D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) online

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Resolved White. Died in Salem after 1680.
William Holbeok. Died the first winter.
.Edward Thompson. Died in December, 1620.
Stephen Ilopkins. Died in Plymouth, 1G44.
Elizabeth Hopkins, his wife. Died in Plymouth after

Giles Hopkins. Died in Yarmouth, 1690.
Constance Ilopkins. Married Nicholas Snow, and died in

Eastham, 1677.
Damaris Hopkins. Married Jacob Cooke, and died in

Plymouth between 1666 and 1669.
Oceanus Hopkins. Died in Plymouth, 1621.
Edward Doty. Died in Yarmouth, 1655.
[ Edward Leister. Removed to Virginia and there died.
Richard Warren. Died in Plymouth, 1628.
John Billington. Executed 1630.

Eleanor Billington, his wife. Married Gregory Arm-
strong, 1638.
John Billington. Died before 1630.
I Francis Biliingion. Died in Yarmouth after 1650.
j- Edward Tilly. Died the first winter.
4 J Ann Tilly, his wife. Died the first winter.
I Henry Sampson. Died in Duxbury, 1684.
^Humilitie Cooper. Returned to England.
4 f John Tilly. Died the first winter.
; His wife. Died the first winter.

1 Elizabeth Tilly. Married John llowland, and died in
[ Swansea, 1687.
, ( Francis Cooke. Died in Plymouth, 1633.

I John Cooke. Died in Dartmouth after 1694.
2 J Thomas Rogers. Died in 1621.
I Joseph Rogers. Died in Eastham, 167S.

(Thomas Tinker. Died the first winter.
His wife. Died the first winter.
His son. Died the first wiuter.

2 ( John Ridgdale. Died the first winter.

t Alice Ridgdale, his wife. Died the first winter.
("James Chilton. Died in December, 1620.

3 I His wife. Died the first wintor.

I Mary Chilton. Married John Winslow, and died in Bos-
1 ton, 1679.

{Edward Fuller. Died the first season.
His wife. Died the first season.
Samuel Fuller. Died in Barnstable, 1683.
{John Turner. Died the first winter.
His son. Died the first winter.
Another son. Died the first winter.
{Franois Eaton. Died in Plymouth, 1633.
Sarah Eaton, his wife. Died soon after 1624.
Samuel Eaton. Died in Middleboro', 1684.
1 Moses Fletcher. Died the first season.
Thomas Williams. Died the first soason.
Degory PriesL Died in December, 1620.
John Goodman. Died the first season.
Edmond Margesou. Died tho first season.
Richard Britteridge. Died in December, 1620.
Richard Clarke. Died the first season.
Richard Gardiner. Became a seaman, and died in Eng-
1 Gilbert Winslow. Returned to England.
1 Peter Brown. Died in Plymouth, 1633.
1 John Alden. Died in Duxbury, 1687.
1 Thomas English. Died the first winter.



I John Allerton. Died the lirst winter.
1 William Trovore. Hired for a year, anil returned to Eng-
1 Ely. Hired for a year, and returned to England.


On the arrival of the " Mayflower" in Cape Cod
harbor, the following compact in the nature of a con-
stitution of government was drawn up and'signed :

" In the name of God, amen.

*' We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of
our dread sovereign Lord King James, by the grace of God of
Great Britain, France, and Ireland, king, defender of the faith,
etc., having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement
of the Christian faith and honor of our king and country, a
voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Vir-
ginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the pres-
ence of God, and one of another, covenant and combino our-
selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering
and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid ; and
by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and
eijual laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and otliccs from time
to time as shall be thought most meet and convcuiuut for the
general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due
submission and obedience. In witness whereof wo have here-
unto subscribed our names at Capo Cod, the 11th of November,
in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord King James of
England, F ranee, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland
the lifiy-fourth, Anno Domini, 1020.
"Mr. John Carver 8 I John Turner 3

William Bradford 2

Mr. Edward Winslow 5

Mr. William Brewster 6

Mr. Isaac Allerlon C

Capt. Miles Stamlish 2

John Alden 7

Mr. Samuel Fuller 2

Francis Eaton 3

James Chilton 3

John Crackston 2

John Billingtou 4

Moses Fletcher 1

John Goodman I

Degory Priest 1

Thomas Williams 1

Gilbert Winslow 1

Edmond Margeson 1

Peter Brown.

Richard Clarke....
Richard Gardiner.

John Allerton

Thomas English...

Edward Doty

Edward Leister....

Mr. Christopher Martin 4

Mr. William Mullins

Mr. William White 5

Mr. Richard Warren 1

John Rowland: I Richard Britteridge

Mr. Stephen Hopkins 3 George Soulc

Edward Tilly 4 "

John Tilly 3

Francis Cooke 2

Thomas Rogers 2

Thomas Tinker 3

John Ridgdalo 2

Edward Fuller 3


In this list the figures represeut the number in
each family, and from the total number one hundred
and live, five are to be deducted, as John Howland
is included in the eight of Carver's family, George
Soulc in the family of Edward Winslow, Edward
Doty and Edward Leister in that of Stephen Hop-
kins, and as William Button, for whom Samuel Fuller
signed, died on the passage. To the remaining num-
ber of one hundred are to be added the names of
William Trcvore and Ely, who were hired for a year,
and who returned to England, thus reconciling the
number of signers with the list of passengers already

The circumstances under which this compact was

framed and signed reader it a remarkable instrument.
The Pilgrims had landed on territory within the juris-
diction of Great Britain without either a charter from
the king or patent from the Virginia Company ; with-
out even the sanction of the natural owners of the
soil until the treaty with Massasoit iu the following
March ; without more right or authority to form a
body politic and enact laws for its government than
if they were living iu London or Serooby. Outside
of the jurisdiction of the company whose patent they
held, within the jurisdiction of a company from which
they had acquired no express rights, the assumption
of authority implied by the terms of the compact
renders it more than probable that before leaving
Eugland they had been assured by the officers of the
Northern Virginia Company, or at least by Ferdinaudo
Gorges, that a patent would be issued and sent to
them if they should decide to settle withiu their
limits'. It has been said that this compact was after
all nothing more than a simple agreement, such as
any body of adventurers or colonists, or miners in
our own day, outside of the restraints of civilization,
might enter into for temporary use and simply peace-
ful purposes ; and that erecting thereon a permanent
structure of government they builded better than
they knew. If the test of design and purpose is like
that applied to the architect, who sees iu his mind's
eye the lofty dome iu its exact height and propor-
tions when he lays the comer-stone, it is true that
the Pilgrims builded better than they knew. But iu
establishing a principle, in founding institutions, iu
framing new and progressive forms of government,
there can be no fixed and definite walls, no finished
dome, no completed structure, which the prophetic
eye can grasp, and he who gives birth to the new idea
never builds better than he knows. Whatever may
have been the design and aim of the compact, it
cannot be denied that, like the seed, it comprehended
within itself those elements, which, when subjected to
favorable conditions, had a germinating force, and
were capable of developing into first the blade, then
the ear, and then the full corn in the car, of a free
and popular government iu the western world.

It is unnecessary to dwell on the incidents which
occurred while the " Mayflower" remained in Cape
Cod harbor. On the 4th of December the first death
after the arrival, that of Edward Thompson, occurred ;
on the 6th that of Jasper More; and on the 7th,
Dorothy, the wife of William Bradford, was drowned.
Bradford says, " Our people went on shore to refresh
themselves, and our women to wash, as they had great
need." Several expeditions were undertaken, of which
the first, composed of Standish, Bradford, Hopkins,

THIS ILAiHlSlKl® SI? THIg £>OIL©miffi]§.



auJ Edward Tilly, set out on the 15th of November
by laud, and returned after three days' absence.
After a second fruitless expedition in search of a
better place of settlement, it was after repeated con-
sultations, concluded, in the language of Bradford,
" to make some discovery within the bay, but in no
case so far as Angoum (Ipswich). Besides, Robert
Coppiti, our pilot, made relation of a great navigable
river and good harbor on the other headland of the
bay, almost right over against Cape Cod, being in a
right line uot 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 Har-
bor, and beyond that place they were enjoined uot to
go, whereupon a company was chosen to go out upon
a third discovery. Whilst some were employed in
this discovery, it pleased God that Mistress White
was brought to bed of a son, which was called Pere-
grine." As the expedition started on the Gth of
December and returned on the 12th, the birth of
Peregrine White must be fixed between those dates.
The exploring party consisted of Standish, Carver,
Bradford, Winslow, John Tilly, Edward Tilly, How-
land, Warren, Hopkins, Doty, John Allerton, Eng-
lish, John Clark, the mate, Martin Coppin, the pilot,
the master gunner, and three sailors, — eighteen in all.
Leaving the ship, they skirted the shore of the cape,
and landed to spend the first night at what is now
Eastham. The next morning, the 7th, the company
divided, some going on in the shallop, and the rest
keeping along by the shore ou the land. The second
night was passed in the vicinity of what is now
Brewster, and on the 8th of December, towards night,
in a storm of snow and raiu, the company reached
the island in Plymouth harbor, named after John
Clark, the mate of the " Mayflower," Clark's Island.
Here Saturday, the 9th, was passed, and the record
for the 10th is, as made by Bradford, " On the Sab-
bath day we rested." Ou Monday, the 11th, they
sounded the harbor, found it suitable for shipping,
aud marching " into the land found divers cornfields
and little running brooks, a place very good for situa-
tion. So we returned to our ship again with good
news to the rest of our people, which did much com-
fort their hearts." The 11th of December then, or
according to the new style the 21st, was the day of
the landing of the shallop party at Plymouth, and it
is this event and not the landing of any portion of
the ship's company afterwards, which is celebrated as
the landing of the Pilgrims. On the 12th the ex-
ploring party returned to the ship, on the 15th the
"Mayflower" weighed anchor, and on the 16th she

was moored in the harbor of Plymouth, one hundred
days after her departure from old Plymouth, in

Plymouth was a spot not unknown to Europeans.
Large numbers of fishermen from England, Portugal,
France, and Spain had for many years followed their
occupations along the New England coast, and of
those who had made voyages of exploration more
than one had visited Plymouth. It is believed by
many that Martin Pring visited it in 1G0L1; but
though Plymouth meets the requirements of his
topographical description, it fails to agree with his
statements of latitude. It must still remain an open
question whether Plymouth harbor or some place in
the Vineyard Souud is the spot he visited, as he
steered south from the coast of Maine. So far as is
actually known, leaving iD doubt the claims for the
Northmen and Pring, the discovery of Plymouth
must be accorded to a French explorer in 1G05. On
the 17th of April, 1604, Sieur de Moots set sail
with four vessels from Havre de Grace, with Sieur
de Champlaiu as his pilot. In an account of the
voyage, published by Champlaiu in Paris in 1G13,
he thus describes his visit to Plymouth :

"The next day (July 28, 1605) we doubled Cape St. Louis
(Branches Island), so named by Sieur do Monts, a land rather
low, and in latitude 42° 45'. The same day we sailed two leagues
along a sandy eoast, as we passed along which we saw a great
many cabins and gardons. The wind boing contrary, wc entered
a little bay to await a time favorable for proceeding. There came
to us two or three canoes, which had just been fishing for cod and
other hah, which are found there in large numbers. These they
catch with hooks made of a piece of wood, to which they attach
a bone in the shape of a spear, and fasten it very securely. The
whole has a fang shape, and the line atlached to it is made out
of the bark of a tree. Tho bone is fastened on by hemp ; aud
they told me that they gathered this plant without being obliged
to cultivate it, and indicated that it grew to the height uf four
or live feet. Some of them came to us and begged us to go to
their river: we weighed anchor to do so, but were unable to
enter on account of the small amount of water, it being low
tide, and were accordingly obliged to anchor at the mouth. I
made an examination of the river, but saw only an arm of
water (tho harbor), extending a short distance inland, where
tho land is only in part cleared up. Itunuing into this is merely
a brook jTonn Brook), not deep enough for boats except at
full tide. The circuit of the bay ia about a league. Ou one aide
of the entrance to this bay is a point (liuruet) which is almost
an island, covorcd with wood, principally pines, and adjoins
sand-banks, which are very extensive On the other side tho
land (Manomet) \a high. Thero are two islets in the harbor
(Clark's Island and Saquiah), which are not seen until one
has entered, and around which it is almost entirely dry at low
water. This place is very conspicuous, for the coast is very
low, excepting the cape at the entrauce of the bay. We named
it the Port du Cap St. Louis, distant two leagues from the above
cape (Branches Island), and ten from the Island Cape (Cape

There is a map of Plymouth harbor included in


the book, a copy of which may be found in the
" Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth," which shows
that Saquish was at that time au island, and that
what is called Brown's Island was then, as now, at
the full of the tide submerged by the sea.

The next European to visit Plymouth, so far as is
known, was John Smith, who in two ships sailed
under the auspices of private adventurers, in 1614,
" to take whales, and also to make trials of a mine of
gold and copper." Auchoring his vessels near the
mouth of the Penobscot, he explored the coast in a
shallop as fur as Cape Cod, giving the name of New
Euglaud to the territory, and " drawing a map from
point to poiut, isle to isle, and harbor to harbor, with
the soundings, sands, rocks, and landmarks." Upon
this map, after his return to England, Prince Charles
attached names to various places, of which only
Charles River, Cape Anu, and Plymouth survive.
In 1619, Thomas Dermer, who had been an officer
under Smith, again visited Plymouth, under the aus-
pices of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, as has already been
stated. On this visit he wrote the letter which has
been referred to, recommending Plymouth as a place
of settlement. Dermer brought with him a native
called Tisquaotum, or Squanto, whom Capt. Hunt,
another officer of Smith, had carried away to be
sold into slavery. Squanto was a member of the
Patuxet tribe, which was in full occupation of
Plymouth lands at the time of the visit of Smith,
but which in 1616 was swept from the earth by an
extraordinary plague, as the Pilgrims were afterwards
told by Samoset. Squanto, fiuding only the bleached
bones of his tribe to welcome his return, attached
himself to the Pilgrims, and rendered them important
service in the trying seasons of the colony. Again we
see the hand of Providence guiding the steps of the
colony, and by a mysterious dispensation leading them
to the spot which it had prepared for their coming.

In the language of Carlyle, " Hail to thee, thou
poor little ship ' Mayflower' ! — poor, common-looking
ship, hired by common charter-party for coined dol-
lars, caulked with mere oakum and tar, provisioned
with vulgar biscuit and bacon ; yet what ship ' Argo'
or miraculous epic ship built by the sea-gods was
other than a foolish bombarge in comparison. Golden
fleeces or the like they sailed for with or without
effect. Thou little ' Mayflower' hadst in thee a veri-
table Promethean spark — the life-spark of the largest
nation of our earth, as we may already name the
transatlantic Saxon nation. They went seeking leave
to hear a sermon in their own method, these ' May-
flower' Puritans — a most indispensable search ; and
yet like Saul the son of Kish, seeking a small thing,

they found this unexpected great thing. Honor to
the brave and true ! They verily, we say, carry fire
from heaven, and have a power they dream not of.
Let all men honor Puritanism, siuce God has so
honored it."



The wants of the Pilgrims were abundantly met
in Plymouth as a place of settlement. Depth of water
for vessels of considerable draft was not needed.
The visits of such vessels would uot be frequent, and
without wharves the existiug channels were sufficient
to bring even such near enough to the shore. A
good boat harbor, plenty of fish (both sea and shell),
cleared land, and an abundance of good drinking-
water, all of which Plymouth afforded, were prime
necessities which they could not fail to recognize,
while the absence of the natives from the immediate
neighborhood promised them a security which in no
other spot on the coast they would have been able to
find. The Indian tribes within the limited district
known afterwards as the Old Colony were the Pocas-
setts of Swansea, Rehoboth, Somerset, aud Tiverton,
the Wampanoags of Bristol, the Saconets of Little
Compton, the Nemaskets of Middleboro', the Nausites
of Eastham, the Mattakees of Barnstable, the Mona-
moys of Chatham, the Saukatucketts of Marshpee,
and the Nobsquassetts of Yarmouth ; but in Plymouth
the Indians had only occupied the land to save the
labor of the colonist in clearing it, and had vanished
from the earth, leaving a safe resting-place for the
foot of civilization in the western wilderness.

The first few days after the arrival of the " May-
flower" at Plymouth were occupied in explora-
tions of various places round the margin of the
harbor, with a view to a final landing-place. The
ship probably lay at anchor in what is now called
Broad Channel, as Bradford said, " a mile and almost
a half from the shore." Ou the 18th they landed,
and Bradford says " we found not any navigable rivers,
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, waluut, beech, ash,
hazel, holly, asp, sassafras in abundance, and vines
everywhere, cherry-trees, plum trees, and many others



whicli we know not. Many kinds of herbs we found
here in winter, as strawberry leaves innumerable, sor-
rel, yarras, carvel, brooklime, liverwort, watercresses,
great store of leeks and onions, and an excellent
strong kind of flax and hemp. Here is sand, gravel,
and excellent clay, no better in the world, excellent
for pots, and will wash like soap, and great store of
stone, though somewhat soft, aud the best water that
ever we drank, and the brooks now begin to be full
of fish." This exploration was doubtless along the
shore of what is now the town of Plymouth, as no
other place within the bay answers the description. On
the 19th they found Jones' River, named after their
captain, which they ascended three " English miles,"
and found a very " pleasant river at full sea." " A
bark of thirty tons may go up," Bradford says, " but
at low water scarce one shallop could pass." " Some
of us having a good mind for safety to plant in the
greater isle we crossed the bay, which is there five or
six miles over, and found the isle about a mile and a
half or two miles about ail 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."

On the 20th they determined to confine their con-
sideration to two places, and after again viewing them
they came to the conclusion, according to the record,
" 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 uuder the hill side aud many delicate springs of
as good water as can be drunk, aud where we may
harbor our shallops and boats exceediug well ; and
in this brook much good fish in their seasons ; on
the further side of the river also much corn-ground
cleared. In one field is a 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 aud far into the sea ; aud we
may see theucc 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, re-
solving in the morning to come all ashore aud to
build houses."

The 21st and 22d were stormy, and the party on
shore remained alone, suffering much from exposure.
The precise condition of the weather is singularly
enough nowhere stated in any Pilgrim record, and we
ouly learn from a letter from John White in the Mas-

sachusetts Colony, to a friend in England, written ten
years afterwards, that there was at the time of the ar-
rival of the Pilgrim company a foot of snow on the
ground. As burials of the dead seem to have been
made during the winter, we are left to infer that the
ground remained covered with snow, and therefore
but little frozen. On the 23d many of those on
shipboard went on shore again to cut timber for
their common store-house, which was the first build-
ing erected. The street on which they began to
build, now called Leyden Street, ran from the top
of what is now Burial Hill to the shore, and it is
probable that the store-house stood on the precise spot
on the south side of the street now occupied by the
brick-ended house occupied by Mr. Frederick L.
Holmes. In a deed, of this lot, in 1C98, from Maj.
William Bradford to John Dyer, the lot is described
as " running on the street northeasterly as far as the
northeasterly corner of the old store-house which for-
merly stood on the lot." It was at first intended to
build houses ou both sides of the street, and Brad-
ford states, uuder date of the 9th of January, that
" we went to labor that day in the building of our
town in two rows of houses for more safety." He
further says that " we measured out the grounds, and
first we took notice how many families there were,
willing all single men that had no wives to joiu 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 in length ; aud so lots were cast
where every man should lie, which was doue and
staked out. We thought this proportion was large
enough at the first for houses aud gardens to impale
them round considering the weakness of the 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 aud more, aud after was
the cause of many of their deaths." But so much
sickness occurred, followed by so many deaths, that it
was found that nineteen houses were more than would
be needed, and more than with scanty help could be
built. Edward Winalow in a letter to George Mor-
ton, dated Dec. 11, 1021, and sent by the " Fortune,"
which sailed on the 13th of that mouth, said, " We
have built seven dwelling-houses aud four for the use

Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 18 of 118)