Skip to main content

Full text of "The Earliest Minor Accounts of Plymouth Plantation"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 


Volume XIII OCTOBER, 1920 Nttmber 4 




The story of the voyage of the Mayflower in 1620 and 
of the Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth has been told again 
and again, and in this year of the tercentenary celebra- 
tion will be repeated in still further varying forms; but 
we are certain that it will never be more graphically nar- 
rated than by the Pilgrims themselves and their friends 
during the twenties, thirties, and forties of the seventeenth 

In this paper I do not intend to venture to give any new 
version of that narrative. It is my purpose rather to re- 
call certain phases of the story as they appear in the vigor- 
ous and terse English of the earliest accounts, and to note 
especially also the interesting archaeological information 
concerning the Indians of New England which they 

In recent years Governor Bradford's monumental His- 
tory of Plimoth Plantation has overshadowed these minor 
accounts, and this is quite understandable, owing to its 
undoubted value, its comparatively recent recovery, and 
its publication in several editions. It would, however, be 
a mistake to suppose that the History has superseded the 
more fragmentary literature. Quite the contrary is the 
case, for that work was only commenced in 1630 and was 


written with an entirely different purpose in view. Con- 
sequently it lacks much of the freshness and detail of the 
first contemporary narratives, though it also occasionally 
supplements them with other facts of considerable in- 
terest. Sometimes, however, Bradford in the History ab- 
breviates, alters, or even passes over in silence incidents 
or details which at the time of the arrival of the Pilgrims 
seemed interesting, if not important. 

In reintroducing the subject of the early Pilgrim litera- 
ture I shall consider almost entirely certain documents 
published in 1622 under the title of A Relation or Iovrnall, 
and Edward Winslow's Good Newes from New England 
issued in 1624. Brief reference will also be made to John 
Pory's Description of Plymouth Colony of 1622, to Cap- 
tain John Smith's Advertisements of 1631, to William 
Wood's [Sir William Alexander's?] New Englands Pros- 
pect of 1636, and to Thomas Morton's New English 
Canaan of 1637. 

It may be doubted if there is any early document re- 
lating to the Pilgrims equal in vivacity and graphic power 
to John Pory's Description of 1622. Pory was a friend 
of Governor Bradford and one of the best letter-writers 
of his time; and his quaint and delightful account of 
Plymouth gives a picture of the infant colony and its 
neighborhood and of the life there in those early days 
such as no other known writer of the period has left be- 
hind. An occasional touch of humor adds to its readable- 
ness. The document as a whole furnishes us with the 
earliest description of Plymouth of any extent which still 
exists in a contemporary manuscript, and with informa- 
tion on various historical points little or not otherwise 
known, and clears up one matter which has proved a 
puzzle to historians and editors for two and a half cen- 
turies. 1 

1 I refer to the word Angoum or Anguum, which is here shown to stand for Anquam 
(Annisquam) on Cape Ann, and not for Agawam (Ipswich), as heretofore supposed. 


As Pory's narrative has recently been published in full, 2 
the following extract will suffice here, and will give some 
idea of the breezy manner in which this debonair ad- 
venturer noted his impressions of the new colony and its 

"Oysters there are none, but at Massachusett some 20 miles to 
the north of this place there are such huge ones by salvages report, 
as I am loth to report. For ordinarie ones, of which there be manie, 
they make to be as broad as a bushell, but one among the rest they 
compared to the greate cabbin of the Discoverie, and being sober 
and well advised persons, grew verie angrie when they were laughed 
at or not beleeved! I would haue had Captaine Jones to haue tried 
out the truth of this report, and what was the reason? If, said I, the 
oysters be soe greate and haue anie pearles in them, then must the 
pearles be answerable in greatnes to the oysters, and proving round 
and orient also, would farre exceed all other Jewells in the world! 
Yea, what strange and pretious things might be found in so rare a 
creature! But Captaine Jones his imploying his pinnace in discov- 
eries, his graueing of the ship, his hast away about other occasions 
and busines, would not permit him to doe that which often since he 
wished he could haue done." 

The earliest experiences of the Pilgrim Fathers after 
their eventful voyage across the Atlantic are first re- 
corded in the previously mentioned Relation or Iovrnall, 
1622, and Edward Winslow's Good Newes from New Eng- 
land, 1624. In America for many years the Relation or 
Iovrnall has been erroneously styled Mourt's Relation. 
Dr. Henry Martyn Dexter was, no doubt, chiefly re- 
sponsible for perpetuating the title, but recent writers oc- 
casionally employ it, in spite of the fact that for more 
than fifty years scholars have justly suspected and stated, 
though without perfectly satisfactory evidence in the 
first instance, that Governor William Bradford and 
Edward Winslow were the true authors respectively of 
the two separate Relations really included in that work. 
Until the publication of Professor Edward Arber's Story 

* Houghton Mifflin Co, 1918. 


of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1897, indeed, definite proof was 
wanting to show that Bradford had ever written such a 
Relation. Twenty years and more, however, have gone 
by since then, and yet our historians and editors are still 
referring to Mourt's Relation. 

On pages 506 and 507 of Arber's Story of the Pilgrim 
Fathers will be found the following complaint, of the date 
1622, 3 the contents of which when taken in connection with 
certain well known facts prove that the first (and only real) 
Relation published concerning the Pilgrims in 1622 was 
written by Bradford, and that there is no reason what- 
ever for attaching to it the name of an unknown person 
of the period called "Mourt": 4 

"The Complaint of certain Adventurers and Inhabitants 
of the Plantation in New England 


That a ship belonging to them, named the Fortune, of the 
burden of between 40 and 50 tons or thereabouts, being upon their 
way homeward, and near the English coast, some eight leagues off 
Use, called by the Frenchmen He d'Use [ = Yeu, off the coast of 
Poitou], was, the 19th of January last [1622], assailed and taken by 
a French Man-of-War, the Captain whereof was called Fontenau 
de Pennart de Brittannie [Bretagne]; and carried to the Isle of Use. 

J Mr. Worthington C. Ford reproduces this document in full in his Massachusetts 
Historical Society edition of Bradford's History (I, 268,269), but fails to draw the 
obvious conclusion, and (1, 177, note 6) speaks of "Mourt" and of the "authors of the 

4 Consequently, a historical blunder has been made in calling this work Mourt's 
Relation. In the first place, Mourt is a ghost-name, since it never existed except by 
mistake. In the original printed edition the name stands as "Mourt.", the period at 
the end naturally indicating an abbreviation by suspension, as well as the conclusion of 
the preface. The name "Mourton," "Murton," or "Morton" (compare the similar 
phonetic spellings Crumwell and Cromwell) is manifestly intended, but there is nothing 
to prove that George Morton wrote much more than the preface. In the second place, 
according to the printed title-page, the work known as Mourt's Relation contains not 
one Relation but two Relations, the second chiefly composed, it would appear, of letters 
or parts of letters written by Edward Winslow. In the third place, we have the best of 
reasons, both from internal evidence and from the definite statement in the complaint 
just mentioned, that the first Relation was written by Governor Bradford, or perhaps 
we might say more accurately, was compiled by him from his own observations and 
possibly the narrative of some eye-witness of occasional events not noted by himself. 


That Fontenax; presented the ship, and company thereof, being 
18 persons, as prisoners to Monsieur le Marquis de Cbka, Governor 
of the Isle. . . . That thereupon Monsieur de Cera kept Thomas 
Baeton, Master of the ship, seven days, close prisoner in his Castle, 
and the rest of the company under guard; and commanded his 
soldiers to pillage them. . . . That he sent for all their letters, 
[and] opened and kept what he pleased; especially, though he was 
much intreated to the contrary, a letter written by [William Brad- 
ford] the Governor of our Colony in New England, containing a 
general Relation of all matters there." 5 

Accordingly, we know definitely that about 1621-22, 
Bradford did write "a general Relation of all matters" 
pertaining to the colony at Plymouth; that it was carried 
to Europe in the Fortune, which on January 19-29, 1621- 
22, was captured by a French war vessel and taken to the 
Isle of Yeu, off the coast of Poitou; that here the ship- 
master and all on board were kept prisoners for some 

To supplement this document, we may add a state- 
ment from Mr. Ford's edition of Bradford's History (I, 
178), namely, that Monti's Relation "was carried to Eng- 
land by Robert Cushman, who, sailing in the Fortune, did 
not reach London till February, 1622"; and that on June 
29, 1622, the Relation was entered in the Stationers' Reg- 
ister under the title, N ewes from newe England. Elsewhere 
(I, 268), in the same edition of the History Bradford 
further gives a letter from Cushman, in which he says 
that the vessel was kept in France for fifteen days, and 
that he and his fellow-passengers did not reach home 
until February 17-27, 1621-22. 

Thus we obtain the final link in the chain of evidence 
which proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the first 
section of Mourt's Relation is really Bradford's Relation, 
for two distinct Relations treating of exactly the same 
matters would hardly have been carried from Plymouth 

6 S. P. Colonial, Vol. V, No. 112, E. Arber, Story of the Pilgrim Fathers, 1897, 
pp. 506, 507. 


on the same vessel at one time, one of them by Governor 
Bradford and the other by an entirely unknown person 
bearing the ghost-name "Mourt"; and furthermore in 
case there had by any chance been two such Relations 
and one of them by Bradford, it is certain that Cushman 
would have carried that by the Governor and not that 
by the utterly unknown "Mourt." The same evidence 
makes it also probable that after the manuscript had 
been taken away, and very likely some time between 
February, 1621-22 and June 29, 1622, the first Relation 
was returned to Cushman or at least sent on to England 
as the outcome of the Complaint which had been issued. 
Thus we obtain a better understanding of the wanderings 
of the manuscript of Bradford's earliest description of the 
settlement at Plymouth. 

The second so-called Relation printed with that by 
Bradford, as I have previously indicated in a note, is made 
up chiefly of letters or parts of letters by Winslow, and 
consequently was also not composed by "Mourt," though 
in England Morton may perhaps have added the head- 
ings to the several sections and may have given the ex- 
tended title to the book when it was sent to the press. 

Unless we are mistaken, the first Relation or Iovrnall 
gains a new historical value by our present definite knowl- 
edge that it was certainly written by Governor Bradford 
himself. Well might Professor Arber, who by the way did 
not believe that the original document by Bradford had 
really survived, and who concluded by a rather bad process 
of reasoning 6 that Edward Winslow was the probable 
author of the first Relation as printed, assert with much 
feeling, that "Posterity will always owe a grudge to this 
noble thief [Monsieur le Marquis de Cera] for his robbery 
of Governor Bradford's despatch, unless it should happily 

8 Story of the Pilgrim Fathers, 1897, p. 416, note. If Winslow, or any other Pilgrim 
besides Bradford, had been the author, he would have written "Master William Brad- 
ford," not simply "William Bradford." 


be recovered from among the existing French archives; 
and then posterity would bless him forever"; 7 and that 
"Doubtless, the Marquis kept it in order to send it up 
to the Court at Paris " ! But in this opinion Dr. Arber was 
certainly wrong, unless indeed the document was sent 
back from Paris before June 29, 1622. 

The Pilgrim Fathers upon their arrival on American 
shores were very much interested in their natural sur- 
roundings and in the neighboring Indians, and fortunately 
were very keen observers and reporters of the primitive 
objects and strange customs which they saw. Perhaps, 
indeed, they might not inappropriately be called the first 
archaeologists of New England, and some of the details 
noted by them are of value even today. For convenience, 
I have grouped the subjects treated in this early literature 
to which I wish to call attention under three main head- 
ings, namely, I, The Story of the Voyage and of the Pil- 
grims' Choice of a Site for their Settlement; II, The 
Earliest Descriptions of Plymouth Plantation and an Ac- 
count of its Gradual Fortification; and III, The Pilgrims 
and the Indians. 

I. The Story of the Voyage and of the 
Pilgrims' Choice of a Site for their Settlement 

Bradford's Relation or Iovrnall 8 opens with the follow- 
ing familiar but informing account of the arrival of the 
Pilgrims at Cape Cod and of their search for a suitable 
site upon which to found their settlement. The descrip- 
tion, though wanting the literary charm of a writer like 
John Pory, is straightforward and graphic, and gives 

7 Story of the Pilgrim Fathers, p. 507, note. Winslow's letter [the second so-called 
Relation] and Bradford's Relation were no doubt both published without the consent 
of their respective authors, but that fact would not prove that these were not the 
genuine and original accounts. 

8 This rare and valuable work as published bore the following title: A | RELATION 
OR | Iournall of the beginning and proceedings! of the English Plantation settled at 
Plimoth in NEW| ENGLAND, by certaine English Aduenturers both| Merchants and 


some archaeological details of real interest. For instance, 
in one place mention is made of the fact that the Pilgrims 
found in some of the Indian graves quantities of red 
powder, which had a strong but not offensive odor and 
was manifestly employed for purposes of embalming. 
Perhaps, indeed, this is the earliest reference now known 
to the so-called "Red-Paint People," to whom Mr. Warren 
K. Moorehead of Andover has paid so much attention in 
recent years. 9 It would be of considerable value if we 
could learn whether the occupants of such graves came 
originally from Maine. Bradford's suggestion that the 
red powder was used for embalming is of interest, since 
it readily explains one feature of the so-called Indian Red- 
Paint burials in Maine which hitherto, I fancy, has not 
been understood. Some other important characteristics 
of Indian burials also are given in this narrative which, I 
believe, may help us to explain certain hitherto puzzling 
remains of the so-called Mound Builders. 

A Relation or Iovbnall of the Proceedings op the 
Plantation setled at Plimoth in New England 10 

Wednesday, the sixt of September, the Wind comming East North 
East, a fine small gale, we loosed from Plimoth [England], hauing 
beene kindly intertained and curteously vsed by diuers friends there 
dwelling, and after many difficulties in boysterous stormes, at length 
by Gods prouidence vpon the ninth of Nouember following, by breake 
of the day, we espied land which we deemed to be Cape Cod, and so 

others. | With their difficult passage, their safe ariual, their | ioyfull building of, and 
comfortable planting them-| selues in the now well defended Towne| of NEW PLI- 
MOTH. | . . . London, 1622, 4°. 

There is evidence in the work as printed to show that Winslow's letters were written 
in the secretarial hand of the period. Various misreadings by the compositor make 
this point clear. A statement in Robert Cushman's preface suggests that Bradford 
may have inserted in his narrative reports by others of certain events, not witnessed 
by himself. 

• See his writings entitled The Red-Paint People of Maine, 1918; The Problem of 
the Red-Paint People, Washington, 1916; and Prehistoric Cultures in the State of 
Maine, Washington, D.C., 1917. 

10 The punctuation and capitalization of the citations, for convenience in reading, 
have been to some extent normalized. 


afterward it proued. And the appearance of it much comforted vs; 
especially seeing so goodly a Land and woodded to the brinke of the 
sea, it caused vs to reioyce together and praise God that had giuen 
vs once againe to see land. And thus wee made our course South 
South West, purposing to goe to a Riuer ten leagues to the South of 
the Cape [i.e., the Hudson River]; but at night the winde being con- 
trary we put round againe for the Bay of Cape Cod, and vpon the 2 
of Nouember we came to an anchor in the Bay, which is a good har- 
bour and pleasant Bay, circled round except in the entrance, which is 
about foure miles ouer from land to land, compassed about to the 
very Sea with Okes, Pines, Iuniper, Sassafras, and other sweet wood. 
It is a harbour wherein 1000. saile of Ships may safely ride. There 
we relieued our selues with wood and water and refreshed our people, 
while our shallop was fitted to coast the Bay to search for an habita- 
tion. There was the greatest store of fowle that ever we saw. 

And euery day we saw Whales playing hard by vs, of which in that 
place, if we had [had] instruments & meanes to take them, we might 
haue made a very rich returne, which to our great griefe we wanted. 
Our master and his mate and others experienced in fishing professed 
we might haue made three or foure thousand pounds worth of Oyle. 
They preferred it before Greenland Whale-fishing & purpose the next 
winter to fish for Whale here. For Cod we assayed but found none; 
there is good store no doubt in their season. Neither got we any fish 
all the time we lay there but some few little ones on the shore. We 
found great Mussles and very fat and full of Sea pearle, but we could 
not eat them, for they made vs all sicke that did eat, as well saylers 
as passengers. . . . The bay is so round & circling, that before we 
could come to anchor we went round all the points of the Compasse. 
We could not come neere the shore by three quarters of an English 
mile, because of shallow water, which was a great preiudice to vs, 
for our people going on shore were forced to wade a bow-shoot or 
two in going a-land which caused many to get colds and coughs, for 
it was ny times freezing cold weather. . . . 

The same day, so soon as we could, we set a-shore 15 or 16 men, 
well armed, with some to fetch wood, for we had none left, as also to 
see what the Land was, and what Inhabitants they could meet with. 
They found it to be a small neck of Land; on this side where we lay 
is the Bay, and [on] the further side the Sea; the ground or earth, 
sand hils, much like the Downes in Holland, but much better; the 
crust of the earth a Spits depth excellent blacke earth, all wooded 
with Okes, Pines, Sassafras, Iuniper, Birch, Holly, Vines, some Ash, 
Walnut; the wood for the most part open and without vnder-wood, 


fit either to goe [on foot] or ride in. At night our people returned, but 
found not any person nor habitation, and laded their Boat with 
Iuniper, which smelled very sweet & strong, and of which we burnt 
the most part of the time we lay there. . . . u When we had refreshed 
our selues, we directed our course full South, that we might come to 
shore, which within a short while after we did, and there made a 
fire, that they in the ship might see where wee were (as we had 
direction), and so marched on towards this supposed River; and as 
we went in another valley we found a fine cleere Pond of fresh water, 
being about a Musket shot broad and twise as long. There grew also 
many small vines, and Foule and Deere haunted there; there grew 
much Sasafras. From thence we went on & found much plaine 
ground, about fiftie Acres, fit for the Plow, and some signes where 
the Indians had formerly planted their corne. After this ... we 
found a little path to certaine heapes of sand, one whereof was cov- 
ered with old Matts, and had a woodden thing like a morter whelmed 
on the top of it, and an earthen pot layd in a little hole at the end 
thereof. We musing what it might be digged & found a Bow, and as 
we thought Arrowes, but they were rotten. We supposed there were 
many other things [there], but because we deemed them graues, 12 
we put in the Bow againe and made it vp as it was, and left the rest 
vntouched, because we thought it would be odious vnto them to 
ransacke their Sepulchers. We went on further and found new stub- 
ble, of which they had gotten Corne this yeare, and many Wallnut 
trees full of Nuts, and great store of Strawberries, and some Vines. 
Passing thus a field or two which were not great, we came to another 
which had also bin new gotten, and there we found where an house 
had beene and foure or fiue old Plankes layed together; also we 
found a great Ketle which had beene some Ships ketle and brought 
out of Europe; there was also an heape of sand, made like the former, 
but it was newly done. We might see how they had padled it with 
their hands, which we digged vp, and in it we found a little old Basket 
full of faire Indian Corne, and digged further & found a fine new 
Basket full of very faire corne of this yeare, with some 36 goodly 
eares of corne, some yellow, and some red, and others mixt with 
blew, which was a very goodly sight. The Basket was round and 
narrow at the top. It held about three or foure Bushels, which was 
as much as two of vs could lift vp from the ground, and was very 
handsomely and cunningly made. But whilst wee were busie about 

11 Pp. 1-4. 

12 Dr. Dexter thinks these graves were "somewhere in what is now the village of 
Great Hollow." 


these things, we set our men Sentinell in a round ring, all but two 
or three which digged vp the come. We were in suspence what to do 
with it and the Ketle, and at length after much consultation we 
concluded to take the Ketle and as much of the Corne as we could 
carry away with vs, and when our Shallop came, if we could find any 
of the people, ... we would giue them the Ketle againe and satisfie 
them for their Corne. So we tooke all the eares and put a good deale 
of the loose Corne in the Ketle for two men to bring away on a staff e; 
besides, they that could put any into their Pockets filled the same; 
the rest wee buried againe, for we were so laden with Armour that 
we could carry no more. Not farre from this place we found the 
remainder of an old Fort, or Palizide, which as we concerned had 
beene made by some Christians, ... so we returned leaving the 
farther discovery . . . and came that night backe againe to the fresh 
water pond, and there we made our Randevous that night, making a 
great fire and a Baricado to windward of vs, and kept good watch 
with three Sentinells all night, euery one standing when his turne 
came, while five or sixe inches of Match was burning. It proved a 
very rainie night. ... In the end wee got out of the Wood, and 
were fallen about a myle too high aboue the creake, where we saw 
three Bucks, but we had rather haue had one of them! Wee also did 
spring three couple of Partridges, and as we came along by the 
creake, wee saw great flocks of wild Geese and Duckes, but they 
were very fearefull of vs. So we marched some while in the Woods, 
some while on the sands, and other while in the water vp to the 
knees, till at length we came neare the Ship, and then we shot off 
our Peeces, and the long Boat came to fetch vs. . . . This was our 
first Discovery . . . but the discommodiousness of the harbour did 
much hinder vs, for we could neither goe to, nor come from, the 
shore but at high water, which was much to our hinderance and hurt, 
for oftentimes they waded to the midle of the thigh, and oft to the 
knees, to goe and come from land; some did it necessarily and some 
for their owne pleasure, but it brought to the most, if not to all, 
coughes and colds, the weather prouing sodainly cold and stormie, 
which afterward turned to the scurvey, whereof many dyed. 13 

When our Shallop was fit . . . there was appointed some 24 men 
of our owne, and armed, then to goe and make a more full discovery 
of the rivers [Pamet River and its three branches] before mentioned. 
Master I ones was desirous to goe with vs. . . . Wee made master 
Iones our Leader. . . . When we were set forth, it proued rough 
weather and crosse windes, so as we were constrained, some in the 

"Pp. 5-8. 


Shallop, and others in the long Boate, to row to the neerest shore the 
wind would suffer them to goe vnto, and then to wade out aboue the 
knees. The wind was so strong as the Shallop could not keepe the 
water, but was forced to harbour there that night. ... It blowed 
and did snow all that day & night, and frose withall; some of our 
people that are dead tooke the originall of their death here. The 
next day about 11 a-clocke ... we sayled to the river . . . which 
we named Cold Harbour. . . . We landed our men betweene the 
two creekes . . . and our Shallop followed vs. At length night 
grew on, and our men were tired with marching vp and downe the 
steepe hills and deepe vallies which lay halfe a foot thicke with snow. 
Master Iones wearied with marching was desirous we should take vp 
our lodging, though some of vs would haue marched further, so we 
made there our Randevous for that night vnder a few Pine trees, 
and as it fell out wee got three fat Geese and six Ducks to our Supper, 
which we eate [ = ate] with Souldiers stomacks, for we had eaten little 
all that day. ... In the morning ... we turned towards the 
other creeke, that wee might goe over and looke for the rest of the 
Corne that we left behind when we were here before. When we came 
to the creeke, we saw the Canow lie on the dry ground, and a flocke 
of Geese in the river, at which one made a shot and killed a couple of 
them, and we lanched the Canow & fetcht them, and when we had 
done, she carryed vs over by seaven or eight at once. This done, we 
marched to the place where we had [found] the corne formerly, which 
place we called Corne-hill, and digged and found more corne, viz., two 
or three Baskets full of Indian Wheat [ = Corn] and a bag of Beanes 
with a good many of faire Wheat-eares. 14 Whilst some of vs were 
digging vp this, some others found another heape of Corne, which 
they digged vp also, so as we had in all about ten Bushels, which 
will serue vs sufficiently for seed. And sure it was Gods good provi- 
dence that we found this Corne, for els wee know not how we should 
haue done. . . . Also we had neuer in all likelihood seene a graine 
of it, if we had not made our first Iourney, for the ground was now 
covered with snow, and so hard frosen, that we were faine with our 
Curtlaxes and short Swords to hew and carue the ground a foot 
deepe, and then wrest it vp with leavers, for we had forgot to bring 
other Tooles. . . . 

The next morning we followed certaine beaten pathes and tracts 

[= tracks] of the Indians into the Woods, supposing they would 

haue led vs into some Towne, or houses. After wee had gone a while, 

we light [= came] vpon a very broad beaten path, well nigh two 

14 That is, a good many faire eares of Corn. 


foote broad, when we lighted all our Matches, and prepared our 
selues, concluding wee were neare their dwellings, but in the end we 
found it to be onely a path made to driue Deere in when the Indians 
hunt, as wee supposed. When we had marched fiue or six myles into 
the Woods and could find no signes of any people, we returned againe 
another way, and as we came into the plaine ground, wee found a 
place like a graue, but it was much bigger and longer than any we 
had yet seene. It was also covered with boords, so as [= so that] 
we mused what it should be, and resolved to digge it vp; where we 
found first a Matt, and vnder that a fayre Bow, and there another 
Matt, and vnder that a boord about three quarters [of a yard] long 
finely carued and paynted, with three tynes or broches on the top, 
like a Crowne; also betweene the Matts we found Boules, Trayes, 
Dishes, and such like Trinkets. At length we came to a faire new 
Matt, and vnder that two Bundles, the one bigger, the other lesse. 
We opened the greater and found in it a great quantitie of fine and 
perfect red Powder, and in it the bones and skull of a man. The 
Skull had fine yellow haire still on it and some of the flesh vnconsumed. 
There was bound vp with it a knife, a pack-needle, and two or three 
old iron things. It was bound vp in a Saylers canvas Casacke and a 
payre of cloth breeches. The red Powder was a kind of Embaulment 
and yeelded a strong but no offensiue smell. It was as fine as any 
flower. We opened the lesse bundle likewise, and found [some] of 
the same Powder in it, and the bones and head of a little childe. 
About the leggs and other parts of it was bound strings and bracelets 
of fine white Beads; there was also by it a little Bow, about three 
quarters [of a yard] long and some other odd [nic]knacks. We brought 
sundry of the pretiest things away with vs and covered the Corps 
vp againe. After this we digged in sundry like places but found no 
more Corne nor any things els but graues. There was varietie of 
opinions amongst vs about the embalmed person. Some thought it 
was an Indian Lord and King. Others sayd, The Indians haue all 
blacke hayre, and never any was seene with browne or yellow hayre. 
Some thought it was a Christian of some speciall note, which had dyed 
amongst them, and they thus buried him to honour him. Others 
thought they had killed him, and did it in triumph over him. . . , 15 

Others againe vrged greatly the going to Anguum or Angoum, 1 * a 
place twentie leagues off to the Northwards, which they had heard 
to be an excellent harbour for ships [with] better ground and better 

» Pp. 9-12. 

u Hitherto Angoum or Anguum has been interpreted to mean Ipswich, but Ipswich 
can hardly be said to have an excellent harbor for ships. Furthermore, it now becomes 


fishing. Secondly, for any thing we knew, there might be hard by 
vs a farre better seate, and it should be a great hindrance to seate 
[= settle] where wee should remoue againe. Thirdly, the water was 
but in ponds, and it was thought there would be none in Summer, or 
very little. Fourthly, the water there must be fetched vp a steepe 
hill; but to omit many reasons and replies vsed heere abouts, it was 
in the ende concluded to make some discovery within the Bay, but 
in no case so farre [north] as Angoum. Besides, Robert Coppin our 
Pilot, made relation of a great Navigable River and good harbour 
in the other head-land of this Bay, almost right over against Cape 
Cod, being a right line, not much aboue eight leagues distant, in 
which hee had beene once. . . ." The narration of which Discovery 
followes, penned by one of the Company. 

Wednesday, the sixt of December, we set out, [it] being very cold 
and hard weather. Wee were a long while after we launched from the 
ship before we could get cleare of a sandie poynt, which lay within 
lesse then a furlong of the same. In which time two were very sicke, 
and Edward TiUey had like to haue sounded [ = swooned] with cold; 
the Gunner was also sicke vnto Death . . . and so remained all 
that day, and the next night. At length we got cleare of the sandy 
poynt and got vp our sayles, and within an houre or two we got 
vnder the weather shore, and then had smoother water and better 
sayling, but it was very cold, for the water frose on our clothes, and 
made them many times like coats of Iron. Wee sayled sixe or seaven 
leagues by the shore, but saw neither river nor creeke. At length wee 
mett with a tongue of Land, being flat off from the shore with a 
sandy poynt. We bore vp to gaine the poynt & found there a fayre 
income or rode of a Bay, being a league over at the narrowest, and 
some two or three in length, but wee made right over to the land 
before vs, and left the discovery of this Income till the next day. . . . 
In the morning ... we found it onely to be a Bay without either 
river or creeke comming into it, yet we deemed it to be as good an 
harbour as Cape Cod, for they that sounded it found a ship might 
ride [there] in fiue fathom water. Wee on the land found it to be 
a levill soyle, but none of the fruitfullest; wee saw two beckes [ = 
brooks] of fresh water, which were the first running streames that we 
saw in the Country, but one might stride over them; we found also 
a great fish called a Grampus dead on the sands. They in the Shallop 

manifest from the recently discovered letters of John Pory, that Angoum or Anguum 
does not stand for Agawam at all, but for " Anquam, scituate within Cape Anna, aboute 
40 leagues from Plimouth," evidently now known as Annisquam. 
» P. 14. 


found two of them also in the bottome of the bay, dead in like sort. 
They were cast vp at high water and could not get off for the frost 
and ice; they were some fiue or sixe paces long, and about two inches 
thicke of fat, and fleshed like a Swine. They would haue yeelded a 
great deale of oyle, if there had beene time and meanes to haue 
taken it. . . . We then directed our course along the Sea-sands, 
to the place where we first saw the Indians when we were there. We 
saw it was also a Grampus which they were cutting vp; they cut it 
into long rands or peeces about an ell long and two handfull broad; 
wee found here and there a peece scattered by the way, as it seemed, 
for hast. This place the most were minded we should call the Grampus 
Bay, because we found so many of them there. Wee followed the 
tract [= track] of the Indians bare feete a good way on the sands; 
at length we saw where they strucke into the Woods by the side of a 
Pond [Great Pond] ... so we light [came] on a path, but saw no 
house, and followed [the path] a great way into the woods; 18 at length 
wee found where Come had beene set, but not that yeare. Anone 
[= Anon] we found a great burying place, one part whereof was in- 
compassed with a large Palazado like a Church-yard, with yong 
spires [ = saplings] f oure or fiue yards long set so close one by another 
as they could [be], two or three foot in the ground. Within, it was 
full of Graues, some bigger and some lesse, some were also paled about, 
& others had like an Indian-house made over them, but not matted. 
Those Graues were more sumptuous then those at Corne-hill, yet 
we digged none of them vp, but onely viewed them and went our 
way. Without the Palazado were graues also, but not so costly. 
From this place we went and found more Corne ground, but not of 
this yeare. As we ranged, we light [came] on foure or fiue Indian- 
houses, which had been lately dwelt in, but they were vncovered and 
had no matts about them, els they were like those we found at 
Corne-hill, but had not beene so lately dwelt in. There was nothing 
left but two or three peeces of old matts [and] a little sedge. Also a 
little further [on] we found two Baskets full of parched Acorns hid in 
the ground, which we supposed had beene Corne, when we beganne 
to dig the same. We cast earth thereon againe & went our way." 19 

With this account of an Indian burying ground we may- 
compare the description given by Edward Winslow of the 
house and burial-place of the Indian king, Nanepashemet. 

18 Dr. H. M. Dexter (Mcrort's Relation, Boston, 1865, note 175) suggests "in the 
direction of Enoch's Bock and Nauset light." 
» Pp. 15-18. 


It is to be noted that the house was situated on the top 
of a hill or mound, as was probably the case likewise with 
the houses of the kings of the Mound Builders in the Mis- 
sissippi valley. Nanepashemet, we are told, was buried 
within a circular earthwork forty or fifty feet in diameter, 
having a trench breast-high both on the inside and on the 
outside. The enclosure was surrounded by a strong 
palisade of poles thirty or forty feet long sunk firmly in 
the ground as close to each other as possible. The only 
approach to the enclosure was a bridge, and in the centre 
of the palisado stood the frame of an Indian house, be- 
neath which the king was buried. Had the country not 
been invaded by European settlers, and had there been 
time for the last resting-place of the king to become 
venerated, a mound might later on perhaps have been 
heaped above the house, and then the fortification would 
have strikingly resembled some of the mounds in the 
Mississippi Valley: 

"On the morrow we went ashore, all but two men, and marched in 
Armes vp in the Countrey. Hauing gone three myles, we came to a 
place where Corne had beene newly gathered, a house pulled downe, 
and the people gone. A myle from hence [? near Medford], Nanepashe- 
met their King in his life-time had liued. His house was not like 
others, but a scaffold was largely built with pools [= poles] and 
plancks some six foote from [the] ground, and the house vpon that, 
being situated on the top of a hill. 

Not farre from hence in a bottome [? now near Mystic Pond, Med- 
ford,] wee came to a Fort built by their deceased King, the manner 
thus: There were pools [= poles] some thirtie or fortie foote long 
stucke in the ground as thicke as they could be set one by another, 
and with these they inclosed a ring some forty or fifty foote ouer. A 
trench breast high was digged on each side. One way there was to 
goe into it with a bridge. In the midst of this Pallizado stood the 
frame of an house, wherein being dead he lay buryed. 

About a myle from hence, we came to such another [? house], but 
seated on the top of an bill. Here Nanepashemet was killed, none 
dwelling in it since the time of his death. 20 

M A Relation, 1622, p. 58 (in the second so-called Relation which was not written 
by Bradford but which consists of several sections probably for the most part written 


II. The Earliest Description of Plymouth 

Plantation and an Account of its Gradual 


The following descriptions of Plymouth (formerly Pa- 
tuxet) by Bradford and by Winslow respectively may very 
fittingly be compared with Pory's similar description of 


"On the fifteenth day we waighed Anchor to goe to the place we 
had discovered, and comming within two leagues of the Land we 
could not fetch the Harbour, but were faine to put roome againe 
towards Cape Cod, our course lying West; and the wind was at North 
west, but it pleased God that the next day being Saturday, the 16 
day [of December, 1620], the winde came faire, and wee put to Sea 
againe, and came safely into a safe Harbour; and within halfe an 
houre the winde changed, so as [ = so that] if we had beene letted 
[= hindered] but a little, we had gone backe to Cape Cod. This 
Harbour is a Bay greater then Cape Cod, compassed with a goodly 
Land, and in the Bay 2 fine Islands vninhabited, wherein are nothing 
but wood — Okes, Pines, Walnut, Beech, Sasifras, Vines, and other 
trees which wee know not. This Bay is a most hopefull place, [con- 
taining] innumerable store of fowle, and excellent good, and [there] 
cannot but bee [an abundance] of fish in their seasons — Skate, Cod, 
Turbot, and Herring. Wee haue tasted of abundance of Musles, the 
greatest & best that ever we saw, Crabs and Lobsters, in their time 
infinite. It is in fashion like a Cikle [ = sickle] or Fish-hooke. 

Monday, the 18 day [of December], we went a-land, manned with 
the Maister of the Ship and 3 or 4 of the Saylers. We marched along 
the coast in the woods, some 7 or 8 mile, but saw not an Indian nor 
an Indian-house, only we found where formerly had beene some In- 
habitants, and where they had planted their corne. We found not 

by Winslow). In this connection we will add the following instructive passage from 
Winslow's Good Newes, p. 58, which shows how the sachems were buried: 

"When they bury the dead, they sow vp the corps in a mat and so put it in the 
earth. If the party bee a Sachim, they cover him with many curious mats, and bury 
all his riches with him, and inclose the graue with a pale. If it bee a childe, the father 
will also put his owne most speciall iewels and ornaments in the earth with it. . . . If 
it be the man or woman of the house, they will pull downe the mattes and leaue the 
frame standing, and burie them in or neere the same, and either remoue their dwelling 
or giue ouer house-keeping." 


any Navigable River, but 4 or 5 small running brookes of very sweet 
fresh water that all run into the Sea. The land for the crust of the 
earth is a spits depth excellent blacke mold and fat in some places. 
[There are] 2 or 3 great Oakes but not very thicke, Pines, Wal-nuts, 
Beech, Ash, Birch, Hasell, Holley, Asp[en?], Sasifras in abundance, 
& Vines euerywhere, Cherry trees, Plum-trees, and many other 
which we know not. Most kinds of hearbes we found heere in Winter 
as Strawberry leaues innumerable, Sorrell, Yarow, Caruell, Brook- 
lime, Liver-wort, Water-cresses, great store of Leekes and Onyons, 
and an excellent strong kind of Flaxe, and Hempe. Here is sand, 
gravell, and excellent clay (no better in the Worlde), [which is] ex- 
cellent for pots and will wash like sope, and great store of stone 
though somewhat soft, and the best water that ever wee drunke, and 
the Brookes now begin to be full of fish. That night many being 
weary with marching, wee went abourd againe." 21 


" [As] for the temper of the ayre here, it agreeth well with that in 
England, and if there be any difference at all, this [country] is some- 
what hotter in Summer. Some thinke it to be colder in Winter, but 
I cannot out of experience so say. The ayre is very cleere and not 
foggie, as hath beene reported. I neuer in my life remember a more 
seasonable yeare then we haue here enioyed, and if we haue once but 
Kine, Horses, and Sheepe, I make no question but men might hue 
as contented here as in any part of the world. For fish and fowle, we 
haue great abundance; fresh Codd in the Summer is but course meat 
with vs. Our Bay is full of Lobsters all the Summer, and affordeth 
varietie of other Fish. In September we can take a Hogshead of 
Eeles in a night with small labour, & can dig them out of their beds 
all the Winter. We haue Mussells and Clams 22 at our doores. Oysters 
we haue none neere, but we can haue them brought by the Indians 
when we will; all the Spring time the earth sendeth forth naturally 
very good Sallet Herbs; here are Grapes, white and red, and very 
sweete and strong also, Strawberies, Gooseberies, Raspas, &c, 
Plums of three sorts, with blacke and red, being almost as good as a 
Damsen; abundance of Roses, white, red, and damask, single, but 
very sweet indeed. The Countrey wanteth onely industrious men to 
imploy, for it would grieue your hearts (if as I) you had seene so 

51 Bradford, Relation, pp. 21-22. 

22 Printed text, "Othus." Dr. Dexter suggested the reading, clams, as is certainly 
correct. This part of the MS., therefore was manifestly written in the secretarial or 
decadent Court Hand of the period, which was in this case misread by the compositor. 


many myles together by goodly Riuers vninhabited, and withall to 
consider those parts of the world wherein you Hue to be euen greatly 
burthened with abundance of people." M 

The Pilgrims planned their settlement with, great speed 
when once they had chosen a suitable site. And haste was 
necessary, for it was already almost Christmas time, and 
they were faced by the rigors of a New England winter. 
By combining these first accounts of Plymouth we may 
obtain an excellent idea of the appearance and life of the 
little colony in its earliest days, and various interesting 
details concerning its defense and enlargement during the 
first two decades of its history: 

"That night [December 19-29] we returned againe a-ship-boord, 
with resolution the next morning to settle on some of those places; 
so in the morning [of December 20-30], after we had called on God 
for direction, we came to this resolution, to goe presently ashore 
againe and to take a better view of two places which wee thought most 
fitting for vs, for we could not now take time for further search or 
consideration, our victuals being much spent, especially our Beere, 
and it being now the 19 of December. After our landing and viewing 
of the place so well as we could, we came to a conclusion by most 
voyces, [namely,] to set[tle] on the maine Land on the first place, 24 
on an high ground, where there is a great deale of Land cleared, and 
hathe beene planted with Corne three or four yeares agoe, and 
[where] there is a very sweet brooke [i.e., Town Brooke] [which] runnes 
vnder the hillside, and many delicate springs of as good water as can 
be drunke, and where we may harbour our Shallops and Boates ex- 
ceeding well, and in this brooke much good fish in their seasons. On 
the further side of the river also much Corne ground [has been] 
cleared; in one field is a great hill [i.e., Burial Hill], on which wee 
poynt to make a platforme, and plant our Ordinance, which will com- 
mand all round about. From thence we may see into the Bay, and 
farre into the Sea, and we may see thence Cape Cod. Our greatest 
labour will be fetching of our wood, which is halfe a quarter of an 
English myle [distant], but there is enough so farre off. What people 
inhabite here we yet know not, for as yet we haue seene none, so 

25 Relation, p. 58 (second Relation, written not by Bradford but evidently by 

* That is, Patuxet or Plymouth. 


there we made our Randevous and a place for some of our people, 
about twentie resolving in the morning to come all ashore, and to 
build houses. . . , 26 

Thursday the 28 of December [or January 7, 1620-21], so many as 
could went to worke on the hill where we purposed to build our plat- 
forme for our Ordinance, and which doth command all the plaine and 
the Bay, and from whence we may see f arre into the sea, and [which] 
might be easier impayled, having two rowes of houses and a faire 
streete. So in the afternoone we went to measure out the grounds, 
and first we tooke notice how many Families they were, willing all 
single men that had no wiues to ioyne with some Familie as they 
thought fit, that so we might build fewer houses, which was done, and 
we reduced them to 19 Families. To greater Families we allotted 
larger plots, to every person half a pole in breadth, and three in length, 
and so Lots were cast where euery man should lie, which was done, 
and staked out. We thought this proportion was large enough at 
first for houses and gardens, to impale them round, considering the 
weaknes of our people, many of them growing ill with coldes, for our 
former Discoveries in frost and stormes, and the wading at Cape Cod 
had brought much weakenes amongst vs, and after[wards] was the 
cause of many of their deaths. 26 

Tuesday, the 9 [or 19] Ianuary [1620-21], was a reasonable faire 
day, and wee went to labour that day in the building of our Towne in 
two rowes of houses for more safety. We devided by lott the plot of 
ground whereon to build our Towne. After the proportion formerly 
allotted, we agreed that every man should build his owne house, 
thinking by that course men would make more hast[e] then working 
in common. The common house, in which for the first we made our 
Rendevous, being neere finished wanted onely couering, it being 
about 20 foote square. Some should make morter and some gather 
thatch, so that in four days halfe of it was thatched. Frost and foule 
weather hindred vs much; this time of the yeare seldome could wee 
worke halfe the weeke. 27 

Munday, the 22 [January or February 1], was a faire day. We 
wrought on our houses, and in the after-noone carried vp our hogs- 
heads of meale to our common store-house. 28 Saturday, the 17 [or 
27] day [of February], in the morning we called a meeting for the 
establishing of military Orders amongst our selues, and we chose 
Miles Standish our Captaine, and gaue him authoritie of command in 
affayres; and as we were in consultation here abouts, two Savages 

* Bradford, Relation, p. 23. » ibid., pp. 26, 27. 

" Ibid., pp. 24, 25. 28 Ibid., p. 29. 


presented themselues vpon the top of an hill over against our Plan- 
tation about a quarter of a myle and lesse [distant]. . . . This 
caused vs to plant our great Ordinances in places most convenient. 
Wednesday, the 21 [or 31] of February, the master came on shore with 
many of his Saylers, and brought with him one of the great Peeces, 
called a Minion, and helped vs to draw it vp the hill, with another 
Peece that lay on shore, and mounted them, and a sailer [= saker] 
and two bases. Saturday, the third [or thirteenth] of March, the 
wind was South, the morning mistie, but towards noone warme and 
fayre weather. The Birds sang in the Woods most pleasantly; at 
one of the Clocke it thundred, which was the first wee heard in that 
Countrey. It was strong and great claps, but short, but after an 
houre it rayned very sadly till midnight. Wednesday, the seaventh 
[or seventeenth] of March, the wind was full East, cold, but faire. 
That day Master Carver with fiue other[s] went to the great Ponds, 
which seeme to be excellent fishing-places; all the way they went 
they found it exceedingly beaten and haunted with Deere, but they 
saw none. Amongst other foule, they saw one, a milk white foule, 
with a very blacke head. This day some garden seede were sowen. 29 
Referring you for further satisfaction to our more large Relations 
(of which the greater part of this book is composed), you shall vnder- 
stand that in this little time that a few of vs haue beene here, we 
haue built seauen dwelling houses, and foure for the [common] vse 
of the Plantation, and haue made preparation for divers others. We 
set the last Spring [1621] some twentie Acres of Indian Corne and 
sowed some six Acres of Barly & Pease, and according to the manner 
of the Indians we manured our ground with Herings or rather Shadds 
[i.e., alewives], which we haue in great abundance, and take with 
great ease at our doores. Our Corne did proue well, & God be praysed, 
we had a good increase of Zndtan-Corne, and our Barly indifferent 
good, but our Pease [were] not worth the gathering, for we feared 
they were too late sowne. They came vp very well and blossomed, 
but the Sunne parched them in the blossome. Our harvest being 
gotten in, our Governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we 
might after a more speciall manner reioyce together, after we had 
gathered the fruit of our labours. They foure in one day killed as 
much fowle, as with a little helpe beside served the Company al- 
most a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations we exercised 
our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst vs, and amongst 
the rest their greatest King Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom 

" Bradford, Relation, pp. 81, 32. 


for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and 
killed fiue Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed 
on our Governour, and vpon the Captaine, and others. . . . Wee 
haue found the Indians very faithfull in their Covenant of Peace 
with vs; very louing and readie to pleasure vs. We often goe to 
them, and they come to vs; some of vs haue bin fiftie myles by Land 
in the Country with them. . . . They are a people . . . very 
trustie, quicke of apprehension, ripe witted, iust. The men and 
women goe naked [with] onely a skin about their middles." 30 

Apparently it was only gradually that a sense of in- 
security became keenly felt by the Pilgrims, for it was not 
until February, 1621-22, that the little plantation was 
impaled and fortified, while the fort was not made fit for 
service until March 25, 1623. On that day a watch was 
first kept: 

"In the meane time, knowing our owne weaknesse, notwithstand- 
ing our high words and loftie lookes towards them [the Indians], and 
still lying open to all casualty, hauing as yet (vnder God) no other 
defence than our Armes, wee thought it most needfull to impale our 
Towne, which with all our expedition wee accomplished in the moneth 
of February [1621-2] and some few dayes, taking in the top of the 
Hill vnder which our Towne is seated, making foure bulwarkes or 
ietties without the ordinarie circuit of the pale, from whence wee 
could defend the whole Towne; in three whereof are gates, and the 
fourth in time to be. . . . 3l 

Now [i.e., March 25, 1628] was our Fort made fit for seruice and 
some Ordnance mounted; and though it may seeme long worke, it 
being ten moneths since it [was] begun, yet wee must note that where 
so great a work is begun with such small means, a little time cannot 
bring [it] to perfection. . . . Thus was our Fort hanselled, this be- 
ing the first day as I take it that euer any watch was there kept." 32 

Captain John Smith gives the following singularly com- 
plete though brief, description of Plymouth in 1624: 33 

"In this Plantation [of New-Plimouth] there is about an hundred 
and fourescore persons, some Cattell, but many Swine and Poultry. 

*• Relation, pp. 60, 61 (section by Edward Window). 

31 Edward Winslow, Good Newes , 1624, p. 4. 

*» Ibid., pp. 39, 40. 

93 Advertisements, London, 1631, pp. 18, 19. 


Their Towne containes two and thirty houses, whereof seven were 
burnt, with the value of five or six hundred pounds in other goods, 
impailed about halfe a mile, 34 within which a high Mount, a Fort, 
with a Watch-tower, well built of stone, lome, and wood, their Ord- 
nance well mounted, and so healthfull, that of the first Planters not 
one hath died this three years; yet at the first landing at Cape Cod, 
being an hundred passengers, besides twenty they had left behind 
at Plimoth for want of good take heed, . . . [they] spent six or seven 
weekes in wandring up and downe in frost and snow, wind and raine, 
among the woods, cricks, and swamps, forty of them died, and three- 
score were left in most miserable estate at New-Plimoth, where their 
Ship left them, and but nine leagues by Sea from where they landed, 
whose misery and variable opinions, for want of experience, occa- 
sioned much faction, till necessity agreed them." 

As the settlement of the colony became better estab- 
lished, the inhabitants naturally, for their own conveni- 
ence, began to occupy new land and to build new houses, 
so that apparently even as early as 1636 some of the 
families owned more than one house, as the following 
passage shows: 

"And whereas some gather the ground [of New England] to be 
naught, and soone out of heart, because Plimouth men 38 remove from 
their old habitations, I answer, they do no more remove from their 
habitation, than the Citizen which hath one house in the Citie and 
another in the Countrey, for his pleasure, health and profit. For 
although they have taken new plots of ground, and build houses 
upon them, yet doe they retaine their old houses still, and repaire 
to them every Sabbath day; neither doe they esteeme their old lots 
worse than when they first tooke them. What if they doe not plant 
on them every yeare? I hope it is no ill husbandry to rest the land, 
nor is alwayes that the worst that lies sometimes fallow. . . . This 
ground is in some places of a soft mould, and easie to plow; in other 
places so tough and hard, that I have seen ten Oxen toyled, their 
Iron chaines broken, and their Shares and Coulters much strained; 
but after the first breaking up it is so easie, that two Oxen and a 
Horse may plow it; there hath as good English Corne growne there, 
as could be desired; especially Rie and Oates and Barly; there hath 
been no great triall as yet of Wheate, and Beanes. 36 

M John Pory says that the palisade about the plantation in 1682 was "2700 foote 
in compasse" (John Pory's Lost Description, 1918, p. 42). 

w Text, meu. »« William Wood, New Englands Prospect, London, 1636, p. 11. 


III. The Pilgrims and the Indians 

During their first years in America the Pilgrims were 
more troubled by a shortage of food supplies than by the 
Indians. Indeed, the Pilgrims were not much disturbed 
by them until the spring of 1621, when they began to 
receive visits like the following. These descriptions seem 
to us of importance, since they show that the Indians 
known to the Pilgrim Fathers must have dressed and 
painted themselves in a manner very similar to that 
practised by the Aztecs in Mexico, whose surviving man- 
uscripts in brilliant colors still preserve for us their gen- 
eral appearance and dress, together with some of their 
peculiar customs. Conversely, our partial understanding 
of the significance of the dress and of the colors of paint 
employed by the Aztecs suggests the possibility, if indeed 
not the probability, of a similar or even identical meaning 
for the same dress and the same colors of paint as used 
among the Indians: 37 

"Thursday, the 22 of March, was a very fayre warme day. About 
noone we met again about our publique businesse, but we had 
scarce beene an houre together, but Samoset came againe, and 
Squanto [= Tisquantum], the onely natiue of Patuxat, where we now 
inhabite, . . . with three others, and they brought with them some 
few skinnes to trucke, and some red Herings newly taken and dryed 
but not salted, and signified vnto vs, that their great Sagamore 
Masasoyt was hard by, with Quadequina his brother, and all their 
men. They could not well expresse in English what they would, but 
after an houre the King came to the top of an hill over against vs, 
and had in his trayne sixtie men, [so] that wee could well behold 
them, and they vs. We were not willing to send our governour to 
them, and they vnwilling to come to vs, so Squanto went againe 
vnto him, who brought word that wee should send one to parley with 
him, which we did, which was Edward Winshe, to know his mind, 

* 7 One may most conveniently consult the so-called Codex Nuttall for comparison. 
Here, together with an excellent facsimile of the codex, one finds discriminating sug- 
gestions by Mrs. Zelia Nuttall upon the significance of dress and colors among the 


and to signifie the mind and will of our governour, which was to haue 
trading and peace with him. We sent to the King a payre of Kniues, 
and a Copper Chayne, with a Iewell at it. To Quadequina we sent 
likewise a Knife and a Iewell to hang in his eare, and withall a Pot 
of strong water, a good quantitie of Bisket, and some butter, which 
were all willingly accepted. Our Messenger made a speech vnto him, 
[saying] that King Iames saluted him with words of loue and Peace, 
and did accept of him as his Friend and Alie, and that our Governour 
desired to see him and to trucke with him, and to confirme a Peace 
with him, as his next neighbour. He liked well of the speech and 
heard it attentiuely, though the Interpreters did not well express it. 
After he had eaten and drunke himselfe and giuen the rest to his 
company, he looked vpon our messengers sword and armour which he 
had on, with intimation of his desire to buy it, but on the other side, 
our messenger shewed his vnwillingness to part with it. In the end he 
left him in the custodie of Quadequina his brother, and came over the 
brooke, and some twentie men following him, leaving all their Bowes 
and Arrowes behind them. We kept six or seaven as hostages for our 
messenger. Captaine Standish and master Williamson met the King 
at the brooke with halfe a dozen Musketiers. They saluted him and 
he them, so one going over, the one on the one side, and the other on 
the other, conducted him to an house then in building, where we 
placed a greene Rugge, and three or foure Cushions. Then instantly 
came our Governour with Drumme and Trumpet after him, and some 
few Musketiers. After salutations, our Governour kissing his hand, 
the King kissed him, and so they sat downe. The Governour called 
for some strong water and drunke to him, and he drunke a great 
draught that made him sweate all the while after. He called for a 
little fresh meate, which the King did eate willingly and did giue his 
followers. Then they treated of Peace, ... all which the King 
seemed to like well, and it was applauded of his followers. All the 
while he sat by the Governour he trembled for feare. In his person 
he is a very lustie man, in his best yeares, an able body, graue of 
countenance, and spare of speech. In his Attyre little or nothing 
differing from the rest of his followers, only in a great Chaine of 
white bone Beades about hie necke, and at it behinde his necke 
hangs a little bagg of Tobacco, which he dranke [i.e., smoked] and 
gave vs to drinke. His face was paynted with a sad red like murry, 
and [he was] oyled both head and face, [so] that hee looked greasily. 
All his followers likewise were in their faces in part or in whole 
painted — some blacke, some red, some yellow, and some white, 
some with crosses and other Antick workes, some had skins on them, 


and some [were] naked, all strong, all men in appearance. So after 
all was done, the Governour conducted him to the Brooke, and there 
they embraced each other and he departed. We diligently keeping 
our hostages, . . . expected our messengers comming, but anon word 
was brought vs, that Quaddequina was comming, and our messenger 
was stayed till his returne, who presently came and a troupe with 
him. So likewise wee entertained him, and convayed him to the place 
prepared. He was very fearefull of our peeces, and made signes of 
dislike, that they should be carried away. Whereupon Commande- 
ment was given [that] they should be layd away. He was a very 
proper tall young man, of a very modest and seemely countenance, 
and he did kindely like of our entertainement. So we convayed him 
likewise as wee did the King. . . . When hee was returned, then they 
dismissed our messenger. . . . One thing I ** forgot. The King had 
in his bosome hanging in a string a great long knife. Hee marveiled 
much at our Trumpet, and some of his men would sound it as well 
as they could. Samoset and Squanto, they stayed al night with vs, 
and the King and al his men lay all night in the woods not aboue 
halfe an English myle from vs, and all their wiues and women with 
them. They sayd that within 8 or 9 dayes they would come and set 
corne on the other side of the Brooke and dwell there all Summer, 
which is hard by vs. 39 

Saturday and Sunday [March 17-27 and 18-28, 1621-22], reason- 
able fayre dayes. On this [Sunjday came againe the Savage, and 
brought with him fiue other tall proper men. They had every man a 
Deeres skin on him, and the principall [one] of them had a wild 
Cats skin, or such like on the one arme. They had most of them long 
hosen vp to their groynes, close made; and aboue their groynes to 
their wast another leather. They were altogether like the Irish 
trouses. They are of complexion like our English Gipseys — no 
haire or very little on their faces; on their heads long haire to their 
shoulders, onely cut before, some trussed vp before with a feather 
broad wise like a fanne. . . . These left . . . their Bowes and Ar- 
rowes a quarter of a myle from our Towne. . . . They made sem- 
blance vnto vs of friendship and amite; they song & danced after 
their maner . . . they brought with them in a thing like a Bow- 
case (which the principall [one] of them had about his wast) a little 
of their Corne pownded to Powder, which put to a little water they 

M The word "I" suggests that one person wrote this narrative, and the word 
"Squanto," instead of Tisquantum, a line or two below indicates that that person was 
William Bradford. 

'» Bradford, Relation, pp. 85-38. 


eate. He had a little Tobacco in a bag, but none of them drunke 
[= smoked] but when he listed. Some of them had their faces 
paynted black from the forehead to the chin foure or five fingers 
broad; others after other fashion, as they liked." m 

Winslow, who had been a printer in London, seems to 
have been known as a physician among the Indians and 
to have become rather better acquainted with them than 
the other colonists. His book, Good Newes, 1624, indeed, 
is very largely taken up with picturesque and entertaining 
accounts of the life of the Indians and of the Pilgrims' 
experiences among them. The following incident may be 
cited here: 

"After[ward] wee came to a Towne of Massasoyts, where we eat 
[= ate] Oysters and other fish. From thence we went to Packano- 
kick, but Massasoyt was not at home. There we stayed, he being sent 
for. . . . Massasoyt being come, wee discharged our Peeces and 
saluted him, who after their manner kindly well commend vs and 
tooke vs into his house and set vs downe by him, where having de- 
livered our foresayd Message and Presents, and having put the Coat 
on his backe and the Chayne about his necke, he was not a little 
proud to behold himselfe, and his men also to see their King so brauely 
attyred. . . . This being ended, he lighted Tobacco for vs and fell 
to discoursing of England & of the Kings Maiestie, marvayling that 
he would Hue without a wife. . . . Late it grew, but victualls he of- 
fered none, for indeed he had not any, [the reason] being [that] he 
came so newly home. So we desired to goe to rest. He layd vs on the 
bed with himselfe and his wife, they at the one end and we at the 
other, it being onely plancks layd a foot from the ground and a thin 
Mat vpon them. Two more of his chiefe men for want of roome 
pressed by and vpon vs, so that we were worse weary of our lodging 
then of our iourney. 

The next day being Thursday many of their Sachims or petty 
Governours came to see vs, and many of their men also. There they 
went to their manner of Games for skins and kniues. There we 
challenged them to shoote with them for skins, but they durst not. 
. . . About one a-clocke Massasoyt brought two fishes that he had 
shot. They were like Breame but three times so bigge, and better 

40 Probabjy not as they liked, but according to their rank or standing in the tribe. 
Bradford, Relation, p. 84. 


meate. These being boyled there were at le[a]st fortie [that] looked 
for [a] share in them [and] the most eate [ = ate] of them. This meale 
onely we had in two nights and a day, and had not one of vs b[r]ought 
a Partridge, we had taken our Iourney fasting. Very importunate he 
was to haue vs stay with them longer, but wee desired to keepe the 
Sabboth at home, and feared we should ... be light-headed for 
want of sleepe, for what with bad lodging, the Savage barbarous 
singing (for they vse to sing themselues asleepe), lice and fleas within 
doores, and Muskeetoes without, we could hardly sleepe all the time 
of our being there, we much fearing that if wee should stay any 
longer, we should not be able to recover home for want of strength, 
so that on the Fryday morning before Sun-rising we tooke our leaue 
and departed, Massasoyt being both grieved and ashamed that he 
could no better entertaine vs." 41 

One's interest is always aroused by the early statements 
concerning the primitive religion of the Indians. Wins- 
low appears to have devoted some time to the subject. 
According to his later statements it would seem that they 
were f amiliar with the idea of one supreme God above all 
their minor gods, whom they called Kiehtan. Thomas 
Morton in his New English Canaan (Amsterdam, 1637) 
presents still further particulars as to the native religion, 
and by giving a different spelling for the name of this 
divinity, Kytan, makes its certain how it should be 
properly pronounced. According to his belief, the Indians 
were also familiar with the tradition of a flood, and were 
"perswaded that Kytan is hee that makes corne growe, 
trees growe, and all manner of fruits": 42 

"A few things I thought meet to adde hereunto which I haue 
obserued amongst the Indians, both touching their Religion and 
sundry other Customes amongst them. And first, whereas my selfe 
and others in former Lettres (which came to the Presse against my 
will and knowledge) wrote that the Indians about vs are a people 
without any Religion or knowledge of any God, therein I erred, 
though we could then gather no better, for as they conceiue of many 

41 Relation, pp. 44-46 (section by Winslow). 

a By this last statement it might appear that the Indians worshipped the sun under 
this name; but Winslow says that no man had ever seen Kiehtan. 


divine powers, so of one whom they call Kiehtan to be the principal! 
and maker of all the rest and to be made by none. He (they say) 
created the heavens, earth, sea, and all creatures contained therein; 
also that he made one man and one woman of whom they and wee 
and all mankinde came; but how they became so farre dispersed, 
that know they not. At first they say, there was no Sachim or King 
but Kiehtan who dwelleth aboue in the Heavens, whither all good 
men goe when they die to see their friends and haue their fill of all 
things. This his habitation lyeth farre Westward in the heavens, 
they say. Thither the bad men goe also and knocke at his doore, but 
he bids them Quatchet, that is to say, Walke abroad, for there is no 
place for such, so that they wander in restles want and penury. 
Never man saw this Kiehtan; onely old men tell them of him and bid 
them tell their children, yea to charge them to teach their posteri- 
ties the same and lay the like charge vpon them. This power they 
acknowledge to be good, and when they would obtaine any great 
matter, meete together and cry vnto him, and so likewise for plentie, 
victorie, &c., sing, daunce, feast, giue thankes, and hang vp Gar- 
landes and other thinges in memorie of the same. 43 Although these 
Salvages are found to be without Religion, Law, and King (as Sir 
William Alexander hath well observed,) yet are they not altogether 
without the knowledge of God (historically) for they haue it amongst 
them by tradition, that God made one man and one woman, and bad 
them five together, and get children, kill deare, beasts, birds, fish, 
and fowle, and what they would at their pleasure; and that their 
posterity was full of evil, and made God so angry that hee let in the 
Sea upon them, & drowned the greatest part of them, that were 
naughty men (the Lord destroyed so.). And they went to Sanacon- 
quam, who feeds upon them (pointing to the Center of the Earth, 
where they imagine is the habitation of the Devil) ; the other, which 
were not destroyed, increased the world; and when they died (be- 
cause they were good) went to the howse of Kytan (pointing to the 
setting of the sonne), where they eate all manner of dainties, and 
never take paines (as now) to provide it. 44 

Kytan makes provision (they say) and saves them that laboure, 
and there they shall live with him forever voyd of care. And they 
are perswaded that Kytan is hee that makes corne growe, trees 
growe, and all manner of fruits. 

Many sacrifices the Indians vse, and in some cases kill children. 
It seemeth they are various in their religious worship in a little dis- 

45 Edward Winslow, Good Newes, pp. 52, 53. 

u Thomas Morton, New English Canaan, Amsterdam, 1687, pp. 45-50. 


tance and grow more and more cold in their worship to Kiehtan; 
saying in their memory hee was much more called vpon. The Nano- 
higgansets [= Narragansetts] exceede in their blinde devotion and 
haue a great spatious house wherein onely some few (that are as wee 
may tearme them Priests) come. Thither at certaine knowne times 
resort all their people and offer almost all the riches they haue to 
their gods, as kettles, skinnes, hatchets, beads, kniues, &c, all 
which are cast by the Priests into a great fire that they make in the 
midst of the house and there consumed to ashes. To this offering 
euery man bringeth freely, and the more hee is knowne to bring hath 
the better esteeme of all men. This the other Indians about vs ap- 
proue of as good and wish their Sachims would appoint the like." tf 

The fact that the Indians, like the Aztecs, sometimes 
sacrificed human beings suggests that their traditions 
must have descended to them from a very remote period. 46 
The account of the "spatious house" mentioned in the 
last passage, wherein the priests of the Narragansetts 
were accustomed to build a great fire, into which the 
people cast at certain times as offerings of sacrifice their 
kettles, skins, hatchets, beads, knives, etc., reminds one 
also of the charred and broken remains of similar articles 
found in recent years beneath certain of the Ohio mounds 
constructed by the so-called Mound Builders. 

Here we may conclude our study of these early ac- 
counts of Plymouth Plantation. Other points, indeed, 
relating both to the Pilgrims and to the Indians might 
be discussed, but I shall be satisfied if this paper shall 
once more call attention to, and stimulate interest in, the 
valuable archaeological information contained in these 
narratives, and the desirability of undertaking further 
archaeological investigations, before it is absolutely too 
late, in the neighborhood of Plymouth and upon Cape 

45 Edward Winslow, Good Newes, p. 55. 

48 One is reminded of the frequent references by classical authors to the fact that 
Kronos or Saturn, the reputed father of Zeus or Jupiter, ruled in the West; and that 
he is said to have required human sacrifices in his worship.