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Excerpts from the Journal of John Winthrop -June,1630

(Reprinted by permission of the publisher from JOURNAL OF JOHN WINTHROP 1630-1649, edited by Richard S. Dunn, James Savage, and Laetitia Yeandle, Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright 1996 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Pages 26-28.)

Friday, [June] 11. The wind still SW., close weather. We stood to and again all this day within sight of Cape Anne. The Isles of shoals were now within 2 leagues of us, and we saw a ship lie there at anchor, and 5 or 6 shallops under sail up and down. We took many mackerels, and met a shallop which stood from Cape Ann towards the Isles of Shoals, which belonged to some English fishermen.

Saturday, [June] 12. About 4 in the morning we were near our port. We shot off 2 pieces of ordnance and sent our skiff to Mr. Peirce his ship which lay in the [Salem] harbor.50 About an hour after, Mr. Allerton came aboard us in a shallop as he was sailing to Pemaquid.51 As we stood towards the harbor, we passed through the narrow strait between Bakers Isle and Kettle Isle52 and came to an anchor a little within the islands.

After Mr. Peirce came aboard us, and returned to fetch Mr. Endicutt, 53 who came to us about 2 of the clock, and with him a Mr. Skelton54 and Captain Levett.55 We that were of the assistants and some other gentlemen, and some of the women and our captain, returned with them to Nahumkeeke, 56 where we supped with a good venison pasty and good beer, and at night we returned to our ship, but some of the women stayed behind.57 In the meantime most of our people went on shore upon the land of Cape Ann which lay very near us, and gathered store of strawberries. An Indian came aboard us and lay there all night.58

Lord's day, [June] 13. In the morning the Sagamore of Agawame59 and one of his men came aboard our ship and stayed with us all day. About 2 in the afternoon we descried the Jewel, so we manned out our skiff and wafted60 them in, and they went as near the harbor as the tide and wind would suffer.

Monday, [June] 14. In the morning early we weighed anchor and, the wind being against us and the channel so narrow as we could not well turn in, we warped in our ship61 and came to anchor in the inward harbor. In the afternoon we went with most of our company on shore, and our captain gave us 5 pieces.62

Thursday, [June] 17. We went to Mattachusettes63 to find out a place for our sitting down. We went up Misticke River about 6 miles. . . .

[Notes]


50. The Lion, captained by William Peirce, had left Bristol in Feb. with 80 passengers and reached Salem in May.
51. Isaac Allerton (1586? -1659) of Plymouth Colony was engaged in fur trading ventures along the Maine coast.
52. JW seems to have mixed up the names of two islands. He had passed Kettle Island while rounding Cape Ann, but was now passing between Little Misery Island and Baker's Island to enter Salem harbor.
53. John Endecott (1589? -1659) had been governor of the MBC's [Massachusetts Bay Colony] advance settlement at Salem from 1628 until JW's arrival. He continued to serve in the colony government as an assistant, and was eventually elected governor numerous times, starting in 1644.
54. The Rev. Samuel Skelton (d. 1634), formerly chaplain to the earl of Lincoln, had arrived in 1629 and was pastor of the Salem church.
55. Christopher Levett (1586-1630), a pioneer settler in Casco, Me.
56. Naumkeag, the Indian name for Salem.
57. JW returned to his ship and stayed there all the next day (Sunday) because, not yet having subscribed to the covenant of a gathered church, he was excluded from communion at Skelton's Salem church--a striking testimonial to the differences between religious practices in England and New England.
58. Notwithstanding this cheerful account of his arrival, JW found a distressing state of affairs at Salem. Eighty of the 300 colonists sent over by the MBC in 1628-1629 were dead, the others were sick and nearly out of food, and little preparation had been made for the 1,000 new arrivals of 1630. By mid-June, when the Arbella landed, the New England growing season was already well advanced. Since the MBC settlement at Salem could not possibly accommodate all the newcomers, JW and his colleagues had to decide quickly where else to settle, in order to clear fields and build lodgings before winter.
59. Masconomo was the sachem of the Pawtucket Indians who lived N of Salem. His base at Agawam ("fish curing place") was soon renamed Ipswich by the colonists.
60. Guided.
61. Hurling the Arbella's anchor well in advance, they moved the ship forward by hauling in the anchor cable.
62. A volley in salute. Here ends the first phase of JW's journal, his daily shipboard record, with 24 MS pages of entries meticulously covering the events of two and a half months (29 March--14 June). From now on the entries become much more irregular and brief, with only three MS pages of notes for JW's first six months in America (14 June--14 Dec. 1630). As he remarked in hurried letters to his family in England, JW was too busy during these crisis months to describe events adequately. But cryptic as these entries are, they supply more information about the initial settlement process than other contemporary records.
63. These two sentences are among the most tantalizing in the whole journal. By "Mattachusettes" JW means the environs of Boston harbor, inhabited at this time by only a handful of Englishmen. . . .

(Reprinted by permission of the publisher from JOURNAL OF JOHN WINTHROP 1630-1649, edited by Richard S. Dunn, James Savage, and Laetitia Yeandle, Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright 1996 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Pages 26-28.)

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