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  • 6 Dec 2020 2:45 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchor, Cape Cod harbour

    Third Sunday here.  Master Jones notified the passengers in no uncertain terms that they must find a permanent location and that he must and would keep sufficient supplies for his ship’s company and their return voyage.  It is not clear how the ship’s and the colonists’ provisions were divided and held.  It is difficult, however, to understand how the Master “must and would” retain provisions with his small force against the larger, if it came to an issue of strength between Jones and Standish.

  • 5 Dec 2020 3:11 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchor in harbour

    Weather the same.  Work on shallop pretty well finished and it can now be used, although more remains to be done. Another exploration party is getting ready for Monday.  Master Jones and crew have become quite anxious to unlade and return to England, and the Pilgrims do not seem (to them) to be in a hurry to get off the ship.  Fetched wood and water.

  • 4 Dec 2020 9:02 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchor in harbour

    Continues cold and stormy.  While Long Point provides a natural barrier to protect Provincetown and its harbour from many storm hazards, the point bears the brunt of such a storm when it does so: this sickle of sand which encloses the harbour was so narrow that encroaching storms played havoc with it and threatened at one time to sweep the narrow point away.  More discussions among the passengers, trying to formulate a plan to settle.  As the Semisonic song (and plenty of other references) repeats: “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t … stay … here.”

  • 4 Dec 2020 9:01 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchor in harbour

    Cold and stormy. Work progressing on shallop.  The geography of Provincetown as a whole made for an isolating existence throughout most of its history, as the town was essentially cut off, not just from the mainland, but in many ways, even from neighbouring towns on Cape Cod. The town was surrounded by water in every direction: the Atlantic Ocean to the north; Massachusetts Bay to the northwest; Cape Cod Bay to the west and southwest; Provincetown Harbour to the south and southeast; East Harbour and a salt marsh to the east.  Until late in the 19th century, there was not a single road leading in or out of Provincetown – the only way to travel by land to the rest of Cape Cod was to first head north, traversing a series of tall, rolling sand dunes, and to then follow the thin strip of beach along the northern shore line, known as the "backshore".

  • 2 Dec 2020 2:41 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchor in harbour

    Weather cold and stormy, having changed suddenly.  Cross winds batter the ship at anchor.  The Mayflower was anchored at Long Point, a peninsula at the extreme tip of Cape Cod, as it curls back in on itself to create Provincetown (or Cape Cod) Harbour. The Long Point Light was built on this point in 1827; the lighthouse once shared this peninsula with a settlement of fishermen. This village grew and thrived from 1818 until the late 1850s. When the settlers decided to leave Long Point, they took most of their houses with them – about 30 structures in all – by floating them across the harbour.  Today, Long Point is a ghost village – nothing remains, except for the lighthouse and an earthen mound, the last remnant from the earlier Civil War military post known as "Fort Useless" and "Fort Ridiculous" by the local residents.

  • 1 Dec 2020 3:06 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchor in harbour

    The passengers and crew have found it very difficult to go ashore: they can only go and come at peak high tide except by wading for several yards, sometimes up to the knees, from which many have become ill (and taken coughs and colds).  Fetching wood and water has become laborious, dragging it to the beach, and then (bit by bit) wading to the long boat to go back to the ship.

  • 30 Nov 2020 2:58 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchor, Cape Cod harbour

    The carpenter and others were still at work on shallop, getting out stock for a new shallop, helving tools, making articles needed, etc.  There was growing impatience on the part of the captain and the crew with the lack of any plan about what to do and where to go.  The dip in temperatures and increasing illness among the passengers is compounded by the risk of supplies running out (for the Pilgrims, and also for the crew, who needed to have sufficient stores to cover their return voyage to England), the isolation and the lack of any possible help, coupled with the danger of hostile natives.  While this certainly must have taken a toll on the passengers, the crew undoubtedly wanted to get back as soon as they could: several men had signed on to remain in America for a year, but such an undertaking had not been given by the whole crew, who did not want to stay in such a precarious situation any longer than necessary.  As it turned out, they were gone for the better part of a year, and any delay rankled.

  • 29 Nov 2020 2:16 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchor, Cape Cod harbour

    Second Sunday in harbour.  Services aboard ship.  Seamen ashore.  There was a change in weather, and temperatures became significantly colder.  Britain is warmed by the Gulf Stream (there are even palm trees in Cornwall at Lands End!), and New England was coming out of what climatologists call the “little ice age” (which lasted in to the eighteenth century), a period of exceptional cold.  The Pilgrims were really not prepared for the fact that the winters were much colder and the summers were much hotter than they were in England.

  • 28 Nov 2020 3:00 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchor, Cape Cod harbour

    The passengers started helving tools; the carpenter was at work on the shallop, which was taking a lot more time and labour than had been anticipated.  It was somewhat worse for wear after the journey, having been split into four pieces and used as a cabin and a place to sleep during the journey.  The weather was still moderate.  Those not otherwise occupied fetched wood and water.

  • 27 Nov 2020 2:22 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    At anchor, Cape Cod harbour 

    Weather open.  Master Jones, Governor Carver, and many of the company went ashore in the afternoon, and met the exploring party there.  Hearing their signal-guns before they arrived at the shore, they sent the long-boat to fetch them.

    While back on the mainland …

    When the exploration party had awakened, they moved further south and found the remains of what appeared to be a cornfield.  A small path led them to what appeared to be a grave site: mounds of sand covered with decayed reed mats.  In one of the mounds was a bow and several badly decayed arrows.  They decided that “it would be odious unto [the Indians] to ransack their sepulchres,” and so they buried the contents and replaced the covering on the mound.  They continued south and found an iron kettle, probably from a French shipwreck of 1615.  Near the mouth of a small saltwater creek (the Pamet River in modern Truro) they found the remains of Martin Pring’s 1603 fort. 

    Nearby, they discovered an area in which the sand had been recently smoothed out.  This was clearly different from the grave mounds seen earlier in the day.  Philbrick elaborates (Mayflower, pp. 61-62): “As three of them dug, the others gathered around in a defensive ring with their muskets ready.  Not far down they found a basket made of woven reeds filled with approximately four bushels of dried Indian corn -- so much corn, in fact, that two men could barely lift it.  Nearby they found a basket containing corn that was still on the cob, ‘some yellow and some red, and others mixed with blue.’  One of the more remarkable characteristics of Indian corn or maize is that, if kept dry, the kernels can be stored indefinitely. … Due to the woeful state of their provisions, as well as the lateness of the season, they knew they were in a survival situation. … Without a plan they were willing to try just about anything if it meant they might survive.  They decided that they had no choice but to take the corn.  The place where they found the buried seed is still called Corn Hill.  The decision to [take] the corn was not without considerable risks.  They were, after all, taking something of obvious value from a people who had done their best, so far, to avoid them.  The Pilgrims might have opted to wait until they had the chance to speak with the Indians before they took the corn, but the last thing they possessed was time.”  While the Pilgrims had brought wheat, barley, and peas with them aboard the Mayflower to plant in the spring, they were running dangerously low on provisions and might be forced to eat some of these over the winter.  Few, if any, of them were farmers by trade, and they were not sure whether their European seeds would grow in American soil.  They decided to compensate the Indians for the corn -- as soon as they could find any Indians -- and put it into the kettle (which they suspended from a staff carried between two men), and started back to the Mayflower.

    By dusk it was raining, and they became lost in the woods.  Stephen Hopkins discovered an Indian deer trap (a young sapling bent to the ground where a rope noose encircled some acorns).  Not paying attention to where he was going, William Bradford stepped into the trap and was ensnared.  He marvelled that this was a “very pretty device, made with a rope of their own making, and having a noose as artificially made as any roper in England can make.”  They took the noose, and continued to the shore line, where they set off their guns and waited to be ferried back to the ship, “and thus we came both weary and welcome home.”   

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