S Library of Congress. 1:=
ilg^s'^'i^^ STATES OF AIVIERIC//:4f
__Z _1 /^0©
Bv RICHARD FROTHINGHAM, Jr.
"The History of a To-wm ia united -wifh that of the Country to -which
it helongs, and with that of the ages through which it has stood."
^^ 4>^ ^^^i ~m
CHARLES P. EMMONS.
S C. LITTLE AND JAMES BROWN
TO THE CITIZENS OF CHARLESTOWN.
The undersigned, a few years ago, prepared a series of commu-
nicutions upon the history of Charlestown, intending them for the
Bunker Hill Aurora; the advice of friends induced him to keep
them, and add to them, until tliey will now appear in the more
presumptive form of a volume. This work will be continued, so
far as type and paper are concerned, as it has been commenced,
as expeditiously as business engagements will permit, until the his-
tory is brought down to the present time ; but the number of en-
gravings that will be given must depend upon the encouragement
it meets with.
One great reason for choosing the mode of publication so much
in favor with the public, — viz., in numbers, — is the hope that
the early ones may fall into the hands of some who may have an-
cient family manuscripts, and be willing to loan them for the pur-
pose of making this work more complete. Communications of
this nature will be gladly received. The undersigned is indebted
to several for interesting papers and valuable assistance. Obliga-
tions like these will hereafter be specially acknowledged.
KICHARD FROTHINGHAM, Jr.
N. B. An Engraving, representing a view of the Town, intended
for the present number, will appear in a future one ; for the beau-
tiful representation of the McLean Asylum, the author is indebted
to the liberality of the Trustees of that Institution.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845,
BY RICHARD FROTHINGHAM, JR.
in tlie Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massacliusetts.
PRINTED BY I. R. BUTTS,
2 School Sireet, Boston.
■- '" 'ii iit"MlM#iH
HI'STOM OF CIIARLESTOWN/
Introduction. — Sources of this History. — Character of the Town.—
Value of Town Histories.
Some account may be expected of the sources from which this
History has been derived. These are :
I. The Town Records. These are minute in relation to the
local, municipal affairs, from the settlement of the town. But
with the exception of a few pages at the beginning of the first vol-
ume, and the period of the Revolution, they are singularly barren
of matters of general or political interest. With tlie exception of
a plan of a small portion of the town, presented to the Legislature
1 " A Historical Sketch of Charlestown," by-Josiah Bartlett, M. D.,
was, in 1814, published in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical
Society (2d Series, vol. ii. pp. 163 — 184) and in pamphlet form. It was
an Address delivered Nov. 16, 1813, at the dedication of Washington Hall,
prepared with notes for publication. Though fillmg but twenty-one
pages, it contains, especially in the notes, much interesling matter rela-
tive to the town. It gives, however, but slight notices of the town from
1634 to 1781.
In 1830, Hon. Edward Everett delivered a valuable Historical Discourse
before the Charlestown Lyceum, commemorative of the arrival of Gov.
Winihrop. It is chiefly a view of the general causes of the settlement of
Massachusetts, with a short account of the settlement of the town.
In 1838 copious extracts from the Town Records were printed in the
Bunker Hill Aurora, understood to have been furnished by William
These are the only accounts of the Town, of much length, that have
X HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
in 1781, when the latter authorized an important alteration of the
streets, there is no map of the town previous to 1818. Tliis
renders it exceedingly difficult to locate, precisely, the residences
of the first settlers. A plan was probably taken in 1794, which
cannot be found.
The original records, prior to 1(502, may be found in a volume
made up of manuscript, some of it bearing date as early as 1593,^
and some of it as late as 1767, and bound without regard to mat-
ter or date. Here may be found memorandums, on loose sheets,
of selectmen, and town meetings, records of deeds, and of the
possessions of the inhabitants in 1638. The latter is valuable so
far as it goes. It does not give the value of the property, and is
exceedingly loose in description. The original records commence
with the year 1662, and with few exceptions, are perfect to the
In 1664 the first volume of the records was prepared, perhaps
mostly from a large volume, frequently referred to but not now
extant. This volume contains the history of the settlement of this
town and the neighboring towns, that is quoted by Prince and
others as a contemporary authority. It was written by John
Greene, son of the ruling elder of the Church. He collected
the facts from " known gentlemen that lived and were actors " in
the events it relates, and read the relation to the selectmen, who
consented that it should "remain" a part of the records. It occu-
pies seven pages of the volume. Its traditionary character appears
upon its face. It certainly cannot be relied upon as to dates. Nor
can the remainder of this volume be depended upon as an exact
transcript of the original. The selectmen ordered grants of land
to be transcribed verbatim, but in " other things," the copyist was
allowed to use his discretion and skill in reducing them " to the
most brief and clear language."
The first volume of the Registry of births, marriages and deaths,
is not unlike, in character, to the volume of miscellaneous matter
1 This MS. appears to be a part of a Leg^er, in which the accounts of
one of the Guilds, or Trade Corporations of England, were kept. Each
name, gfcnerally, has a debit and credit. The following is on the credit
side of the book :
" Stephen Woodcrate of Caufoulde in the County of Suffolk Clothier is
dews to same this laste of November by Suffolke Clothes fifty and seaven
poundes for his as journal 2, 57 00 00."
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. «
already described. Its earliest date is 1658 — its latest 1797.
The leaf at one end of the volume is dated 1663, that at the other
1720. The middle of the volume contains the following record : —
"A record of all births, deaths and marriages, that hath been
in Charlestown since the death of Mr. Thomas Starr who departed
this life the twentieth day of the eighteenth mo. 1658, herein
recorded. — pr me Edward Burtt Clerk."
One side of the sheet on which this is written, contains a descrip-
tion of the horses shipped from tliis town in 1664. It was the
Town Clerk's " Toll Book," wherein he recorded all the ages, col-
ors, and make, of the horses presented for export. He filled up
a few pages with these, and then went on with the births, marriages
and deaths. This volume was bound in 1797. Some of the leaves
of it are imperfect.
II. Records of the first Church of this Town. These are origi-
nal records, and commence with the gathering of the Church in
1632. The first volume, a quarto of three hundred and eighty-
six pages, is an interesting and valuable relic of the past. The
entries in it were made by the ruling elder, John Greene, and the
successive ministers. It commences as follows : " The Book that
belongs unto the church of God in Charltowne : which church was
gathered, and did enter into Church Covenant the 2d day of the
9th month 1632." It contains records of baptisms, admissions into
the Church, marriages. Church votes, proceedings against delin-
quents, and ordinations of pastors and deacons. This volume is very
minute in detail respecting the proceedings against the Baptists.'
III. The Colony Records, the Probate and Registry Records,
files of newspapers, the various public libraries, and the collection of
manuscripts at the State House, recently arranged into volumes.
The latter has supplied many documents of interest and impor-
tance. These " Massachusetts Archives" constitute an invaluable
magazine of materials for Town Histories.
1 A fall and accurate description of this curiovts volume, with copious
extracts from its contents, may be found in the American Quarterly Reg-
ister, vol. xii. pp. 247, 250. Rev. S. Sewall, the author of this
account, says : — " The records of this Church are, it is believed, the
only records in existence of any Church in the county of Middlesex
formed as early as the seventeenth century, which have been kept in reg-
ular, and (in the main) unbroken series from the beginning, except the
records of the Church of Lexington, gathered 1696."
4 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
IV. Private collections of papers. Wherever these exist and
have been called for, they have been most liberally supplied. But
they are not very numerous. From many descendants of old
inhabitants the same reply has been made, in answer to inquiries,
viz : That the family memorials were probably destroyed when the
Town was burnt in 1775. Two documents, both by two of its
most prominent citizens, once in the possession of Prince, would
have been of great value in making this compilation ; viz : " Two
original books of Deputy Governor Willoughby and Captain
Hammond, giving historical hints from 1G51 to 1G78 inclusive :
And " An original journal of the late Capt, Lawrence Hammond
of Charlestown and Boston, from 1G77 to 1694 inclusive." It is
supposed that these were destroyed with other papers in Prince's
Library, in the tower of the old South Church, Boston, at the
commencement of the Revolution. Belknap cites a journal
supposed to have been written by Capt. Hammond.
The author, from such sources, has compiled a History of
Charlestown. This place when first visited by Europeans, was
known by the name of Mishawum, and was full of stately timber and
hospitable Lidians. Here a colony, composed of men of mode-
rate fortunes and of high character, founded a town. Many of its
inhabitants were men of capacity and enterprise, and were called
to fill important situations in the colonial government. Even while
discharging these duties they took an active share in the municipal
concerns of the town. The board of selectmen shows, for a
century and a half, an uninterrupted succession of such men : ^
1 Increase Nowell, a leading character in Church and State, was at the
head of the board of selectmen nineteen years, until his death in 1655. and
during this period he had as associates, Francis Willouehby, Deputy Gov-
ernor ; Kobert Sedgwick, Major General ; Francis Norton, a prominent
military character ; Abraham Palmer, the Spragucs and others. After
Mr. Nowell's decease, Richard Russell, for twenty years the Treasurer of
the colony, was at the head of the board : he served on it twenty-six
years in succession. After 107(5, Lawrence Hammond, another prominent
military and civil character was selectman twelve years ; Richard
Sprague, son of Ralph, fourteen years ; Joseph Lynde, fifteen years ; and
James Russell, son of the Treasurer, fourteen years. From 1700 to
17()'), the following, among others — John Phillips, Jonathan Dowse,
Nathaniel Carey, Daniel Russell, Charles Ciiambers, Isaac Royal, Thomas
Graves, Ezekiel Cheever, Chambers Russell, Edward Sheafe, James
Russell (17G0), and Nathaniel Gorham — all holding high civil offices, as
Councillors and Judges and leading men in the colony — appear for
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 5
while the corporate action of the town affords evidence of a
public spirit, that was acknowledged valuable on important and
trying occasions. This is seen especially in the Revolutions of
1G89 and 1775. It is not less decidedly seen in the support of
religion and education. The Church and the School House
stood side by side, quietly diffusing their beneficent influences,
until the great day of sacrifice. The burning of their homes
rather quickened, than cast down, the public spirit of the citizens.
In May, 177G, they gathered in legal meeting, amid the yet smoul-
dering ruins, to respond to a call to sustain a Declaration of
Independence ; and then pledged their lives to the support of this
And it is not too much to say, that, at the present day, Charles-
town is doing faithfully its part in maintaining republican insti-
tutions. Its appearance indicates a prosperous community. It
has handsome streets and creditable public buildings. Its religious
institutions and common schools are liberally supported. Nume-
rous benevolent associations are constantly distributing their char-
ities. It has a thoroughly furnished and efficient fire-department,
and makes ample provision for its poor. Its police is vigilant.
Its military corps patriotic. It bears the impress of the commer-
cial enterprise of the day, and is rapidly' increasing in population,
wealth and consequence. Nor have its inhabitants lost that public
spirit that is so conspicuous in the early history of the town.
A town history must necessarily consist mainly of local details,
small in themselves, and chiefly interesting to the descendants of
the actors of them, or to those who occupy their places. Yet this
detail, these little things, if judiciously selected, " illustrate classes
of men and ages of time; " and as they show the feelings, opinions,
and action of a period, constitute its life. Such, indeed, was the
unity of spirit that prevailed in the towns, those of New England
especially, and so similar was their internal management, that a
history of one will illustrate the history of all. And hence a work
many years in succession, members of the board. The town clerks
Avere generally particular to prefix their titles in full. As a sample take
the record of the hoard for 1095, — at this time, " The most worshipful
James Russell " was commonly moderator of the Town Meetings. James
Russell, Esq., Col. Jno. Phillips, Esq., Lieut. Col. Joseph Lynde, Esq.,
Capt. Samuel Hayman, Esq., Mr. Jacob Greene, Jr., Capt. Jonathaa
Call, Ensign Timothy Phillips."
6 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
of this kind, if accurate, will be a useful contribution to general
But there is, or ought to be, a peculiar interest attaching to
each town, for each has its peculiar history and traditions. Each
has some noted spot, where the Indian may have fought for his
burial places, or the colonists for their freedom ; that may have
sheltered a hermit or a regicide; that superstition may have
invested with a fairy legend, or nature have robed with more than
fairy magnificence. Each has had its Liberty Tree, its Green
Drao-on, its Faneuil Hall, where its patriots may have counselled
or acted. And each town has had citizens who laid its founda-
tions, perhaps in hardship and danger ; who labored for its prosper-
ity, or who went out to suffer in a common cause. Each has had
its Man of Ross and village Hampdens. They acted as worthily
in their sphere, and deserve as grateful remembrance, as those
whose fame is on every tongue. It is for the local annalist to
gather up these traditions and histories, for they are to a town,
what common recollections are to the country.
But besides such local details, the memorable events that have
occurred within its limits, may render a history of Charlestown of
much general interest. Salem excepted, it is the oldest town of
the Massachusetts Colony. Here the founders of the latter
wrestled fearfully with famine and mortality. Yet, when enduring
the keenest anguish that can rive the human heart, they persevered
in their work in the highest faith that can mark the christian life.
The dead " were buried about the Town Hill." ^ They were
" the first victims to the cause of liberty." ^ The other heights
are redolent with Revolutionary associations. " All are the altars
of precious sacrifice,"- where patriots, to maintain liberty, acted
with a heroism kindred to that which their ancestors displayed in
planting it. In consequence of this, how wide has become their
fame ! Under the rule of the Red Man, Bunker Hill may have
been noted as a favorite spot on which to light his council fires.
But, in the order of Providence, the council fires are to die away,
and, under a new dominion, a new fire is to be kindled, that is
to go onward and upward, until it culminates upon its sumn)it.
The deeds which the good and the brave here performed for their
1 Town Records. 2 Edward Everett.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 7
country and their race, have made Bunker Ilill to America what
Marathon was to Greece.
These events will be traced, as much as possible, from contem-
porary authorities. Although, where so many have gleaned before,
but little may be presented that will be new, in relation to the mil-
itary transactions, yet the nature of this work will justify a narra-
tive more minute, than, perhaps, can be elsewhere found.
Still, it must be borne in mind, that these pages purport to be,
not a history of the Country, or of Massachusetts, but simply a
memorial of Charlestown. They will contain but little that is not
considered necessary to exhibit the condition of its inhabitants, or
the events that have transpired within its limits. It will be com-
piled, mostly, from manuscripts, and it will be the author's aim to
set down no fact without an authority for it. Still, errors are
almost unavoidable. He will cheerfully correct, in the best manner
he is able, those that friends will have the kindness to point out.
1614 to 1628. — Early Boundaries of the Town. — Discovery by Smith.
— Visit of Plvmouth Settlers. — The Fishermen. — Grant to Robert
Gorges. — His Colony.
Charlestown is a peninsula, formed by the Mystic and Charles
rivers and a small tract on the main land, with which it is con-
nected by a narrow isthmus. So far as it regards territory, it is
the smallest town in the State.
But, originally, Charlestown was far more extensive. It included
Maiden, Woburn, Stoneham, Burlington, and Somerville, a large
part of Medford, and a small part of Cambridge, West Cambridge
Woburn, comprising Burlington, was incorporated in 1642 ;
1 The dates in this work are altered, so far as it respects the months
and years, to correspond with the new style. Up to 1752 the year began
March 25. It was altered that year to January 1. To bring the days into
8 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
Maiden, in 1649 ; Stoneham, in 1725; Somerville, in 1842. In
1724 and 1725, a large tract called "North Charlestown," was set
off, part to Maiden and part to Reading. In 1754, another tract,
includinor several large farms, was set off to Medford, and now forms
the eastern part of that town. A tract was set off to Cambridge
in 1802, and to West Cambridge in 1S42. The only one of these
towns whose history, to the present day, is connected with
Charlestown, is Somerville.
The first Englishman who is known to have visited its shores,
was the celebrated navigator, John Smith. In 1G14, he sailed on
a voyage from London, and while his men were engaged in fish-
ing, he spent three months exploring the coasts. He entered
Charles River and named it.^ On his return, he wrote a glowing
description of the places he had discovered, and pronounced "the
country of the Massachusetts the paradise of all those parts, for
here are many isles, all planted with corn, groves, mulberries,
salvage gardens, and good harbors." He found the natives " very
kind, but in their fury no less valiant."
In 1621, Sept. 20, ten of the infant colony of Plymouth were
sent on an expedition, partly to trade, and partly to conclude
peace with the Massachusetts Indians. They landed under a
cliff, supposed to be Copp's Hill, where they met with a kind re-
ception from the natives. Though they touched at several places
in the harbor, they do not appear to have landed here. Having
been absent four days from Plymouth, and collected a considerable
quantity of beaver, they returned home with so good an opinion
of the country, as to wish it had fallen to their lot to have occu-
At this early period, fishermen were frequent visitors to the
harbor. In 1622, thirty-five of their vessels were on the coasts of
New England. Though they may have run up the Bay, yet there
is no account existing of their having landed at this place.
new style, add for the seventeenth century ten days to the date, and for
the eighteenth, up to 1752, eleven days. A full and interestino; account
of old and new style, double datmg, &c., may be found in the American
Quarterly Register, vol. xiv.
1 Smith, in Mass. Hist. Collections. " I look the fairest reach in this \
bay for a river, whereupon I called it Charles River." Hutchinson, vol. \
i. p. 410, says that Prince Charles " gave the name of Charles River to j
what had been before called Massachusetts River." Wood, N. E. Pros- '
pect, mentions " Mishaum" River among the Indian names of rivers.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 9
In 1G20, King James granted to the Council of Plymouth
the territory lying between forty and forty-eight degrees north
latitude, and in length by all this breadth throughout the main
land, from sea to sea. This was the foundation of all the grants
in New England.
In 1G23, Dec. 30, this Company granted to Robert Gorges, all
that part of the main land "commonly called or known by the
name of the Messachusiack,"i situate " upon the north-east side of
the Bay, called or known by the name of the Messachusett."
This included the shores and coast, " for ten English miles towards
the north-east," and " thirty English miles unto the main land,
through all the breadth aforesaid," with all the rivers, islands,
minerals, &c. This grant included the limits of Charlestown.
In 16'23, the Plymouth Council appointed Robert Gorges, Lieu-
tenant-General of New England. He came over that year to
establish a colony, and thus secure his patent. With him came
William Morrill, an Episcopal clergyman, who had a commission
to superintend the Ecclesiastical affairs. Gorges arrived in the
Massachusetts Bay about the middle of September, with "passen-
gers and families," and selected the place that Weston had
Morton, in the N. E. Memorial, relates a difficulty Gorges had
at Plymouth, after which he took his leave, gratified with the
hospitality of the colonists, and " went to the Massachusetts by
land."=^ Gorges, for about a year, endeavored to promote the
success of his colony. No supplies however reached him from
England, and his friends " advised him to return home until better
occasion should offer itself unto him." He left his rights to the
care of his agents."^
Hutchinson, writing of 1626, says : " I find mention made of
planters at Winnissemit about the same time, who probably re-
moved there from some other plantation." It is not improbable
1 The territory known as Massachusetts was, in the early days of the
Colony, confined to the region about Boston harbor, fronn Nahant to Point
Alderton. Thus, Governor Winthrop writes that, June 17, 1630, he
went from Salem to " Massachusetts, to find out a place for our sitting
down." — Savage's Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 27.
2N. E. Memorial, p. 106.
^Gorges, chap 27; Hazard, vol. i. p. 91 ; Hubbard, p. 86.
10 HISTORY OF CUARLESTOWN.
that these were a part of the colony of Gorges. William Black-
stone, the first settler of Boston, is named three years later, as
being in the agency of John Gorges; so also is Jeffries, afterwards
one of the first settlers of Ipswich. These individuals may have
held their lands under the authority of this patent ; and this may
have been the case, also, with Thomas Walford, the smith, — the
European found here by the first settlers.
Hutchinson remarks, that the patent of Robert Gorges was
loose and uncertain, and no use was ever made of it.^ It covered
a part of the territory afterwards granted to the Massachusetts
Company. The conflicting claim thence arising, was the imme-
diate cause of the settlement of Charlestown.
1628. — John Oldham's Lease. — Grant to Massachusetts Company. —
Controversy respecting Claims. — Arrival of Endicott. — TheSpragues.
Robert Gorges died soon after his attempt to occupy his
patent. His right descended to his eldest brother, John Gorges.
The latter probably in 1G28, leased a portion of the territory that
fell to him to John Oldham and John Dorrill. The former ap-
pears to have managed the negotiations. He was an intelligent
and enterprising planter, who had acquired an intimate knowledge
of the natives, and had a high opinion of the country. He is the
same person whose murder, by the Indians, in 1G3G, was the imme-
diate cause of the Pequofwar. He had been entrusted by the
Governor of Plymouth with the charge of Morton, the Merry
Mount rioter, and went to England in the summer of 1628. This
lease included the limits of Charlestown, and reads as follows : —
" All the lands within the Massachusetts Bay, between Charles
River and Abousett^ River, containing in length, by straight line,
five miles up the Charles River into the main land, north-west from
iHist. Mass., vol. i. p. 14. sSaugus River.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 11
the border of said Bay, including all creeks and points by the
way ; and three miles in length from the mouth of the foresaid
river Abousett, up into the main land, upon a straight line south-
west, including all creeks and points: and all the land in breadth
and length between the foresaid rivers, with all prerogatives,
royal mines excepted."
And on the sight of this grant, " Mr. Blackstone, clergyman, and
William Jeifryes, gentleman," were authorized to put Oldham in
possession of this territory.^
The riymouth Council, whose only source of revenue was the
sale of patents, on the 19th of March, 1628, sold this same terri-
tory over again to the Massachusetts Company, bounding their
grant to a territory three miles north of the river Merrimack, and
three miles south of the river Charles, and extending from the
Atlantic Ocean to the South Sea.^ This was the Company that
colonized Massachusetts. It took immediate steps to occupy its
On his arrival in England, 1G28, Oldham first endeavored to
obtain from this Company an important agency in its concerns,
holding out as the inducement, the prospect of large profits from
his management. Having failed in this, he next appears engaged
in a controversy with the Company respecting his lease, — the
question being the validity of his title ; he contending that it was
good, — the Company, by the advice of counsel, that it was "voyd
in law." Oldham is characterized in the records as obstinate
and violent — "so affected to his own opinion, as not to be re-
moved from it neither by reason, nor by any persuasion." They
state that, " unless he cculd have his own way, there would be but
little hope of quiet or comfortable subsistence, where he should
make his abode." ^
About the time this controversy commenced, John Endicott, in
the ship Abigail, Henry Gauden, master, arrived at Salem. This
was September 6, 1G2S. After this arrival, three brothers, Ralph
1 Hazard, vol. i. p. G8.
2 This sale Sir Ferdinando Gorpfes says, had his approbation only " so
far forth as it might not be prejudicial to his son's interests, whereof he
had a patent under the seal of the charter." — Gorges, chap. 26, Mass, Col.
•^Hazard, vol. i. p. 808.
12 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
Sprague, Richard Sprague, and William Sprague, with three or
four others, with Endicott's permission, " travelled through the
woods" to this peninsula. The Town Records give the following
relation of this event, preceded by a history of the discovery and
settlement of the country. It forms the beginning of the first
volume, and was written by John Greene, in 1(JG4.
" Captain John Smith having (in the reign of our sovereign
Lord James, by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland,
France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith,) made a discovery of
some parts of America, lighted, amongst other places, upon the
opening betwixt Cape Cod and Cape Ann, situate and lying in
315 degrees of longitude, and 42 degrees 20 min. of north latitude,
where by sounding and making up, he fell in amongst the islands,
and advanced up into the Massachusetts Bay, till he came up into
the river, between Mishaum, (afterwards called Charlestown,) and
Shawmutt, (afterwards called Boston,) and having made discovery
of the land, rivers, coves, and creeks in the said bay, and also
taken some observations of the natures, dispositions, and sundry
customs of the numerous Indians, or natives, inhabiting the same;
he returned to England, where (it was reported that) upon his
arrival, he presented a map of the Massachusetts Bay to the king,
and that the prince (afterwards King Charles the First,) upon in-
quiry and perusal of the aforesaid river, and the situation thereof
upon the map, appointed it to be called Charles River.
" Now, upon the fame that then went abroad of the place, both in
England and Holland, several persons of quality sent over several
at their own cost, who planted this country in several places, but
for want of judgment, care, and orderly living, divers died, others
meeting with many hazards, hardships, and wants, at length being
reduced to great penury and extremity, were so tired out, that they
took all opportunities of returning to England, upon which several
places were altogether deserted, and by only some few that upon a
better principle, transported themselves from England and Hol-
land, came and settled their plantation a little within Cape Cod,
and called tie same Plymouth: these, notwithstanding all their
wants, hazards, and sufferings, continued several years in a man-
ner alone, at which time this country was generally called by the
name of New England.
"At length divers gentlemen and merchants of London obtained
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
a patent and charter for the Massachusetts Bay, (from our sovereign
Lord King Charles the First,) gave invitation to such as would
(transport" themselves from Old England to New England) to go
and possess the same : and for their encouragement, the said pa-
tentees, at their own cost, sent over a company of servants, under
the government of Mr. John Endicott, who, arriving within this
bay, settled the first plantation of this jurisdiction, called Salem :
under whose wing there were a few also that settle and plant up
and down, scattering in several places of the bay : where, though
they met with the dangers, difficulties, and attending
new plantations in a solitary wilderness, so far remote from their
native country, yet were they not left without company : for in
the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-eight,
came over from England several people at their own charge, and
arrived at Salem, after which, people came over yearly in great
numbers; in years many hundreds arrived, and settled not
only in Massachusetts Bay, but did suddenly spread themselves
into other colonies also."
"Amongst others that arrived at Salem at their own cost,i were
Ralph Sprague, with his brethren Richard and William, who with
three or four more, by joint consent and approbation of Mr. John
Endicott, Governor, did the same summer of Anno 1628, under-
take a journey from Salem, and travelled the woods above twelve
miles to the westward, and lighted of a place situate and lying on
the north side of Charles River, full of Indians called Aberginians.^
their old Sachem being dead, his eldest son, by the English called
1 In a letter of the Company to Governor Endicott, dated May 28, 1629,
this description of settlers is alluded to as follows: " We desire that
Thomas Beard may have fifty acres of land allotted to him, as one that
transports himself at his own charge, but as well for him as all others
that shall have land allotted to them in that kind, and are no adventurers
in tlie common stock, which is to support the charge of fortifications, as
also for the ministry, and divers other affairs, we hold it fit., that these
kind of men, as also such as shall come to inherit lands by their service,
should, by way of acknowledgment to such from whom they receive these
lands, become liable to the performance of some service certain days in
the year, and by that service they, and their posterity after them, to hold
and inherit these lands, which will be a good means to enjoy their lands
from being held in capite, and to support the plantation in general and
particular." — Hazard, vol. i. p. 283.
9 Aberginians was not the name of a tribe, but a general name for In-
14 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
John Sagamore, was their chief, and a man naturally of a gentle
and good disposition, by whose free consent they settled about
the hill of the same place, by the said natives called Mishawum,
where they found but one English pallisadoed and thatched house,
wherein lived Thomas Walford, a smith, situate on the south end
of the westermost hill of the East Field, a little way up from
Charles River side, and upon survey, they found it was a neck of
land generally full of stately timber, as was the main, and the land
lying on the east side of the river, called Mystick River, from the
ftirm Mr. Craddock's servants had planted called Mystick, which
this river led up unto ; and indeed generally all the country round
about, was an uncouth wilderness, full of timber."
This interesting relation is immediately succeeded by a record
of the names of the inhabitants that " first settled in this place, and
brought it into the denomination of an English town." The re-
cord places this also in 1628. But it includes among these names
Mr. Graves, who " this year built the Great House," and Mr.
Bright, " minister to the Company's servants." Now it is certain
that neither Graves nor Bright sailed from England until 1029.
Hence there is evidently an error at this point in the date of the
records. This error continues for two years, making the arrival
ofWinthropto be 16:29, when it ought to be 1630. Does the
error begin with the account of the journey of the Spragues ?
They, with their companions, may have arrived here in the sum-
mer or fall of 1628, and encouraged by the friendly reception they
met with from the Indians, and a desire of the Company, (that may
have been already known to them,) to take immediate possession of
the country, have here built their huts, and remained through the
winter of 1628-9.^ Yet it appears probable that the Company
that came with Endicott would have kept together the first winter.
If the Spragues came over after Endicott, unless they came in a pri-
vate vessel, it would bring it to 1629, as no other ship came over in
1628. The same authority states that it was not until Mr. Graves
had laid out the town, that the lots of these pioneers were located,
or that they began to build. To understand why so many of the
iFelt (Annals of Salem) says the Spragues came with Endicott. E.
Everett (Orations) concludes, i'rom the records, they were not of his com-
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
Company occupied tliis place the succeeding year, it is necessary
to glance briefly at some of its proceedings in England.
1629. — John Oldham. — Sir William Brereton. — Thomas Graves. —
Emigration with Higginson. — Instructions to Endicott. — Arrival at
In 1629, the controversy between Oldham and the Massachusetts
Company was concluded by the following vote of the latter. May,
11 : " Mr. Oldham propounded unto Mr. White that he would
have his patent, &/C., and it is agreed by the Court, not to have
any treaty with him about it, by reason, it is thought, he doth it not
out of love, but out of some sinister respect." ^
But the Company, by this time, were engaged with another
claimant to the land about Massachusetts Bay, who is, throughout,
treated with marked respect, — Sir William Brereton. John
Gorges, by a deed dated January 10, 1G20, conveyed to Sir William
Brereton of Handforth, in the county of Chester, Bart, and his
heirs, " all the land in breadth lyeinge from y' East side of Charles
River to the easterly parte off the cape called Nahannte and all
the lands lyeinge in length 20 miles north east into y" maine land
from the mouth the said Charles River lyeinge also in length 29
miles into the maine land north east from y^ said cape Nahannte :
also two Islands lyeinge next unto the shoare betweene Nahannte
and Charles River the bigger called Brereton and the lesser
Negotiations with Sir William Brereton were continued for a
year. His object was to make such an arrangement with the
Company, in relation to the settlement of a contemplated colony,
as would preserve the title he acquired of Gorges. In this he was
1 Colony Records.
2 Massachusetts Archives. — Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 14. The two islands
were, East Boston and Belle Isle. — Lewis's Lynn.
16 HISTORY OF CHAULESTOWN.
not successful. Nor would the Company, by purchase, acknowledge
the validity of his claim. On the 10th of February, 1 030, it voted
a respectful invitation to him to join it " according to the Charter,"
and that such servants as he might send over should "receive all
courteous respect, and be accommodated with land, and what else
shall be necessary as other servants of the Company." At the same
time that this decision was formally communicated to him, a com-
mittee of two were appointed to " signify the Company's affection
and respect unto him." ^
While these negotiations were pending, the Company were taking
efficient steps to further improve their patent. On the 4th of
March, 16"2'J, a Royal Charter constituted the "Associates" a body
politic. This charter, cherished with so much care for half a cen-
tury, was regarded as a confirmation of their grant from the
Plymouth Council. On the 10th of March, the Company signed
a contract with an engineer of high reputation, — Thomas Graves,
— who laid out Charlestown. This commenced as follows : —
"This 10th March 1G38-9, I, Thomas Graves of Gravesend,
in the County of Kent, gent, and by my profession skillful and
experienced in the discovery and fynding out of Iron mynes, as
also of lead, copper, mineral : salt, and in fortifications of all sorts
according to the nature of the place, in surveying of buildings and
of lands and in measuring of lands, in describing a country by
mappe; in leading of water to pp (proper) uses for millers or
other uses ; in fynding out * * * sorts of Lyme stone and mate-
riels for building ; in manufacturing, have this present day agreed
to serve the New England * * * and in theire employment to take
my passage for newe England in such shippe as they shall appoynt
me, and during my stay there according to the conditions heere-
after expressed to doe my true and uttermost indeavour in all or
any the particulars above mentioned for the most good and benefit
of said companie."
The compensation of Mr. Graves was to be, his passage out and
back, five pounds a month while in New England, in case he
remained but eight months. If he remained three years, the
passage of his family, their support until the harvest after their
arrival, a house, one hundred acres of land, fifty pounds a year,
1 Colony Records.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 17
and the same proportion of land as those who have families.
After this time, Mr. Graves was often consulted in relation to the
operations of the Company.
In April, the preparations for a large emigration were completed.
Rev. Francis Higginson and about two hundred persons, embarked
in April and May, 16'29. At this time, the Company sent a long
letter to Gov. Endicott, which shows how solicitous they were to
have the territory claimed by Oldham and Brereton immediately
improved. This letter is dated April 17, 1G29. It says, in refer-
ence to Oldham : —
" We fear that as he hath been obstinate and violent in his
proceedings here, so he will persist and be ready to draw a party
to himself there, to the great hindrance of the common quiet : we
have therefore thought fit to give you notice of his disposition, to
the end, you may beware how you meddle with him, as also you
may use the best means you can to settle an agreement with the
old planters so as they may not hearken to Mr. Oldham's danger-
ous though vaine propositions."
This letter also gives Governor Endicott the following positive
instructions to occupy Massachusetts Bay : —
" We pray you and the council there, to advise seriously
together for the maintenance of our privileges and peaceable gov-
ernment, which, if it may be done by a temperate course, we
much desire it, though with some inconvenience so as our gov-
ernment and privileges be not brought in contempt, wishing rather
there might be such an union as might draw the heathen by our
good example to the embracing of Christ and his Gospel, than that
offence should be given to the heathen, and a scandal to our
Religion through our disagreement amongst ourselves. But if ne-
cessity require a more severe course, when fair means will not
prevail J we pray you to deal, as in your discretions you shall think
fittest for the general good and safety of the plantation and preser-
vation of our privileges. And because we would not omit to do
any thing which might strengthen our right, we would have you
(as soon as these ships, or any of them arrive with you, whereby
you may have men to do it) send forty or fifty persons to Massachu-
setts Bay to inhabit there, which we pray you not to protract, but
to do it with all speed; and if any of our Company in particular
shall desire to settle themselves there, or to send servants thither,
18 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN,
we desire all accommodation and encouragement may be given
them thereunto, whereby the better to strengthen our possession
there against all or any that shall intrude upon us, which we would
not have you by any means give way unto; with this caution not-
withstanding — That for such of our countrymen as you find
there planted, so as they be willing to live under government, you
endeavor to give them all fitting and due accommodation as to any
of ourselves ; yea, if you see cause for it, though it be with more
than ordinary privileges in point of trade." ^
In this letter Mr. Graves is highly recommended, " as much for
his honesty as for his skill." Express instructions were given to
the Governor to consult Avith him in relation to the proposed set-
tlement. He had been " a traveller in divers forraigne parts to
gaine his experience." Therefore say the Company, " we pray you
take his advice touching the premises, and where you intend to sit
down in, to fortify and build a town that it may be qualified for
good air and water, according to your first instruction, and may
have as much natural help as may be, whereby it may with the
less labor and cost be made fit to resist an enemy."
This letter, dated April 17, was sent by the George Boneven-
ture.2 This ship arrived at Salem, June 22.^ The Talbot and
Lion's Whelp, with Higginson and Bright, arrived June 29. Dur-
ing the last week of June, or the first week of July, 1629, Mr. Graves,
Rev. Francis Bright, with a part of the emigrants, settled in Charles-
town. Describing the colony this year, Higginson says : — *' There
are in all of vs both old and new planters about three hundred,
whereof two hundred of them are settled at Neihum-kek, now
called Salem : and the rest have planted themselves at Masathulets
Bay, beginning to build a towne there which wee doe call Cher-
ton, or Charles Towne." '^
1 Hazard vol. i. p. 259. 2 Felt's Salem, 2d ed. p. 86.
3 Higginson in Hutch. Coll. "* Higginson in Force's Tracts, vol. i.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
1629 to 1630. — Foundation of the Town.l — First Settlers. — Winter of
1629-30. — Indian Conspiracy. — Francis Bright. — Thomas Craves.
— Descriptions of tlie Country. — Charlestown in 1629. — Time's
In 1629, when Graves and Bright arrived here, a few settlers
had located themselves in the neighborhood. Samuel Maverick,
early noted for his hospitality, had a residence at Noddles Island.
"William Blackstone, an Episcopal clergyman, lived at Shawmut,
now Boston. At Mishawum, now Charlestown, Thomas Walford
had built his "pallisadoed and thatched house." The precise
date when these pioneers of civilization first pitched their tents,
is not known.
1 Dr. Bartlett (2 Mass. Coll. vol. ii. p. 163,) and Hon. E. Everett, (Ora-
tions p. 210, 213) place the foundation of the town in 1628. So do Prince
and other writers. The only authority for this date however is the t >wn
records. Prince (p. 250) erroneously supposed these written by Increase
Nowell ; they state Endicott's arrival correctly, but are otherwise erro-
neous as to dates previous to 1632. Besides :
1. The records indicate that the Spragues eame over after Endi-
cottcame, yet they say, "in the same summer " of 1628 — which must
have been after Sept. 6 — they, with three or four more, settled about the
Town Hill. And furthermore, they expressly state that Graves, Bright
and the Palmers, were of those " who first settled in this place." But some
of these did not come over until 1629.
2. Though the Spragues may have explored this peninsula previous to
the arrival of Graves, yet they, the records, expressly say, did not begin to
build until he had laid out their lots, which must have been in 1629.
3. Danforth's Almanac, the entries of which were made in 1647, sev-
enteen years before this relation was written, places the foundation of the
town in 1629.
The precise date may reasonably be fixed as the day of Graves's arri-
val. The Talbot, with Higginson, did not arrive at Salem until June 29.
But " the George," he writes, (Hutch. Coll. p. 33) " having the special
and urgent cause of hastening her passage, set sail before the rest about
the middle of April." The imperative nature of the instructions she car-
ried (see p. 17) will explain the " urgent cause." She arrived June 22.
Endicott would not be likely to " protract," but to send some of the em-
igrants to inhabit at Massachusetts Bay. That most accurate of early
writers. Prince, (p. 261) places the arrival here of Thomas Graves, under
the date of June 24. Add ten days, to bring this to new style, and it will
give July 4, 1629, as the only date for the foundation of Charlestown, for
which good authority can be adduced.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
Several of the early towns had no special acts of incorporation.
This was the case with Salem and Lynn. It was also the case
with Cluirlestown. It was the original purpose of the colonists to
build a large town, and the Company voted, May 1, 1G29, when
in England, that, when a site had been decided upon, " no man
shall presume to build his house in any other place," — making
however the exception, " unless it be in the Massachusetts Bay, and
then according to such direction as shall be thought meet for that
place." ^ The Spragues and their associates, who this year found-
ed the town, acted under the immediate direction of an agent of
the Company, — Thomas Graves; and before there appears on
record any precise grant, or the boundaries were defined, proceeded
to occupy the land, and the next year even to build in the country
towards Cambridge. But they had, undoubtedly, permission from
the Company, as an order of September 7, 1G30, prohibited any
"to plant at any place within the limits" of their patent without
leave from the governor and assistants, or the major part of
The following is the record of their first proceedings : —
" The inhabitants yt : first settled in this place and brought it
into the denomination of an English Towne was (were) in Anno
1628 (1629) as follows, viz:
Ralph Sprague, Abra. Palmer,
Richd. Sprague, Walter Pamer,
Tho. Walford smith
yt lived heere alone
who had charge of
some of the servts. of
the Company of Pa-
tentees with whom hee
built the great house
this yeare for such cf
the sd Company as are
shortly to come over
which afterwards be-
came the Meeting
And Mr, Bright Minister to the Companies Servants."
By whom it was jointly agreed and concluded, that this place
on the north side of Charles River, by the natives called Misha-
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 21
wum, shall henceforth from the name of the river, be called Charles-
town, which was also confirmed by Mr. John Endicott, governor.
It is jointly agreed and concluded by the inhabitants of this
town, that Mr. Graves do model and lay out the form of the town,
with streets about the Hill, which was accordingly done and
approved of by the Governor.
It is jointly agreed and concluded, that each inhabitant have a
two acre lot to plant upon, and all to fence in common; which
was accordingly by Mr. Graves measured out unto them.
Upon which Ralph Sprague and others began to build their
houses, and to prepare fencing for their lots, which was (were)
afterwards set up almost in a semi-circular form on the south and
south-east side of that field laid out to them, which lies situated on
the north-west side of the Town Hill.
Walter Pamer and one or two more, shortly afterwards began to
build in a straight line upon their two acre lots on the east side of
the Town Hill, and set up a slight fence in common, that ran up to
Tho, Walford's fence, and this was the beginning of that east field."
Some account may be expected of these founders of the town.
Ralph Sprague was a farmer and the oldest of the three brothers.
Their father, Edward Sprague, was a fuller of Upway, in the
County of Dorset, England. Ralph Sprague was about twenty-
five years of age when he emigrated. In 16:30, he was chosen
constable and made freeman, and in 1G32, one of the founders of
the church. He was selectman several years, and representative
nine years, — first in 1637. He was a member of the Boston
Artillery Company 1637. In 1639, he was elected Lieutenant.
He died in 1650. He was a prominent and valuable citizen, —
active in promoting the welfare of the town and of the colony.
The General Court, in 1639, granted him one hundred acres of
land " having borne difficulties in the beginning." He left four
sons : John and Richard, born in England ; Samuel born 1631 ;
and Phineas. Also a daughter Mary, who married Daniel
Edmands. His widow, Joanna, married Edward Converse and
died about Nov. 16S0. Of his sons, Richard became a prominent
citizen, and Samuel had a daughter who married Ebenezer Austin,
— the ancestor of Benj. Austin of Boston and Gen. Nathl. Austin
of this town.^
1 Genealogy of tlie Sprague Family,
22 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
Richard Sprague was a merchant, and the third son of Edward
Sprague. He was made freeman 1G31, one of the founders of the
church, 1632, Captain of the Charlestown Military Company, a
member of the Artillery Company, Boston, several years select-
man, and a representative from 1659 to 1666. He died Nov. 25,
1668, leaving to Harvard College thirty-one sheep and thirty lambs,
and thirty pounds, in value, to the church of this town. His
estate was valued at c£2357, 16s. 8c?. of which one item was .£600
in money. He left the greatest part of this to his widow, Mary.
He bequeathed to Ralph's son, Richard, a wharf and warehouse,
and other property; and to his brother William, of Hingham, his
sword, which, in 1S28, was in the possession of his descendants.
He left no children. His widow, Mary, died 1674.
William Sprague was the youngest of the three brothers. In
1629, he visited Hingham, in a boat, and afterwards became one
of its founders. His name appears repeatedly as an inhabitant of
Charlestown until 1635. In 1636, he obtained a grant of land at
Hincrham, removed there, and continued to live there, sustaining
important town offices, until his death, Oct. 26, 1675. His wife's
name was Millesaint. He had eleven children.
Abraham Palmer, a merchant, was one of the prominent men
of the colony. He signed the instructions to Gov. Endicott, May
30, 1628. He probably came over in Higginson's fleet in 1629,
and arrived in this town with Graves. He was freeman in 1631,
and selectman several years, and elected six years a representative,
first in 1634, the last time in 1646. His name appears on the rec-
ords in connection with the most important business. He was
sercreant in the Pequot war, in which he is mentioned as doing
efficient service, being ordered with twelve men to surround a part
of the swamp in the great fight, to prevent the Indians from escap-
ing. In 1638, he is styled Ensign Palmer, and was chosen town
clerk, and to make a record of the possessions of the inhabitants.
In 1638, he was a member of the Artillery Company, and in 1642,
" clerk of the writs." He died at Barbadoes, about 1653. His
wife's name was Grace, who died about 1660. He was, probably,
a brother to Walter Palmer.
Waiter Palmer is mentioned in a jury, Sept. 28, 1630, called to
hold an inquest on the body of Austin Bratcher. It found " that
the strokes given by Walter Palmer, were occasionally the means
of the death of Austin Bratcher, and so to be manslaughter. Mr.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 23
Palmer was tried at the next Court in October, and acquitted. lie
was freeman 1G31, elected selectman in 1G35, and constable in
1636. His son Benjamin was baptized in this town in 1642.
Soon after he removed to Rehoboth, of which he was one of the
founders. He there appears to have been an influential citizen.
He died about 1662, leaving property to his sons John, Jonas,
William, Gersham, Elihu, Nehemiah, Moses, Benjamin ; and
daughters Grace, Hannah, and Rebecca. He left to Jonas his
" lot at Seaconke," who resided there. His son John remained in
Nicholas Stowers was freeman in 1631, and herdsman in 1633.
His duties were " to drive the herd forth to their food in the main
every morning, and to bring them into town every evening, and
to have fifty bushels of Indian corn for keeping the milch cows till
Indian harvest be taken in." He was also to have the benefit of
keeping such other cattle as came into town during the summer.
He died May 17, 1646, leaving property to his wife Amy, to sons
Joseph and Richard, to daughters Jane and Abigail, and daughter
Starr. Richard Stowers, named as arriving in 1628, died July 8,
John Meech may have emigrated to Connecticut. Simon Hoyte
and John Stickline, were admitted freemen 1631.
Thomas Walford, the smith, remained in town but two years.
If he held his land originally from Robert Gorges, or one of his
agents, and reluctantly acknowledged the validity of the Massa-
chusetts patent, it will account for the severity of the Court
towards him. In 1631, the following order appears upon the rec-
ords : Thomas Walford of Charlton is fined ,£10, and is enjoined,
he and his wife, to depart out of the limits of this patent before
the 20th day of October next, under pain of confiscation of his
goods, for his contempt of authority and confronting officers."
A month later, he was again fined <£2, and " paid it by killing a
wolf" Even after he had left the town, the government distrust-
ed him. On the 3d of September, 1633, it was ordered, " that
the goods of Thomas Walford shall be sequestered and remain in
the hands of Ancient Gennison, to satisfy the debts he owes in the
Bay to several persons."
" This severity, Mr. Savage writes, must be regretted." He was
the first English inhabitant of the town. And it is not improbable,
24 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
that to the good offices he rendered to the Indians, the Spragues and
their companions were indebted for their friendly reception.
Walford removed to Piscataqua, now Portsmouth. Here his
conduct goes far to show that the severity with which he was
treated was undeserved, for he became a prominent and valuable
citizen. In 1G40, he was one of two trustees or wardens for the
church property, one of the grand jury in 1G54, and died about
1667. His enterprise was rewarded by a competent estate, for he
left property to the amount of .£1433, 35. 8d.
John Walford, probably a son of Thomas Walford was, in
1693, one of the council of Gov. Allen of New Hampshire.
Jane Walford, perhaps the wife of Thomas, was in 1656, present-
ed by her neighbors as a witch, and, ten or twelve years later,
recovered damages against one for calling her by that odious
This little band are all that are recorded as inhabitants in 1629.
These had wives and children. But the "servants of the Com-
pany of patentees," under the charge of Mr. Graves, — mentioned
by Higginson as those who " began to build at Cherton," — are to
be added to this list of early residents. Their names are not
known. These, until more convenient lodgings could be pre-
pared, lived in wigwams and huts.- The work of building went
on slowly. By the succeeding June, if Roger Clapp may be cred-
ited, there was but one house in town.^ This is not improbable,
as the infant colony experienced more than the common hardships
of early settlements. During the following winter, provisions became
scarce, and disease so thinned their numbers, that, by April, eighty
had died, and those that were alive were " weak and sick." In
this situation they were alarmed by rumors of hostile Indians.
The early residents of Charlestown shared in these hardships ;
at one time " all hands, men, women and children " were engaged
in providing for self-defence. The town records contain the fol-
lowing significant relation :
" About the months of April and May, in the year of our Lord
1 Savage's Winthrop, 53. Adams's Portsmouth. I have not been able
to locate precisely the spot of Walford 's residence- It is usually fixed on
the Town Hill. But the " weatermost Hill of the East Field," was
probably, Breed's Hill. He lived on the south side of it, a short distance
trom the water.
2 R. Clapp. He refers to the Great House, as the only habitation
worthy of the name.
HISTORY OF CIIAULESTOWN. 25
1629, (1G30) there was a great design of the Indians, from the
Narragansetts, and all round about us to the eastward in all parts
to cut off the English, which John Sagamore (who always loved
the English) revealed to the inhabitants of this town ; but their
design was chiefly laid against Plymouth (not regarding our pau-
city in the bay) to be effected under pretence of having some
sport and pastime at Plymouth, where after some discourse with
the Governor there, they told him if they might not come with leave
they would without, upon which the sd. Governor sent their flat
bottomed boat (which was all they had) to Salem for some powder
and shot : At which time, it was unanimously concluded by the
inhabitants of this town, that a small fort should be made on the
top of this Town Ilill, with palisadoes and flankers made out,
which was performed at the direction of Mr. Graves by all
hands of men, women and children, who wrought at digging and
building, till the work was done: But that design of the Indians
was suddenly broke up by the report of the great guns at Salem,
only shot off to clear them, by which means they were so frighted,
that all their companies scattered and ran away, and though they
came flattering afterwards, and called themselves our good friends,
yet were we constrained by their conspiracies yearly to be in
During this time the work of the Gospel was not neglected.
The Company had instructed the three ministers they had engaged
to come over, namely, Messrs. Higginson, Skelton and Bright, that
in case they could not agree who should " inhabit at Massachu-
setts-Bay," they should " make choice of one of the three by lot,"
and he, on whom the lot should fall, should " go with his family to
perform that work."
In accordance with these instructions, Rev. Francis Bright, of
Roily, Essex, " trained up under Mr. Davenport," came to Charles-
town. The Company had engaged to give him twenty pounds
towards the expenses of his journey, his passage out and back, and
a salary of twenty pounds a year : Also, ten pounds for the pur-
chase of books and a dwelling-house and land, to be used by him,
and left to his successor in the ministry. If he remained seven
years he was to have one hundred acres of land for his own use." ^
1 His contract is printed in Felt's Annals of Salem, vol. i. p. 570.
26 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
Mr. Bright resided in town over a year, and is termed on the
records, " minister to the Company's servants." He was named
as one of the council for the government of the colony. But he
was a moderate, rather than a thorough Puritan, and affection for
the church of England restrained him from going with his brethren
in their increasing non-conformity. Hence, his labors would be
likely to grow daily more unsatisfactory to the people. He sailed
for England in the ship Lyon, in July, 16:30. Hubbard says, that
he was " a godly minister." On mentioning his departure, he
quotes the character another gave him, "that he began to hew
stones in the mountains wherewith to build, but when he saw all
sorts of stones would not suit in the building, as he supposed, he,
not unlike Jonah, fled from the presence of the Lord, and went
down to Tarshish." ^ If he was an Episcopalian, he would not
be permitted to " hew stones" for the building of the new Eccle-
siastical temple of Congregationalism. Mather classes him with
Rev. R. Smith, a clergyman of opposite tendencies, and then buries
" all further mention of them among the rubbish in the foundation
of the colony." ^
There is no record of the gathering of a church, though it is
not probable that the people remained a year without the enjoyment
of the ordinances. But this brief notice of Mr. Bright is interesting,
as it shows, that the institutions of religion were coeval with the
foundation of the town.
Of Thomas Graves, the distinguished engineer, there is little
that is authentic. He is spoken of as a person of eminent skill, and of
extensive travel. He was named one of the council, and consulted
often respecting the division of land. Li lG:i9, he had a wife and five
children. These circumstances indicate a person somewhat ad-
vanced in years.
The papers in the possession of the descendants of " Rear Ad-
miral Thomas Graves," who died in 105:3, make the two identical.
They state, however, that the admiral was born in 1G05, which
would make him too young a person to be the engineer. It is
probable the latter soon returned to England. But he may have
been connected with the family that became so prominent in the
town and the colony.
This year, 1(3-29, Mr. Graves sent to England a flattering
description of the country. He writes as follows : —
1 Hubbard, p. 113. 2 Magnalia, vol. i. p. 64.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 27
"Thus much I can affirme in gnnerall, tliat I never came in a
more goodly country in all my life, all things considered : If it
hath not at any time been manured and husbanded, yet it is very
beautifull in open lands, mixed with goodly woods, and again open
plaines, in some places five hundred acres, some places more,
some lesse, not much troublesome for to cleere for the j)l()ugh to
goe in, no place barren, but on the tops of the hils ; the grasse
and weeds grow up to a man's face, in the lowlands and by fresh
rivers aboundance of grasse and large meddowes without any tree
or shrubbe to hinder the sith. I never saw, except in Hungaria,
unto which I always paralell this countrie, in all our most respects,
for every thing that is heare eyther sowne or planted prospereth
far better then in Old-England : The increase of come is here
farre beyond expectation, as I have seene here by experience in
barly, the which because it is so much above your conception I
will not mention. And cattle doe prosper very well, and those
that are bredd here farr greater than those with you in England.
Vines doe grow here plentifully laden with the biggest grapes that
ever I saw, some I have seene foure inches about, so that I am
bold to say of this countrie, as it is commonly said in Germany of
Hungaria, that for cattel, corne, and wine it excelleth. We have
many more hopefull commodities here in this country, the which
time will teach to make good use of: In the mean time wee
abound with such things which next under God doe make us sub-
sist : as fish, fowle, deere, and sundrie sorts of fruits, as musk-
millions, water-millions, Indian pompions, Indian pease, beanes,
and many other odde fruits that I cannot name ; all which are
made good and pleasant through this maine blessing of God, the
healthfulnesse of the countrie which far exceedeth all parts that
ever I have beene in : It is observed that few or none doe here
fal sicke, unless of the scurvy, that they bring from aboard the
ship with them, whereof I have cured some of my companie onely
by labour." ^
1 Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. i. This is an extract from a letter writ'
ten by Mr. Graves in 1629. There is said to be in the British Museum
" A coppie of a letter from an ingineer sent out to New England, writ-
ten to a friend in England, A. D. 1629, giving- an account of his landing
with a small company at Salem, and tlience going and making a set-
tlement at Massachusetts Bay, laying the foundation of a town, to which
the Governour gave the name of Charlestown, with apleasuig description
28 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
This commendation of the country was even exceeded by Higgin-
son. " Experience doth manifest," he wrote, " that there is hardly
a more healthfull phace to be found in the world that agreeeth bet-
ter with our English bodyes. Many that have been weake and
sicklie in Old England, by coming hither have been thoroughly
healed and growne healthfull strong. For here is an extroar-
dinarie cleere and dry aire that is of a most healing nature to all
such as are of a cold, melancholly, flegraatick, rheumatick temper
of body." " A sup of New England's aire is better than a whole
draught of Old England's ale."
But these accounts were by far too flattering. They raised
expectations in England that were doomed to sad disappointment.
Deputy Governor Dudley, two years later, writes, that " honest
men out of a desire to draw over others to them, wrote some-
what hyperbolically of many things here."
Such were the events, such the hopes and fears, attending the
foundation of Charlestown. It is not difficult to imagine the ap-
pearance of the peninsula and the occupation of its inhabitants,
during this first year of settlement. The latter, numbering per-
haps a hundred souls, arrive here in one of the Company's ves-
sels, and bring with them materials for building. They find
Thomas Walford, living "alone," — that is the only Englishman
in the place, — in his rude palisaded residence on the south side
of Breed's Hill ; having a wife, and, probably, children ; cultiva-
ting his grounds and trading with the Indians. He receives them
with coldness and jealousy; but "the gentle and good" Sagamore,
the owner of the soil, gives them his "free consent" to commence
a settlement. Accordingly they set up huts or tents, for a tempo-
rary shelter, about the Town Hill; and then the accomplished
Graves proceeds to lay out the streets and divide the ground. Soon,
Walter Palmer and a few others, begin to fence in their lots, and
prepare for building on the east side of Main-street, not far
from Walford's " thatched " residence; while the Spragues and
of the exceedintr Pleasantness and Fruitfulness of the country, and of
the civility of the natives. In one sheet MS. Ex dono Rev. Alexandri
Young, S. T. B."
The author has made two ineffectual attempts to get this letter. It
appears to contain interesting historic matter. But it is not in its place
in the British Museum and cannot be found. It is not improbable that a
part of this letter is quoted in the text.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 29
Others, do the same on Bow-street around the Hill. But the most
important work is going on in the S(iuare, where Mr. Graves, with
a crowd of workmen, is building the " Great House," — anxious,
that, when the Governor comes to live in it, and the Court to sit
in it, it may be pronounced worthy of his reputation. Such are
the six-days' occupations. But as each Sunday comes round, the
echoes of the axe and the hammer cease to reverberate in the
" uncouth wilderness ; " and all join with that " godly man," Rev.
Francis Bright, in praise and prayer. At first, health blesses the
laborious pioneers ; their boards are crowned with plenty, and they
rejoice in being at peace. But winter approaches, and brings
with it sickness and a dearth of provisions. Spring opens,
and their faithful friend, the Sagamore, starts them from their
dream of security, by revealing to them the " conspiracy " of the
hostile tribes to cut them off. The duty of self-preservation then
supersedes all other duties. They all, — " men, women and chil-
dren," — repair to the Town Hill, and there work at " digging
and building," until they complete a fortification.
But the peninsula " is full of Indians," who are attentive specta-
tors of this infant colonization. With what wonder do they re-
gard each note of preparation ! They follow the engineer as he
goes from point to point with his curious instruments, " model-
ing " the town ; and then carry tidings of the strange things they
see, to the Saunks of the late King Nanepashemit. She, in all her
Queenly dignity, with the Powwow of the Tribe in her train,
comes down from her residence in the woods, to verify for herself
the wonderful reports. The " Squa Sachem " gazes curiously
upon each household implement; while her son, Wonohaquaham,
notes each timber in the construction of the "Great House." As
he watches these things his countenance is unmoved, and he ut-
ters only the customary " ugh." But as he beholds the white
man's stated and simple sacri-fice to the Great Spirit, another feel-
ing is awakened ; until at length, Indian stoicism relents into the
confession, that an answering chord is touched in his own undis-
ciplined breast. Ere he dies, his spirit longs for communion with
the "Englishman's God." ^
And as, at intervals of their labors, the founders of the town
^ New England's First Fruits.
30 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
survey the surrounding scenery, it is not strange that they kindle
into admiration and enthusiasm. Nature blooms in its virorin
freshness and magnificence. The peninsula, with its fine eminen-
ces sloping gently to the river side, is " generally filled with stately
timber;" and over it roam freely the wild tenants of the forest:
but it presents to the scientific observer, a site for one of the most
beautiful towns in the world. ^ And the prospect from its hill-tops
is one, that, for beauty accompanied with variety, is seldom equal-
led. If the eye turns towards the sea, the harbor ^ reflects like a
mirror from its polished surface, the emerald isles that gem its
bosom: 3 if toward the land, the hills all around, crowned with
forests, form a natural amphitheatre of unsurpassed loveliness.
But the only traces to be seen of man are the fortified abode of
Maverick on the neighboring island, the cottage of Blackstone by
the hills of Shawmut, the smoke from the wigwams of the natives,
and their birch canoes gliding over the waters. How changed has
become the scene from these summits ! The same sky spreads
over them ; the same waters flow below them ; there is the same
splendid amphitheatre. But now the works of man mingle with the
vesture of nature. Immediately about them are the hum of in-
dustry, and the dwellings, school-towers, and churches, of a free
population. Where theie was the solitary residence of Maverick,
there is a thriving city. Tri-mountain is a forest of human
abodes, and far-famed for its triumphs of art, and commerce, and
freedom ; and, nestling among the surrounding hills, are the
halls of learning, the asylums of benevolence, and circles of
flourishing towns, with their altar-spires pointing towards Heaven.
The old trails of the savage are crossed by the iron paths of the
steam car. In place of his frail skifls dancing upon the waves,
there are sails from every clime moving among the islands,
and among them, the giant forms of our National war-ships,
riding in their splendid repose ; while, on the Mount of
Sacrifiice, sublimely rising " over the land and over the sea,"
1 Dwight's Travels, vol. i. p. 466.
2 Hubbard, p. 17, writes that Charles River, " affords as gallant an
harbor near the mouth of it, as any river of that bigness in all Christen-
3 A. H. Everett.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 31
stands the solemn monumental pile, speaking continually of
COURAGE, PATRIOTISM, and LIBERTY.
The Indians; their connection with the town. — The Massachusetts. —
The Pawtuckets. — Wood's Description. — The Tarratines. — Nan-
epashemit. — Squa Sachem. — Webcowit. — Wonohaquaham.
The Spragues found Mishawum^ full of Indians who were
called Aberginians.- Their chief gave them his free consent to
settle in the peninsula. To follow this friendly reception, there
are none other than friendly relations to detail between the early
inhabitants and the fading red man. The former took care to
satisfy the original owners of the soil before they divided the land ;
if injury was done, by a reckless citizen, to their corn, or swine, or
property, the law ordered prompt restitution; no Indian was
allowed to be held inbondage, and their old fishing-places were
respected. The inhabitants, on their stated training days, mus-
tered about their wigwams. Though thus intimately connected,
1 The records name a spring in the peninsula that was overflowed by
the tide, which became so brackish that the prevalent mortality was
ascribed to its use ; and that the inhabitants, in 1630, were informed by
Blackstone that there was plenty of water at Boston. After analyzing a
a few Indian names for springs, and remarking upon the customs of the
natives in relation to them, a writer in Muss. Hist. Soc. Coll., (vol. xx.
p. 173,) comes to the conclusion, that Mishawumut (meaning the Indian
name of Charlestown) ''meant "a large spring:" and that Shaw-
mut, (the Indian name of Boston,) meant, "fountains of living waters."
He says: " The result seems almost conclusive, that when the spring
at Mishawumut (Mishawum) " a great spring," was overflowed by the
tide, the aborigines were probably in the daily habit of crossing over in
their canoes to the opposite peninsula to procure fresh water, where springs
were excellent and abundant. Hence the name Shawmut, " fountains of
livmg water." Tradition and the town records, — " west side of the
north-west field," — locates this " large spring," not far from the site
of the Winthrop Church, on the shore to the south of the State Prison,
2 " Abergenymen," a name given by the English to the natives.-—
Roger Williams Key.
32 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
there is no tale of blood to rehearse, of encounters between the
citizens and the natives. The "gentle" cliief died in peace: the
widow of their late King, Nanepasheniit, " old and blind," proba-
bly here ended her days. A few pages of this work may surely be
properly devoted to a remembrance of the first occupiers of the soil.
A few years previous to the settlement of the country, the In-
dians in this region were exceedingly numerous. Smith (1614)
saw on the sea-coasts, "great troops of well-proportioned people,"
and " salvage gardens ; " and estimates the number inhabiting the
islands of " the Massachusetts," at three thousand. ^ The mouth
of Charles River was their general place of rendezvous. But
wars among themselves and disease, so reduced their numbers, that
at the time of the colonization of Massachusetts, they presented
but the shadow of their former greatness.
The two nations that governed the circle of territory around
Boston harbor, and running back into the interior, were the Paw-
tuckets, and the MAssAcnusETTS. The latter "were a numer-
ous and great people." Their chief Sachem was, Chikataubut.
His dominion was bounded on the north and west by Charles
River, and on the south, extended to Weymouth and Canton." ^
It included Shawmut, whose Sachem's name was Obbatinua.
Previous to the terrible mortality of about 1013, this tribe could
bring into the field three thousand warriors. At the time of the
settlement its mumbers were inconsiderable.
The Pawtuckets had a dominion extending north and east of
Charles River; " and they had under them several other smaller
Sagamores, as the Pennakooks, (Concord Indians,) Agawomes,
(at Ipswich) Naamkeeks, (at Salem) Pascatawayes, Accomintas
(York) and others." ^ It extended as far east as Piscataqua, and
north, as far as Concord on the Merrimack.'* It included Misha-
wum. They were also a great nation, and could boast of their
three thousand warriors ; but they were almost destroyed by the
great sickness of about 1016. They generally lived in peace with
the Massachusetts tribe.^ In 1021, the Boston Sachem, Obbatinua,
was at enmity with the Squa Sachem of the Massachusetts tribe.^
1 Smith in Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxxvi. p. 119.
2 Lewis's Hist. Lynn, p. 45.
3 Gookin, Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. i. p. 149.
^ Lewis. 5 Gookin. ^ Young's Chronicles, p. 225.
HTSTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
Wood, in his chapter "On the Aberginians," has furnished the fol-
lowing description of this people : it may, perhaps, answer equally
as well for the Indians of Canada or of Florida, so similar have
been found their characteristics : ^
" First of their stature, most of them being between five and
six foot high, straight bodied, strongly composed, smooth skinned,
merry countenanced, of complexion somewhat more swarthy than
Spaniards, black haired, high foreheaded, black eyed, out-nosed,
broad shouldered, brawny armed, long and slender handed, out-
breasted, small waisted, lank belleed, well thighed, flat kneed,
handsome grown legs, and small feet : In a word, take them when
the blood brisks in their veins, when the flesh is on their backs,
and marrow in their bones, when they frolick in their antique de-
portments and Indian postures ; and they are more amiable to
behold (though only in Adam's livery) than many a compounded
phantastic in the newest fashion. It may puzzle belief, to con-
ceive how such lusty bodies should have their rise and daily sup-
portment from so slender a fostering ; their houses being mean,
their lodging as homely, commons scant, their drink water, and
nature their best clothing." ^
The dreaded enemy of these tribes, was the tribe of Tarra-
tines, who lived on the bay and waters of the Penobscot. They
were more " brave, wise, lofty-spirited and industrious than many
others," and on terms of intimate intercourse with the French.^
They were a " hardy and warlike people," writes Gorges.^ Their
great sachem was Nultonanit.^ In 1G21, when the Plymouth
men visited the Massachusetts' tribes, the latter dared not " to
lodge a second night in the same place, for fear of them,*^ and
after the settlement of the country, they would fly to the houses of
the English for a shelter from their fury; for ths Tarratines were
accustomed yearly, at harvest, to come down in their canoes, and
reap their fields, and carry away their corn, and destroy their
people."^ It was this warlike tribe that (1631, Aug. 8) in their
1 Bancroft, vol. ill. p. 3. 2 N. E. Prospect, p. 54.
3 Williamson's Maine, vol. i. p. 215.
^ Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxxvi. p. 91.
5 Lewis's Lynn.
6 Drake, Hist. Indians, b. ii. chap. 3. "^ Planter's Plea.
34 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
canoes, one hundred strong, at night attacked Sagamores John
and James, wounded them and others, and killed seven men.^
The great Sachem of the Pawtuckets was Nanepashemit, or
the New Moon. He lived at Lynn until the war with the Tarra-
tines in 1615. His dominion, at one time, extended to the Piscat-
aqua River to the east, and to Concord on the Merrimack ; while
the Nipmucks, as far as Pocontocook, now Deerfield, acknowl-
edged his authority. He removed to the banks of Mystic Riv-
er, after 1015, where he was killed in IGIO.^ When the Pil-
grims of Plymouth visited Boston harbor, they heard of the fame
of this chieftain and saw his grave. Winslow gives the following
account of his residence and burial place (Sept. 21, 16'21). " On
the morrow we went ashore, all but two men, and marched in
arms up in the country. Having gone three miles, we came to a
place where corn had been newly gathered, a house pulled down,
and the people gone. A mile from hence, Nanepashemit, their
king, in his lifetime, had lived. His house was not like others,
but a scaffold was largely built, with poles and planks, some six
foot from the ground, and the house upon that, being situated on
the top of a hill. Not far from hence in a bottom, we came to a
fort, built by their deceased king; the manner thus. There were
poles, some thirty or forty feet long, stuck in the ground, as thick
as they could be set one by another ; and with them they enclosed
a ring some forty or fifty feet over ; a trench, breast high, was
digged on each side ; one way there was to go into it with a bridge.
In the midst of this palisado, stood the frame of a house, wherein
being dead, he lay buried. About a mile from hence, we came
to such another, but seated on the top of a hill. Here Nanepash-
emit was killed, none dwelling in it since the time of his
This sachem left a widow and four children. Their names are,
1. Wonohaquaham, Sagamore John, of Mystic. 2. Montowam-
pate, Sagamore James, of Lynn, who died in 1673. 3. Wenepoy-
ken, Sagamore George, of Salem, who, after the death of his bro-
1 Savage's Winthrop, vol. i. p. 59.
2 Lewis's Hist. Lynn ; Smith ; Hubbard.
3 Young's Chronicles, p. 220. Shattuck, Hist. Concord, p. 2, locates
his principal place of residence in Medford, near Mystic Pond.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 35
tliers and his mother, became Sachem of the Pawtuckets, He died
in 1GS4. 4. A daughter, Yawata.^
The Saunks, or queen of Nanepashemit, Squa Sachem, con-
tinued the government. In 1G2], she was at ejimity with the Sa-
chem of Boston, and this year the latter made it one of the condi-
tions of submission to the English, that they would grant them
protection against her.
Previous to 1G35, she married Webcowit, the physician of the
tribe — " its powow, priest, witch, sorcerer, or chirurgeon." She
continued to be the Q-ueen, and the Powow became King in right
of his wife.- "It does not appear that he was much respected or
thought of." 3 The apostle Elliot, in his "Clear Sunshine of the
Gospel," gives the following account of some of the questions he
asked, when the English were endeavoring to convert the Indians.
This " old Powow's " question was " to this purpose :" " Seeing
the English had been twenty-seven years (some of them) in this
land, why did we never teach them to know God till now ? Had
you done it sooner," said he, " we might have known much of
God, by this time, and much sin might have been prevented, but
now, some of us are grown old in sin, &c." ^
In 1637, the Squa Sachem, with Webcowit, deeded a large
tract of land in Musketaquid, (Concord) — one of the principal
villages of the Indians, — to the English. On this occasion,
" Wibbacowitt," in particular, received a suit of cotton cloth, a
hat, a white linen band, shoes, stockings, and a great coat, as a
part of the consideration. In 1G39, the same Indian deeded to
Charlestown the tract of land now part of Somerville ; also, ano-
ther tract, to Jotham Gibbons, of Boston. At this time she styled
1 Lewis's Hist. Lynn. Shattuck says, p. 2, the king left five children.
2 The Powow is next the King, or Sachem, and commonly, when he
dies, the Powow marries the Squa Sachem, that is, the Queen.— Lelch-
ford. Morton, however libellous on the Colonists, is thought to have giv-
en a good account of the Indians. Having stated their easy life, he con-
cludes as follows. " They may be accounted to live richly, wanting no-
thing that is needful ; and to be commended for leading a contented life,
the younger being ruled by the elder, and tlie elder ruled by the Powahs,
and the Powahs are ruled by the Devill, and then you may imagine what
good rule is Uke to be amongst them."— New Enghsh Canaan.
3 Drake. ^ Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxxiv. p. 55.
^ Shattuck's Concord.
36 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
herself " Squa Sachem of Mistick." In the deed to Charlestown,
the Squa Sachem reserves to her use her old fishing-places and
hunting grounds, until her death. ^
In 1(544, the Squa Sachem, and other Sachems, submitted them-
selves to the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. They promise to be
true and faithful to the government, to give " speedy notice "
of any conspiracy, attempt, or cruel intention, they may hear of
against it, and to be willing to " be instructed in the knowledge
of God." In relation to this, Winthrop writes, that "we causing
them to understand the articles, and all the ten commandments of
God, and they freely assenting to all, they were solemnly received,
and then presented the court with twenty-six fathom more of wam-
pum ; and the court gave each of them a coat of two yards of
cloth, and their dinner ; and to them and their men, every one
of them, a cup of sack at their departure." They went away
" very joyful." Having become old and blind, the Squa Sachem
is supposed to have died in 1667.^
The only other sachem, whose history is immediately connect-
ed with Charlestown, is Wonohaquauam, who lived at Mystic,
" upon a creek which meets with the mouth of Charles Riv-
er." ■* This was the Sagamore John, characterized in the Re-
1 From the description in the deed, the Town Records, and tradition,
it is probable that one of the residences of the Squa Sachem was near
" Gardner's Row," now part of West Cambridge.
2 Lewis's Hist. Lynn, p. 47. The following document, however, shows
that the Squa Sachem died previous to this year. It is copied from the
Registry ot Deeds, Middlesex, vol. ii,
" Mr. Francis Norton and Nicholas Davison, do in the name of the in-
habitants oi' Charlestown, lay claim to the tract of land, reserved to Squa
Sachem during her life time, and which is at present possessed and im-
proved by Thomas Gleison of Charlestown, this land bounded on the east
by Mistick Pond, on the west by Cambridge Common, on the south by
the land of Mr. Cooke, on tlie north i'ormerly in the possession of Mr.
This demand and claim was made in the person of John Fennell,
and Mr. Wm. Sims, the 25th of March, 1CG2, at the house of Thomas
Entered 29th March, lCG2,by T, Danforth. John Fennell,
Signed, W.M. SiMMEs.
3 Hutchinson, vol. i. pp. 408. 410. Drake, b. ii. chap. 3, says, how-
ever, that he lived at lUunney Marsh, (Chelsea). Rev. John Hig-
ginson's deposition sustains Hutchinson. He lived, probably, at both
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 37
cords as of "gentle and good disposition," who always "loved
the English, and gave them permission to settle here, and who re-
vealed to them the conspiracy of 1630." His limits included
Winisemit. Dudley describes him as "young, handsome," "con-
versant with us, affecting English apparrell and houses, and speak-
ing well of our God." But he did not command more than thirty
or forty warriors.
In 1031, a servant of Sir Richard Saltonstall burnt two of his
wigwams. Dudley gives the following relation of this event.
" Before the depparture of the shipp (w'^i yet was wind bound)
there came vnto vs Sagamore John and one of his subiects require-
inge sattisfaction for the burning of two wigwams by some of the
English which wigwams were not inhabitted but stood in a place
convenient for their shelter, when vppon occasion they should trav-
aile that wayes. By examination wee found that some English
fowlers haueino- retired into that which beloncred to the subiect
and leauing a fire therein carelessly which they had kindled to
warm them were the cause of burninge thereof; ffor that which
was the Sagamores wee could find noe certaine proofe how it was
fired, yet least hee should thinke vs not scedulous enough to find
it out and soo should depart discontentedly from vs, wee gave both
him and his subiects sattisfaction for them both."
Sir Richard was ordered to make satisfaction, " which he did
by seven yards of cloth, and that his servant pay him, at the end
of his time, fifty shillings sterling."
In 1631, he was at Agawam, (Ipswich,) on a visit, when the
Tarratines made their fierce attack on Mascononomo, when he
was wounded. In 1032, with thirty of his men, he went with
Chikataubut to aid Canonicus,chief of the Narragansetts, in a war
against the Pequots. He died in 1032, at Winisemit, of the small
In New England's First Fruits, there is the following interest-
ing detail of his last hours :
" Sagamore John, prince of Massaquesers, was from our very
first landing more corteous, ingenious, and to tiie English more
loving than others of them ; he desired to learne and speake our
language, and loved to imitate us in our behaviour and apparrell,
and began to hearken after our God, and his wayes, and would
much commend English men, and their God, saying (much good
38 HISTORY OF CHAULESTOWN.
men, much good God), and being convinced that our condition
and wayes were better farre then theirs, did resolve and promise
to leave the Indians, and come live with us ; but yet kept down
by feare of the scoffes of the Indians, had not power to make good
his purpose : yet went on not without some trouble of mind, and
secret plucks of conscience, as the sequel declares; for being
struck with death, fearfully cryed out of himselfe that he had not
come to live with us, to have knowne our God better : ' But now,
(said he) I must die, the God of the English is much angry with
me, and will destroy me ; ah, I was afraid of the scoffes of the
wicked Indians; yet my child shall live with the English, and
learne to know their God when I am dead ; ile give him to Mr.
Wilson, he is a much good man, and much loved me : ' so sent
for Mr. Wilson to come to him, and committed his onely child to
his care, and so died." ^
He left by will, all his wampum and coats to his mother, and
his land about Powder-Horn Hill, to his son, and in case of his
decease, to his brother George.^
1G30 to 1G31. -^Objects of the Puritans. — The Winthrop Emigration.
— Roger Clap's visit. — Arrival of Winlhroj). — Situation of the Col-
ony. — Deaths. — Samuel Fuller's Letter. — Fortitude of the Suffer-
ers. — Removal. — Settlements. — Reflections.
While the inhabitants were struggling through the winter, the
Massachusetts Company ^ were making preparations to add largely
1 Hubbard, p. 651, adds, " Whether the child answered the father's
desire or no, is not known, hut the contrary feared."
2 Felt's Annals of Salem, p. 17.
3 In the Massachusetts Archives, Lands, p. 1., there is a document
which asserts that Sir William Brereton also sent over several families.
It gives the history of his title as follows : — " Sir Wilham Brereton dies
leaving Thomas, his only son, afterwards Sir Thomas, and Susanna his
daughter. Sir Thomas dies without issue. Susanna marries Edmund
Lenthall, Esq., and dies leaving Mary, her only daughter and heir.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWxV.
to their number. The resolution hnd been taken, by Winthrop
and his associates, to transform themselves, by the bold step of
carrying the charter witli them, from a Commercial Corporation
into a Provincial Government. The causes that led to this result
will be found in the general histories : the motives that actuated
the multitude that were about to people this then "terrible wilder-
ness," are, perhaps, well and concisely stated by contemporary
writers. " Necessitie," says one of them, " may presse some ;
noveltie draw on others ; hopes of gaine in time to come, may pre-
vail with a third sort : but that the most sincere and godly part
have the advancement of the Gospel for their maine scope, I am
cofident."- " The propagation of the Gospel," — the Company
write, 1G29, — " is the thing we do profess above all to be our aim
in settling this plantation." 3 But though the spread of the Gospel,
in the stern form of Puritanism, became the main aim of the col-
onists, yet both their eulogists and their denunciators admit, that
they also looked, both here and in England, to a higher political
liberty. "These men," said Laud, "do but begin with the
Church, that they might after have the freer access to the State."
The first vessel of the fleet that carried over those who emigra-
ted with Winthrop, arrived at Nantasket on the 30th of May,
1G30. Roger Clap, was in this ship, — the Mary & John, — and
ffives the followino- account of his visit to this town : —
" When we came to Nantasket, Capt. Sqiieh, who was Captain
of that great ship of Four Hundred Tons, would not bring us into
Charles River, as he was bound to do ; but put us ashore and our
Goods on Nantasket Point, and left us to shift for ourselves in a
forlorn place in this Wilderness. But as it pleased God, Ave got a
boat of some old Planters, and laded her with Goods; and some
able men well Armed went in her unto Charlestown : where we
Mary is married tq Mr. Levett, of the Inner Temple, who claims the said
lands in ritrht of Mary his wife, who is heir to Sir William Brereton and
Sir Thomas Brereton.
" Sir William Brereton sent over several families and servants, who
possessed and improved several large tracts of the said land, and made
several leases as appears by the said deeds."
Brereton sided with the Parliament in its contest whh Charles I, and
led its troops at the siege of Chester, in 1G44. In the History of Chester,
may be found his summons to this city to surrender, with an account of
1 Planter's Plea, written in 1630, p. 36. 2 Letter, April 17.
40 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOAVN.
found so7ne Wigwams and one House, and in the House there was
a Man whicli liad a boiled Bass, l)iit no Bread that we see; but
we did eat of his Bass, and then went up Charles River, until the
River grew narrow and shallow, and there we landed our Goods
with much Labor and Toil, the Bank being steep. And Night
coming on, we were informed that there were hard by us T'liree
Hundred Indians ! One English 3Ian that could speak the In-
dian Language, (an old planter,) went to them and advised them
not to come near us in the night ! And they hearkened to his
counsel, and came not. I myself was one of the Centinels that
first night : Our captain was a Low Country Souldier, one Mr.
Southcot, a brave Souldier. In the Morning some of the Indians
came and stood at a distance off, looking at us, but came not near
us : but when they had been a while in view, some of them came
and held out a great Bass towards us ; so we sent a man with a
Bisket, and changed the cake for the Bass. Afterwards they sup-
plyed us with Bass exchanging a Bass for a Bisket-Cake, and were
very friendly unto us."
On the 12th of June, the ship in which Winthrop embarked,
arrived at Salem; on the 17th he sailed, in a boat, up Mystic
River ; on the 18th he stopped at Maverick's Fort ^ on Noddle's
Island ; on the next day he returned to Salem, and reported favor-
ably for building at " Charlton." On the 1st of July he had ar-
rived here, and during this month, the greater part of the fleet ar-
rived safely into port.
1 By this time, Samuel Maverick " had built a small fort with the help
of Mr. David Thomson," Johnson, b. i. chap. 17, who was the first
occupant of Thompson's Island in the harbor, where the Fann School
is. Hon. James Savage, Winthrop, vol. i. p. 27, concludes, from tlie
language of this writer, that Maverick came either in 1628 or 1G29.
Josselyn, 16.38, praises him for his hospitality, pronouncing him " the
only hospitable m;.n in all the country, — giving entertainment to all com-
ers gratis," Voyages in Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxxiii., while Johnson
sets him down " as an enemy to the reformation in hand, being strongly
for the Prelatical power." However the latter might be, the General
Court granted to him Noddle's Island. But he was obliged to pay " to
the governor for the time bemg " " either a fat weather, a fat hog, or
jClO in money." The Court also reserved to this town and Boston, the
right " to fetch wood continually, as their need requires, froin the south-
ern part of said Island." " Wmisemet Ferry, both to Charlestown and
Boston, was also granted to him forever." — Savage's Winthrop, vol. i.
p. 27. Oldmixon, 1741, says that "Nettles" Island, " within these
few years was esteemed worth 2 or 300/. to the owner, Col. Shrimp-
ton," vol. i. p. 194.
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 41
The condition in which Winthrop found the Colony, was Scid
and unexpected. Smith thus describes it. " They found three-
score of their people dead, the rest sick, nothing done, but all com-
plaining, and all things so contrary to their expectation, that now
every monstrous humor began to show itself" ^ " All the corn
and bread amongst them all hardly sufficed to feed them a fort-
night." " But bearing these things as they might," ~ some began
to look about them for places of settlement, while the multitude
set up " cottages, booths and tents," about the Town Hill. The
Records give the history of this arrival as follows : —
" In the months of June and July, 1G29, (1630,) arrived at this
town John Winthrop, Esq., Governor, Sir Richard Saltonstall,
Knt., Mr. Johnson, Mr. Dudley, Mr. Ludlow, Mr. Nowell, Mr.
Pinchon, Mr. Broadstreete, who brought along with them the
Charter, or patent, for this jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay,
with whom also arrived Mr. John Wilson, and Mr. Phillips, Min-
isters, and a multitude of people, amounting to about fifteen hun-
dred, brought over from England in twelve ships. The governor
and several of the Patentees dwelt in the Great House, which was
last year built in this town by Mr. Graves, and the rest of their
" The multitude set up cottages, booths and tents, about the
Town Hill. They had long passage ; some of the ships were
seventeen, some eighteen weeks a coming; many people arrived
sick of the scurvy, which also increased much after their arrival
for want of houses, and by reason of wet lodgings in their cot-
tages; and other distempers also prevailed. And although peo-
ple were generally very loving and pitiful, yet the sickness did
so prevail, that the whole were not able to tend the sick as they
should be tended ; upon which many perished and died, and were
buried about the Town Hill.
" By which means provisions were exceedingly wasted, and no
supplies could now be expected by planting; besides, there was
miserable damage and spoil of provisions by sea, and divers came
not so well provided as they would, upon a report whilst they were
in England, that now there was enough in New England, And
1 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxxiii. p. 40. 2 Dudley's Letter.
42 HISTORY OF CIIARLESTOWN.
unto all this, there were [some, imprudently selling much of the
remainder] ' to the Indians, for beaver. All which being taken
into consideration iiy the governor and gentlemen, they hired and
dispatched away Mr. William Pearce, with his ship, of about two
hundred tons, for Ireland, to buy more, and in the mean time went
on with their work for settling. In order to which they, with Mr.
John Wilson, one of tlie ministers, did gather a church, and chose
the said Mr. Wilson pastor, — the greatest number all this time
intending nothing more than settling in this Town, for which the
governor ordered his house to be cut and framed here.
" But the weather being hot, many sick and others faint after
their long voyage, people grew discontented for want of water ;
who generally notioned no water good for a town but running
springs ; ^ and though this neck do abound with good water, yet for
want of experience and industry none could then be found, to suit
the humour of that time, but a brackish spring in the sands, by
the water side on the west side of the northwest field, which could
not supply half the necessities of that multitude. At which time
the death of so many was concluded to be much the more occa-
sioned by this want of good water."
One witness writes, that " many died weekly, yea, almost
daily;" ^ another says that, " almost in every family lamentation,
mourning, and woe were heard, and no fresh food to cherish
them." '^ There were, among the deaths, some of the most hon-
ored and excellent of the Colonists. Rev. Francis Higginson was
one of the victims. Early in August, the Lady Arbella, ^ wife of
1 The words in brackets are supplied from Prince, p. 313, — the man-
uscript being illegible.
2 This "notion" respecting running springs operated, at one time,
unfavorably for Roxbury. On the 6th of Dec, 1630, the governor and
most of the assistants, and others, met there and agreed to build a town.
And a committee was appointed to make the necessary arrangements.
But when this committee met at Roxbury eight days later, it was con-
cluded not to build a town there, and one reason that weighed against the
place was, " There was no running water ; and if there were any spnngs,
they would not suffice the Town." — Savage's Winthrop, vol. i. p. 38.
3 Johnson. "^ Dudley.
5 " The Lady Arrabella, and some other godly women, abode at Salem,
but their husbands continued at Charlestown, both for the civil govern-
ment and gathering of another church." — Wonder-working Providence.
HISTORY OF CIIARLESTOWN.
Isaac Johnson, died, leaving an envied name ; and during this
month, Mrs. Pynchon, Mrs. Coddington, x\Irs. Phillips, and Mrs.
Alcock. On the 20th of September, William Gager died, " a
right godly man, a skilful chyrurgeon," who had been chosen
deacon ; and on the 30th, Isaac Johnson, the wealthiest of the
company, and a warm friend of the Colony, followed his deceased
partner. He died in Christian peace and resignation ; declaring
his life better spent in promoting this plantation than it would
have been in any other way. On the 23d of October, Mr. Ros-
siter died, another highly esteemed associate, and one of the as-
Among those present at this gloomy period, was Samuel Fuller,
one of the fathers of Plymouth, and an eminent surgeon. He re-
mained several weeks, sympathizing with the sufferers, but unable
to supply requisite medicines. On the 2d of August, he writes
to Gov. Bradford of Plymouth : " The sad news here is that
many are sick and many are dead ; the Lord in mercy look upon
them ! Some are here entered into church covenant, the first was
four, namely, the Governor, Mr. John Winthrop, Mr. Johnson,
Mr. Dudley, and Mr. Wilson ; since that five more are joined
unto them, and others it is like will add themselves to them daily.
The Lord increase them both in number and holiness, for his
mercy's sake. I here but lose time and long to be at home : I
can do them no good, for I want drugs and things fitted to work
" It was admirable to see with what Christian courage many car-
ried it amidst these calamities." ^ It was chiefly Winthrop's calm
decision that sustained the courage of his associates.^ In the midst
of the suffering, he wrote to Mr. Johnson, at Salem, " representing
the hand of God upon them in the prevailing sickness," and ap-
pointing July 30, a day of fasting and prayer. On the 9th of
Sept. he wrote to his wife, then in England, in the following lan-
guage : " I praise the good Lord, though we see much mortality,
sickness, and trouble, yet (such is his mercy) myself and children,
with most of my family, are yet living and in health, and enjoy
prosperity enough, if the afflictions of our brethren did not hold
under the comfort of it. * * * I thank God, I like so well to
1 Mass, Hist. Coll., vol. iii. p. 76. 2 Johnson. 3 Bancroft.
44 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
be here, as I do not repent my coming ; and if I were to come
again, I would not have altered my course, though I had foreseen
all these afflictions. I never fared better in my life, never slept
better, never had more content of mind." ^
Immediately upon the arrival of the colonists, differences arose
respecting places of settlement; for Salem, where they landed,
" pleased them not." Several were sent " to the Bay," — Boston
harbor, — " to search up the rivers for a convenient place."
Oa receiving their reports, — some being in favor of Mystic, some
of" Charlton," some of a place "three leagues up Charles River,"
— the goods were " unshipped into other vessels, and with much
cost and labor, brought in July" to this town. But after this,
they " received advertisements by some of the late arrived ships
from London and Amsterdam, of some French preparations "
against them. They changed their original intention of establishing
themselves in one town, and for their "present shelter," resolved
to "plant dispersedly." "^ "This dispersion," Governor Dudley
writes, " troubled some of us, but help it we could not, wanting
ability to remove to any place fit to build a Towne upon, and the
time too short to deliberate any longer lest the winter should sur-
prise us before we had builded our houses. The best council we
could find out was to build a fort to retire to, in some convenient
place, if any enemy pressed thereunto, after we should have for-
tified ourselves against the injuries of wet and cold." The Town
Records assign the want of water as the chief reason why the great
body of those who had remained here through the months of July
and August, determined to remove to Shawmut and other places.
Immediately after the paragraph already printed, these Records
furnish the following history of the " dispersion : " —
" This caused several to go abroad upon discovery ; some went
without the neck of this town, who travelled up into the main till
they came to a place well watered, whither Sir Richard Saltonstall,
1 Winthrop, vol. i. p. 377.
2 Dudley's Letter. As it was written March 12, 1631, it takes pre-
cedent of the Town Records, where the two authorities differ. It was
written at Boston. The author says, " haveing yet no table, nor other
room to write in, than by the fireside upon my knee, in this sharpe win-
ter ; to which my family must have leave to resorte, though they break
good manners, and make mee many times forget what I would say, and
say what I would not."
HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN. 45
Knt., and Mr. Phillips, minister, went with several others and set-
tled a plantation, and called it Wattertowne.
" Others went on the other side of Charles River, and there
travelled up into the country, and likewise finding good waters,
settled there with Mr. Ludlow, and called the plantation Dorches-
ter, whither went Mr. Maverick and Mr. Warham, who were their
*' In the meantime, Mr. Blackstone,^ dwelling on the other side
of Charles River, alone, at a place by the Indians called Shawmutt,
1 William Blackstone was the eccentric Episcopal clergyman and the
first Enj^lish occupant of Boston. He was at Shavvmut when Charles-
town was founded : How long- had he been there? He had a cottage :
Who built it 1 He claimed the whole peninsula, and the inhabitants ac-
knowledged his right to it by buying it of him. On what was his claim
Letchford says, Mass. Hist. Collections, vol. xxxiii. p. 97, he " went
from Boston, having lived there nine or ten years." If ten years, it
would bring his arrival to about 1625. Hopkins, Hist. Rehoboth, p. 3,
who published ninety years after Blackstone's death, says he had been at
Boston " so long as to have raised apple trees and planted an orchard,"
when the Mass. Colony came. Mr. Savage, Winihrop, vol. i. p. 45, con-
cludes that he had occupied the peninsula seveial years before 1628.
These authorities unite in establishing the time as far back as 1625, — pos-
sibly a year earlier.
It was about this time, or in 1624, that Robert Gorges left his interests
here " to the charge and custody of his servants and certain other under-
takers and tenants." — Hazard, vol. i. p. 191. Four years later, 1628,
the inh eritor of these interests, John Gorges, authorized Blackstone,
Hazard, vol. i. p. 268, to give Oldhain the possession of the land which
had been leased to him. Does not this show that Blackstone was connect-
ed with this patent 1 Is not the inference a just one, that he was one of
the " undertakers " allvided to above ! And if so, that he came over with
Gorges and occupied under a grant from him?
Mather, Magnalia, vol. i. p. 226, and Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 26, say that
Blackstone claimed the whole peninsula upon which Boston is built, be-
cause " he was the first that slept upon it." See also. Snow's Hist. p.
52. Perhaps Walford might have advanced such a claim in relation to
Charlestown, when he " confronted the magistrates." Such claims could
not be allowed : for however prodigal or avaricious the Plymouth Council
might have been in selling patents, " all the right of soil which the gov-
ernment at home could give, was, by the charter, given to the " Massa-
chusetts Company." (Savage). But it may be asked; why should our
ancestors have expelled Walford and bought out Blackstone ? Perhaps
because of the friendly offices of the latter during the suflering of 1630.
There is a tradition, current in the neighborhood where this eccentric
individual last resided, that the Company were disposed at first to deprive
him of his land, and that he made a characteristic and spirited resist-
ance. — Hist. Rehoboth, p. 3. The early writers say, that he told the
Puritans that " became from England because he did not like the Lord's
46 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
where he only had a cottage at, or not far off, the place called
Blackstone's Point, he came and acquainted the governor of an
excellent spring there, withal inviting hiin and soliciting him thither.
Whereupon, after the death of Mr. Johnson and divers others, the
governor, vi'ith Mr. Wilson and the greatest part of the church
removed thither : whither also the frame of the governor's house,
in preparation at this town, was (also to the discontent^ of some)
carried when people began to build their houses against winter,
and this place was called Boston.
"After these things, Mr. Pinchon and several others, planted be-
twixt Boston and Dorchester, which place was called Roxbury.
" Now, after all this, the Indians' treachery being feared, it was
judged meet the English should place their towns as near together
as could be, for which end Mr. Dudley and Mr. Broadstreete, with
some others, went and built, and planted between Charlestown and
Waterton, who called it Newtown (which was afterwards called
" Others issued out to a place between Charlestown and Salem,
called Saugust, (since ordered to be called Lynn.-)
" And thus by reason of discouragements and difficulties that
Bishops, but he could not join with them because he did not like the
Blackstone took the detjree of A. B. at Emanuel's College, 1617 : that
of A. M. 1621 : (Mass. Hist. Coll.: vol. xxxviii. p. 247,) was assessed to
pay for the campaign of Merry Mount, and named as an agent of Gorges,
1G28 : was freeman 1631 : had fifty acres of land set out to him near his
cottage 1633 : sold all but six acres to Boston and removed to Reholwth
1634 : married Mary Stevenson, widow, July 4, 1059 ; and died May 26,
1675, leaving a son.
The learned commentator on Winthrop says, that of the exact time
when he pitched his tent at Boston " we shall, probably, remain forever
unmformed." I have been able to add but a fact and a suggestion to his
Full accounts of the latter part of his life, maybe found in Bliss's Hist.
Rehoboth, Dagget's Attleborough, and Mass. Hist. Collections, vol.
xxix. p. 174.
1 In 1032, Savage, Winthrop, vol. i. p. 82, there \vas also discontent
at Newtown, because the governor removed a frame he had set up there,
in accordance with a promise he had made to build there. Winthrop's
explanation was, "that he had perlin-med the words of the promise, for
he had a house up, and seven or eight servants abiding in it, by the day
appointed." He gives good reasons for his removal to Boston.
2 The interleaved Almanacs of Danforth, in Farmer and Moore's Coll.,
vol. iii. p. 292, give the annexed dates as the time when these towns
" began : " 1628, Salem ; 1629, Charlestown, Lynn ; 1630, Dorchester,
HISTORY OF CIIAULESTOWN. 47
strangers in a wilderness at first meet withal, though as to some
things but supposed, as in this case people might have found water
abundant in this town and needed not to have perished for want,
or wandered to other places for relief, would they but have looked
after it. But this, attended with other circumstances, the wisdom
of God made use of as a means for spreading his Gospel, and peo-
pling of this great, and then terrible wilderness, and this sudden
spreading into several townships came to be of far better use for
the entertainment of so many hundreds of people that came for
several years following hither, in such multitudes from most parts
of old England, than if they had now remained altogether in this
" But after their departure from this town, to the peopling and
planting of the towns aforesaid, and in particular of the removal
of the governor and the greatest part of our new gathered church
with the pastor to Boston, the few inhabitants of this town re-
maining, were constrained for three years after, generally to go to
Boston on the Lord's day, to hear the word and enjoy the sacra-
ments before they could be otherwise supplied."
From April to December two hundred died : " It may be said
of us almost as of the Egyptians, that there is not a house where
there is not one dead and in some houses many." ^ It is not
strange that some were disheartened and turned back — sailing
Watertown, Roxbury, Boston; 1631, Marblehead, Cambridge, Wey-
mouth : 1633, Ipswich ; 1634, Hingham.
The Town Records date the settlement of Boston after the death of Mr.
Johnson, which took place. Sept. 30. But in a rate levied by the Court of
Assistants, Sept. 28, of £50, Charlestown was assessed only £1 while
Boston was assessed £11. Mr. Savage says, Winthrop, vol. i p. 95,
that, in September the greater part of the congregation lived at Boston.
The first meeting of the Company at Boston was held Oct. 19 : the first
Court of Assistants Nov. 9. Snow dates the foundation of Boston from
Sept. 7, when Tn-mountain was ordered to be called Boston. Hubbard
says, that " about November the Governor and Deputy Governor, with
most of the assistants, removed their famiHes to Boston.
The first Court of Assistants at Charlestown was held Aug. 23, on
board the Arbella, Johnson says, which assertion, as to the place, Mr.
Savage, Winthrop, vol. i. p. 30, questions. It was then, however,
specially ordered that the next Court should be held " at the Governor's
House." (the Great House) Sept. 7. There was another Court held
Sept. 28, probably at the same place : after which, Oct. 19, the meet-
ings were held at Boston.
48 HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN.
with Captain Peirce for England. But this, no more than their
suffering, discouraged the survivors. They professed themselves
glad so to be rid of them. This experience, however, gave a dif-
ferent tone to the letters from the Colony to their friends in Eng-
land. " I say this," nobly wrote Dudley to the Countess of Lin-
coln, March, 1G31, "that if any come hither to plant for worldly
ends, that can live well at home, he commits an error, of which he
will soon repent him." " If there be any endued with grace, and
furnished with means to feed themselves and theirs for eighteen
months, and to build and plant, let them come into our Mace-
donia, and help us, and not spend themselves and their estates in
a less profitable employment : For others I conceive they are not
yet fitted for this business." ^
Such were the scenes, as described in the simple and touching
language of the sufferers, that marked the second year of the his-
tory of Charlestown and the settlement of Boston. The dead, say
the Records, were buried about the Town Hill.- It was chiefly
about this hill that the emigrants first built their " cottages." It
continued, until the Revolution, to be the most populous part of
the town. And there, on another day of trial, the homes of the
descendants of these " first victims," became an early sacrifice
on the altar of American liberty. Eulogy has exhausted itself
in treating of the day of Bunker Hill. But not less worthy of
commemoration are the firmness, the self-sacrifice, the Christian
resignation, of the men, who thus, in tears and faith, founded the
Colony of Massachusetts.
1 Dudley's Letter.
2 There is a tradition that there was anciently a grave-yard on the Town
Hill. Human bones have been dug up in various places upon it. The
last instance of this was, in digging this year, 1845, the cellar for the
stores built by Mr. Joseph Thompson on the Square. Some of the bones
consisted of parts of sculls in which the teeth were in a state of perfect
preservation. But no part of this hill was ever laid out as a regular bii-
rying-place, and the tradition is probably founded on the single instance
mentioned in the Records.
On page 24, for " Clapp," read " Clap."
On page 37, for the last time " 1632 " occurs, read " 1633."
At the" foot of page 13, for " Indians," read " Northern Indians.
There are a few other errors of minor importance.