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The Mayflower Replica
John Alden - A Biography
This document came to me through my grandmother, Esther P. Gates. The source is not clear to me. It appears that some of it is Autobiographical and some was written by Rev. John Alden b. 1806, Providence, RI.
The Hon. John Alden was born in England in 1599; in what part is not known. There were but few of the name of whom we have any record. A Mr. Alden, a scholar of St. John's College, is mentioned as one who suffered from the tyrannical Bartholomew act. There is also mention of one John Alden of Middle Temple" as having a coat of arms assigned him in 1607. He belonged in Hertfordshire, and from the similarity in names, we conclude that the Pilgrim John Alden was a member of the same family; distinctive family names at that time and for a century later, at least, being the rule. That he was hired at Southampton as a cooper, we know from Bradford's Journal.
Whether he belonged to the Independent Church in England, is not told, but the probabilities are that he was one of them in sentiment and by association, and that if not a member on joining the expedition, he became one soon after. The character of the man as evidenced by his subsequent life, leads to this inference. A stern adherent of justice and morality, unswerving from the straight line of duty as he understood it; yet at the same time, modest and unassuming in all his ways, showing tenderness and mercy to the weak and forgiveness to the penitent, were qualities which combined to make him an example for all generations.
He embarked with the Mayflower band, probably with the intention of joining his interests with theirs in the new world, and no doubt this desire was strengthened and confirmed by his association with Priscilla Mullins during the long voyage, and afterward, while waiting in the harbor for the older members of the company to decide upon a place of habitation. He was probably one of the seven well persons left at one time to care for the sick and dying in that terrible first winter. The death of the father, mother and brother of Priscilla, leaving her an orphan in a strange land, led the young John from sympathizing with her sorrows, to cherish a tenderer feeling in his heart for the fair young girl thus left alone in the world.
One other sincere love seems to have taken root in the heart of John Alden at this time, which was destined to exert a great influence upon his after life, and to become known in every New England home for all time. This was the affection of the youth for the middle-aged Captain Standish, which commenced in the Mayflower and ended only at death.
The popular legend connecting these three has been beautifully preserved by Longfellow in his poem "The Courtship of Miles Standish." Whether all that is related ever really occurred, is doubtful, but there is no doubt that some of the principal points mentioned were true. That Capt. Standish did turn his eyes toward "the loveliest maiden in Plymouth," after the death of his "beautiful Rose of Love," is probably a fact. But for the most part we must consider the poem a creation of the poet's brain, rather than a truthful narration of the courtship and marriage of the real John and Priscilla.
Tradition represents him as the most comely youth of the Mayflower company, and possessed of a superior education and agreeable manners. Upon the division into families he was assigned to the household of Standish, in consideration of the friendship existing between them.
His marriage occurred in the spring of 1621. Where he commenced housekeeping is not recorded. The first houses of the Pilgrims in Plymouth were built of hewn logs, intersticed with mortar, with roofs thatched, and surrounding the tiny cottage was an acre of land allotted to each family for cultivation; and history says that women and children worked cheerfully in these gardens. So we may imagine the Puritan wife, Priscilla, with her little ones by her side, employed in not only the household avocations, including spinning and weaving, but also assisting the husband and father in work outside, in the ground allotted them. Several of their children were born in Plymouth, probably the first five of the eleven born to them, according to the account in Bradford's Journal. The names of only eight are recorded; probably the other three died very young.
In 1624 the "Charity" brought the first cattle to the Plymouth colony. They were owned in common, until 1627, when they had increased sufficiently, with the addition of others imported, to allow of a distribution in lots, which was accomplished by dividing the people into twelve groups of thirteen each, and allotting to each group the use of one animal for ten years, at the end of which time it was to he returned with one half its increase. John Alden and his family now numbering four, himself and wife and two children, John and Elizabeth, were joined to the company of John Howland, to which was given one of the four heifers which came in the "Jacob," Raghorn. John Alden's family of four, John Howland's family of four, and five single men were thus made sharers in ''Rag-horn."
About this time, a number of the settlers desiring to ex tend their domain, determined on a settlement at Mattakeeset, the Indian name of the territory now included in Duxbury, Marshfield, Pembroke, Hanson, and the Bridgewaters; and of the twenty signers of the compact who survived the first winter, six removed their families to Duxbury: Elder Brewster, Captain Standish, John Alden, John Howland, Francis Eaton, and Peter Brown. They were, however, obliged to return to the village of Plymouth in the winter season for several years. This removal was rendered necessary from the need of combining all their forces in case of an attack from the Indians, and to better facilitate their meeting in council and at religious gatherings. The early settlers on this side included quite a number of the principal men who could not be spared for a permanent absence.
In the colony records we find the following entry Ano. 1632 April 2 : ( The names of those which promise to remove their families to live in the town in the winter time, that they may the better repair to the worship of God.)
In the first part of 1628, another division of land was made, by which each purchaser was given twenty acres additional for cultivation. There being one hundred and fifty-six purchasers, there were allotted at this time, three thousand, one hundred and twenty acres of land.
The poor land was used at first in common for pasturage, and was called "commons or "salt meadows." Later on these lands were leased to parties for a small consideration.
It is probable that Alden's allotment in this land division was part of the farm owned and occupied by him, and still retained by his descendants. A marble slab on the site of the first house, gives the date 1627, which is the supposed time of the erection of the summer cottage. This does not exactly agree with the date of the division, but it is not un likely that the place was selected and buildings put up the summer before, as the land allotment occurred in January.
In 1633, John Alden was appointed assistant to the governor, which office he held for nearly the whole remainder of his life, serving in this capacity, Edward Winslow, Bradford, Prince, Josiah Winslow and Thomas Hinckly, all of whom, excepting the last named, he survived.
From 1666 to his death, he held the rank of first assistant, and was frequently called the Deputy Governor, and acted many times as Governor in the absence of that official.
During ten years succeeding 1640, he served the town of Duxbury, as deputy to the colonial council. Public office was not as desirable then as at the present time, if we may judge from the fact that a law was passed in 1627, fining any person who should refuse to serve in that capacity. Salaries were small, and the duties and responsibilities, great. The compensation for magistrates was a mere trifle. In 1665, the court gave each old magistrate twenty pounds per year and the expenses of their table; but the newly elected had the expenses of their table only. In 1667, all were paid fifty pounds each per year.
Mr. Alden having devoted the greater part of his time for a number of years to the public business, to the detriment of his own private affairs, the court passed the following order as appears in the colony records :
"In regard that Mr. Alden is low in his estate and occasioned to spend time at the courts on the country's occasions, and so hath done this many years, the court have allowed him a small gratuity, the sum of ten pounds, to be paid by the treasurer."
In the year 1625, a settlement was begun at Salem. In 1630, John Winthrop arrived in Boston harbor, and laid the foundation of the great city, which points with pride to the noble statue now standing in Scollay Square, inscribed, "John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts." John Cotton and John Wilson came to preach the gospel to the people; and next year came John Elliot, the apostle to the Indians, a man reared and fitted to fulfill an uncommon mission, which he faithfully accomplished. A little later appeared Anne Hutchinson with her band of followers.
The breaking out of the Pequot War, in 1637, called for prompt action on the part of the colonists. The cause of education was advanced by the erection of buildings for Harvard College in 1639. Four years later, the Narragansett Indians became uneasy and threatening, and the people were counseled to prepare for war. At this time there were in the town of Duxbury eighty men who were able to bear arms, of whom three were Aldens, the Hon. John, John, Jr., and Joseph. This year, the confederation of the tour colonies was effected to insure their co-operation in the event of war with the Narragansetts. The first regular military company was formed. A council of war was appointed, including Winslow, Prince, Standish, Alden, and others, with power vested in either three to act in time of need.
Trouble between Holland and England broke out, and was communicated to the colonies, resulting in orders being given to raise money, troops, arms and ammunition. Alarm signals were decided upon, and one man in every three was ordered to carry arms to meeting on the Lord's Day, a failure of so doing was punishable by a fine.
In all the important measures connected with the events enumerated, the name of John Alden is conspicuous. As adviser and executor he ever had an active share in the management of the affairs of the colony and of the town. From Justin Winslow's history of Duxbury, I quote the following tribute to his character.
"Holding offices of the highest trust, no important measure was proposed, or any responsible agency ordered in which he had not a part. He was one of the council of war, many times an arbitrator, a surveyor of lands for the government as well as for individuals, and on several important occasions was authorized to act as agent or attorney for the colony. He was possessed of a sound judgment and of talents, which, though not brilliant, were by no means ordinary. Writers who mention him bear ample testimony to his industry, integrity and exemplary piety, and he has been represented as a worthy and useful man of great humility, and eminent for sanctity of life, decided, ardent, resolute and persevering, indifferent to danger, a bold and hardy man, stern, austere and unyielding, and of incorruptible integrity. He was always a firm supporter of the clergy and the church, and everything of an innovating nature received his determined opposition."
This last mentioned trait was shown in his attitude towards the Quakers during the years 1657-8. Candor compels me to condemn the action of the Plymouth court in banishing this sect and refusing entertainment to individuals belonging to it. Any man harboring a Quaker was subject to a whipping or a fine. This seems a very strange proceeding on the part of the Mayflower Pilgrims, themselves exiles on account of religious persecution.
About the year 1653, the house now standing was erected by his son Jonathan. It is situated on the south side of Blue Fish river, near Eagle Tree Pond, so called from its being a favorite resort for eagles. The farm of Mr. Alden originally comprised over one hundred and sixty-nine acres, and was then, as now, one of the best in town. The present house, an aged and venerable structure, fit companion to its neighbor on Captain's Hill, is an object worthy of veneration. For more than two centuries it has been owned and occupied by the same family, and could it speak could relate much that would be of interest to their descendants.
As can be seen from the following picture it is a two-story square house, in its day one of the finest residences in the town. The front faces the south, as was the custom in those (lays. The windows were originally the small diamond shaped panes, but these have been replaced by a more modern style.
On the ground floor are four
rooms. The front or "Great Room," as our forefathers called the best
room in the house, is a large, square room, 25x25, with fireplace to
match ; over the fireplace the walls are panelled. The ceilings are
eight feet high and crossed by heavy, wooden beams.
A cupboard in one corner still stands where it was placed two hundred years ago.
The upper part of the house contains four sleeping rooms including the great guest chamber, wherein is found the usual high four-post bed-stead, with canopy top, and other old style furniture. Above all is the old attic room, fit receptacle for (lust and cobweb-covered wheels for spinning wool and flax, cards for combing and reels for winding, besides a multitude of other accumulations. The table seen in the picture is of English oak, and came in the Mayflower probably, as the property of the mother of Priscilla. Upon it are some account books of the first John Alden, and beside it sits the present occupant, John Alden of the eighth generation.
This is the oldest dwelling existing in New England, with three exceptions. The "Old Fort," at Medford, which dates back to 1634, the "Old Fairbanks House," in Dedham, built in 1636, and the "Old Stone House," at Guilford, Conn., in 1640.
Here the "Pilgrim John" passed the remainder of a life well filled with labors both civil and religious. His name appears as one of the original company who suggested and traced a route for the now famous prospective Cape Cod Ship Canal; and we find him mentioned many times, even up to the last year of his life, in connection with state and church affairs.
He was a man whose unselfish interest for the general good resulted in pecuniary loss to himself, so that at his death he left but a small estate. In his early days he was possessed of considerable property, but later divided most of it among his children, giving the farm in Duxbury to Jonathan, a piece of land in Bridgewater to Joseph, and land in Middleboro, Taunton, Monument and Duxbury to his other children. He died in Duxbury, Sept. 12, 1686, aged eighty-seven. As he was the youngest signer of the immortal compact, so he lived to the greatest age, and out lived every member of the Mayflower company, with one exception, Mary Allerton, who died in 1699, aged ninety.
It has been affirmed that Priscilla was living at the time of his death, but I can find her name mentioned no where as among the living later than 1680. In that year, Gov. Josiah Winslow died, and at his funeral was present "the venerable John Alden with Priscilla upon his arm."
His life embraced a wonderful history ; eventful, thrilling, grand, sublime; his death completed an example worthy of imitation. A grand life; a triumphant death. An "elegy," written by John Cotton, voices the sentiments of his compeers, a portion of which I transcribe.
God give me grace to mourn most heartily For
death of this dear servant of the lord,
Whose life God did to us so long afford.
God lent his life to greater length of days,
In which he lived to his Redeemer's praise.
He came one of the first into this land,
And here was kept by God's most gracious hand
Years sixty-seven, which time he did behold,
To poor New England mercies manifold,
All God's great works, to this his Israel,
From first implanting that to them befell;
His walk was holy, humble and sincere,
His heart was filled with Jehovah's fear;
He honored God with much integrity:
God therefore did him truly magnify.
The heart of saints entirely did him love,
His uprightness so highly did approve,
That whilst to choose they had their liberty,
Within the limits of this colony,
Their civil leader him they ever chose.
His faithfulness made hearts wish him to close.
With all the Governors he did assist;
His name recorded is within the list
Of Plymouth's pillars, to his dying day.
His name is precious to eternal ay.
He set his love on God and knew his name;
God therefore gives him everlasting fame.
So good and heavenly was his conversation,
God gave long life, and showed him his salvation,
Seeing the death of what he saw the birth
His work now finished was upon the earth,
His gracious Lord from Heaven now calls him home
And sayith, my servant, now to Heaven come;
Now shalt thou live in bliss eternally.
On dying bed his ills were very great;
Yet verily his heart on God was set.
He bore his griefs with faith and patience,
And did maintain his lively confidence,
Saying to some, the work which Christ begun
He Would preserve to its perfection.
His mouth was full of blessings, till his death
To ministers and Christians all; his breath
Was very sweet by many a precious word,
He uttered from the spirit of his Lord.
He lived in Christ, in Jesus now he sleeps,
And his blest soul the Lord in safety keeps."
There are very few relics in existence known to have belonged to him. His Bible is in
Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth. It is in old English print, and is inscribed thus ; Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, printer to the King's most excellent majesty, Anno Dom., 1620, Cum Priuiligo." His autograph can be seen there affixed to a deed dated 1661, and two other instruments there hear his signature. A snuff-box, which came from Holland, is in possession of a relative of Rev. Timothy Alden (author of "Alden's Epitaphs "). These with the few preserved in the old house at Duxbury, comprise all existing relics known to the writer.
Among the descendants of John Alden have been many noteted military and professional men. Two Presidents of the United States trace their ancestry to him. In looking over the "Alden Memorial," compiled by Dr. Ebenezer Alden, I find mention of thirty-four soldiers, seventeen clergymen, thirteen physicians, eleven mariners and eight lawyers. Doubtless there are many more at this time following a professional life.
In literature there has been good work done by many of the Alden name ; beside these there are many of their posterity now bearing other names who occupy high stations in almost every department of life.
The race has ever been famed for learning, ability, integrity, decision of character, and have been blessed with an unusual number of days. During the first six generations, we find one hundred persons who lived to the age of seventy and upwards ; fiftyfour who reached eighty; thirteen who attained to ninety, and two who completed a full century of life.
A few words relating to some of the individuals belong mg to the Alden family may he 0£ interest to my reader. It is hard to select from the many deserving notice, and as the number increases with each succeeding year, I have chosen a few representative characters from the earlier generations.
CHILDREN OF THE PILGRIM JOHN ALDEN.
Was born in Plymouth, in 1622. Removed to Duxbury when very young. He was admitted a freeman in 1648. Removed to Boston in 1649, and lived in Alden lane, now Alden street. He was at one time the tallest man in Boston. He was twice married. By his first wife he had one child. He was married in 1660, to Elizabeth Everill, widow of Abial Everill, by Governor Endicott. Captain Alden was a mariner, and had command at different times, of several of the Massachusetts armed vessels. He accompanied Col. Benj. Church on his expeditions to the East against the Indians, and in 1696, commanded the Brigantine "Endeavor." He was of great service on these expeditious on account of his knowledge of the coast, and skill as a mariner. His manners were characteristic of his calling, and his language at times somewhat blunt, but he was held in great esteem by his associates for his bravery, sound judgment and unexceptional moral character. He was an original member of the Old South Church, in Boston, at its organization in May, 1669.
In the wall of the new church edifice on Boylston Street, a descendant of the Alden family has placed an ancient slate slab, originally erected to his memory in King's chapel burying-ground. It bears this inscription : "Here lyeth the body of John Alden, senior, aged seventy-five years. Deceased, March, 1701." It can be seen in a side wall of the central archway, facing Cop]ey Square.
During the witchcraft delusion in 1692, he was present at a court in Salem, where several persons were being tried for this offense, whereupon a girl pointed her finger at him and cried out that he was the one who had bewitched her. He was seized by the authorities, tried and committed to prison, where he remained fifteen days, when he escaped by some friendly aid, and made his way to Duxbury, arriving there late at night. On being questioned he said "he had come from the devil and the devil was after him."
It seems that many in the church at that time believed him guilty, which so exasperated him that he absented himself from them for a long time. His death occurred Mar. 14, 1702, at the age of eighty. His will was dated Feb.17, 1702. His estate amounted to £2,059, 115. 7d., and included one wooden and one brick house. There were also debts due the estate of £1,259. He was the father of thirteen children.
Inherited land in Bridgewater and Middleboro. He set. tied in Bridgewater. Married Mary Simmons, daughter of Moses Simmons, of Duxbury, who came in the "Fortune," in 1621. Five children are attributed to him.
Married William Pabodie, son of John Pabodie. He was a man of influence in the town, and possessed of considerable property. Was town clerk for eighteen years. Was deputy to the General Court several times, and acted as attorney for the town and for individuals.
About 1684, they removed to Little Compton, R. I., then a part of Plymouth colony.
Their residence while in Duxbury was east of Eagle Nest Creek, and near Brewster and Standish. They had thirteen children, all of whom were born in Duxbury, and ten married in that town.
They had only two sons, one of whom, John, died from an accident in 1669, aged twenty-four. While riding on horseback under a tree, his head came in contact with a bough, and fractured his skull.
Of the daughters who married in Duxbury, Elizabeth married John Rogers, Mary married Edward Southworth, Mercy married John Simmons, Martha married Samuel Seabury, Sarah married John Coe, Ruth married Benjamin Bartlett, Jr., Rebecca married William Southworth, and Priscilla married Rev. Ichabod Wiswall; the latter a pastor of the Duxbury Church at the time of her grandfather John's death. It is likely that all these marriages were executed by John Alden, as he was a magistrate.
Elizabeth Pabodie died at Little Compton, May 3, 1717. A granite monument to her memory stands in the old burying-ground there. It is inscribed: "Here lyeth the body of Elizabeth Pabodie, who dyed May ye 31st, 1717, and in the ninety-fourth year of her age."
The following is from the Boston News Letter of June 17, 1717:
"Little Compton, 31 May. This morning died here Mrs. Elizabeth Paybody, late wife of Mr. William Paybody, in the ninety-third year of her age. She was a daughter of John Alden, Esq., and Priscilla, his wife, daughter of Mr. William Mullins. This John Alden and Priscilla Mullins were married in Plymouth, New England, where their daughter, Elizabeth, was born. She was exemplarily virtuous and pious, and her memory is blessed. She has left a numerous posterity. Her granddaughter Bradford is a grandmother. Elizabeth Alden is said to have been the first white woman born in New England.
Was a resident of Duxbury. A prominent member of the church and town. Served as assistant to the governor, was Town Treasurer and Selectman. Also deputy to the court. He inherited land in Middleboro, and was appraised 20 May, 1719. He married Mercy or Mary, daughter of Constant Southworth, who was a son of Governor Bradford's second wife, Alice. They had two sons and two daughters. He died in 1719.
Was born about 1627. Made freeman in 1657. He was the youngest son of the Pilgrim, and resembled him in many ways, and seems to have been a favorite with him. He inherited the homestead where he spent his whole life, and which inheritance he handed down in a direct line to the present occupant, John Alden, of the eighth generation, who has a son John, also living in the old house, and a daughter, Priscilla. Captain Jonathan was administrator of his father's estate, and made a final settlement with the heirs, June 13, 1688. He lived a bachelor until he was about forty-five years of age, when he married Abagail Hallet, of Barnstable. He was selectman of his town for several years, and engaged in military duties from 1658 to his death. He was first appointed ensign in the Duxbury company, then promoted to lieutenant, and afterward captain. He died February, 1697, and was buried under arms. An address was delivered at his grave by Rev. Mr. Wiswall, which was contrary to the usual custom, and occasioned much comment. Funeral services were not general until after 1700. From "Alden's Epitaphs" I copy a portion of the address of Mr. Wiswall :
"Neighbors and friends, we are assembled this day in a posture of mourning, to solemnize the funeral of the present deceased, to pay our last tribute of respect to a person well known among us. I need not enlarge upon his character, but in brief, am bold to say this much. He stepped over his youth without the usual stains of vanity. In his riper years he approved himself a good commonwealth's man; and, which is the crown of all, a sincere Christian, one whose heart was in the house of God, even when his body was barred hence by the restraints of many difficulties, which confined him at home.
"He could say, in truth, 'Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house.
"As to his quality in our militia, he was a leader, and, I dare say, rather loved than feared of his company. Fellow soldiers, you are come to lay your leader in the dust, to lodge him in his quiet and solemn repose. You are no more to follow him in the field. No sound of rallying drum nor shrillest trumpet will awaken him, till the general muster, when the Son of God will cause that trumpet to be blown, whose echoes shall shake the foundations of the heavens and the earth, and raise the dead.
"Fellow soldiers, you have folowed him into the field, appeared in your arms, stood your ground, marched, counter-marched, made ready, advanced, fired, and retreated; and all at his command. You have been conformable to his military commands and postures, and it is to your credit. But, let me tell you, this day he has acted one posture before your eyes, and you Are all at a stand! No man stirs a foot after him! But the day is hastening wherein you must all conform to his present posture. I mean, be laid in the dust."
Married Alexander Standish, oldest son and heir of Capt. Miles Standish. He was admitted freeman in 1648. Served the town as deputy, and was town clerk for several years. It was during this service that his father's house was burned, and as is supposed the town records burned with it as they were lost about this time. He owned land near the Alden estate, but lived at the Standish farm, two miles distant. The house now standing on Captain's Hill, was built by him in 1666. It is a small, gambrel-roofed building, shingled on two sides, and is in a good state of preservation. Here the son of Miles Standish and the daughter of John Alden and Priscilla lived many years. He died in 1702. The date of his wife Sarah's death is not recorded. By her he had seven children. He married a second wife, who died in 1723.
Married John Bass of Braintree, and from this union descended John Adams and John Quincy Adams, presidents of the United States. She died in I674.
Married Thomas Delano of Duxhury, son of Philip Delano, (or De La Noy) who came in the "Fortune," in 1621. He was an influential man in the town. By her they had one son, Thomas, Jr. She died young.
DESCENDANTS OF THE ALDEN FAMILY.
COL. BRIGGS ALDEN.
SON of Col. John and Hannah Briggs Alden, was born at the old homestead, Duxbury, June 8, 1723, where he lived and died. His wife was Mercy \Vadsworth (who belonged to the family of Wadsworth ancestors of the Poet Longfellow, on the maternal side). He was father of nine children. He died at the age of seventy-four. His son Samuel was mortally wounded in an expedition to the Penobscot river against the British, in 1778, under command of Gen. Lovell. The second officer in command was Gen. Peleg Wadsworth, who built a beautiful mansion in Portland, Me., afterward occupied by his son-in-law, Stephen Longfellow, father of the poet.
Briggs Alden was youngest son of Col. John. He early developed the military tastes inherited from his father and grandfathers, and became an officer in the local military company. In 1762, he was major, and in 1776, elevated to the office of colonel.
The passage of the Stamp Act, in 1765, called forth an indignant protest from the colonists. Major Briggs Alden was at that time a representative to the General Court, and went thither with instructions from his towns-people to oppose the passage of such act -" with all the eloquence and address you are master of; and that you use your utmost endeavors to vindicate our precious rights and privileges - these privileges for which our forefathers bled; for which those heroic spirits bid adieu to the tyrannical names of the Stuarts, traversed the vast Atlantic, and sat down in these then deserts of America ; and which, sir, we their descendants, esteem dearer to us than life."
In 1773, the growing feeling of dissatisfaction toward the mother country, led to much correspondence between the colonies. From a letter written by a committee of the town of Duxbury to the Boston authorities, I quote a few sentences as an illustration of the spirit that animated their leaders.
We inherit the very spot of soil cultivated by some of the first comers of New. England, and though we pretend not that we inherit their virtues in perfection ; yet hope we possess, at least, some remains of that Christian and heroic virtue and manly. sense of liberty, in the exercise of which, they in the very face of danger, emigrated from their native land to this then howling wilderness, to escape the iron yoke of oppression, and to transmit to posterity that fair, that amiable inheritance - liberty, civil and sacred. We glory in a legal, loyal subjection to our sovereign ; but when we see the right to dispose of our property claimed and actually exercised by a legislature thousands of leagues off, in which we have no voice, and many things of a like nature take place-shall it then be deemed disloyalty to complain? By no means; we esteem it a virtue, and a duty which people of every rank owe to themselves and posterity, to use their utmost exertions to oppose tyranny in al~ its forms, and to extricate themselves from every dangerous and oppressive innovation."
It is said that not a single Tory was known to live in the town of Duxbury, and when troops were called for to resist the requirements of the English Government, the descendants of the Pilgrim John Alden were among the first to volunteer.
All through the war, Col. Alden was an active and valuable worker for his country, resisting her wrongs, and earnestly laboring to sustain her liberties. For years he was a magistrate, a member of the General Court, selectman of the town, and an active and consistent member of the church. A portrait in Pilgrim Hall, from which the picture in ~his book is taken, is said to he a striking likeness of the original. He was a man of large stature and commanding bearing. The flowing silver hair and white cravat gives him an air of dignity almost ministerial, but the small piercing eyes, Roman nose, and firm set mouth, betoken the soldier. He died Oct. 4, 1796, and his son, Judah, succeeded him in the paternal home.
MAJOR JUDAH ALDEN
Was but twenty-six years of age at the breaking out of the Revolutionary War, and, following in his father's footsteps, joined Col. Bailey's regiment as captain. He had for three years previous, conducted the drill of the military company of his town. In 1773 the first minute company was formed, of which he was clerk and ensign.
He was a brave, skilful and prudent officer, and soon rose to the rank of major. In 1776, he was stationed with his regiment in Roxbury, and at one time accompanied Col. Leonard to the headquarters of the English, with a flag of truce. He inquired of their colonel why they did not come out to Roxbury and make the troops a visit. "Ah," replied he, "we shall have to think of that some time first." He was an intimate friend of General Washington, and with him at one time in New York. A letter written by Washington I transcribe here :
HEADQUARTERS, 23 Nov., 1780.
SIR, - I impart to you in confidence that I intend to execute an enterprise against Staten Island tomorrow night, for which reason I am desirous of cutting off all intercourse with the enemy on the east side of the river. You will therefore tomorrow, at retreat beating, set a guard upon any boats which may be at the Slot or Niack, and not suffer any to go out on any pretense whatever till next morning. Towards evening you will send a small party down to the Closter landing, and if they find any boats there, you will give orders to have them scuttled in such a manner that they cannot be immediately used; but to prevent a possibility of it, the parties may remain there till towards daylight (hut not to make fires or discover themselves), and then return to your post. I depend upon the punctual observation of this order, and that you will keep the motive a secret.
Acknowledge the receipt of this, that I may be sure you have got it.
"I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
This letter is directed to "Captain Alden, or Commanding Officer, Dobbs' Ferry."
A house built by him is still standing in Duxbury, about two miles from the old homestead. His wife was Welthea Wadsworth. They had ten children, the youngest of whom, Samuel, graduated at Harvard College at the age of nineteen, and from Dartmouth Medical College four years later.
Major Alden lived almost a century. Born in 1750, he was, at an early age, familiar with all the troubles terminating in the War of the Revolution. He was fifteen years of age when the odious Stamp Act was thrust upon the people, and he was present the following year at the jubilee on Captain's Hill, celebrating its repeal. The "Boston Tea Party" and the "Ride of Paul Revere" were fireside topics in his father's house. His ear caught the echo of the "shot heard round the world," and his noble spirit shared in the enthusiasm and patriotism that greeted the "Declaration of Independence." He saw the thirteen colonies emancipated from the English rule, and the framing of that grand "Constitution" that has made the United States the greatest nation on earth. Would that he might have tarried yet a little to behold the final act in the great drama of Freedom, which culminated in the Emancipation Proclamation, Jan. 1, 1863.
He died Mar. 12,1845, aged ninety-four, in the full possession of his intellectual powers. His great physical strength and excellent health remained to him until within a few years of his death. His oldest son, John, inherited the original homestead in Duxbury, and was great-grandfather to the present occupant, John Alden of the eighth generation. Two hundred and thirty-five years ago, Priscilla Mullens Alden lived here, when this old house was new. Today, a little child of this John, two years of age, is called Priscilla Mullens, the first namesake to occupy the home of her great ancestress.
COL. ICHABOD ALDEN,
Son of Capt. Samuel Alden, of Duxbury. From Justin Winsor's History of Duxbury, I glean the following regarding him :
He was appointed lieutenant to Col. Theophilus Cotton, and was part of a detachment ordered to throw up entrenchments on Dorchester Heights, in 1776. Was soon after promoted to the rank of colonel, and after the capture of Burgoyne, was stationed at Cherry Valley, sixty miles west from Albany. A fort had been constructed here for the protection of the frontier, and Colonel Alden was made its commander. On the evening of Nov. 11, 1778, he was surprised by the enemy, numbering seven hundred Royalists and Indians, led by Brant, a celebrated Mohawk chief. A large portion of his officers and men were killed. He, with his lieutenant, Stacia, were lodged at the house of Mr. Robert Wells. The house was attacked and the inmates massacred. Colonel Alden escaped, but was pursued by an Indian who demanded his surrender. Upon his refusal, the Indian threw a tomahawk, killing him instantly
"As an officer, Colonel Alden was brave and persevering ; as a gentleman, he was accomplished and agreeable ; and in all his relations of life, he formed around him lasting and steadfast friends, and in his intercourse with others was honorable and just, and his untimely death could not but be lamented by all who knew him."
JOHN ALDEN, THE CENTENARIAN,
Son of John and Hannah Alden, was born in Bridgewater, Mass., in 1747, and died at Middleboro, March, 1821, in the one hundred and third year of his age. The Christian Watchman of April 14,
182 I, gives the following :
"In Middleboro, died the venerable John Alden, in the one hundred and third year of his age. His great grandfather, whose name he bore, was one of the first settlers of New England, and his grandmother was daughter of Peregrine White. He was married young, and his first wife, by whom he had five children, died at the age of twenty-seven. By his second and last wife he had fourteen children.
When his century sermon was preached he is understood to have said that he had read through his Bible in course as many times as he was years old. He retained his bodily strength and mental energy to a remarkable degree. When more than one hundred years old, he would converse with great propriety upon religion, and occasionally repeat whole chapters and quote numerous passages from the sacred Scriptures. He was the oldest man in the old colony and probably the oldest in the commonwealth. He had been a professor of religion and connected with a church upwards of seventy-eight years, and was probably the oldest church member in the United States."
In 1835, there were living of his descendants one hundred and seventy-three persons. He had nineteen children, sixty-two grandchildren and one hundred and thirty-four great grand-children.
An oil painting of him, said to be a correct likeness, hangs in Pilgrim Hall.
DR. ENOCH ALDEN,
A native of Ashfield, Mass., and uncle of the writer, was a man of uncommon ability, and made himself famous by performing a difficult surgical operation.
A man's leg had become so diseased by a fever sore as to necessitate the removal of the bone. Dr. Alden extracted about six inches, and inserted in its place the corresponding bone of an animal. The experiment was a success. He settled in Rome, N. Y., and was often called hundreds of miles in his practice. He was of a genial, social nature and possessed of marked literary tastes. His library con- tained the whole of Ree's Encyclopaedias, about one hundred and fifty volumes. The writer well remembers the impression this collection made upon him the first time he saw them together on the shelves of Amherst College library. He lived to old age, respected by all.
REV. TIMOTHY ALDEN,
Of Yarmouth, Mass., was born in Bridgewater, Nov.24, 1736 He was a graduate of Harvard College, and afterward pastor of the Congregational church in Yarmouth, where he remained nearly. fifty-nine years. He was much loved by his people, a man of exemplary piety, great humility and cheerful disposition. He married Sarah, daughter of Rev. Habijiah Weld, of Attleboro, whom he outlived. He died at the age of ninety two.
DR. EBENEZER ALDEN
Was born in Stafford, Conn., July 4, 1755, was educated at Plainfield Academy, and pursued a course of medical studies under the teaching of Dr. Elioha Perkins. He was invited and accepted the position of physician in Braintree ( now Randolph ), Mass, in 1781, where he remained in the practice of his profession until his death, twenty-five years later. He was a successful practitioner and also an able medical teacher, having under his instruction at various times, many young men, some of whom became eminent in their profession. He was highly respected by his townspeople, and beloved by his patients and friends. He died at the age of fifty-one, "just when he was rising into special prominence as a man and a physician."
DR. EBENEZER ALDEN, 2nd.
The second Dr. Ebenezer Alden was the eldest of the three children of Ebenezer and Sarah Bass Alden He was a descendant on both sides of the Pilgrim John Alden, Sarah Bass being descended from the union of Ruth Alden and John Bass. He was born in Randolph, Mar.17, 1788, the year of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. He Was eighteen years of age at his father's death which occurred during his collegiate course at Harvard, from which he graduated in 1808. He then went to Dartmouth, and pursued a course of medical studies, and received the degree of M. B. in 1811; afterward he attended medical lectures in Philadelphia, and received the degree of M. D. from the University of Pennsylvania, in 1812. He then settled as a physician in his native town. He married in 1818, Anne, daughter of Capt. Edmund Kimball, of Newburyport. In his chosen profession he was widely known and very successful, and not only in this, but in many other walks of life he was a man of influence, greatly esteemed for his superior judgment, high intellectual attainments and benevolent disposition.
He was a member and an active worker in many different societies, religious and educational. For thirty-three years a trustee of Amherst College, and for twenty-five years director of the American Education Society. He became a member of the N. E. Historic Genealogical Society in the year of its organization, in 1846, and afterward contributed $500 towards the Librarian fund.
Dr. Alden was also a ready writer. His publications embrace (1uite a number of works on medical topics, several memoirs, and the "Memorial of the Alden Family," published in 1867. The last named has been of great interest and benefit to all descendants of the name.
Beside all these accomplishments, he was a leading singer in his town, and much interested, especially in church music. At the National Peace Jubilee at Boston, in 1869, and at the International Jubilee, three years later, he was one of the chorus singers. At this time he was eighty-four years old.
For several years before his death he was totally blind, and was cared for by his daughter, Sarah Bass Alden, at the old homestead. He died January 26, 1881 his ninety-third year.
Two sons and the daughter above named survive him.
Rev. Ebenezer Alden, pastor since 1850, of the First Congregational Church in Marshileld, Mass. In his parish lived Daniel Webster, and in 1852, he was called to conduct the funeral services of the great states-man.
The second son is Rev. Edmund Kimball Alden, D. D., who was ordained to the Congregational ministry in 1850, and after serving for some twenty-six years as pastor at Yarmouth, Me., Lenox, Mass., and in Phillips Church, South Boston, is now one of the secretaries of the American Board.--[From Increase Tarbox Memorial of Ebenezer Alden. M.D.]
REV. TiMOTHY ALDEN, A. M., PRESIDENT OF ALLEGHANY COLLEGE.
The subject of this sketch was a son of Rev. Timothy Alden, of Yarmouth, Mass. He was the oldest of six children; was born in Yarmouth in 1771, and died at Pittsburg, Pa., in 1839, aged sixty-eight years ; a useful life cut off too soon. At eight years of age he went to live with his uncle, Lieutenant Joshua Alden of Bridgewater, remaining seven years. He then decided to fit for college, and commenced a preparatory course under his father's teaching, which was finished at Philip's Academy, Andover, Mass. He entered Harvard College in 1790, where he distinguished himself by his excellent scholarship, especially in the ancient languages. At his graduation, in 1794, he delivered an oration in Syriac. In 1799, he entered upon the pastorate of the South Presbyterian Church in Portsmouth, N. H. The following year he opened there a school for young ladies. He resigned his charge as pastor in 1805, and devoted his time until 1808 to the interests of the school. He was afterward principal of a young ladies' academy in Boston, a young ladies academy in Newark, N. J., and a similar school in New York City. While a resident of Boston, he was appointed librarian of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and prepared a catalogue of its books, which was printed in 1811. He removed in 1815 to Meadville, Pa., and immediately entered upon an undertaking to establish a college in that place. A public meeting was called June 20, 1815, Major Roger Alden presiding. At this meeting was laid the foundation of Alleghany College by the appointment of Rev. Timothy Alden, president and professor of Oriental languages and of ecclesiastical history. Mr. Alden then undertook to raise the necessary funds to carry on the enterprise. Among those who honored him by their contributions, were John Adams, Ex-President of the United States, Hon. James \Vinthrop, of Cambridge, Mass., Major Roger Alden, and many other noted men of that time. At the laying of the corner-stone of the college building, Mr. Alden took a prominent part as a master mason. His son, Timothy Fox Alden, delivered a Hebrew oration, and another son, Robert W., one in Latin.
While residing in Meadville, he became interested in the condition of the Indian tribes located in western New York and Pennsylvania, the Seneca's and the Mansee's, and was appointed in 1787 by the Boston Society for "the Propagating the gospel among the Indians," as missionary in that region. A volume published by him, in 1827, gives very entertaining details of his work in the mission field, and contains much of interest regarding the manners and customs of the Indians of these tribes. His anecdotes of the Indian chiefs "Cornplanter", "Red Jacket" and "Black Snake," and of Mary Jamieson, the white woman of the Genesee Valley, are extremely interesting. He closed his missionary labors in 1820. In 1831, resigned his connection with the college to open a boarding school in Cincinnati. In 1833 removed to East Liberty, near Pittsburgh, Pa., and took charge of an academy. Failing health obliged him to again resign his office of teacher. He retired to the residence of his daughter, Martha, wife of Patrick Farrelly, M. C., where he died in 1839. His last sermon, preached in Sharpsburg, Pa., was from this text: "The end of all things is at hand."
He was a man of rich intellectual endowment, enthusiastic in every educational and religious work, yet easily discouraged and somewhat visionary. He was founder of no less than seven schools of learning, was honorary member of the Massachusetts and the New York Historical Societies, and member of the American Antiquarian Society. His literary work was considerable. The most important of his publications being a collection of American epitaphs, issued in five volumes. Copies of this work are rare. A relative of his, Mrs. Gormley, of Sewickley, Pa., has recently donated a set to the Massachusetts Genealogical Society. Through the courtesy of this society, I have been enabled to secure the following extracts. In his preface he says:
"My original design was merely to gratify an inclination for acquiring knowledge of important chronological, bin graphical, and historical facts, nowhere to be found except on the mouldering mansions of the venerable dead, and on the face of monuments or cornerstones, and other parts of public buildings equally a prey to the touch of time, and on such materials, and under such circumstances as to render them difficult of access. At length, having amassed many documents, and having enjoyed much satisfaction in contemplating these interesting memorials, it occurred to me that my collection, if issued from the press, would be acceptable to my fellow citizens, and, at the same time, give publicity to a multitude of facts which ought not to be buried in oblivion, and preserve in a form more durable than marble or brass, a tribute of gratitude and respect to the memory of many, of whom the world was most worthy."
THE PILGRAM FATHERS
The reign of England's Virgin Queen, Elizabeth, was characterized by many changes and reforms, among which that relating to the church was one of the most important. The reformation, under Henry VIII., and the ecclesiastical changes during the succecding reigns of Edward and Mary, had proved very unsatisfactory. The corruptions and abuses existing in the church of Rome led many of the clergy and people to rebel against it and resulted, during Elizabeth's reign, in the year 1559. in an act of Parliament, abolishing Mass, adopting the thirty-nine articles as the religion of the State, and recognizing the queen as the head of the church. Thus the religion of England was changed in a single day from Roman Catholic to Protestant.
This change, however, did not prove satisfactory, there being many who objected to what they called the half-way policy of the new church and these people set about to introduce a form of worship more consistent with their own Views.
In 1564, they were given the name of "Puritans," a term of derision, because they sought a purer form of worship, and insisted upon a purer life. They were mostlv commoners, men of sterling character, and loyal to their queen. They believed in a State church, but sought to form that church after a higher pattern. This they were not allowed to do, and those who persisted in using forms differing from the established church were punished.
Thinking men among them were thus led to question the justice of the authority of the State in religious matters, and finally came to the conclusion that a body of men might band themselves together and form a church, which should he independent. The putting in practice of these doctrines caused them to he named Separatists, or Independents, afterward caHed, in New England, Congregationalists. They claimed the perfect independence of each congregation, answerable to no Bishop or council, acknowledging but one head of the church, God.
They were subjected to much persecution, and for this reason, about the year 1610 a congregation of these people sought a refuge from their persecutors in Holland, where they had heard every one was free to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. Their first place of residence was at Amsterdam, from whence they removed to Leyden, a university town of considerable popularity. Here were educated many men of note. Their sojourn in Leyden covered a period of about ten or twelve years, during which they were blessed with the ministry of the Rev. John Robinson, a wise leader in civil as well as religious affairs. His name has been handed to us as the able and loving pastor, the wise counsellor and faithful friend, true to the interests of his flock on both sides of the Atlantic, and who, if he had been allowed, would have joined the exile band in the New World. He died in 1625. His family succeeded in reaching the Plymouth Colony, in 1630, and many of his name in New England trace back their ancestry to the beloved pastor of the church at Leyden.
The life of the Pilgrims in Holland was one of trial and hardship, not, however, without compensations; for although they were compelled to follow vocations for which they were unprepared, and were subject to many prlvations and discouragements amid a strange people, they kept the bond of Christian feHowship unbroken, and took great comfort in the "freedom to worship God" after their heart's desire. From the few recorded details of their life there, we believe them to have exerted an influence for good in the community, and that they maintained their high character for integrity, industry and fidelity, we cannot doubt, if the small number who migrated to America was a sample of the majority who remained behind.
The customs and manners of the Dutch people, together with their irreverence for the Sabbath, with its baneful effects upon their youth; the fear that they would in time lose their identity as English men; the impossibility of educating their children as they themselves had been educated; and, more than all, the desire to be the means of spreading the religion of Christ, led them to look about for another home, where they would be freed from the contaminations and restrictions of the Old World.
At first, they thought of Guiana, which had been described in glowing colors by Raleigh, but afterward turned their attention to the new colonies, and decided to seek a settlement in Northern Virginia. For this purpose agents visited England, and after much delay, obtained a grant of land from the Plymouth Company.
Funds were raised to defray the expenses of emigration, and two vessels were hired, the "Mayflower" and the "Speedwell," to convey a pioneer company of these brave people across the sea.
Their last meeting in Holland, at the sea~port of Delft, has been pictured on canvas, and a copy hangs in Pilgrim Hall, at Plymouth.
The "beloved pastor" is represented as invoking the Divine blessing upon the little band. Sad, tearful faces cluster around, and the grief of parting, mingled with the hope of better things to Come, is depicted in the countenances and attitudes of all.
The Pilgrims sailed from Delft Haven, July 22, 1620, for Southampton, Eng., where they remained two weeks, laying in such stores as were necessary for their voyage. They were here joined by several friends who desired to accompany them. At the end of this time they again set sail, but after a few days the Speedwell proved unsafe, and they were obliged twice to go back to port, and were finally compelled to abandon her, and transfer her passengers to the Mayflower, thus crowding the little craft to its utmost capacity.
On the 6th of September, 1620, they once more put to sea, this time bidding a final farewell to old England and after a long, tiresome and boisterous voyage, reached the shores of Cape Cod. This was not the point intended as their destination, as their grant of land lay near the mouth of the Hudson. They, however, after making an unsuccessful attempt to pursue their voyage, came to anchor, November 11 (O. S. ), in Provincetown harbor.
This is one of the best harbors on all the Atlantic coast, and it seems providential that they were guided to it. One may imagine the relief and sense of thankfulness that must have been theirs to look once more on the solid earth, after this dreary voyage of over four months. Four months' imprisonment in the close quarters of the little Mayflower was quite different from a trip across the Atlantic in these days. That the spirit of thanksgiving was uppermost among them, is evidenced by their first act after casting anchor, which was to "fall on their knees and bless the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof." When we think of the prospects of these wayfarers at that time, we cannot but wonder at the courage and faith that sustained them. Winter coming on; no shelter on land, and soon to be none on the sea, as the captain of the Mayflower was impatient to return to England ; short of provisions ; weakened in body by long confinement on ship-board ; an unknown country before them, perhaps infested by unknown foes. We who enjoy the benefits so dearly bought by them cannot admire enough the sublime fortitude, the unconquering courage, and the unquestioning faith which ennobled these grand heroes of the Mayflower, and made them the loved and honored "Founders of New England."
The next thing to be done was to fix upon a place of settlement, and with this object in view, a series of exploring parties were soon started, which finally resulted in the settlement at Plymouth, Dec. 20, 1620. During this search, the members of the company, with the exception of those on the expedition, remained on board the Mayflower and while thus detained in the harbor, four of the number died. To help fill the vacant places, two children had been born, one at sea, named Oceanus, in honor of his place of birth, and the other, Peregrine White, so named in token of the pilgrimage then in progress, and who is distinguished as the first white child born within the limits of New Eugland.
The third, and last exploring party, consisted of fourteen men, including Carver, Bradford, Winslow and Standish. They set sail on December 6, intending to make a circuit of the bay. The first day they ranged along the shore, but found no place to satisfy them. Next morning occurred the first encounter with the Indians, but fortunately with no serious results. A severe storm of snow and rain, the following afternoon, drove them to harbor, and a landing was made at night on Clark's Island, so named from the mate of the Mayflower, who first stepped ashore. The next day proved warm and pleasant, and daylight showed to them their situation, which, by comparing with the map of Capt. John Smith; they found to be named thereon "Plymouth." This being Saturday, they remained on the island, putting their shallop and arms in order, and preparing to keep the Sabbath.
Sunday, we have every reason to believe, from the character of the voyagers, was kept as a day of rest and Worship. An immense granite boulder on this island is today called "Pulpit Rock," from the supposition that the first service on shore was held here. Some one has inscribed upon it these words (recorded in Mourt's Journal) : The Sabbath-day we rested." The Monday following was destined to become a day long to be remembered and honored by a grateful people, as the beginning of New England history for on this day the first landing was made on Plymouth Rock, a name now known to all the world as emblematic of the men who first stepped upon it, and the government which they established to withstand the shocks of all subsequent time securely "founded upon a rock."
The day's discoveries confirmed the impressions made before landing. They found a country provided with all necessary advantages. A good harbor, natural fortifications, plenty of clear water, wood of numerous kinds, and, best of all, much cleared land which had been occupied and cultivated by the Indians. A few years previous, a terrible scourge had visited this region, carrying off thousands of the native population, thus leaving for these exiles lands ready prepared for them.
In considering all these varied experiences, who can doubt the agency of a higher power in directing these Pilgrims to the landing place at Plymouth!
The return to the Mayflower, after a week's absence, proved a sorrowful meeting. The sad fate of Dorothy, the young wife of Bradford, who fell overboard during his absence and was drowned, and also the death of James Chilton, the day after, cast a gloom over the ship's company, and gave the returning explorers a sorrowful welcome. Many others were suffering from disease, and the condition of all was most deplorable, so that there was no time to spend in mourning for the dead. Their anxiety now was to prepare a place for the living as speedily as possible. Accordingly, the next day saw the Mayflower on the way to her destination, coming to anchorage on Saturday, December i6, in Plymouth harbor, where they remained until Monday. Four days later, they decided upon a location, and commenced preparations for building.
For the ensuing three months the little colony endured great trials and privations. Sickness and death was a constant guest among them. Nearly one half of the number died during this time, while many more were prostrated by disease, there being at one time only seven well persons to provide and care for the sick. The scarcity of provisions, and the eating of food prepared with sea salt, together with severe cold and exposure, were instrumental in producing this devastating sickness.
The dividing into families and apportioning land, resulted in establishing nineteen families, each to build its own house, casting lots for choice of location. These house lots were very small, being only three rods long by one and one-half rods broad. The houses were placed on each side of the street now called Leyden street. They were built of hewn white oak logs, cemented together with mortar, and contained but one room. The roofs were thatched with dry swamp grass, after the style of many houses, even of the better class, in England, at that time.
A large building for storage was also erected, and as fast as possible goods and families were transferred from ship to shore, thou~h fully eight months passed from the time they first embarked from Delft Haven before the last passengers were provided with houses on shore, and then scarcely more than one half the original number were left to occupy them.
A fort was also prepared; and Captain Standish formed a military company, and placed five cannon upon Fort Hill, this precaution being taken to insure the safety of the village in case of a possible attack by the Indians.
The month of March seems to have brought in warm, pleasant weather, quite unlike the March of the present day in New England, for we read in Bradford's journal of the "singing of birds," and the first thunder-storm.
The visit of Samoset, chief of the Mohegans, about this time, was an event of great importance to the colony. His ability to speak English enabled him to furnish much desirable information relating to the country, its inhabitants and its resources.
He introduced to them Tisquantum, or Squanto, as he was commonly called, who became a most valuable friend and aid. He had been kidnapped by a Captain Hunt, and taken to England, but was afterward returned, only to find his tribe exterminated and himself alone.
From associating with white men, he had come to adopt, in a measure, their ways of living, and so gladly became a member of the little band at Plymouth, sharing their privations and dangers, and proving an invaluable help to them as a guide and interpreter. On this visit of Samoset with Squanto, he brought notice of the near approach of Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoags, accompanied by sixty wariors. This news created intense excitement, for the coming interview was fraught with interests vital to the safety of the colony.
When the Indian chief and his retinue appeared at the top of the hill, Squanto was sent to inquire his wishes, returning with the request from Massasoit, that a messenger be sent to confer with him.
Edward Winslow was the man appointed, and at once set out to meet the savage chief. He had not neglected to provide himself with gifts with which to insure his welcome. A pair of knives and a copper chain with jewels attached were presented to the chief, and to a brother of the chief he gave a knife, an earring, a pot of strong waters, some biscuit and some butter, the latter of which they ate and drank, much pleased.
Winslow then addressed them in substance, as follows "That King James saluted the Indian ruler with peace and love, accepting him as a friend and ally, and that the Governor desired to see him, that he might confirm a peace with him, establish neighborly relations, and open a trade for mutual benefit."
Massasoit was much pleased with this speech as it was interpreted to him, and leaving Winslow with his brother as a hostage, and taking twenty warriors with bows and arrows, started for the village. During the absence of Winslow, the people had made such hasty preparations as were possible for meeting and entertaining their visitors, and as the great chief marched down the hill with his followers, he was met by Captain Standish and Mr. Allerton at the head of a company of musketeers, and escorted with military pomp to one of the houses which had been prepared to receive him. Governor Carver then advanced with a guard, attended by drum and trumpet, and, after formal greetings had been exchanged, they joined in partaking of food and drink.
A treaty was then drawn up and concluded between them, which was never broken by this child of nature, and was kept for many years after his death by his descendents.
The attitude of the Pilgrim colonists toward their Indian neighbors was characterized by the same adherence to Christian principles which distinguished them in all their dealings, and, according to their own records, their good faith was amply repaid in an unexpected fidelity and devotion. And yet we call them savages! These noblemen of nature, who were the friends and protectors of our early homes, and, until imposed upon by the white man, maintained a friendly relation towards them.
This treaty with Massasoit cannot be over-estimated in its subsequent results among the colonists, for we have to consider that they were in the midst of a native population of at least twenty-five thousand, notwithstanding the fact that nearly ninety-five per cent. of their number had been swept away by the great plague.
Let us, in imagination, go back to a bright day in April this spring of 1621, and picture to ourselves, if possible, the scene before us.
A group of sad-eyed women gazing longingly at the white sails of the Mayflower spread for a long flight over "old ocean's gray and solitary waste;" and as they look through blinding tears, the little bark floats away in the distance, weighted with a freight of loving messages to dear ones on the other shore, and, as she disappears, one long sob breaks from their trembling lips as they bid farewell to the last link that binds them to their native land.
The little Mayflower never came back to Plymouth, but twice revisited the shores of Massachusetts Bay. In 1629, she landed a company of Leyden people at Salem, bound for Plymouth, and, in 1630, she was one of the fleet that brought John Winthrop and his company to Boston.
It was now time to commence planting the corn which had been procured from the Indians. Here again Squanto proved a great help to them, by instructing them in the mysteries of this corn planting, which was unknown to them. As there were no beasts of burden, the labor must be performed by men. Squanto taught them to drop three or four ale-wives into each hill with a handful of corn, and that the field must be guarded night and day, for two weeks, to prevent wolves from digging up the fish.
During this first planting, occurred what seemed the greatest calamity that had yet befallen them, in the death of Gov. Carver. While at work in the field, he was taken suddenly sick and died in a few days. William Bradford was appointed to succeed him, and the work went on. Twenty acres of corn and six acres of wheat, rye, barley and peas, together with vegetable gardens, attested to the industry of the few workers fit for active service.
The season of planting over, there came a time in mid sunimer when the work of the colony was not pressing. With New England farmers of to-day, haying time presses close upon the time of seeding. But with the colonists no hay was needed, for there were as yet no horses or cattle to eat it, and if there had been, there was plenty of native grass, without the need of cultivation. For our years the children of the Mayflower ate their hasty pudding (a favorite old-time dish) without milk, and of course fresh beef and mutton were impossible dishes. The place of draught horses and cattle was supplied by bone and muscle of finer texture, backed by some of the best quality of brains that ever thought out the problems of society.
This resting time afforded an opportunity to make a long anticipated visit to the headquarters of Massasoit, on the shores of Narragansett Bay. Two men were detailed to undertake the journey, Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins, accompanied by Squanto, as guide and interpreter. As before, they provided themselves with such gifts as they considered would be most acceptable. A tunic, or coat of red cotton trimmed with lace, and a copper chain with medal attached, the latter to be used by the messengers of the chief as a token of good faith in going and coming between him and the English.
This expedition started in July, reaching the Namasket village ( now Middleboro ), fifteen miles distant, in the afternoon, where they were entertained by the villagers in royal style. The fare consisted of corn bread and shad-roe. The same night they lodged at Weir, where they found more of the same tribe engaged in fishing for bass, of which they made their supper.
In this viciinity lived thousands of the native population who died in the great plague, and whose bones lie scattered around, as there were not enough of the living left to bury the dead. Next morning, they follow the course of the river to a shallow place which they ford, and reach the lodge of Massasoit same day, where they are made welcome. He points out to them the home of the great Narragansett tribe across the bay, the strongest of all the confederations.
Here they remained over night, these two undaunted travellers, amid a company of savages, far from friends, and wholly at their mercy. This trip of Winslow and Hopkins shows of what stuff these men were made, and must have filled with anxiety the hearts of those left at home, awaiting their return. Next day, they turned their faces homeward, and arrived there in safety the second day after.
About this time, Hobomak; one of Massasoit's chief captains, came to live in the colony, probably in the family of Capt. Standish, to whom he attached himself, accompanying him on all his subsequent expeditions, and remaining a faithful friend to him and to the colonists through all the remainder of his life. His death occurred in 1642. He embraced the Christian religion, and died in hope of the Christian's heaven.
The remainder of the year 1621 was marked by several most interesting events. In July, the escapade of young John Pillington, wherein he ran away and got lost in the woods, and wandered around for five days, suffering greatly from hunger, until he chanced to fall into the hands of a tribe of Indians, located near Buzzards Bay, twenty miles distant from Plymouth. His absence caused much uneasiness, and a company of men started out to find and bring him home. A report had reached them of his whereabouts, but not feeling sure of the sentiments of this tribe, they were somewhat in fear for his safety. On arriving at the place, they were received and entertained with great cordiality, and the boy was returned to them safe, and happy in the possession of a quantity of Indian ornaments. Thus the freak of the "scape-grace " of the colony, though causing considerable anxiety and inconvenience, ended most agreeably.
In August, a rumor was circulated that trouble was brewing between Massasoit and Corbitant.(Corbitant was chief of the Pocassets, and for a while unfriendly to the English.) Squanto and Hobomak were immediately dispatched to learn the truth regarding it.
On reaching the village of Namasket, they were seized by Corbitant, and threatened with death. Hobomak escaped, and fled with all haste to Plymouth with the news that Massasoit and Squanto were both prisoners; whereupon Captain Standish:
"Took from the nail on the wall his sword with its scabbard of iron, Buckled the belt round his waist,"
and with ten picked men, started to the rescue. They marched all day in the rain, and at night lost their way in the woods, and wandered around for hours, but finally reached the village, and beseiged the house where they supposed Corbitant to be. The inmates attempted to run away, and were fired upon, and two or three were wounded. Corbitant, however, had fled. Massasoit was at libertv, and Squanto was found all right in one of the houses. Next day they all returned home, taking with them the wounded Indians, who were carefully treated by Dr. Fuller until well.
The prompt and determined action of the English in this instance so impressed the natives, that they were anxious to conciliate them ; accordingly, soon after this, a treaty, or oath of allegiance, was drawn up and signed by at least seven of the principal sachems.
A trip to Massachusetts Bay in the month of September, for the purpose of advancing trade with the tribes located at different points thereon, and to promote a feeling of friendliness, as well as to become better acquainted with the country round about, proved successful in every particular. They were everywhere made welcome, and found the Indians most anxious to trade.
The remainder of the summer was spent in getting in their harvests and preparing their dwellings for winter. Sickness and death had departed from among them, and health and hope had returned. Food in abundance could be had ; plenty of game, such as deer, wild fowl, both land and sea; fish in great variety, with clams, oysters and quahaugs abounded in the waters; and great quantities of wild fruit was found in the woods and fields; luscious strawberries of uncommon size; wild plums, grapes and berries, probably kept the children busy gathering them.
The arrival of the "Fortune," in November, a small vessel of fifty-five tons, bringing thirty-five passengers, was a joyful event, bearing, as it probably did, several relatives and friends, besides innumerable messages from friends in Holland and England.
She remained two weeks, and when she set sail on the return voyage, went with a full cargo of beaver skins and clap-boards, estimated at about five hundred pounds value. A pretty good record considering the difficulties met and overcome.
So ended the first year of the settlement of New England.
"0 ye, who proudly boast
In your free veins the blood of sires like these,
Look to their lineaments. Dread least ye lose
Their likeness in your sons. Should Mammon cling
Too close around your heart, or wealth beget
That bloated luxury which eats the core
From manly virtue, or the tempting world
Make faint the Christian purpose in your soul,
Turn ye to Plymouth Rock, and where they knelt,
Kneel, and renew the vow they breathed to God."
Governor John, the first signer of the compact, was one of the oldest members of the colony, being between fifty and sixty years of age. He was deacon of the church in Holland, and was the principal agent in collecting funds with which to emigrate to America. He was much relied upon as a leader by Rev. Mr. Robinson, the pastor of the Leyden church, and had a reputation above reproach for ability and Christian character, which he fully sustained to the day of his death. His family consisted of eight persons, his wife and several servants. He died about five months after landing. He was in the field helping to plant corn, when he was taken suddenly sick and died in a few days. All through the trying winter months he had been untiring in his labors, administering to the sick and dying, and providing for the bereaved, besides attending to the arduous duties incident to the establishment of a new settlement. The lack of strong arms rendered it necessary for him to undertake tasks too severe for his age and strength and so, bowed down with toil and care, he at last laid aside his implements of labor, and sought rest in the sheltering arms of death. They laid him in the burying-ground on Cole's Hill with as much ceremony as was possible, firing a volley of musketry over his grave. His wife, Katherine, died soon after, and was laid beside him.
The second Pilgrim governor was born in Austerfield, Eng., a small village about two miles from the post town, Scrooby. He was a farmer's boy. At an early age he was left an orphan, and was brought up by his grandparents and uncles. He was a thoughtful, studious boy, and acquired an excellent education, being able to speak six different languages. At the church in Babworth, six miles distant, he was a constant attendant until their minister, Clifton, was silenced by the authorities. He then joined others in forming the Scrooby Church, and with them went to Holland, when but eighteen years of age. He there married Dorothy May, Nov.30, 1613., who sailed with him for America, but failed to reach the land of promise, being drowned in Cape Cod Harbor, in the absence of her husband on an exploring expedition.
He married, for his second wife, Alice, the widow of Edward Southworth, who came from England in the Anne, accompanied by her two boys. He was chosen governor after Carver, and continued in office, with the exception of three years for Governor Winslow, and two for Governor Prince, until the year of his death, serving thirty-one years as governor. He has since been called the "Washington" of the infant colony. His numerous writings have proved of great value to chroniclers and historians. These writings were lost, and for years no trace of them could be found. But finally, the Bishop of Oxford discovered his "History of Plymouth Plantation" hid in the Fulham Library, in England.
His eldest son, John, died childless. Two other sons and one daughter were born to him by his second wife. The oldest, Major William Bradford, inherited his father's books and his father's love of them. At his death, in 1704 he requested to be laid beside him. The blue slate slab, which marked his resting place, was the guide to the grave of Governor William when, years after, his descendants erected a monument to his memory on Burial Hill. died at Plymouth in 1657, aged sixty-nine years.
The third governor of
Plymouth Colony was a native of Droitwich, England. He belonged
to the gentry and was an educated and accomplished man; the second in
the colony in point of wealth.
He married, in Holland, Elizabeth Barker (the bride of Weirs painting "The Embarkation," a copy of which hangs in Pilgrim Hall ), who came with him in the Mayflower, together with two servants and a little girl. His wife died the first spring, and he married Susanna, widow of Wil1iam White and mother of Peregrine, the first white child born in New England. Winslow was the ambassador to the Indians for the colonists, and also to the king. His famous visit to Massasoit, the Great Sachem of the Wampanoags, has become a part of history. He settled in Marshfield, on a farm since owned by Daniel Webster. He was several times governor of Plymouth Colony, and always faithful to her interests. In 1654, he was appointed by Cromwell, commissioner of a military expedition against the Spanish powers in the West Indies. While on this trip, he died and was buried at sea, May 8, 1655.
In Pilgrim Hall, may be seen a portrait of Gov. Edward Winslow, the only authentic original portrait of the Mayflower company. It was painted in England, five years before his death, and portrays a gentleman of culture and refinement, of firm moral character and high intellectual attainment. In Pilgrim Hall are many other relics said to have been brought by him in the Mayflower.
Two other paintings, one of his son, Gov. Josiah Winslow, and a grandson, Gen. John Winslow, can also be seen there.
Elder Brewster was born at Scrooby, in Nottinghampshire, Eng., in 1560, at the Manor Hall of the village. Scrooby Manor was an ancient possession and occasional residence of the Archbishop of York. He was educated at Cambridge College, and afterward became confidential friend of William Davison, Queen Elizabeth's secretary, with whom he visited Holland, and became familiar with the lives and surroundings of royalty. He was possessed of an ample fortune, which enabled him to live in a style befitting his station. He was for several years post-master at Scrooby, a position of great responsibility in those days.
Espousing the Puritan faith, he was
subjected to persecution, and at one time imprisoned. The
Separatist church at Scrooby was begun in 1606,
with William Brewster, Elder, Richard Clifton and John Robinson, pastor
and teacher. Here, at the large Manor Hall, Brewster entertained
the despised adherents of this sect, and from here he fled to Hofland,
in 1607, where he became a teacher of the English language, and a
publisher of religious books, especially those advancing the doctrines
of the "Independent church, or the "Separatists," as they were called.
He was a faithful co-worker with Pastor
Robinson in the Leyden church.
In the year 1619, the British government requested that Brewster be handed over to them for trial on the charge of selling his prohibited books in England. An attempt was made to arrest him, but he escaped and went to London, where he remained until the sailing of the Mayfiower.
He was the oldest member of the Pilgrim Band, being about sixty at that time. For twenty-four years he served the infant colony in the capacity of elder; for several years acting as preacher as well. He was their spiritual staff through all the sad and trying scenes of the early days of the colony, by his cheerful spirit and firm faith in God, upholding the weak, comforting the sick and dying, and probably speaking a word of exhortation or promise at the grave of the dead. No funeral sermon was preachcd by the Puritans, or prayer offered. The burial was silent. Prayer at funerals in New England was first offered in
Elder Brewster early settled in Duxbury, near Captain Standish. His wife died here in 1627. He died in 1644, and his son Love succeeded to the homestead. The first apple tree in New England is said to have been planted by Elder Brewster, on this farm.
The celebrated captain of the Pilgrims was born in Lancashire, Eng. He entered the service of Queen Elizabeth as a soldier, and took part in the war of the Netherlands. At the end of that war, he settled in Leyden, among the English refugees, and, with them, embarked in 1620 for America. He was of small stature, but had a large heart, great powers of endurance, indomitable courage, and superior military ability, and was always held in great respect and confidence by the Plymouth colony. It is unnecessary
to recite here his numerous adveritures with the Indians, his military exploits, or his deeds of valor. These are recorded in history, and familiar to every boy and girl of New England. It is well known that he was the first commissioned military officer in the New World, and had command of the first military company here. It has often been said that his judgment and executive ability, joined to his military powers, many times saved the colony from destruction. In 1631, he removed to Duxbury, and settled on Captain's Hill, a high eminence overlooking the harbor and the country for miles around. On the summit of this hill were built the watch fires that signalled danger to the early settlers. Here Captain Standish could look across the bay to Plymouth, and, if aught there was amiss, a warning shot would crash out from the old fort on Burial hill, which had been built under his directions.
From Newsgroup: soc.genealogy.uk+ireland
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996 14:40:52 -0500
Sender: UK and Ireland Genealogy Discussion List
From: Stuart Frederick Moverley
Subject: Mayflower passenger list
This list of the Mayflower passengers is taken from
a plaque on the wall of a building in Plymouth,Devon
near the place where the Mayflower sailed from on
16 September 1620.
John Alden,cooper of Harwich - the first to step ashore.
John Carver,merchant of Doncaster.
Katherine Carver,his wife.
John Howland,manservant of London.
William Latham,servant boy.
Jasper Moore,servant boy.
William Brewster of Scrooby,Nottinghamshire.
Mary Brewster,his wife.
Love Brewster,his son.
Wrasling Brewster,his son.
Richard More,servant boy.
- More,brother of Richard.
Ellen More,servant girl,sister of Richard.
Edward Winslow,printer of Droitwich.
Elizabeth Winslow,his wife.
William Bradford,fustian maker of Yorkshire.
Dorothy Bradford,his wife.
Issak Allerton,tailor of London.
Mary Allerton,his wife.
Bartholomew Allerton,his son.
Remember and Mary Allerton,his daughters.
John Hooke,servant boy.
Samuell Fuller,sail maker,ships physician and surgeon.
William Butten of Austerfield,his servant;died on the voyage.
Captain Myles Standish of Chorley,Lancashire,soldier.
Rose Standish,his wife.
John Crakston of Colchester and his son John.
Christopher Martin of Great Burstead,Essex.
- Martin,his wife.
Salamon Prower and John Langmore,his servants.
William Mullines of Dorking,Surrey,shopkeeper.
- Mullines,his wife.
Joseph Mullines,his son.
Priscilla Mullines,his daughter.
Robart Carter,his servant.
William White,wool carder and Susanna,his wife.
Resolved White,his son.
Peregrine White,his son - born on board.
William Holbeck,his servant.
Edward Thomson,his servant.
Steven Hopkins of Wotton Under Edge,Gloucestershire.
Elizabeth Hopkins,his wife.
Giles Hopkins,his son.
Constanta Hopkins,his daughter.
Damaris Hopkins,his daughter and Oceanus - born on board.
Edward Doty and Edward Lister,his servants.
Richard Warren of London,merchant.
John Billinton of London.
Elen Billinton,his wife.
John Billinton,his son.
Francis Billinton,his son.
Edward Tillie of London,cloth maker.
Ann Tillie,his wife.
Henery Samson,their cossen,a child.
Humillity Cooper,their cossen,a child.
John Tillie of London,silk worker.
Bridget Tillie,his wife.
Elizabeth Tillie,his daughter.
Francis Cooke of Blyth,wool comber.
John Cooke,his son.
Thomas Rogers,camlet merchant.
Joseph Rogers,his son.
Thomas Tinker,wood sawyer.
- Tinker,his wife.
- Tinker,his son.
John Rigdale of London.
Alic Rigdale,his wife.
James Chilton of Canterbury,tailor.
- Chilton,his wife.
Mary Chilton,his daughter.
Edward Fuller of Redenhall,Norfolk.
- Fuller,his wife.
Samuell Fuller,his son.
John Turner,merchant and his two sons.
Francis Eaton of Bristol,carpenter.
Sarah Eaton,his wife.
Samuell Eaton,his son.
Moyses Fletcher of Sandwich,smith.
John Goodman,linen weaver.
Thomas Williams of Yarmouth,Norfolk.
Digerie Priest of London,hatter.
Peter Browne of Great Burstead,Essex.
Richard Gardenar of Harwich.
Thanks to: Stuart Moverley for this list
See Thayer, Capen, Gates and Cook
for more descendants.
---Bibliography (a list of resources used in gathering information for these pages)