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Mayflower, Day by Day - Thursday, 18 November 1621

18 Nov 2021 3:36 AM | Soule (Administrator)

Division of Property (part three)

First, the plantation divided the livestock. The settlers were grouped in twelve companies totaling 156 people and including slightly less than forty families; each company received a cow and two goats. In January 1628 came an allotment or division of land. To forestall complaints, division was by lottery, and all acreage surveyed and considered adequate before distribution began. Since meadow was in short supply, all meadowland continued to be held in common. Fishing, fowling, and access to water remained free to all men. In the division of housing, the governor and four or five others were allowed to keep their homes; the rest of the dwellings were valued, and the man who lived in a better home paid an equalizing fee to the man who lived in a poorer one. Although such a property division could have sparked explosive dissension, Bradford handled the matter well. The decision to include persons who were not former members of the company and the attempt to divide equally undercut any basis for discontent. According to the Governor: "This distribution gave generally good contente and setled mens minds."

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