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  • 27 Aug 2021 3:22 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Friday, 27 August 1621

    Back to work: planting and construction continues.

    Lying at anchor, Dartmouth harbour [Thursday, 27 August 1620]

    Both ships in Bayard's Cove; the Speedwell being searched and mended. Sailors offended at Christopher Martin because of meddling; there is also some dissension among the chief of the passengers.  Cushman’s letter, written in Dartmouth and dated August 17 (o.s.) says: “The sailors also are so offended at his ignorant boldness in meddling and controlling in things he knows not what belongs to, as that some threaten to mischief him. ... But at best this cometh of it, that he makes himself a scorn and laughing stock unto them.”

  • 26 Aug 2021 2:52 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    A new era of peace

    After the (unsuccessful) expedition to capture Corbitant, Governor Bradford received “many Gratulations from diverse Sachems and much firmer Peace.”  The show of force in the midnight raid, no matter how disorganised and confused, had won the Pilgrims some new respect.  Epenow, the sachem in (what is now) Martha’s Vineyard, and the leader who had attacked Dermer several years ago, made overtures of friendship.  Even Corbitant himself let it be known that he now wanted to make peace.  Massasoit was by now back in Sowams, and now that the Pilgrims had proved themselves loyal and resolute supporters, a new era of peace settled over the region.  Even Canonicus, chief sachem of the Narragansetts, sent a messenger to treat of Peace.

    Lying at anchor, Dartmouth Harbour [Wednesday, 26 August 1620]

    The Speedwell, being thoroughly overhauled for leaks, was pronounced “as open and leaky as a sieve.”  The carpenters found a loose plank three feet long and admitting water freely, “as at a mole hole”; the seams had also opened some.  There was much dissatisfaction and discontent between the passengers and the ship’s “governour” Christopher Martin, between whom and Robert Cushman, the “assistant,” there is constant disagreement.  Cushman portrays the contemptible character and manner of Martin very sharply, and could not have wished to punish him worse for his meannesses than he did, by thus holding him up to the scorn of the world for all time.  He says, inter alia: “If I speak to him, he flies in my face and saith no complaints shall be heard or received  but by himself, and saith: ‘They are froward, and waspish, discontented people, and I do ill to hear them.’”

  • 25 Aug 2021 3:28 AM | Soule (Administrator)


    Standish had briefed the men on the plan: Hobbamock was to lead the company to Corbitant’s wigwam at midnight; once Standish had positioned them around the the outside, he and Hobbamock would charge inside and take Corbitant.  The men outside were instructed to shoot any Indian who tried to escape.

    The patter of the rain masked the sound of the Pilgrims taking their positions.  Standish burst into the wigwam, shouting Corbitant’s name.  With Hobbamock acting as interpreter, they demanded to know where Corbitant was.  Winslow wrote in Mourt’s Relation that “Corbitant were not there: but fear had bereft the savages of speech. We charged them not to stir, for if Corbitant were not there, we would not meddle with them; if he were, we came principally for him, to be avenged on him for the supposed death of Tisquantum, and other matters:  but howsoever, we would not at all hurt their women, or children. Notwithstanding some of them pressed out at a private door and escaped, but with some wounds: at length perceiving our principal ends, they told us Corbitant was returned with all his train, and that Tisquantum was yet living, and in the town, offering some tobacco, other such as they had to eat. In this hurley burley we discharged two pieces at random, which much terrified all the inhabitants, except Tisquantum and Tokamahamon, who though they knew not our end in coming, yet assured them of our honesty, that we would not hurt them. Those boys that were in the house, seeing our care of women, often cried, ‘Neen squaes,’ that is to say, ‘I am a woman’:   the women also hanging upon Hobomok, calling him Towam, that is, "friend."  But to be short, we kept them we had, and made them make a fire that we might see to search the house.”

    In the meantime, Hobbamock pulled himself up through the widwam’s smoke hole, and, balancing himself on the roof, called out for Squanto and Tokamahamon.  The latter came, “accompanied with others, some armed and others naked. Those that had bows and arrows, we took them away, promising them again when it was day. The house we took for our better safeguard, but released those we had taken, manifesting whom we came for and wherefore.”

    The next morning, “we marched into the midst of the town, and went to the house of Tisquantum to breakfast,” whither the Indians brought “the best food they have.”  “Thither came all whose hearts were upright towards us, but all Corbitant's faction were fled away. There in the midst of them we manifested again our intendment, assuring them, that although Corbitant had now escaped us, yet there was no place should secure him and his from us if he continued his threatening us and provoking others against us, who had kindly entertained him, and never intended evil towards him till he now so justly deserved it. Moreover, if Massasoit did not return in safety from Narraganset, or if hereafter he should make any insurrection against him, or offer violence to Tisquantum, Hobomok, or any of Massasoit's subjects, we would revenge it upon him, to the overthrow of him and his. As for those were wounded, we were sorry for it, though themselves procured it in not staying in the house at our command: yet if they would return home with us, our surgeon should heal them.  At this offer, one man and a woman that were wounded went home with us, Tisquantum and many other known friends accompanying us, and offering all help that might be by carriage of any thing we had to ease us.  So that by God's good providence, we safely returned home the morrow night after we set forth.”

    Lying at anchor, Dartmouth Harbour [Tuesday, 25 August 1620]

    Speedwell being thoroughly overhauled for leaks. 

  • 24 Aug 2021 3:43 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Lost in the wet woods

    Captain Standish set out with ten men armed, “who took their journey as aforesaid, but the day proved very wet. When we supposed we were within three or four miles of Nemasket, we went out of the way and stayed there till night, because we would not be discovered. There we consulted what to do, and thinking best to beset the house at midnight, each was appointed his task by the captain, all men encouraging one another to the utmost of their power.” That night the company’s guide lost his way, “which much discouraged our men, being we were wet, and weary of our arms:  but one of our men, having been before at Nemasket, brought us into the way again.  Before we came to the town, we sat down and ate such as our knapsacks afforded. That being done, we threw them aside, and all such things as might hinder us, and so went on and beset the house, according to our last resolution.”

    Fixing the Speedwell [Monday, 24 August 1620]

    The Mayflower lying at anchor in Dartmouth harbour; the Speedwell at the quay, taking out lading for a thorough overhauling.

  • 23 Aug 2021 3:47 AM | Soule (Administrator)


    Governor Bradford assembled his advisers on what to do about Corbitant.  “It was conceiv'd not fit to be borne,” Bradford wrote, “for if we should suffer our Friends and Messengers thus to be wrong'd, we shall have none to cleave to us, or give us Intelligence, or do us any Service, but would next fall upon us, &c.”  The council decided on quick and bold action; Myles Standish volunteered to lead ten men tomorrow with Hobbamock “to seize our Foes in the Night” in Nemasket.  If Squanto had been killed, they were to seize Corbitant and cut off his head, and bring it back to Plymouth for public display.  They were to harm “only those who had a Hand in the Murther, and retain Nepeof, another Sachim in the Confederacy, till we hear of Masassoit.”

    Lying at anchor in Dartmouth Harbour [Sunday, 23 August 1620]           

    Mayflower lying at anchor with Speedwell (leaking badly) in Dartmouth harbor.  No passengers, except leaders, were allowed ashore. Cushman, in his letter to Edward Southworth, written at Dartmouth on 17 August, says that Christopher Martin, the “governour” of the passengers in the Mayflower, “will not suffer them the passengers to go, ashore lest they should run away.”  This probably applied especially to such as had become disaffected by the delays and disasters, the apprenticed (“bound”) servants.

  • 22 Aug 2021 3:30 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Previously, on Mayflower: Day-by-Day:

    From Mourt’s Relation: “At our return from Nauset, we found it true that Massasoit was put from his country by the Narragansets. Word also was brought unto us that Corbitant, a petty sachem or governor under Massasoit (whom they ever feared to be too conversant with the Narragansets), was at Nemasket, who sought to draw the hearts of Massasoit's subjects from him, speaking also disdainfully of us, storming at the peace between Nauset, Cummaquid, and us, and at Tisquantum, the worker of it; also at Tokamahamon, and one Hobomok (two Indians, or Lemes, one of which he would treacherously have murdered a little before, being a special and trusty man of Massasoit's).  Tokamahamon went to him, but the other two would not; yet put their lives in their hands, privately went to see if they could hear of their king, and lodging at Nemasket were discovered to Corbitant, who set a guard to beset the house, and took Tisquantum (for he had said, if he were dead, the English had lost their tongue) Hobomok seeing that Tisquantum was taken, and Corbitant held a knife at his breast, being a strong and stout man, brake from them and came to New Plymouth, full of fear and sorrow for Tisquantum, whom he thought to be slain.”  The plot thickens tomorrow.

    The Ford Family on the Fortune

    Young’s list of Fortune passengers, revised by Stratton, and reproduced yesterday, only has thirty-four names, although all of the main sources (Winslow, in Mourt’s Relation, Bradford, in his journal, and Captain John Smith) state that there were thirty-five passengers.  Who is the missing passenger?

    One possibility is that reliance on the 1623 division of land has shortchanged the Ford family by one.  This name of the male head of the household does not appear in any Plymouth Colony record, and therefore we do not know his first name and can only infer that there was a man with this surname on the Fortune.  Alexander Young’s Chronicles of the Pilgrims (1841, reprinted NEHGS 2016 with a preface by Robert Charles Anderson) p. 235, quotes a letter of Edward Winslow to a friend in England dated 11 December 1621: “The Goodwife Ford was delivered of a son the first night she landed and both of them are very well.”  It would be unlikely that a widow in the late stages of pregnancy would have been a passenger on the Fortune (or any other ship); therefore it seems more probable that her husband was with her on the voyage but died shortly after the date of Winslow’s letter, since the 1623 division of land (apparently made about March 1623/4) allots four acres to “Widow Ford.”  The fact that Winslow calls her “Goodwife” and not “Widow” also supports this assumption.

    The grant to the family of four acres in 1623 is subject to a number of interpretations.  Barclay assumed that it encompassed the widow and three children, the husband having died by that date.  Wakefield held instead that the grant was for the widow Ford, her deceased husband, and children John and Martha, the child born in 1621 having already died shortly after landing [MQ 40:55].  A third possibility is that the son John was the child born immediately after landing in 1621, and that the grant was for the two parents and the only two children of those two parents.  This, however, would make John Ford only nineteen when he was granted land in 1640 [PCR 1:165], so if a person receiving a grant of land in Plymouth at this time was necessarily twenty-one, then this arrangement could not work.

    There appears, however, to be a total of five people in the Ford family: (1) Mr. [unknown given name] Ford, who probably died within a year of landing, and definitely before the land division of 1623, when his wife is referred to as “widow”; (2) Mrs. Martha (unknown maiden name) Ford; by the time of the 1627 Plymouth cattle division the widow Ford had married Peter Brown, and she appeared as the fifth person in the fifth company, and her children John Ford and Martha Ford as the seventh and eighth persons in that company [PCR 12:11]; (3) John Ford, b. say 1617; d. (or left Plymouth) between 5 January 1640/1 [PCR 2:6] and 1643 (not in 1643 Plymouth list of men able to bear arms)[TAG 42:39]; (4) Martha Ford, b. about 1619 (d. Plymouth 20 December 1683 “in her 64th year” [Plymouth Church Records 1:250]); m. Plymouth 29 October 1640 William Nelson [PCR 1:153; TAG 56:32-35]; (5) son Ford, born Plymouth, 9 November 1621, the day the Fortune arrived, and probably d. before 1623.  I realise that this is a stretch, but if we include all five of these as passengers, the youngest one a passenger in utero, we can complete the number of thirty-five.

    Speedwell and Mayflower arrive in Dartmouth [Saturday, 22 August 1620]

    Mayflower made port at Dartmouth.  The Speedwell was in company, and came to anchor in the harbour.  Russell (Pilgrim Memorials, p. 15) says: “The ships put back into Dartmouth, August13/23.”  Goodwin (p. 55) says: “The port was reached about August 23.”  Captain John Smith strangely omits the return of the ships to Dartmouth, and confuses dates, as he says “But the next day after leaving Southampton the lesser ship sprung a leak that forced their return to Plymouth.”  Cushman’s letter, written the 17th, says they had then lain there “four days,” which would mean, if four full days, the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th (old style).

  • 21 Aug 2021 3:39 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Saturday, 21 August 1621

    Planting and construction continue.

    Fortune passengers (part two)

    As with the Speedwell, no actual passenger list survives for the Fortune. Charles Edward Banks compiled a list of likely passengers in his Planters of the Commonwealth based on a 1623 division of land in the colony; the compiled list was later supplemented by entries in Eugene Aubrey Stratton's Plymouth Colony: Its History and its People, 1620-1691.  I am compiling biographical sketches for all known or presumed passengers on the Fortune, which should be ready for the Delano Kindred annual reunion next month.

    1.         Adams John (From Wapping, Stephney, Middlesex, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 113)

    2.         Basset William (From Bethnal Green, Stephney, Middlesex, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 113)

    3.         Basset Elizabeth, wife

    4.         Beale William

    5.         Bompasse Edward

    6.         Brewster Jonathan, oldest son of Elder Brewster

    7.         Briggs Clement (From Southwark, Surrey, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Pope. 36 pg 169)

    8.         Bumpas Edward (From St Bartholomew, London, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 99)

    9.         Cannon John

    10.       Conner William

    11.       Cushman Robert (From Canterbury, Kent, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Pope. 36 pg 76)

    12.       Cushman Thomas, son abt 12 (From Canterbury, Kent, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Pope. 36 pg 76)

    13.       Deane Steven (From Southwark, Surrey, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 169)

    14.       Flavell Thomas & son (wife was on the Anne) (From Stephney, Middlesex, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 113)

    15.       Ford ______ (presumably son William)(William. from Southwark, S Olave, Surrey, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 169)

    16.       Ford Widow Martha, wife

    17.       Ford Martha, daughter

    18.       Ford John, son, born the day of arrival

    19.       Hicks Robert (From Southwark, Surrey, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Pope. 36 pg 169)

    20.       Hilton William (From Northwich bound for Plymouth 1623. Dover N.H. 1624. Ref: Banks, Mass. 36 pg 14)

    21.       Morgan Bennet (Benedict, from Clerkenwell, St James, Middlesex, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 110)

    22.       Morton Thomas - his son, Thomas Morton, Jr., arrived on the Anne

    23.       Nicolas Austen

    24.       Noye de la Phillippe (last name anglicised as Delano)

    25.       Palmer William (From Stephney, Middlesex, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 113)

    26.       Palmer William, son

    27.       Pitt William (From St Peter, Vincula Tower, London, bound for Plymouth. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 103)

    28.       Prence Thomas - Married Patience Brewster, the Elder's daughter (Prince, from All Hallows Barking, London or Stephney, Middlesex, bound for Plymouth and Eastham. Ref: Savage. 36 pg 98 & 113)

    29.       Simonson Moses

    30.       Statie Hugh

    31.       Steward James

    32.       Tench William

    33.       Winslow John, brother of Govenor Winslow (From Droitwich, Worchest. bound for Plymouth. Ref: Pope. 36 pg 184)

    34.       Wright William (From Austerfield, Worchest. bound for Plymouth. Ref: Par Reg. 36 pg 184)

    35.       ?

    Ships bearing up to Dartmouth [Friday, 21 August 1620]

    Wind fair.  Speedwell leaking badly.  Wind ahead.  Mayflower and Speedwell bearing up to Dartmouth.

  • 20 Aug 2021 3:34 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Friday, 20 August 1621

    Planting and construction continue.

    Fortune passengers

    Although Bradford notes that thirty-five persons were on Fortune, only the names of twenty-eight persons are listed in the 1623 Division of Land list and its distribution of lots. Eighteen persons are known to have been unmarried, eight married but emigrating without their families, and as far as can be determined, Mrs. Martha Ford, her daughter Martha, and Elizabeth Bassett wife of William Bassett were the only women on the ship. Records indicate that sixteen of the passengers were from the London area and three from Leiden. The origins of ten passengers could not be determined.  A number of persons listed in 1623 do not appear in the 1627 Division of Cattle list and this may be due to death, removal to an area outside the colony or a return to England.

    Detour to Dartmouth [Thursday, 20 August 1620]

    Speedwell still leaking badly; water rising in the hold, gaining on pumps.  Signalled the Mayflower, in company,which hove to.  On consultation of Masters Reynolds of the Speedwell and Jones of the Mayflower and the chief of passengers of both ships, it was concluded that both should put into Dartmouth, being the nearest port.  Laid course for Dartmouth with wind ahead. Wind fair.

  • 19 Aug 2021 3:24 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Continued planting and construction.  Note that the settlers at the Plimoth Plantation had no idea that a relief ship was coming, nor were they expecting its arrival.

    Departure of the Fortune from Southampton

    The Fortune departs for New England.  Recall that it took the Mayflower just over a month to return to England last April and May; the outward voyage to New England was sixty-six days, with another month of exploration elapsing before arriving at Plymouth.  The Fortune was on the high seas for three months before sighting Cape Cod in November, and it took them some time to track down where, exactly, the Pilgrims were once they arrived, so that it was about four whole months in between the time of embarkation in England and arrival in Plymouth.

    Water rising inside the Speedwell [Wednesday, 19 August 1620]

    Speedwell leaking badly; Mayflower within sight, travelling in company.  Wind still contrary.  Beating out the English Channel: very slow progress.

  • 18 Aug 2021 2:59 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Continued construction and planting.

    Fortune ready to depart

    At 55 tons displacement, and about one-third the tonnage of the Mayflower, the Fortune was tasked with delivering thirty-five new settlers to the Plymouth Colony. The Master (captain) was Thomas Barton.  Their leader was Robert Cushman who, in 1620, had been the Leiden agent in London for the Mayflower and Speedwell. It is believed that the majority of the passengers of the Fortune were gathered together in London by Thomas Weston and his partner.

    Speedwell still leaking [Tuesday, 18 August 1620]

    The Speedwell, sailing in company with the Mayflower, starts to leak badly. Wind still contrary.  Beating out the English Channel: very slow progress.

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