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Journal, written by Gabriel Archer. This
Journal contains fome inaccuracies, which
may be corrected by carefully comparing its
feveral parts, and by actual obfervations pf
the places defcribed. I have taken much
pains to obtain information, by confulting the
belt maps, and converfing or correfponding
with pilots and other peribns. But, for my
greater fatisfaclion, I have vifited the ifland
on which Gofnold built his houfe and fort.,
the ruins of which are ftiil vifible, though at
the diftance of nearly two centuries.

That Gofnold's Cape-Ccd is the promon
tory which now bears that name, is evident
from his deicription. The point which he
denominated Cart, at the diftance of twelve
leagues fouthward of Cape-Cod, agrees very
well with Malebarre, or Sandy Point, the
fouth-eaftern extremity of the county of
Barnftable. The i~hoal water and breach,
which he called 'Tucker s Terror, correfpond
with the fhoal and breakers commonly called
the Pollock Rip, which extends to the fouth-
caft of this remarkable point.

To avoid this danger, it being late in the
day, he flood io far out to fea, as to overihoot
.the eaftern entrance of what is now called the


crar ^ N a D.

Vineyard Sound. The land which life made
in the night, was a white cliff on the eaftern
coaft of Nantucket, now called Sankoty Head.
The breach which lay off Gilberts Point, I
take to be the Bafs Rip and the Pollock Rip,
with the crofs riplings which extend from
the fouth-eaft extremity of that ifland. Over
thefe ripiings there is a depth of water, from,
four to feven fathoms, according to a late
map of Nantucket, publifhed by Peleg Coffin,
Efq. and others. That Gofnold did not en
ter the Vineyard Sound, but overfhot it in
the night, is demonftrated by comparing his
Journal with that of Martin Pring, the next
year j a paflage from which fhall be cited in
its proper place.

The large opening which he faw, but did
not enter, and to which he gave the name of
Shoal Hope, agrees very well with the open
ihore, to the weftward of the little ifland of

The ifland which he called Martha s Vim-
yard, now bears the name of No-Man's Land.
This is clear, from his account of its fize,
five miles in circuit ; its diftance from Shoal
Hope, eight leagues, and from Elizabeth Ifland.
five leagues ; the iafety of approaching it on


ii2 G O S N O L D.

all fides ; and the fmall, but excellent cod.
which are always taken near it in the fpring
months. The only material objection is, that
he found deer upon the ifland ; but this is
removecl by comparing his account with the
journal of Martin Pring, who, the next year,
found deer in abundance on the large ifland,
now called The Vineyard. I have had
credible teftimony, that deer have been feen
iwimming acrofs the Vineyard Sound, when
purfued by hunters. This ifland was a fe-
queftered fpot, where thofe deer who took
refuge upon it, would probably remain un-
difturbed, and multiply.*

The lofty prorriontofy, to which he gave
the name of Dover Cliff, is Gay Head ; an
object too fingiilaf and entertaining to pafs
imobferved,and far fuperior in magnitude to
any other clifF on any of thefe iflands. The
** fair found," into which he entered after


* The following Information was given to me by Ben
jamin BafTett, Efq. of Chilmark.

" About the year 1720, the laft deer was feen on- the
Vineyard, and (hot at. The horns of thefe animals have
been ploughed up, feveral times, on the weft end of the
ifland. If one deer could fwim acrofs the Vineyard Sound 1 ,
why not more ? No-Man's Land is 4 miles from the Vine
yard, and if deer could crofs the Sound 7 miles, why :;ot
from the Vineyard to No-Man's Land ?"

G O S N O L D.

doubling this cliff, is the weftern extremity of
the Vineyard Sound ; and his anchoring place
was probably in or near Menemiha Bight.

For what reafon, and at what time, the
name of Martha's Vineyard was transferred
from the fmali ifland fo called by Gofnold,
to the large iiland which now bears it, are
queftions which remain in obfcurity. That
Gofnold at firft took the fouthern fide, of
this large ifland to be the main, is evident.
When he doubled the cliff at its weftern end,
he knew it to be an iiland ; but gave no
name to any part of it, except the Cliff.*


* The reader will give to the following conjecture as
much weight as it deferves.

The large ifland is frequently called Martin's Vise-,
yard, efpecially by the old writers. This is commonly
fuppofed to be a miftakc. But why ? Captain Pring's
Chriftian name was Martin, and this ifland has as good a
right to the appellation of Vineyard as the other, being
equally productive of vines. The names Martha and
Martin afe eafily confounded ; and as one ifland only was
fuppofed to be defignatcd by 77* Vineyard, it was natural
to give it to the greater. The lefTer became difregarded,
and being not inhabited or claimed by any, it was fup
pofed to belong to no man, and was called No-Man's Land.

In an old Dutch map, extant, in Ogilby's Hiitory of
America, p. 168, the name of Martbais Vyr.tardi^ given
to a fmall ifland, lying fouthward of Eiizrbet F.yl ; ar.o
the name of Te-xel i? given to the large Ifland, which, r
now called The Vineyard. The fituatio-i of the fmali
ifland agrees with that of No-Min'r. Land-

ii 4 C O S N O L Ef.

" The ledge of rocks extending a mile in
to the fea," between his anchoring ground
and the main, is that remarkable ledge, dif-
tinguifhed by the rtame of the Sow and Pigs.
The " ftately found" which he entered, af
ter pafling round thefe rocks, is the mouth
of Buzzard's Bay ; and the Ifland Elizabeth^
is the wefternmoft of the iflands which now
go by the name of Elizabeth's Iflands. Its
Indian name is Cuttyhunk, a contraction ot
Poo-cut-oh-hunk-un-noh, which fignifies a
thing that lies out of the water. The names
of the others are Nafhawena, Pafque, Nau-
ihon, Nenimiflet, and Peniquefe, befides fome
of lefs note,

In this ifland, at the weft end; on the north
fide, is a pond of frefh water, three quarters
of a mile in length, and of unequal breadth ;
but if meafured in all its finuofities, would
amount to two miles in circuit. In the middle
of its breadth, near the weft end, is a " rocky
iflet, containing near an acre of ground."

To this fpot I went, on the 2oth day of
June, 1797, in company with feverai gen
tlemen,* whofe curiofity and obliging kind-


* Noah Webfter, Efq. of New- York.
Captain Tallman, >
Mr. John Spooner, > of New-Bedford.
Mr. Allen, a pilot, J

G O S N O L D. 115

nefs induced them to accompany me. The
protecting hand of Nature has referred this
favourite fpot to herfelf. Its fertility and its
productions are exadly the fame as in Gof-
aold's time, excepting the wood, of which
there is none. Every fpecies of what he calls
" rubbifh," with ftrawberries, peas, tanfy, and
other fruits and herbs, appear in rich abun
dance, unmolefted by any animal but aquatic
birds. We had the fupreme fatisfaction to
find the cellar of Gofnold's flore-houfe ; the
ftones of which were evidently taken from
the neighbouring beach ; the rocks of the
iflet being lefs moveable, and lying in ledges.
The whole ifland of Cuttyhunk has been
for many years ftripped of its wood ; but I
was informed by Mr. Greenill, an old reii-
dent farmer, that the trees which formerly
grew on it, were fuch as are defcribed in
Gofnold's Journal. The foil is a very fine
garden mould, from the bottom of the val-
lies to the top of the hills, and affords rich

The length of the ifland is rather more
than two miles, and its breadth about one
mile. The beach between the pond and the
fea is twenty-feven yards wide. It is fo high


G O S N O L D.

and firm a barrier, that the fea never flows
into the pond, but when agitated by a vio
lent gale from the north-weft. The pond is
deep in the middle. It has no vifible out
let. Its fifh are perch, eels and turtles ; and
it is frequented by aquatic birds, both wild
and domeftic.

On the north fide of the ifland, connected
with it by a beach, is an elevation, the In
dian name of which is Copicut. Either this
hill, or the little ifland of Peniquefe, which
lies a mile to the northward, is the place
which Gofnold called Hill's Hap, Between
Copicut and Guttyhunk is a circular fandy
cove, with a narrow entrance. Hafs Hill^
on the oppofite fhore of the main, diftant
four leagues, is a round elevation, on a point
of land, near the Dumplin Rocks, between
the rivers of Apooneganiet and Pafcamanfet,
in the townfhip of Dartmouth,

From the fouth fide of Cuttyhunk, the
promontory of Gay Head, which Gofnold
called Dover Cliff, and the ifland which he
named Martha's Vineyard, lie in full view,
and appear "to great advantage. No other
objects, in that region, bear any refemblance
to them, or to the defcription given of them \


C O S N O L D.

nor is there a ledge of rocks projecting from
any other ifland a mile into the fea.

Whilft Gabriel Archer, and a party, gen
erally confifting of ten, laboured in clearing
the " rocky iflet" of wood, and building a
llore-houfe and fort, Captain Gofnold and
the reft of the company were employed
either in making difcoveries, or timing, or
collecting faflafras. On the Jift of May,
he went to the main land, on the more of
which he was met by a company of the
natives, " men, women, and children, who,
with all courteous kindnefs, entertained him,
giving him fkins of wild beafts, tobacco,
turtles, hemp, artificial firings coloured,
[wampum,] and fuch like things as they had
about them.'* The ftately groves, flowery
meadows, and running brooks, afforded de
lightful entertainment to the adventurers.
The principal difcovery which they made,
was of two good harbours ; one of which I
take to be Apooneganfet, and the other Paf-
camanfet, between which lies the round hill,
which they called Hop's Hill. They ob-
ferved the coaft to extend five leagues fur
ther to the fouth-weft, as it does, to Secon-
net Point. As they fpent but one day in.


n8 G O S N O L D.

this excurfion, they did not fully explore
the main, though from what they obferved,
the land being broken, and the more rocky,
they were convinced of the exiftence of
Other harbours on that coaft.

On the 5th of June, an Indian chief and
fifty men, armed with bows and arrows,
landed on the ifland. Archer and his men
left their work, and met them on the beach.
After mutual falutations, they fat down, and
began a traffic, exchanging fuch things as
they had, to mutual fatisfacYion. The ihip
then lay at anchor, a league of Gofnold
feeing the Indians approach the ifland, came
on fhore with twelve men, and was received
by Archer's party, with military ceremony,
as their Commander. The Captain gave
the Chief a ftraw hat and two knives. The
former he little regarded ; the latter he re
ceived with great admiration.

In a fubfequent vifit, they became better
acquainted, and had a larger trade for furs.
At dinner, they entertained the favages with
fiih and muftard, and gave them beer to
drink. The effect of the muftard on the
nofes of the Indians afforded them much di-
verfion. One of them ftole 'a target, and


(5 o S N o L i>; ii$

Conveyed it on board his canoe ; when it
was demanded of the Chief, it was imme
diately reftored. No demand was made of
the birch canoe, which Gofnold had a few
days before taken from the Indians. When
the Chief and his retinue took their leave,
four or five of the Indians ftaid and helped
the adventurers to dig the roots of faflafras,
with which, as well as furs and other pro
ductions of the country, the ihip was loaded
for her homeward voyage. Having per
formed this fervice, the Indians were invited
on board the fhip, but they declined the in
vitation, and returned to the main. This
ifland had no fixed inhabitants ; the natives
of the oppofite more frequently vifited it,
for the purpofe of gathering mell-fim, with
which its creeks and coves abounded.

All thefe Indians had ornaments of cop
per. When the adventurers alked them, by
iigns, whence they obtained this metal, one
of them made anfwer, by digging a hole in
the ground, and pointing to the main ; ' from
which circumftance it was underftood that
the adjacent country contained mines of cop
per. In the courfe of almoft two centuries,
no copper has been there difcovered ; though


G O S N-0 L D.

iron, a much more ufeful metal, wholly un
known to the natives, is found in great plen
ty. The queftion, whence did they obtain
copper ? is yet without an anfwer.

Three weeks were fpent in clearing the
iflet,- digging and iloning a cellar, building a
houfe, fortifying it with paliifades, and cov
ering it with fedge, which then grew in great
plenty on the fides of the pond. During
this tirne t a lurvey was made of their provi^-
fions. After referring enough to victual
twelve men, who were to go home in the
bark, no more could be left with the remain
ing twenty than would fuffice them for fix
weeks ; and the mip could not return till
the end of the next autumn. This was a
very difcouraging circumftance.

A jcaloufy alfo arofe refpe&ing the profits
of the mip's lading ; thofe who ftaid behind
claiming a (hare, as well as thofe who mould
return to England. Whilft thefe fubjects
w r ere in debate, a fmgle Indian came on
board, from whofe apparently grave and fo-
ber deportment they fufpectcd him to have
been fent as a fpy. In a few days after, the
mip \vent to Hill's Hap, out of fight of the
fort, to take in a load of cedar, and was there


G o s N o IT ix. 121

detained fo much longer than they expected,
that the party at the fort had expended their
provifion. Four of them went in fearch of
ihcll-fim, and divided themfelves, two and
two, going different ways. One of thefe
fmall parties was fuddenly attacked by four
Indians in a canoe, who wounded one of
them in the arm with an arrow. His com
panion feized the canoe, and cut their bow-
firings, on which they fled. It being late in
the day, and the weather ftormy, this couple
were obliged to pafs the night in the woods,
and did not reach the fort till the next day.
The whole party fubfifted on fhell-fifh,
ground-nuts, and herbs, till the fhip came
and took them on board. A new confulta-
tion was then holder Thofe who had been
moft refolute to remain, were difcouraged ;
and the unanimous voice was in favour of
returning to England,

On the i yth of June, they doubled the
rocky ledge of Elizabeth, parTed by Dover
Cliff, failed to the ifland which they had
called Martha's Vineyard, and employee!
themfelves in taking young geefcj cranes, and
herns. The next day they fet fail for En
gland ; and, -after a pleafant pailage of five
weeks, arrived at Exmouth, in Devonfhire.


G O S N O L D.

Thus failed the firft attempt to plant a
Colony in North Virginia ; the caufes of
which a*e obvious. The lofs of Sir Walter
Raleigh's Company, in South Virginia, was
then recent in memory ; and the fame caufes
might have operated here to produce the
fame e1fet* Twenty men, fituated on an
iflandj furrounded by other iflands and the
main, and furnifhed with fix weeks provi^
fions only, could not maintain poffeffion of
a territory to which they had no right,
againft the force of its native proprietors.
They might eafily have been cut off, when
feeidng food abroad, or their fort might have
been inverted, and they muft have fnrren-
dered at difcretion, or have been ftarved to
death, had no direcl: aflault been made upon
them. The prudence of their retreat is tin-
queftionable to any perfon who confiders
their hazardous fituation.

During this voyage, and efpecially whilft
on more, the whole Company enjoyed re
markably good health. They were highly
pleafed 'With the falubrity, fertility, and ap
parent advantages of the country. Gofnold
was fo enthufiaftic an admirer of it, that he

as indefatigable in his endeavours to for

G O S N O L D. 123

.ward the fettlement of a Colony, in conjunc
tion with Captain John Smith, With him,
in 1607, lie embarked in the expedition to
South Virginia, where he had the rank of
a Counfellor. Soon after his arrival, by ex-
ceffive fatigue in the extremity of the fummer
heat, he fell a facrifice, with fifty others, to
the infalubrity of that climate, and the icarity
meafure and bad quality of the provifions
with which that unfprtunate Colony was

The difcovery made by Gofnold, and efpe-
cially the mortnefs of the time in which his
voyage was performed, induced Richard
Hackluyt,f then Prebendary of St. Auguf-
tine's Church in Briftol, to ufe his influence
with the Mayor, Aldermen and Merchants
of that opulent, mercantile city, to profecute
the diicovery of the northern parts of Vir
ginia. The firft ftep was to obtain permif-


* In an account of the firft fettlement of Virginia, writ
ten by George Percy, I find the following note :

" The 22d of Auguft, died Capt. Bartholomew Gofnold,
one of our Council. He was honourably buried, having
all the ordnance in the fort fhot off ; with many vollies of
fmall fhot. After his death, the Council could hardly
3gree." Furchas, iv. 1690.

f Purchas, v. 1654.

124 P R I N G.

fion of Raleigh and his aflbciates. This
was undertaken and accomplifhed by Hack-
luyt, in conjunction with John Angel and
Robert Salterne, both of whom had been
with Gofnold to America. The next was
to equip two veffels ; one a fhip of fifty tons,
called the Speedwell, carrying thirty men ;
the other a bark of twenty-fix tons, called the
Difcoverer, carrying thirteen men. The com
mander of the mip was MARTIN PRING,
and his mate, Edmund Jones. The bark
was commanded by William Browne, whofe
mate was Samuel Kirkland. Salterne was
the principal agent, or fupercargo ; and was
furnimcd with various kinds of cloathing,
hard-ware and trinkets, to trade with the na
tives. The veffels were victualled for eight
N months, and failed on the loth of April,
1603, a few days after the death of Queen

They went fo far to the fouthward, as to
be within fight of the Azores ; and in the
beginning of June, fell in with the Ameri
can coaft, between the 43d and 44th degrees
of latitude, among thofe numerous iflands
which cover the Diftrict of Maine. One of
thefe they named Fox JJland^ from fome of


P R I N G. 125

that fpecies of animal which they faw upon it.
Among thefe iflands, in the mouth of Penob-
fcot Bay, they found good anchorage and
fifhing. The land being rocky, they judged
it proper for the drying of cod, which they
took in great plenty, and efteemed better
than thofe ufually taken at Newfoundland.

Having pafled all the iflands, they ranged
the coaft to the fouth-wefl, and entered four
inlets, which are thus defcribed : " The moft
eafterly was barred at the mouth ; but hav
ing pafled over the bar, we ran up it for five
miles, and for a certain fpace found very
good depth. Coming out again, as we failed
fouth-weft, we lighted on two other inlets,
which we found to pierce not far into the
land. The fourth and moft weflerly was
the beft, which we rowed up ten or twelve
miles. In all thefe places we found no peo
ple, but figns of fires, where they had been.
Howbeit, we beheld very goodly groves and
woods, and fundry forts of beads. But
meeting with no fajfafras^ we left thefe pla
ces, with all the aforefaid iflands, lhaping our
courfc for Savage Rock y difcovered the year
before by Captain Gofnold."


P R I N O.

From this defcription, I conclude, that af
ter they had pafled the iflands as far weft-
\vard as Cafco Bay, the eafternmoft of the
four inlets which they entered was the mouth
of the river Saco. The two next were
Kennebunk and York Rivers ; and the weft-
ernmoft, and beft, was the river Pifcataqua,
The reafon of their finding no people, was,
that the natives were at that feafon (June)
fifhing at the falls of the rivers ; and the
veftiges of fires marked the places at or
near the mouths of the rivers, where they
had refided and taken fifh in the earlier
months of the fpring, In fleering for
Savage Rock^ they mufl have doubled Cape-
Ann, which brought them into the Bay
of Maflachufetts, on the northern more of
which I fuppofe Savage Rock to be fit-

It leems that one principal object of their
voyage was to collect faflafras, which was
efleemed a highly medicinal vegetable. In
feveral parts of thefe journals, and in other
books of the fame date, it is celebrated as a
fovereign remedy for the plague, the vene
real difeafe, the ftone, the ftrangury, and


P R 1 N G. 127

other maladies.* One of Gofnold's men had
been cured by it, in twelve hours, of a fur-
feit, occafioned by eating greedily of the bel
lies of dog-fifh, which is called a " delicious


The journal then proceeds : " Going on
the main at Savage Rock, we found people,
with whom we had no long converfation, be-
caufe here alfo we could find no faflafras.
Departing hence, we bare into that great gulf
which Captain Gofnold ever/hot the year be
fore ; coafting and finding people on the
north fide thereof. Not yet fatisfied in our
expectation, we left them and failed over,
and came to anchor on the fouth fide, in the
latitude of forty-one degrees and odd min
utes ; where we went on land, in a certain
bay, which we called Whitfon Bay^ by the
name of the Wormipful Mafter, John Whit
fon, then Mayor of the city of Briftol, and
one of the chief adventurers. Finding a
pleafant hill adjoining, we calkd it Mount

* " Saxifraga, Saxifragum, hcrba a frangendis in cor-
pore calculis appellata. Si bibatur femen aut radix cum
vino, urinam optime provocat et calculos expellit, atque
medctur ftrangurije ac obftrudionibus renum et vcllcas ;
fiiccus foliorum delct maculas faciei." - Gerard.

Vide Minjkeu in vcrbum-

P R I N G.

Aldworth, for Mafter Robert Aldworth'a
fake, a chief furtherer of the voyage, as well
with his purfe as with his travel* Here we
had fufficient quantity of faffafras."

In another part of this journal, Whitfon
Bay is thus defcribed : " At the entrance of
this excellent haven, we found twenty fath
oms of water, and rode at our eafe in feven
fathoms, being land-locked ; the haven wind
ing in compafs like the fhell of a fnail ; and
it is in latitude of forty-one degrees and twen
ty minutes. We alfo obferved that we could
find no faflafras but in fandy ground."*


* The following note is by Peleg Coffi>: y Efq. " The
haven here defcribed muft have been that of Edgar-Town.
No other could with propriety be reprefented as winding
or land-locked, as is truly the harbour of Edgar-Town,
general!/ called Old-Town."

To this I fubjoin an extract of a letter from the Rev.
Jofiph Tkaxter, minifter of Edgar-Town, dated Nov. 15,
1797. " It is evident to me, and others better acquainted
than I am, with whom I have confulted, that Pring, as
foon as he pa/Ted the fandy point of Monumoy, [MalebarJ
bore to the weft ward, and came through what is called
Butler's Hole ; that he kept the North Channel, till he
got as far as Falmouth, and that he then crofTed over into
Old-Town harbour, which correfponds in every refpeft
to his defcription, except in die depth of water at the en
trance of the harbour ; there are now but fourteen fath
oms ; in the harbour there are fcven and a half. I would


R I N -G. 129

Though this Company had no defign to
make a fetderaent in America, yet confider-
Ing that the place where they found it con
venient to refide, was full of inhabitants, they
built a temporary hut, and enclofed it with
a barricade, in which they kept conftant
guard by day and night, whilft others were
employed in collecting faiTafras in the woods.
The Indians frequently vifited them in par
ties, of various numbers, from ten to a hun
dred. They were ufed kindly, had trinkets
prefentcd them, and were fed with Englifh
pulfe ; their own food being chiefly fifh.
They were adorned with plates of copper ;
their bows, arrows and quivers were very
neatly made ; and their birchen canoes were
confidered as great curiofities, one of which,
of feventeen feet in length and four in breadth,
was carried home to Briftol, as a fpecimen of
their ingenuity. Whether it was bought or
ftolea from them, is uncertain.


fuggeft an idea, whether there is now the fame depth cf
water, at the entrance, as in 1603 ? It is certain that the
fhoals fhift, and that Cape Poge, within the memory of

Online LibraryUnknownAmerican biography: or, An historical account of those persons who have been distinguished in America, as adventurers, statesmen, philosophers, divines, warriors, authors, and other remarkable characters .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 6 of 24)