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Mayflower, Day by Day - Monday, 7 December 1620

7 Dec 2020 3:00 AM | Soule (Administrator)

Second Exploration Party; “First Child of New England”

Rough weather and cross winds.  The Pilgrims determined, after Christopher Jones’ ultimatum of yesterday, to send out a strong exploring party, and invited Jones to join them and go as leader, which he agreed to and offered nine of the crew and the long-boat.  One of the mates was left in charge of the ship.  Of the colonists there were twenty four, making the party in all thirty four (or double the size of the previous exploration party). The wind proved so strong that, setting out from the ship, the shallop and long-boat were obliged to row to the nearest shore, and the men to wade above the knees to land; the shallop had to harbour where she landed, in an inlet that is now part of Pilgrim Lake, and here all of the men spent the night: their wet shoes and stockings began to freeze.  “Some of our people that are dead,” Bradford wrote, “took the original of their death here.”  The wind blew fiercely and it snowed all day and at night, and froze.

Susannah White was delivered of a son, who was named “Peregrine” (meaning “Pilgrim”).  This was the second child born on the voyage, and the first in this harbour: he is called “the first child of New England” in the Marshfield church record of May 1696 (at age 75).  Peregrine joined William and Susannah White and an older brother Resolved.  He survived the first winter, and around 1649 married Sarah Bassett (b. c. 1628, daughter of William and Elizabeth Bassett, who both came on the Fortune in 1621).  Bradford’s list said that Peregrine White had two children at that time (1651); he had five more in the next twenty years.  One was killed in Captain Pierse’s Fight during King Philip’s War (along with Benjamin Soule, son of the pilgrim George Soule; see Mayflower Descendant 45 [Jan 1995]:53), while all of the others have descendants.  At least three autographs of Peregrine White have been identified (all pictured in Mayflower Descendant 13 [Jan 1911]: frontispiece, 1-2), but he signed his will with the initials “PW” and his mark; he was over 83 years old at the time.  He died in Marshfield on 20 July 1704.

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