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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of the plantation." All these were built on the south
side of the street. The following diagram, copied from
the first page of the Old Colony Records, shows the
" meersteads and garden plots of which came first layd
out 1020."



The North Side.

The South Side.

Peter Brown.
John Goodman.
Win. Brewster.


John Billington.
Mr. Isaac Allerton.
FrancU Cooke.
Edward Winslow.

The upper part of the diagram shows the lower
end of the street, and the highway corresponds to
the present Market Street. The four store-houses
were doubtless below the lot of Peter Brown. The
records were begun in 1627, and as the diagram was
made seven years after the landing, the fact that no
lots are marked as controlled by Carver, Bradford,
and Standish, three of the leading men, would lead
us to doubt its correctness, were it not for its partial
indorsement by the letter of Governor Winslow, above
quoted. At a later day, in 1G27, De Rasieres, who
was dispatched on an embassy from New Amsterdam to
the Plymouth Colony, in a letter to Mr. Samuel Blotu-
maert, one of the directors of the Dutch West India
Company, describes the town of Plymouth, and says,
" New Plymouth lies on the slope of a hill stretching
east towards the sea coast, with a broad street about a
cannon shot of eight hundred (yards) long leading
down the hill, with a (street) crossing in the middle
northwards to the rivulet and southwards to the land.
The houses are constructed of hewn planks with gar-
dens also enclosed behind, and the sides with hewn
planks, so that their houses and court yards are ar-
ranged in very good order, with a stockade against a
sudden attack, and at the ends of the street there are
three wooden gates. In the centre on the cross street
stands the Governor's house, before which is a square
enclosure upon which four patereros (steen stucken)
are mounted so as to flank along the streets. Upou
the hill they have a large square house with a flat
roof made of thick sawn planks stayed with oak
beams, upon the top of which they have six cannons,
which shoot iron balls of four aud five pounds and
command the surrounding country. The lower part
they use for their church, where they preach on Sun-
days and the usual holidays. They assemble by beat
of drum each with his musket or firelock in front of
the captain's door ; they have their cloaks on and
place themselves in order three abreast, and are led
by a sergeant without beat of drum. Behind comes
the Governor in a long robe ; beside him on the right
hand eomes the preacher with hid cloak on, and on the '

left hand the captain with his side arms and cloak on
and with a small cane in his hand, and so they inarch
in good order aud each sets his arms down near him.
Thus they are constantly on their guard night and

" Their government is after the Euglish form.
The Governor has his council, which is chosen every
year by the entire commuuity by election or pro-
longation of term. In the inheritance they place all
the children in one degree, only the eldest sou has
an acknowledgment for his seniority of birth. They
have made stringent laws and ordinances upon the
subject of fornication and adultery, which laws they
maintain and enforce very strictly indeed even among
the tribes which live amongst them. They speak
very angrily when they hear from the savages that
we (the Dutch at New Amsterdam) should live so
barbarously in these respects without punishmeut.
Their farms are not so good as ours, because they are
more stony and consequently not so suitable for the
plough. They apportion their land according as each
has means to contribute to the eighteen thousand
guilders which they have promised to those who had
sent them out : whereby they have their freedom
without rendering an account to any one; only if
the King should choose to send a Governor General
they would be obliged to acknowledge him as sov-
ereign chief."

The street crossing in the middle, referred to in
the above letter, was Market Street, at that time ex-
tending from Main Street and reaching Summer Street
by a gradual curve. The Governor's house was situ-
ated at the upper corner of Main Street aud Town
Square, and the three gates were probably in Main
and Market Streets, and at the westerly end of Leyden
Street, which then extended to the top of Burial Hill.
The words, ''northerly to the rivulet and southwards
to the laud," refer to the first brook, or Shaw's Brook,
at the north, and Market Street, which then led into
the Nemasket path, the Indian trail to Middleboro'.
The houses in the first settlement were necessarily
rude, built of planks without frames, covered with
thatch ou the roof, and lighted by paper wiudows
covered with oil. Edward Winslow, in a letter ad-
dressed probably to George Mortou, dated Dec. 11,
1621, says, " Briug paper and linseed oil for your
wiudows, with cotton yarn for your lamps." He fur-
ther says, " Because I expect your comiug unto us, be
careful to have a very good bread room to put your
biscuits in. Let your casks for beer and water be irou
bound for the first tier if not more. Let not your
meat be dry salted ; none can better do it than the
sailors. Let your meal be so hard trod in your cask


















that you shall need an adz or hatchet to work it out
with. Trust not too much on us for corn at this time,
for by reason of this last company that came (in the
•' Fortune," 1621) depending wholly upon us we shall
have little enough till harvest. Be careful to come
by some of your meal to spend by the way ; it will
much refresh you. Build your cabins as open as you
can, aud bring good store of clothes and bedding witli
you. Bring every man a musket or fowling piece.
Let your piece be long in the barrel aud fear not the
weight of it, for most of our shooting is from stands
(rests). Bring juice of lemons and take it fasting;
it is of good use. For hot waters aniseed water is
the best; but use it sparingly. If you bring any-
thing for comfort in the country, butter or sallet oil
or both is very good. Our Iudiun corn even the
coarsest maketh as pleasant meal as rice ; therefore
spare that unless to =peud by the way."

The absence of glass windows was, however, by no
means an indication of want or narrow means. Even
in the reign of Henry the Eighth they were consid
ered a luxury in England, and later, in the days of
Elizabeth, they were confined to the houses of the
nobility, and by them regarded as movable furniture.
The constant reference to beer as a beverage in this
and other records is noticeable. Tea aud coffee were
then unknown in Eugland, and the poor quality of
the water in Holland, repeatedly implied by the wonder
expressed at the good quality of that in Plymouth,
had confined the Pilgrims almost exclusively to beer
sold at a penuy a quart as their daily beverage. The
juice of lemons referred to by Winslow was probably
suggested as a preventive of scurvy, from which the
company of the " Mayflower" had more or less suffered.

The lots assigned to other members of the company
than those indicated by the rude diagram of Bradford,
have been disclosed by the records and casual refer-
ences in diaries and deeds of estates. It is shown by
the records that Stephen Hopkins occupied the lower
corner of Main and Leyden Streets, John Howland
the next lot below, and Samuel Fuller the lot below
Howland. Aud it must be repeated that it seems im-
possible to reconcile the diagram and the statement of
Winslow concerning seven dwellings aud four company
houses, with the facts aud probabilities in the case.
It might be said that the assignment of these lots and
their occupation by Hopkins, Howland, and Fuller
were subsequent to the date of Winslow 's letter Dec.
11, 1G21, but we know that as early as the lGth of
March Hopkins had a dwelling, for when Samoset ap-
peared on that day in the settlement Mourt's " Relation"
states " wo lodged him that night at Stephen Hopkins
house aud watched him." So far as Carver and Brad-

ford are concerned, whose names are omitted in the
diagram, it is possible that for a time the Governor
may have occupied the common house with Bradford
and perhaps Standish as companions. We know that
tbe first two were there on the 14th of January,
1620/1, for Mourt's " Relation" says, in referring to
the fire which burned its thatched roof on that day,
" The most loss was Master Carver's and William
Bradford's, who then lay sick in bed, aud if they had
not risen with good speed, had been blown up with
powder." A review of the whole case may lead us
to the conclusion that after all the diagram and letter
of Winslow may be correct, and that Hopkins at the
time of the visit of Samoset was occupying one of the
seven houses on the south side of the street, and per-
haps that of John Goodman, who is recorded as having
died the first season, and probably died before the 16th
of March, the date of the visit.

During the first few months of the colony little was
done besides making the dwellings as comfortable as
possible, guarding against surprises by the natives, aud
nursing the sick. One after another succumbed to
the attacks of disease brought on by the exposure to
cold, and fatigue of systems already enfeebled by the
hardships of a protracted voyage. In the cabin of the
" Mayflower," in Cape Cod harbor, after the signing
of the compact John Carver, who was already acting
as the Governor of the company, was confirmed in
that office under the adopted constitution, and from
that time until the 17th of February there appears to
have been no action taken with reference to the ad-
ministration of the affairs of the colony. On that day
a meeting was called for the purpose of " establishing
military orders, and Miles Standish was chosen captain
and given authority of command in affairs." Such
action was natural, surrounded as they were by tribes
of Indians of whose temper they were ignorant, and
had no significance as to the form of government
which the colony was prepariug to adopt. A consul-
tation at this meeting looking to the enactment of
needed rules or laws was broken up and postponed by
the appearance of two natives on a neighboring hill,
" over against our plantation about a quarter of a mile
and less (Watson's Hill), and made signs unto us to
come to them. We likewise made signs unto them
to come to us, whereupon we armed ourselves and
stood ready, and sent two over the brook towards them,
to wit, Capt. Standish aud Stephen Hopkins, who
went towards them. Only one of them had a musket,
which they laid down on the ground in their sight in
sign of peace, aud to parley with them. But the
savages would not tarry their coming. A noise of a
great many more was heard behiud the hill, but no



more came in sight. This caused us to plant our great
ordnances in places most convenient." In consequence
of this occurrence two cannon were brought on shore,
and mounted on a platform, on Burial Hill, in a position
to command the surrounding country.

On the 16th of March another meeting was called
to conclude the military orders, which had been before
interrupted, and as Mourt's : ' Relation" say?, " 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 rendezvous, where we interrupted
him, not suffering him to go iu as undoubtedly he
would out of his boldness. He saluted us in English
and bade us welcome, for he had learned some broken
English among the Englishmen that came to fish at
Monhiggon, and knew by Dame the most of the cap-
tains, commanders, and masters that usually came.
He was a man free in speech so far as he could express
his mind, and of a seemly carriage. We questioned
him of many things : he was the first savage we could
meet withal. He said he was not of these parts but
of Morattiggon (probably Monhiggon), 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 was stark
naked, only a leather about his waist with a fringe
about a span long or little more. He had a bow and
two arrows, the one headed and the other unheaded.
He was a tall, straight man, the hair of his head black,
long behind, only short before, none on his face at all.
He asked for some beer, but we gave him strong water
and biscuit, and butter and cheese, and pudding, and
a piece of mallard. He told us the place where we
now live is called Patuxet, and that about four years
ago all the inhabitants died of an extraordinary plague,
and there is neither man, woman, nor child remaining,
as indeed we have found none, so as there is none to
hinder our possession or to lay claim unto it."

On the next day, the 17th, Samoset departed for
the Wampauoag country, and on the 18th returned
with five other Indians, bearing a few skins and some
tools, which some marauding Indians had previously
stolen from the fields near the settlement. The five
left the same day, leaving Samoset behind, who re-
mained until the following Wednesday, the 21st of
March, on which day another meeting was held to
conclude the laws and orders, and again interrupted
by the appearance in the neighborhood of another
small group of natives. On the next day for the fourth
time a meeting was held, and still again broken off by
the reappearance of Samoset, attended by Tisquantuui,
the stolen Indian returned by Thomas Dernier and

three others, who signified that Massasoit, the chief of
the Wampanoags and of all the other tribes within the
limits of the Old Colony, " was hard by with Qudequiua,
his brother, and all their men. They could not well
express in English what they would, but after an hour
the king came to the top of the hill (Watson's Hill)
over against us and had in his traiu sixty men, that we
could well behold them and they us. Wo were not
willing to send our Governor to them, and they were
unwilling to come to us. So Tisquantuui went again
unto him, who brought word that we should send one
to parley with them, which we did, which was Edward
Winslow, to know his mind and to signify the mind
aud will of our Governor, which was to have trading
and peace with him." After some consultation and an
exchange of hostages Massasoit, with twenty men,
came from the hill, and were met at the brook by
Capt. Standish and another with six musketeers, and
was escorted by them to " a house then building,"
where agreen rug and three or four cushions had been
placed for his reception. Governor Carver then ap-
peared with drum and trumpet and a few musketeers,
and after salutations the Governor kissed his hand
and Massasoit kissed the Governor, and the following
treaty was entered into:

" 1. That neither he nor any of his should injure
or do hurt to any of our people.

" 2. And if any of his did hurt to any of ours he
should send the offender that we might punish him.

" 3. That if any of our tools were taken away
when our people were at work he should cause them
to be restored ; and if ours did any harm to any of his
we would do the like to them.

"4. If any did unjustly war against him we would
aid him : if any did war against us he should aid us.
" 5. He should send to his neighbor confederates
to certify them of this, that they might not wrong us
but might be likewise comprised iu the conditions of

" 6. That when their men came to us thoy should
leave their bows aud arrows behind them, as we should
do our pieces when we came to them. Lastly, that
doing this King James would esteem of him as his
friend and ally," all which, Morton says, " he liked
well and withall at the same time acknowledged him-
self content to become the subject of our sovereign
lord, the king aforesaid, his heirs and successors ; and
gave uuto them all the lands adjacent to them and
their heirs forever."

This treaty secured peace aud safety to the colony
for a period of fifty-five years ; indeed, it saved the
colony from destruction. The lands granted by it to
the settlers included what are now the townships of



Plymouth, Duxbury, Carver, Kingston, Plyrapton,
Marshfield, Wareham, and a part of Halifax. The
colony now for the first time held any title to the land.
It was obtained by neither invasion nor conquest, but
hy the iuduence of a Christian spirit over the savage
mind, a title which no charter nor patent in the minds
of the Pilgrims could confer, unless sealed and ac-
knowledged by the natural owners of the soil. So
sensitive were the Pilgrims to the rights of the In-
dians that individual purchases of land from them
required the approval of the court. In 1G43 the fol-
lowing act was passed :

" Whereas it ia hoMen very unlawful and of dangerous oon-
sequenco and it huth been the constant custom from our first
beginning that no person or persons have or ever did purohosc,
reut, or hire any lands, herbage, wood, or timber of the natives
but by the magistrates' consent; it is therefore enacted by the
court that if any person or persons do hereafter purchase, rent,
or hire any lands, herbage, wood or timber of any of the natives
in any phice witbin this government without the consent and
assent of the court every such person or persons shall forfeit
five pounds for every acre which shall be so purchased, hired,
rented, and taken, and for wood and timber to pay five times
the value thereof, to be levied to the colonies use."

Lest this law might be evaded, it was euacted in
IGo'O, " that in reference unto the law prohibiting
buying or biting land of the Indians directly or indi-
rectly bearing date lb*43, the court interprets those
words also to comprehend under the same penalty a
prohibition of any man's receiving any lands under
pretence of any gift from the Indians without the
approbatiou of the court." Indeed, it may be said
with entire truth that notwithstanding the various
patents securing to the Pilgrims a legal title to their
lands, until King Philip's war, in which the right of
conquest was recognized, the Pilgrims never occupied
a foot of territory within the limits of the Old Colony
to which they had not secured the right from the In-
dians either by purchase or treaty.

On the 23d of March, the last day but one in the
year under the old style, the military orders and laws
were successfully concluded, and Johu Carver was
rechoseii Governor. On the 5th of April, the " May-
flower" set sail on her return without a passenger.
Before her departure, forty-four of the Pilgrim Com-
pany had died, and nearly a half of the ship's crew.
Amonir the number were William White, Chris-
topher Martin, Solomon Power, John Laugemore,
William Mullins, Edward Thompson, James Chilton,
Degory Priest, Richard Britteridge, Elizabeth Wins-
low, Dorothy Bradford, Mary Allerton, and Rose
Standish. Notwithstanding the appalling inroads of !

disease and death, none were deterred from reniainiu".


Indeed, it is questionable whether the graves of '

fathers and mothers, and husbands and wives and
children, had not bound them indissolubly by the
most sacred ties to their new home. Death had been
so constant a companion as to have lost its terrors,
and if they were to die, there could be no resting-
place preferable to that beside the bodies of those
they had loved. During the remaining seven months
before the arrival of the " Fortune" on the 9th of No-
vember, the number of deaths was reduced to six,
amoug which were those of Governor Carver on the
day of the departure of the " Mayflower," and his wife
at a later date. After that time the colony enjoyed
remarkable health, and of the survivors remaining in
the country, the average length of life, counting from
the time of the landing, was more than thirty-seven
years. The first marriage in the colony was that on
the 12th of May of Edward Wiuslow, whose wile,
Susanna, died March 24th, and Susanna White,
whose husband, William, died on the 21st of Feb-
ruary. So short a period of widowhood must be
viewed in the light of the extraordinary conditions of
a time in which, as laws are silent in war, the pre-
vailing social rules must fail to apply. On the 18th
of June, the first duel fought in the New World
occurred between Edward Doty and Edward Leister,
in which both were wounded. Doty remained with
the colony, becoming a prominent member, and Leister
removed to Virginia, where he may have introduced
the code which for mauy years had there so thorough
a recognition.

Soon after the death of Carver, William Bradford
was chosen Governor, and Isaac Allerton an assistant.
The date of the election is nowhere recorded. The
planting season was successfully improved, and the
clouds which had lain so heavy and dark over the colony
began to disappear. In July it was thought desirable
to send an embassy to Massasoit, to bestow ou him
gratuities and confirm his friendly feelings. Edward
Winslow and Stephen Hopkins were selected for the
expedition, with Tisquantum for a guide, and an in-
teresting account of the journey and visit, from the
pen of Winslow, may be found in Mourt's " Relation."
On the 18th of September, a shallop was sent to the
Massachusetts tribe with ten men and Tisquantum for
interpreter and guide, to trade with the natives, and
a considerable quantity of beaver skins was brought
home, and the explorers reported concerning the
place, and wished that there the settlement had
been made. An account of this expedition may also
be found in Mourt's " Relation." Soon the harvest
was gathered, an abundance of fish were eaucrht, deer,
water-fowl, and wild turkeys were killed, and, as Brail-
ford says, " many afterwards wrote largely of their


plenty to their friends in England, which were not
feigned but true reports."

On the 9th of November, the " Fortune," a vessel of
fifty-five tons, unexpectedly arrived with thirty-five
passengers, having sailed from London early in July.
The names of the passengers were as follows :

John Adams,
William Bnssite (2).
William Beale.
Edward Bmnpasse.
Jonathan Brewster.
Clement Biiggs.
John Cannon.
William Conor.
Robert Oushman.
Thomas Cushman.
.Stephen Dean.
Philip Do La Noye.
Thomas Flavell (2).
Widow Foord (4).

Robert flickes.
William Hilton.
Bennet Morgan.
Thomas Morton.
Austin Nicolas.
William Palmer (2).
William Pitt.
Thomas Prencc.
Moses Sinionson.
Hugh Statie.
James Steward.
William Tench.
John Winsluw.
William W right.

Iii this list only thirty-four are accounted for, and
it is probable that the thirty-fifth either died before
the division of lands in which the names are disclosed,
or was the wife or child of one of the passengers of the
" Mayflower." The " Fortune" also brought a patent
from the Northern Virginia Company, which, since
the departure of the Pilgrims, had received a new
charter from the king, under the title of " The council
established at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for
the planting, ordering, ruling, and governing of New
England in America," empoweriog it to hold territory
extending from sea to sea, and in breadth from the
fortieth to the forty-eighth degree of north latitude.
This territory included all between New Jersey and
the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the Atlantic coast, and
the northern part of California, Oregon, and nearly
all of Washington Territory on the Pacific. The
patent was issued under date of June 1, 1621, to
John Peirce and his associates, and was in trust for
the beuefit of the company. It is now preserved in
Pilgrim Hall at Plymouth. It is engrossed on parch-
ment, and bears the signatures of the Duke of Lenox,
the Marquis of Hamilton, the Earl of Warwick,
Lord Sheffield, and Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Another
signature is illegible, and the seal of Hamilton is
missing. As the oldest state paper in New England,
it deserves a place in this narrative :

"This Indenture uiado tho first Jay of June 1G20 And in the
years of tho raigne of our soveraigne Lord James by the grace
of god King of England Scotland Fraunue and Ireland defendor
of the faith £c That is to say of England Frauuce and Ire-
land the nynetcnth and of Scotlaud the four and fiftieth Be-
tweno tho Preaideut and Counsel! of New England of the one
ptio And John Peirce Citisen and Clothworker of London and
his Associates uf the other ptie Witnesscth that whereas the said

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 19 of 118)