.
of our town, in two rows of houses, for more safety.^
We divided by lot the plot of ground whereon to build
our town, after the proportion formerly allotted. We
agreed that every man should build his own house,
thinking by that course men would make more haste
than working in common.^ The common house, ^ in
which for the first we made our rendezvous, being
near finished, wanted only covering, it being about
twenty foot square. Some should make mortar, and
some gather thatch ; so that in four days half of it was
thatched. Frost and foul weather hindered us much.^

' " Jan. 8, this day dies Mr. Chris-
topher Martin." Bradford, in
Prince, p. 182. He was the ninth
signer of the Compact, and one of
the few distinguished with the title
of Mr. He was not one of the
Leyden church, but came from Bil-
lerica, in Essex, and was associated
with Cushman and Carver to pro-
vide means for the voyage. He
brought his wife and two children,
with him, one of whom, Solomon,
died Dec. 24. See pages 78 and

* The houses were built on each
side of Leyden street, which ex-
tends from the First Church to the
harbour. The first entry in the
records of Plymouth Colony is an
incomplete list of " The Meersteads
and Garden-plotes of those which
came first, layed out, 1620." Ed-
ward Winslow, in his Letter at the
end of this Relation, says, "We
have built seven dwelling-houses,
and four for the use of the planta-
tion." The highway led to the
Town Brook.

The JVorth Side.

The South Side.

Peter Grown.
Jolin Goodman.
Mr. Brewster.


John Billington.
j\lr. Isaac Allerton.
Francis Cooke.
Edward Winslow.

See Hazard's State Papers, i. 100.

^ See note ' on page 84.

■^ On the spot where it is sup-
posed the common house stood, in
digging a cellar, in ISOl, there
were discovered sundry tools and a
plate of iron, seven feet below the
surface of the ground. F.

^ Providentially it was a very
mild winter. See page 105. The
ice often remains in the harbour
from Christmas to March ; but at
this time it appears not to have
been frozen. In Dec. of 1831 and
1834 the harbour and shores were
an expanse of ice and snow, and
the thermometer several degrees


CHAP. This time of the year seldom could we work half the

Thursday, the 11th, William Bradford being at
work, (for it was a fair day,) was vehemently taken
with a grief and pain, and so shot to his huckle-bone,^ it
was doubted that he would have instantly died. He
got cold in the former discoveries, especially the last ;
and felt some pain in his ankles by times ; but he grew
a little better towards night, and in time, through God's
mercy in the use of means, recovered.
12. Friday the 12th we went to work ; but about noon
it began to rain, that it forced us to give over work.

This day two of our people put us in great sorrow
and care. There was four sent to gather and cut
thatch in the morning ; and two of them, John Good-
man and Peter Browne,^ having cut thatch all the fore-
noon, went to a further place, and willed the other
two to bind up that which was cut, and to follow them.
So they did, being about a mile and a "half from our
plantation. But when the two came after, they could
not find them, nor hear any thing of them at all, though
they hallooed and shouted as loud as they could. So
they returned to the company, and told them of it.
Whereupon Master Carver,^ and three or four more

below zero. Had it been so when cattle in 1627, with Martha and

the Pilgrims landed, they must Mary Brown, the former of whom

have perished from cold. See was probably his wife, and the lat-

Mass. Hist. Coll. xiii. 196, and ter his daughter.
Thacher's Plymouth, p. 27. ^ In the original, Leaver ; un-

' Hip-bone. questionably a typographical error.

^ Goodman and Brown both had There is no such name as Leaver

lots assigned them in Leyden-street, among the signers of the Compact,

in 1620. Nothing more is known and it is not at all probable that

of Goodman, except that he died one of the ship's crew would be

before the end of March. Brown distinguished by the title of Mr.

had also an acre assigned him in or be sent on such an errand,

the division of the lands in 1623, This error escaped the acute obser-

and a share in the division of the vation of Prince, who copies the


went to seek them ; but could hear nothino; of them. chap.


So they returning, sent more ; but that night they ■ — ^-^
could hear nothing at all of them. The next day 1^21.
they armed ten or twelve men out, verily thinking 12.
the Indians had surprised them. They went seeking
seven or eight miles ; but could neither see nor hear
any thing at all. So they returned, with much dis-
comfort to us all.

These two that were missed at dinner time, took
their meat in their hands, and would go walk and re-
fresh then'lselves. So going a little off, they find a
lake of water,^ and having a great mastiff bitch with
them and a spaniel, by the water side they found a
great deer.^ The dogs chased him ; and they followed
so far as they lost themselves, and they could not find
the way back. They wandered all that afternoon,
being wet; and at night it did freeze and snow. They
were slenderly apparelled, and had no weapons but
each one his sickle, nor any victuals. They ranged
up and down and could find none of the salvages' habi-
tations. When it drew to night, they were much per-

passage, p. 183. Edward Wins- ' Probably Murdock's Pond,

low, at tbe end of his Preface to the about half a mile from the village,

Reader in his Good News from in the rear of Burial hill. It is a

New England, says, "some faults deep, round pond. A brook, called

have escaped because I could not Little Brook, issues from it, and

attend on the press." This pro- crossing the west road, unites with

bably was also the case with this Town brook. See Mass. Hist. Coll.

Relation. It was sent over to xiii. 181, and Thacher's Plymouth,

George Morton, who not being in p. o20.

London, where it was printed, did ^ The fallow deer still run in the

not correct the printed sheets. He extensive woods of Plymouth, a

probably put it into the hands of district of country nearly twenty

one of the merchant adventurers, miles square. In Jan. 1831, 160

who got it printed. It is not sur- were killed and 40 taken alive. In

prising that some mistakes should Feb. 1839, a deer chased by the

have been made by the printer in dogs, came into the streets of the

de'ciphering the MS. See note on village, and was caught in the front

page 113. This will account for yard of the Hon. N. M. Davis's

Morton's name, as well as Carver's, house. See Thacher's Plymouth,

being misspelt. p. 314.


CHAP, plexed ; for they could find neither harbour nor meat ;
•-^^^^ but, in frost and snow, were forced to make the earth
1621. their bed and tiie element their covering. And another
thing did very much terrify them ; they heard, as they
thought, two lions ^ roaring exceedingly for a long time
together, and a third that they thought was very near
them. So not knowing what to do, they resolved to
climb up into a tree, as their safest refuge, though that
would prove an intolerable cold lodging. So they
stood at the tree's root, that when the lions came, they
might take their opportunity of climbing up. The
bitch they were fain to hold by the neck, for she would
have been gone to the lion. But it pleased God so to
dispose, that the wild beasts came not. So they
walked up and down under the tree all night. It was
an extreme cold night. So soon as it was light, they
13. travelled again, passing by many lakes' and brooks

• Several of the first settlers of 37 years since, an Indian shot a
New England supposed that the young lion, sleeping upon the body
lion existed here. Higginson, in of an oak blown up by the roots,
his New-England's Prospect, says, with an arrow, not far from Cape
" for beasts, there are some bears, Ann, and sold the skin to the Eng-
and they say some lions also; for lish." Lechford, too, in his Plain
they have been seen at Cape Ann." Dealing, p. 47, and Johnson, in his
Wood, in his New-England's Pros- Wonderworking Providence, b. ii.
pect, ch. 6, says, " concerning lions ch. 21, mention the lion among the
I will not say that I ever saw any beasts of New England. Vander-
myself; but some affirm that they donck also enumerates lions among
have seen a lion at Cape Ann. the wild animals of New Nether-
Some likewise being lost in the lands. But Morton, in his New
woods, have heard such terrible English Canaan, ch. 5, remarks,
roarings, as have made them much "lions there are none in New Eng-
aghast: which must be either de- land ; it is contrary to the nature of
vils or lions ; there being no other the beast to frequent places accus-
creatures which use to roar, saving tomed to snow." Dr. Freeman ob-
bears, which have not such a terri- serves, that Goodman and Brown,
ble kind of roaring." Josselyn, in coming from England, where both
his New-England's Rarities, p. 21, the lion and the wolf are unknown,
says, " the jackal is a creature that might easily, under the impression
hunts the lion's prey, a shrewd sign of fear, mistake the howling of the
that there are lions upon the conti- one for the roaring of the other.
nent. There are those that are ^ Plymouth abounds with ponds,
yet living in the country that do that would be called lakes in Eng-
constantly affirm, that about 36 or land. It is supposed that within


and woods, and in one place where the salvages had chap.
burnt the space of five miles in length, which is a fine — v^-
champaign country, and even.^ In the afternoon, it ^ ^21.
pleased God from a high hill they discovered the two^
isles in the bay, and so that night got to the plantation,
being ready to faint with travail and want of victuals,
and almost famished with cold. John Goodman was
fain to have his shoes cut off his feet, they were so
swelled with cold ; and it was a long while after ere
he was able to go. Those on the shore were much
comforted at their return ; but they on shipboard were
grieved at deeming them lost.

But the next day, being the 14th of January, in the Jan.
morning about six of the clock, the wind being very
great, they on shipboard spied their great new rendez-
vous on fire ; which was to them a new discomfort,
fearing, because of the supposed loss of the men, that
the salvages had fired them. Neither could they pre-
sently go to them, for want of water. But after three
quarters of an hour they went, as they had purposed
the day before to keep the Sabbath on shore,^ because
now there was the greater number of people. At their
landing they heard good tidings of the return of the
two men, and that the house was fired occasionally by
a spark that flew into the thatch, which instantly burnt
it all up ; but the roof stood, and little hurt. The most
loss was Master Carver's and William Bradford's,' who

the bounds of the town there are bath which they kept on shore.

more than two hundred. See Prince, p. 169, adduces no authority

Mass. Hist. Coll. xiii. 180, and for his assertion, that " the 31st of

Thacher's Plymouth, p. 320. Dec. seems to be the first day that

' A plain commences two miles any keep the sabbath in the place

fFom the town, and extends six of their building."

miles southwest. F. '' The omission of Mr. before

* See note ^ on page 163. Bradford's name in this place, and

^ This seems to be the first sab- on pages 126, 136, and elsewhere,



CHAF. then lay sick in bed, and if they had not risen with

— '^^ good speed, had been blown up with powder ; but,

16 21. through God's mercy, they had no harm. The house

was as full of beds as they could lie one by another,

and their muskets charged ; but, blessed be God, there

was no harm done.

Jan. Monday, the 15th day, it rained much all day, that

they on shipboard could not go on shore, nor they on

shore do any labor, but were all wet.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, were very fair,
sunshiny days, as if it had been in April ; and our
people, so many as were in health, wrought cheerfully.
19. The 19ih day we resolved to make a shed to put
our common provision in, of which some were already
set on shore ; but at noon it rained, that we could not
work. This day, in the evening, John Goodman went
abroad to use his lame feet, that were pitifully ill with
the cold he had got, having a little spaniel with him.
A little way from the plantation two great wolves ran
after the dog ; the dog ran to him and betwixt his legs
for succour. He had nothing in his hand, but took up
a stick and threw at one of them and hit him, and they
presently ran both away, but came again. He got a
pale-board in his hand; and they sat both on their tails
grinning at him a good while ; and went their way and
left him.

20- Saturday, 20th, w^e made up our shed for our com-
mon goods.

21- Sunday, the 21st, we kept our meeting on land.

22- Monday, the 22d, was a fair day. We wrought on

whilst il is prefixed to the names this Relation was written by Brad-

of persons unquestionably his infe- ford. If any other person had been

riors, as Mr. Christopher Blartin, the author, he would have prefixed

p. 171, is a strong presumption that Mr. to Bradford's name.


our houses ; and in the afternoon carried up our hogs- chap.

heads of meal to our common storehouse. The rest of — v^-

the week we followed our business likewise. 1621.

Monday, the 29th, in the mornuig, cold, frost, and 29.

sleet ; but after reasonable fair. Both the long-boat

and the shallop brought our common goods on shore.'

Tuesday and Wednesday, 30th and 31st of January, 30,31.
cold, frosty weather and sleet, that we could not work.
In the morning, the master and others saw two sava-
ges, that had been on the island near our ship. What
they came for we could not tell. They were going ^
so far back again before they were descried, that we
could not speak with them.

Sunday, the 4th of February, was very wet and Feb.
rainy, with the greatest gusts of wind that ever we had
since we came forth ; that though we rid in a very
good harbour, yet we were in danger, because our
ship was light, the goods taken out, and she unbal-
lasted ; and it caused much daubing^ of our houses to
fall down.

Friday, the 9th, still the cold weather pontinued, 9-
that we could do little work. That afternoon, our lit-
tle house for our sick people was set on lire by a spark
that kindled in the roof ; but no great harm was done.
That evening, the master going ashore, killed five
geese, which he friendly distributed among the sick
people. He found also a good deer killed. The
savages had cut off the horns, and a wolf was eating
of him. How he came there we could not conceive.

^ " Jan. 29, dies Rose, the wife ^ Their houses were probably
of Captain Standish. N. B. This ]op:-huts, thatched, and the inter-
ri>onth eight of our number die." slices filled with clay.
Bradford, in Prince, p. 184.

* Probably a typographical error
for s^one.


Friday, the I6tli, was a fair day; but the northerly
wind continued, which continued the frost. This day,
16 21. after noon, one of our people being a fowling, and hav-

16. ing taken a stand by a creek side in the reeds, about a
mile and a half from our plantation, there came by him
twelve Indians, marching towards our plantation, and
in the woods he heard the noise of many more. He
lay close till they were passed, and then with what
speed he could he went home and gave the alarm. So
the people abroad in the woods returned and armed
themselves, but saw none of them ; only, toward the
evening, they made a great fire about the place where
they were first discovered. Captain Miles Standish
and Francis Cooke being at work in the woods, com-
ing home left their tools behind them ; but before they
returned, their tools were taken away by the savages.
Tliis coming of the savages gave us occasion to keep
more strict watch, and to make our pieces and furni-
ture ready, which by the moisture and rain were out
of temper.

17. Saturday, the 17th day, in the morning, we called
a meeting for the establishing of military orders among
ourselves ; and we chose Miles Standish our captain,
and gave him authority of command in affairs. And
as we were in consultation hereabouts, two savages
presented themselves upon the top of a hi 11,^ over
against our plantation, about a quarter of a mile and
less, and made signs unto us to come unto them ; we
likewise made signs unto them to come to us. Where-
upon we armed ourselves and stood ready, and sent

1 Watson's Hill, called by the levelled in 1814, Indian relics of

first settlers Strawberry Hill. The various kinds were found. See

Indian name Avas Cantaiigcanteest. Mass. Hist. Coll. iii. 177.
When the summit of the hill was


two over the brook' towards them, to wit, Captain chap.

Standish and Steven Hopkins,^ who went towards

them. Only one of them had a musket, which they 1621.
laid down on the ground in their sight, in sign of
peace, and to parley with them. But the savages
would not tarry their coming. A noise of a great
many more was heard behind the hill ; but no more
came in sight. This caused us to plant our great
ordnances in places most convenient.

Wednesday, the 21st of February,^ the master came Feb.
on shore, with many of his sailors, and brought with
him one of the great pieces, called a minion,* and
helped us to draw it up the hill, with another piece
that lay on shore, and mounted them, and a sailer, and
two bases. He brought with him a very fat goose to
eat with us, and we had a fat crane and a mallard,
and a dried neat's tongue ; and so we were kindly
and friendly together.

Saturday, the 3d of March, the wind was south, the Mar.
morning misty, but tovt^ards noon warm and fair
weather. The birds sang in the woods most plea-
santly. At one of the clock it thundered, which was

' The Town Brook. See note' Morton, in his Memorial, p. 50, as

on page 172. " a man pious and well deserving,

* See note ' on page 126. endowed also with a considerable

* " February 21. Die Mr. Wil- outward estate ; and had it been
liam White, Mr. William Mullins, the will of God that he had sur-
"with two more; and the 25th dies vived, might have proved a useful
Mary, the wife of Mr. Isaac Allerton. instrument in his place."

N. B. This month seventeen of our * The minion was a piece of

number die." Bradford, in Prince, ordnance, the bore of which was

p. 184. Mullins and White were 3 1-4 inches diameter. The saker

the 10th and 11th signers of the (for which sailer is probably a

Compact ; each of them brought misprint,) was a larger gun, the

his wife over, and each had three diameter of which at the bore

others, probably children, in his was from 3 1-2 to 4 inches; and

fjimily. White was the father of the base was the smallest sort of

the first child born in New Eng- artillery, the diameter of whose

land, as mentioned on page 148. bore was only 1 1-4 inch. See

William Mullins is described by Crabb's Univ. Tech. Diet.


CHAP, the first we heard in that country. It was strong and
-^-^' great claps, but short ; but after an hour it rained very
1621. sadly till midnight.

Mar. Wednesday, the 7th of March, the wind was full
east, cold, but fair. That day Master Carver, with
five others, went to the great ponds, ^ which seem to
be excellent fishing places. All the way they went
they found it exceedingly beaten, and haunted with
deer ; but they saw none. Amongst other fowl they
saw one, a milk-white fowl, with a very black head.
This day some garden seeds were sown.
16. Friday, the 16th, a fair warm day towards.^ This
morning we determined to conclude of the military
orders, which we had begun to consider of before, but
were interrupted by the savages, as we mentioned
formerly. And whilst we were busied hereabout, we
were interrupted again ; for there presented himself a
savage, which caused an alarm. He very boldly came
all alone, and along the houses, straight to the rendez-
vous ; where we intercepted him, not suffering him to
go in,"^ as undoubtedly he would out of his boldness.
He saluted us in English, and bade us '•'■Welcome f'' for
he had learned some broken English among the Eng-
lishmen that came to fish at Monhiggon,"* and knew
by name the most of the captains, commanders, and
masters, that usually come.^ He was a man free in

' Billington Sea. •* Monhegan, an island on the
^ Perhaps the word noon was coast of Maine, between the Ken-
here accidentally omitted. nebec and the Penobscot, and about
^ They were unwilling he should 12 miles distant from the shore. It
see how few and weak they were, was an early and favorite place of
They had already lost nearly half resort for the English fishermen.
of their number, and had the In- See Williamson's Maiue, i. 61.
dians attacked them in their sickly * Seeing the Mayflower in the
and enfeebled state, they would harbour, he no doubt took her for a
have fallen an easy prey. fishing-vessel. This explains his


speech, so far as he could express his mind, and of a chap.

seemly carriage. We questioned him of many things ; — ^ —

he was the first sav^aee we could meet withal. He ^^^^i-

. Mar.

said he was not of these parts, but of Morattiggon,^ 16.
and one of the sagamores or lords thereof; and had
been eight months in these parts, it lying hence a day's
sail with a great wind, and five days by land. He
discoursed^ of the whole country, and of every province,

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 17 of 44)