SIR FERDINANDO GORGES AND HIS CHARTER

We now come to a man who filled a great part in the settlement of New England. This was Sir Ferdinando Gorges. He was an English gentleman who stood high in favor at Court and was associated with the Earl of Essex who was a great favorite with Queen Elizabeth.

Gorges was a cavalier, a soldier and served also in the navy. He served with distinction in several wars and was with Henry of Navarre at the seige of Paris.

Although his name sounds Spanish, yet he was of real west of England stock, and was connected with the Russells and the Raleighs, and belonged to an excellent family. He was sent over by Elizabeth as one of the officers with the Earl of Essex to the aid of the Huguenots, and was very active at the seige of Rouen. He also served in Spain and in various campaignq with the Earl of Essex, and was made military governor of Plymouth.

While Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was in favor with Queen Elizabeth, Gorges stood high and had power, but after Essex was tried and put to death for an insurrection, he lost influence and many friends because his testimony at the trial of Essex was very much against the Earl. Gorges before this was in great favor with the Puritan party, but after the Earl's death the Puritans were against him, as they looked upon him as a traitor to Essex.

Sir Ferdinando was mixed up in the attempted insurrection of the earl, and although his life was sparect, yeL he was put in prison and deprived of his position as Governor of Plymouth.

After the death of Elizabeth, and James came to the throne, Gorges was released from prison and restored to his old position as military governor of Plymouth.

Gorges early took an interest in the fishing stations in New

ngland and the various attempts at colonization and the voyages of Gosnold and Pring. In 1605, when Capt. George Weymouth returned from his voyage to the coast of Maine, Gorges was much interested in his account of that voyage. For three years the savages which Weymouth brought over from the Penobscott were under the care and protection of Gorges, and he became familiar with their language and learned many things concerning the new country. Like his kinsman, Raleigh, he had a love for adventure and exploration, and but for his duties as Governor at Plymouth lie would have gone on some of these expeditions himself, but he




hoped at some day to go and found a great settlement on the American coast.

He was a great friend of the Lord Chief Justice, Sir John Popham, and through his influence in 1606 two royal patents were secured, forming the first and second colonies, which became the London and Plymouth Companies, and this patent included all the territory along the coast and for fifty miles inland between what is now called Cape Breton and the mouth of the Potomac.

C

,orges was especially connected with the Plymouth Company, and in 1606 he sent out a company for settlement, but the vessel was seized by Spaniards, and the company was only released later with great difficulty.

Another company was sent out the same year which, meeting with success, brought back such favorable reports that the Popham Colony was sent out in 1607 to the mouth of the Kennebec.

In this way much of Gorges wealth was spent, and as Popham died it became harder for him to do as he wished, but he kept a party of men for several seasons among the Penobscot Indians to get fish and furs, and in this way lie did a fair business.

In 1614, in conjunction with the Earl of Southampton, he set out under the Indian guide, Epenow, on an expedition to Martha's Vineyard to seek for gold, which proved a failure, but in this way he learned more and more of New England, and gathered together charts, letters and maps, and studied them. He also got into his possession every Indian he heard of, and at one time he had Squanto under his care.

Squanto, or Tisquariturn as he is sometimes called, was an Indian of the Pokanoket tribe, and was living at Patuxet, afterwards Plymouth, when Capt. John Smith was in,New England in 1614. Capt. Thomas Hunt, one of Smith's captains, kidnapped Squanto and took him to England, where he lived in London for three years, learned the English language and the ways of the English people. He was with Gorges for some time, and finally got to Newfoundland, and from there back to New England, where he became the friend and guide of the Plymouth people.

I In 1620 Gorges felt that it was time to get a new royal patent. The Plymouth Company was too poor in capital, enterprise and power, so he formed the Council for New Frigland, and obtained a new charter, which covered the territory from sea to sea, and included the whole of what is now known as the Northern States, the best portion of Canada and the Pacific States.

This great domain on Nov. 3, 1620, was turned over by King James Stuart to the Governor of Plymouth and thirty-nine others, and this grant became the Great Charter of New England; and to this day this patent is the right by which three states of the Union and several British Provinces are held.

Among those besides Gorges then in the Council were the Duke of Lenox, Lord Steward of the Household; the High Admiral Buckingham; Pembroke, the Lord Chamberlain of the Household;

32 1, Al~l_y HISTORY OF WEYMOUTH

Hamilton, Artindel, Bath, Southamp(on, Salisbury, Warwick, Haddington arid Gouch, and the Lord Warden of the Ceinque Park.

All these and more formed the Council for New England, and they had power to encounter, resist and repel by sea and land all persons with their ships and goods within the limits granted by the patent. 'rhis included not only Plymouth and Wessagusset, but all other stations which had not the authority of the Council for New England for their settlement, and the Council had the power to take away these settlements from them, and this is why the Council had the trouble with Weston.

The Council set to work to raise money to found a plantation on a large scale, but the money did not come in as was hoped, arid (fie time kept slipping by till the year 1623. It was then decided to divide ibis territory tip into sections, giving a section to each member who contributed as security for his contribution. A map was prepared by Sir William Alexander based on Smith's map, and on this map was placed the name of the various owners.

In this way the names of twenty members were written within the coast line from St, Croix to Buzzards Bay. The Earl of Arundel was given the most eastern allotment, next came that of Sir Ferchnando Gorges. Mount Desert fell to Sir Robert Mansell, Casco Bay to the Earl of Holderness; Buckingham had the region around Portsmouth, and Cape Ann was given to the Earl of Warwick.

The site of Boston and all the surrounding towns was given to Lord Gorges, and the country bordering on Buzzards Bay fell to Dr. Gooch who was secretary to the Council for New England. Thus on the afternoon of June 29, 1623, at Greenwich, Eng., a great part of North America was divided among twenty persons of whom Capt. John Smith said, "Never one of them had ever been there."

The object now was to get ready for the expedition. Gorges had for some time been having a ship built at Whitby in Yorkshire, the cost of which was to be E100,000, and another vessel belonging to Lord Gorges was lying in the harbor of Pool waiting for the expedition to start.

Following are the authorities for the above: Baxter, volumes on "Sir Ferdinando Gorges," the "Acts of Parliament," and publicalions of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

It seemed now as if the vision of Lord Ferdinando, Gorges was about to be realized. The great charter of land was granted and divided UP, as I have stated- It was possible now for Gorges to found his great city in the New World.

Capt. John Smith and others had described the region around what is now known as Boston Bav as the "Paradise of New England," and that was included in the division given to Sir Ferclinarido.

The fishermen who came to the coast of Maine on fishing expeditions, year by year, spoke of this region as a most beautiful and




fertile one, with magnificent bays and beautiful harbors. The Indians whom Gorges met also sang its praise, and Gorges was filled with the idea of great success in the venture.

He was anxious to get his ships off in the early summer, but there was delay after delay, arid spring and early summer passed, and still the vessels were riot ready.

Money did "of conic in fast enough, arid the new ship which lie was having built at Whitby, although finished, had not been brought Wound from Whitby, and the money had to be raised to meet that expense and lit her out.

Writers on the history of Weymouth have told us practically nothing of these ships; not even their names seem to have been known, or whether there was one or more.

Like many things in the Weston settlement the writer has had to find them out for himself, and he has learned that two ships brought the Gorges passengers, and that the number of settlers was one hundred arid twenty. The name of the ship built at Whitby was the "Katherine."

In the Minutes of the Council for New England No. 38, dated Feb. 25, 1622-23, there is the record:


A onunission it) be prepared for Lord Gorges' ship, the " Katherine," 'rhomas Squibb, captain, as well for transportation of passengers as for other eniployinent'.


In the same Minutes, No. 34, dated Nov. 27, 1622, there is the following:


Naroes, of those to whom bills of adventure shall he ruadt by Sir Ferdinando Gorges for partnership in the new ship now building at Whitby county of York.


In the same Minutes we have, under date of June 10, 1623:

Conference upon speedily furnishing nioney to discharge the country at Whitby and defray the charges for bringing about the ship.


The Dante of the second ship used by the Gorges Company was the "Prophet Daniel," and my authority for this is the following:


Wiiiiarn Johnsonof Langford, Wiltshire, gentlenian, deposes, Feb. 13, 1622-23, age 32 year~. I fe is a servant to Lord Gorge~, o.ner of the ship the " Prophet Daniel," now at Poole on a voyage to New England. (fligh Court of Adtairafty abstract, printed in the New York Genealogical Record, 47: 109.)


Then in a narrative addressed to Secretary Coke in 1630, concerning the settlement of New England, we have the statement that in 1623 about one hurdr2c! and twenty emigrants set out to plant a colony but were forced by cross winds to land about twenty-five miles to the south of Massachusetts Bay, and there they established a colony which begins to thrive, having increased to about five hundred "people."

54 THE EARLY IIISTORY OF WEYMOUTH

The Minutes of the Council for New England are in the possession of the American Antiquarian Society.

This statement of Lwenty-fiVe miles to the south of Massachusetts Bay is not very clear, but it has reference to the head of the bay, which is nearer Cape Ann and would make about twenty-five miles.

As Gorges bad learned so much about what is now Boston Bay, his intention was to settle at that bay, and we might speak of his aini as the settlement of Boston.

As Sir Ferdinando was unable to go himself on the expeditions, lie turned the whole venture over to his son, Capt. Robert Gorges, and it was necessary for Captain Gorges to get the authority of the Council. The matter was brought before the Council, and in accordance with the following item the Commission was granted to Robert Gorges:


Minute No. 35, Dec. 30, 1622, Grant of the Council for New England to Robert, son of Sir Ferdinando Gorges and to his heirs and assigns forever, of all of that part of the inain land in New England, conaronly called Massachustack, situate twon the northeast side of Nlassachuset Bay in consideration of the pavment of 1:160.


One of the causes for delay in the sending out of Gorges' ships was the fact that during the reign of James a Puritan Parliament came in, and as the Puritans were opposed to Gorges an effort was made to deprive him of his charter.

They were supported by those interested in the Virginia Colony, who felt that Gorges' efforts were an injury to that settlement, as some of the principal supporters of that Colony were drawn into the Gorges Company, for the Council for New England had much influence over them.

This caused a struggle in Parliament, and for a time it seemed as if Gorges would he defeated, but other matters of interest took up the attention of Parliament just before adjournment, and Gorges' Charter was not withdrawn.

This contest caused Gorges to lose some of the members from the Council, and Sir Ferdinando found it absolutely necessary to remain in England so as to keep the Council in existence.

Sir Ferdinando had two sons, and the younger, Robert by name, was a soldier, having served in the Venetian wars, and as he had just come back to England a captain, Sir Fcrdinando thought he was the proper one to put in command of the expedition.

He was made lieutenant of the Council for New England, and as such be must go in proper state, with attendants suited to his rank; and at a meeting of the Council, Capt. Francis West was commissioned as "Admiral of the coast" to go to New England during this voyage, and Capt. Thomas Squibb was chosen as his a~sistanl.






Robert Gorges had been reading Capt. John Smith's description of New England, and became filled with the same enthusiasm as his father, and was anxious to set out for his new field of adventure.

For some time he had been preparing for the expedition, and it was not to be composed of men only, but men and women, so as to found a real colony. Those who were enrolled, we are told, were of a better class than the Weston Company, and were to represent both Church and State, as clergymen were represented in the company, and there were those to whom was granted official powers.

Thus with all these matters attended to, the expedition started early in the month of August, 1623. The expedition was only partly a realization of Sir Ferdinando's dream, but he intended to go out himself the next year with a larger party.

The people who went with Robert Gorges were without doubt composed of good material and well selected. There were families in it and single men; farmers, mechanics, traders and gentlemen with servants.

We are told very little about the voyage, but it seems to have been a pleasant one, for they reached Massachusetts Bay in September-some say the middle of the month.

The plan of Gorges was to plant the Colony on what is now Boston Bay, the site of the city of Boston, as they had heard so much of the beauty and fertility of that region; but when they reached that bay, the weather was stormy, with cross winds, and they were compelled to seek shelter in Wessagusset (Weymouth).

As the season was late the forests bad put on the tint of autumn leaves. The days were gettipg ~hort and the nights chilly, and the season so far advanced that the time of growth was over, and it was necessary to prepare a place for the winter season now near at hand.

Gorges therefore decided to make use of the buildings which the Weston people had left at Wessagusset. The vessel or vessels therefore discharged most of the passengers, and the people took possession of the buildings in which Weston's Colony had spent the winter of 1622 and 1623.

No doubt the Gorges settlers had to add to these buildings as they were a larger company, and as there were mechanics among them this was an easy matter.

36 THE LARLY HISTORY oF NvEN,Niou'rn

As Sir Ferdinando wits a faithful member of the Church of England he had sent two clergymen of that Church with his son. These were the Rev. William Morell and the Rev. William Blackston.

Morell was the elder and was rector of a church in England, which lie gave up to go on the expedition. He was a University man of a Nery high character, and had the blessing, approval and good-will of the 116mate of England on his journey. He also bad from the civil authority, its well as from the Primate, a commission giving him general powers of visitation and control over the church in New England.

This of course included the church at Plymouth and whatever new churches might be formed.

Rev, William Blackston was a younger man in Priest's orders and was it graduate of Cambridge University and received his degree of A.B. from Emmanuel College in 1617, arid that of A.M. in 1621. He was to be the assistant to Rev. Mr. Morell, and it is said that lie was to take charge at Plymouth, while Morell was to be in charge of Gorges' settlement at Boston Bay, which it was expected would be the main settlement.

Thus the religious interests of the new settlements seem to have been well provided for in Sir Ferdinando's plans. The writer deals fully with Blackstone and Morell when he comes to the religious history of Wessagusset.

I have already stated that the number of emigrants on Gorges' ships was one hundred and twenty, but we are not sure that all of these settled in Wessagusset, for some of them were passengers for Virginia.

After the company bad landed and they had spent some time in putting things in order and getting settled, Capt. Robert Gorges sent word to Governor Bradford at Plymouth of his arrival. This was very necessary, as besides being lieutenant of the Council for New Engiand, he also had a commission as Governor of New England. This commission was granted by the King, and as Goverrior of New England, he was Governor over Plymouth.

In sending notice to Bradford of his arrival, Gorges also sent information of his commission. This was of such a nature that it must have filled the Pilgrims with alarm; for here was a man come who could cause them much trouble, as he could make himself ruler over them and they might have to obey, and the sweet liberty which they came to America for would be taken from them.

Governor Bradford then made ready to pay a visit to the new Governor at Websagu5set. In the meantime, before Bradford was able it) reach Wessagusset, Gorges bad started '~r the coast of Maine, with the hope of finding Thomas Weston.

Sir Ferdinando Gorges had a grievance against Weston because lie had gone to New England without the authority of the Council for New England, and because of the failure of the enterprise at Wessagusset.

Gorges had not been gone many days when he met a severe



storm, and as the danger seemed great lie turned back, and finally came into Plymouth Harbor. While Gorges was at Plymouth, Thomas Weston arrived there also . This was the time he was looking for his lost colony,

Gorges had him arrested, and, arranging a sort of council, he presented Weston for trial. Gorges had two complaints against Weston: first, the disorder and failure of the Weston settlement; second, an illicit arms transactions in England.

The first charge was easily met, as Weston was not in Wessagusset "At the time, so could not be blamed for the failure.

Weston, as we know, was an iron merchant, and he seems to have had to do with the bale of arms. The illicit transaction in arms was (lie sale of them to parties on the continent, and as England was at war at this time with some nations on the continent, it was considered by Gorges to be wrong for Weston to sell to any nation on the continent.

We are not told how Weston met this accusation, but with some help from Bradford, Weston was set at liberty.

After having been in Plymouth for several weeks, Gorges went back to Wessagusset, but he left his ship in Plymouth. Then there were two ships with their crews in Plymouth, those of Gorges and Weston.

While the vessels lay in the harbor, some of the crews with other sailors dwelt in a house in Plymouth. This was early in November, 1623, and as it was close on Guy Fawkes day, they resolved to celebrate It, so on November 5 they had a celebration with merry making, and it being very cold they had too much fire and set the house on fire in which they were making merry. The flames spread to other buildings, and there was danger of the Plymouth settleruent being consumed.

The fire was finally overcome, but not till it had destroyed three or four buildings, and the fire of Nov. 5, 1623, was long remembered in Plymouth. Some of the families who lost in this fire afterwards went back to England in one of Gorges' vessels.

Soon after this Captain Gorges decided to arrest Weston again, so lie sent an officer with power to Plymouth, who arrested Weston and took him with his ship the "Swan" to Wessagusset, where they remained during the winter of 1623 and 1624,

The officer be sent to Plymouth was Captain Hanson of the
Prophet Daniel."

Weston was rather pleased to be arrested in this way, for the crew on board the "Swan" were in need of their wages, and Weston was getting to the end of his resources. For this reason Weston made no opposition to the arrest, but went willingly to Wessagusset.

After this Gorges went on a journey to Virginia in the ship "Katherine" which lie had left at Plymouth, and after transacting the business he had in Virginia, he came back to Wessagusset.

There we find the Gorges Company arid a part of the Weston
Company at Wessagusset during the winter of 1623 and 1624. It
58 THE EIARLY HISTORY OF WEYMOUTH

must have been a dreary time for Gorges during that winter. f lie snow was on the ground and he had hoped to enjoy the pleasures of the wilderness, but here he was living in a log hut on the edge of the forest near the salt marsh and the sea. There was the ocean in front of them, the wilderness behind them; fowling and fishing did not amount to much, for the waters were covered with ice, and the woods could not be explored on account of the snow, and thus Robert Gorges got through the winter and longed for spring and surnmer. Ile had intended to send Weston back to England that lie might be tried, but when the spring came he forgot all about it, or came to the conclusion that nothing could be done as the case against Weston was a poor one, after all.

As it came near the spring, Gorges decided to go on a visit to the fishing station on the coast of Maine, taking Weston with him as a pilot, and while there Gorges paid a visit to David Thompson at his Piscataqua plantation, and to Christopher Levitt at his station in York, now Portland.

From Levitt, and at the fishing stations, Gorges received letters from his father, Sir Ferdinando, as late as 1624, and these letters contained bad news. Some members had deserted the Council for New England; they did not pay their pledges, so money did not come in, and Sir Ferdinando's own resources were almost gone. A new Parliament was e:zpected, and there was not much hopes in it for Gorges, Sir Ferdinando advised his son to return to England till some better opportunity came for him to go back again to New England.

. Gorges went back in the "Swan" with Weston to Wessagusset, and there be remained till the warmer weather came, and then went back to England. Some of his settlers went with him and also some relatives that came over with him, and thus the great Gorges' influence in New England, for a time at least, came to an end.

A part of his company in conjunction with some of Weston's people still remained and continued the settlement, so that it might after this be called the Gorges-Weston Colony.

Some of the writers about those early days have written of Weston and his colony coming to an end after the Indian fight, when the settlement was for a time given up, but in 1624 we find some of Weston's people joined with the Gorges' people, and Thomas Weston himself is with them.

Weston finally left some of his people in Wessagusset, and went around the coast as a trader with others of the Weston people with him, many of whom he had succeeded in finding on the Maine coast, and in the end, as I have already stated, he went to Maryland.

It will be remembered that Admiral West was sent out with Gorges as an aid to him. West had as an assistant Captain Squibb, who was in command of the "Katherine." The special function of the Admiral was to aid Gorges when necessary, and to put down the




lawlessness and disturbance among the fishermen on the coast and bring them under the control of the Council for New England.

There had been many complaints about the fishermen along the coast of Maine and elsewhere. They bad Maypoles and enjoyed themselves, and as the Council for New England undertook to control them and make them pet grants from the Council to fish, and also tried to make them pay a tax on all the fish they caught, there was much trouble with them. They refused to pay the tax, (lid not think it necessary to get a grant from the Council, and as neither Gorges or West could do anything with them, West also had to give up and go back to England. Robert Gorges was in poor health when he went back to England, and not long afterward he died.





NA e have now come to a time when Robert Gorges and Thomas Weston are no longer in Wessagusset, arid the settlers have to look ~ifter themselves and make their own government. It is said that Gorges left the people under the direction of Rev. William Morrell, and lie seems to have acted for a time at least.

The settlement was not large, as so many bad gone to Virginia and others to Maine and to England, but it was not the small and unimportant settlement that some writers make it out to be. The settlers had now set themselves out to building and planting, and the beginning of a town bad been started. It was only a little village, but it had growth in it, and in the course of time it was bound to increase.

Some of the leading families of Wt,mouth can be traced back to this time, and therefore the dates 1622, 1623 and 1624 are ini[virtant dates in the history of Weymouth. The people in Wessagusset were the remains of the Weston and the Gorges Companies, and all that was necessary now- was the natural growth, as there were families among them and new emigrants began to come in. One of the Gorges Company was Matthew Pratt, who is said to be a brother (if Phinehas Pratt, and they are descendants of Matthew Pratt, living in Weymouth to-day, and Taber of Neponset is also a descendant.

Prince, in his " Chronicles," states that in 1624 there came a small company to Wessagusset from Weymouth in England, and that they bad with them a non-conformist minister named Barnard. There may have come such a company, but there are serious doubts about the Rev. Mr. Barnard which we will deal with later. The only authority for this addition is the statement of Prince, and he gives as his authority letters from old residents in Weymouth.

None of these letters exist to-day, or any copies of them, hence some writers, like Cbarles Francis Adams, doubt the whole thing, but Gilbert Nash, in his " First Twenty Years of Weymouth History," argues very strongly for the truth of this statement.

Rev. Thomas Prince knew some of the children of the earliest .-ettlers in Weymouth, and he could easily have received a letter giving the facts, and he knew so many of them that it is not likely lie would have made such a statement unless it were true.

Prince himself expresses some doubt of the Rev. Mr. Barnard, as he could find no trace of him in any way. There are other things not mentioned by Mr. Nash which help in the matter.




Christopher Lovett, for instance, states in his narrative that in 1624 there were several vessels from Weymouth, Eng., at the fishing stations in Maine. These fishing vessels sometimes carried passengers, and it is not at all unlikely that some may have come over in one of those vessels.

Then Governor Bradford, in his "History of Plymouth," tells of the "Charity" coming in 1624 with aid to Plvmouth. She was ,-,ent out by the Council for New England, and some of the Adventurers. She brought food and cattle, utensils, machines and other aid to Plymouth. When the "Charity" left Plymouth, she went, Bradford states, to Cape Ann. Edward Winslow and Robert Cushman were on board coming from England, and there was also some news from Weston. As she was sent out by the Council for New England, and some of the Adventurers had an interest in her, it is most unlikely that they would sail for Cape Ann without stopping at Wessagusset, and the company front Weymouth, Eng., may have come in the "Charity."

This vmel, as already stated, was one of those that brought the Weston people to Wessagusset, and thus we have another reason' why she would call at Weymouth.

She seems to have been made use of for merchant service, for the government in England formed a merchant fleet, and we find in 1625 that the "Charity" was one of that fleet, and in March, 1627, John Pennington, Esq., was appointed admiral of the merchant ship "Charity" and eight others. (See Historical Manuscripts Commission in manuscripts of the Earl of Cowper, 1: 300.)

As to Mr. Barnard, he will be considered in the "Religion, History of Wessagusset."

There seems to be a disposition among the early writers of Massachusetts Bay to belittle the Weston and Gorges settlements at Wessagusset, and write of them as being small and of no importance and as having ceased to exist. It seems to me that enough of facts have now been given in this history to disprove all such statements, and we can look upon both settlements as being the foundation of the Town of Weyniouth.

Prince supposes that the name Weymouth was given to the settlement from the small company that came from Weymouth, Eng., in 1624.

During the last Presidential campaign, a life of President Harding was published under the title "Warren G. Harding, the Man." The author was Joe Mitchell Chapple, and in this book he states that "the ancestors of the Presidential candidate once lived it[ Weymouth; that in 1624 Stephen and Richard Harding, his ancestors, arrived at Weymouth, Massachusetts, and later joined the Plymouth Colony."

Various other statements about the President's ancestors have appeared in the newspapers, but as the Weymouth origin has appeared in book form it seems to be most important.

When Capt. Robert Gorges decided to go back to England, he
62 T11E FARLY HISTORY OF WLYNIOUTH

had a settlement with Thomas Weston, and this was very much to the achantage of Weston- His vessel, the "Swao," -;as restored to him and compensation was made to him for his losses and inCOUVerrience by bring placed under arrest.

The settlement at Wcs*agusset, having lost these two men who had so niuch to (to with it, now went oil its way, and no doubt if we only had a complete history of its early days it would be most interesting,

WhateNer may lie said of tire town of Weymouth, it has tile lionor of bring tire first permanent settlement on the shores of Boston Bay. It had great possibilities, I ... t its settlers failed to select the key-point of the eastern coast of Massactrusetts, That was Ferdinando Gorges' first aim. The headwaters of Boston Bay was his aim, and had not the storm forced the Gorges Company into We'ssagusset, Boston would have been founded in 1623 by the Gorges Company-

The people in Wessagusset soon came to realize that the site they had selected was not tile best suited for a city or for trade with the outer world. The situation of Wessagusset was not very conducive to trade. The furs, the only product of the country, had to be brought from the interior on rivers, and the canoe was about the only means of conveyance. There was the Monatiquot Ri\ar, it is true, at the mouth of which was the settlement, but it was too small for navigation and for ]-~ge vessels. There was no proper harbor, and the river could not be followed very far by anything but canoes.

Boston Bay was different. Here were good harbors, and into that bay flowed the Mystic, the Charles and the Neponset Rivers, and just as soon as a settlement was made there it would outstrip all other settlements.

The people at Wessagusset, learning the need of better communication with the outer world, established a small station, or place of meeting, at Hull, and here they were able to carry on some trade with vessels that came into Boston Bay, and the result of this was that some of the Weymouth settlers began to make visits to various points in Boston Bay.

In 1625 Rev. William Morrell went back to England. He saw no opportunity for carrying out the plans set forth in the government commission which he had received, and he never even produced that commission, but when he was leaving for England and took the ship at Plymouth, he spoke of the commission to some of the authorities, although during the time he was in Wessagusset we are told he spent his time in a quiet way, attending to his own duties and causing trouble to no one.

This shows the good disposition of Morrell, for he might have caused much trouble had he been a mischief-maker.

After Morrell had gone, others began to move also. Rev. William Blackstone went over to the North Shore, and settled on the western slope of the peninsular of Shawrout, now Beacon Hill, opposite the




mouth of the Charles, where he became the first settler of Boston, and was called the "Lone mail of Shawmut."

Thomas Watford, who came with Robert Gorges, was an English blacksmith, and after Blackstone had gone, he went over to Mashawarn, now Charlestown, and there he built for himself and wife an English thatched house with palisades near the mouth of the Mystic River.

Among the names of the Gorges settlers we find those of Maverick, Thompson, Graves, Jeffreys, Bursley, Norton, Glover, Woolsey, Richard Cornish and Clement Briggs. Maverick, who had gone back to England, came out again with his wife Aa.ias in 1624, and built a house at Winnisimmet, now Chelsea, which he fortified with a Pillizado and flankers and guris, which was a terror to the Indians and later become a trading station. The others remained in Wessagusset.

In the Minutes of the Council for New England there is a petition from Edward Cox and others to join with Capt. Robert Gorges in his plantation in New England. This Minute is No. 40, and is dated March 18, 1623. The names I have given above were men of consequence, as, for instance, Norton was Capt. Walter Norton, a member of the Council for New England.

62 THL EARLY ms,rORY OF WEYMOUTH

had a settlement will, Thomas Weston, and this was very much to the. advantage of Weston. His vessel, the "Swan," was restored to him and compensation, was made to him for his losses and inconvenience by being placed under arrest.

The settlement at Wessagusset, having lost 'besp two men who had so much to do with it, Dow went on its way, and no doubt if we only had a complete history of its early days it would be most interesting.

Whatever may be said of the town of Weymouth, it has the honor of being the first permanent settlement on the shores of Boston Bay~ It had great possibilities, but its settlers failed to select the key-point of the eastern coast of Massachusetts. That was Ferdin-ando Gorges' first aim. The headwaters of Boston Bay was his aim, and had not the storm forced the Gorges Company into 'Kelssagusset, Boston would have been founded in 1623 by the Gorges Company.

The people in Wessagusset soon came to realize that the site they had selected was not the best suited for a city or for trade with the outer world. The situation of Wessagusset was not very conducive to trade. The furs, the only product of the country, had to be brought from the interior on rivers, and the canoe was about the only means of conveyance. There was the Monatiquot Rivzr, it is true, at the mouth of which was the settlement, but it was too small for navigation and for I-rge vessels. There was no proper harbor, and the river could not be followed very far by anything but canoes.

Boston Bay was different. Here were good harbors, and into that bay flowed the Mystic, the Charles and the Neponset Rivers, and just as soon as a settlement was made there it would outstrip all other settlements.

The people at Wessagusset, learning the need of better contritunication with the outer world, established a small station, or place of meeting, at Hull, and here they were able to carry on some trade with vessels that came into Boston Bay, and the result of this was that some of the Weymouth settlers began to make visits to various points in Boston Bay.

In 1625 Rev. William Morrell went back to England. He saw no opportunity for carrying out the plans set forth in the governinent commission which he had received, and he never even produced that commission, but when he was leaving for England and took the shil) at Plymouth, he spoke of the commission to some of the authorities, although during the time he was in Wessagusset we are told he spent his time in a quiet way, attending to his own duties and causing trouble to no one.

This shows the good disposition of Morrell, for he might have caused much trouble had he been a mischief-maker.

After Morrell had gone, others began to move also. Rev. William Blackstone went over to the North Shore, and settled on the western slope of the peninsular of Shawmut, now Beacon Hill, opposite the




mouth of the Charles, where he became the first settler of Boston, and was called the "Lone man of Shawmut."

Thomas Walford, who came with Robert Gorges, was an English blacksmith, and after Blackstone had gone, fie went over to MasliaWant, now Charlestown, and di~e fie built for himself and wife an English thatched house with palisades near the mouth of the Mystic River.

Among the names of the Gorges settlers we find those of Maverick, Thompson, Graves, Jeffreys, Bursley, Norton, Glover, Woolsey, Richard Cornish and Clement Briggs. Maverick, who had gone back to England, came out again with his wife Amias in 1624, and built a house at Winnisimmet, now Chelsea, which he fortified with a Piilizado and flankers and guns, which was a terror to the Indians and later become a trading station. The others remained in Wessa. gusset.

In the Minutes of the Council for New England there is a petition from Edward Cox and others to join with Capt. Robert Gorges in his plantation in New England. This Minute is No. 40, and is dated March 18, 1623. The names I have given above were men of consequence, as, for instance, Norton was Capt. Walter Norton, a member of the Council for New England.



wFym(uTH AND BOSTON. BOSTON FOUNDED BY

WEYMOUTH SETTT.FR


In the Calendar of Colonial State Papers, 1574-1660, there is the following itern, Nov. 19, 1622 -


Letter to he written to Mr. ThomasWesto. to deliver to Leonard Peddock to take ov,, with hint a boy, a native of New England, Papa Whinett, belonging to Abbadakest, Sachern of Massachu~tts~


This was one of the Indian boys who had been kidnapped by Smith or Weymouth. Leonard Peddock settled on Pecklock's Island, which was named after him. Thus, then, we have Braintree (Quincy), Squanturn, Neponset, Boston, Charlestown, Chelsea, the Neponset, the Charles and the Mystic Rivers, first settled by people front Weymouth, and it could be said that Boston was founded from Weymouth.

Maj. Elias Hunt of Weymouth was the first singer who received a salary for singing in a Boston church.

Joshua Bates, a native of Weymouth, was a founder of the Boston Public Library.

Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Rev. William Smith of Weymouth and her husband, Rev. John Shaw, were among the founders of the Boston Athenaeum Library. Elizabeth Smith Shaw was the sister of Abigail Smith Adams, the mother of President John Quincy Adams.

Gen. Solomon Lovell of Weymouth, during the Revolution, was commander of the Military Division of which Boston was the center.

Besides, Weymouth has given bankers, lawyers, clergymen, busi[less men, doctors, teachers and other noted persons to Boston, and can it not then be said that Weymouth was the Alma Mater of Boston?

The settlement of Weymouth, then, was largely the work of Thomas Weston and Sir Ferdinando Gorges; indeed, for many years the name of Sir Ferdinando Gorges was a terror to the Plymouth people, for if he should succeed in his aims and defeat his enernies, thus gaining the means to carry out his views of a great colony at Boston Bay, it would mean an entire change in the religion and government of New England.

Sir Ferdinando Gorges' son John succeeded Capt- Robert Gorges in the grant which he had in Massachusetts, and other relatives, such as nephews, also came into relation with the Gorges Charter, but the struggle in connection with it was mainly in England, and




when it did come to New England it was transferred to the colonie, in Maine.

Although Sir Ferdinando Gorges came near losing his Charter several times, yet he never lost it, and in various ways it was bequeathed or given to other members of the Gorges family.

Sir Ferdinando Gorges divided the grant into two provinces, the Province of Maine and the Province of Massachusetts. Over the Province of Maine he set his cousin Thomas Gorges as Deput\ Governor, and Thomas in his turn set his son Henry Gorges, Esq:, over that Province, and he in his turn gave it to his brother Ferch nando by power of attorney.

The grant to Henry Gorges was given in 1638, and in 1685, in the Island of Barbadoes, the power of attorney was drawn up, and the interesting thing about it was that it was witnessed by Ferdinando Gorges, John King, Jr., Charles Glover and Thomas Datton, the last three of whom were Weymouth men, and the deed was made oath to in Boston by Charles Glover, Sept. 7, 1685.

In this power of attorney, the Ogunquot River in Maine is mentioned. (See the files of the Supreme Court of Suffolk County, Vol. 28, paper 2342.) In all this work about the Charter there was danger to Plymouth, but in the end the danger passed away.

The work of Gorges in New England cannot be thrown aside as of no account, as some would like to do. Nor can the work of Thomas Weston be forgotten. There are those who write as though his work was of but little account, but no matter what they may say against him, his work remains; he was an instrument of fate in the development of a new continent. He had a part in the great work and the part was essential to the work- His part is forever fixed on the page of history, and at one time, not only the fate of Plymouth, but the settlement of the eastern coast of Massachusetts, depended upon Thomas Weston.

It would be a grand thing if we had the names of all the settlers who came to Wessagusset in the Gorges' ships, but so far the sailing list has not been found - if it has been searched for.

Among the Colonial Papers and Manifestoes of the King in the British Museum there is a paper (No. 275) concerning the passengers on board Sir Ferdinando Gorges' ships for New England, and the preservation of the list, but it seems no one has copied the paper.

It is supposed that the sailing list of the passengers on the Gorges' ships was lost in the same fire that destroyed the Weston list. I have already given the names of some of the Gorges passengers, but I suppose others could be obtained in the same way that those on Weston's ships were obtained. This would require much time, as the lists and musters of Virginia, Maine, Maryland and New Hampshire would have to be read over, page by page, so as to find each name, and the writer has not yet had the time,

We have enough names of those who settled in Wessagusser, however, to know that theirs was a permanent settlement, and also its effect on Boston Bay. We have seen that Blackston re

00 THE FARLY HIST(RY (F xvElYN10111,11

mo%ed to Boston and became its first settler; that Walford settled at the mouth of the Mystic, in Charlestown.

Thoulas Morton came with Captain Wollaston's Company to New England in 1625, Morton having been in Wessagusset with (lie NXcstoii Company, both in surnmer and winter, had taken a great liking to the country. He bad seen it in the beauty of June, and had wandered through the forests of Wessagusset in July and AUgUlt, and he find seen these forests in the rich mellow tints of autumn, and lie knew the waters to be full of fish and the woods alive with birds and beast, arid to him it was a fisherman's and hunter's paiadic. He had filled Captain Wollaston with enthusiasm by his descriptions of this wondrous country, and because of that the XN ollaston Company was formed.

Morton acted as guide, hciice they came to the region with which lie was familiar, but as Wessagusset was already occupied they selected a place near it and called it Mount Wollaston after their leader's name.

The original name of the place was Passonagesset, and in time it became Braintree and then Quincy, and as it became a neighbor to Wessagusset there was visiting back and forth.

Captain Wollaston became tired of the life and went back to Virginia and then to England, and in due course of time Morton became the head of the settlement, and thus we may speak of Braintree being settled by a man from Weymouth.

Then Maverick went to what is now Chelsea. David Thompson .~ettled first at Squanturn and then on what is now called Thompson's Island. Thomas Gray, John Gray and Walter Knight settled at Nantasket or Hull, which they had bought from the Indian Chickatabot.

Another man connected with the Gorges Company was Sir Christopher Gardiner, Knight, a member of the Gloucester family of that name, and who claimed to be a r2!ative of Bishop Gardiner. He was connected with the Council for New England, and is supposed to have been a member of the Gorges Company. When lie calue Out in 1630 and settled at the month of the Neponset, he came as the agent of Sir Ferdinando Gorges to look after his intercsts, and perhaps to put a difficulty in the way of Winthrop when lie came.

Sir Ferdinando Gorges was in a contest all tl.d time to preserve the grant lie had from the government, as his enemies were working against him in Parliament, and in other ways, to deprive him of his Charter in order to get grants for themselves or their friends.

Sir Ferdinando's great aim was the settlement of Boston, but for lack of Money and the opposition of enemies he was unable to carry out his plan, and thus he tried in a small way to cover the ground and hold his Charter. Leonard Peddock, one of the passengers on Weston's ships, settled on an island in Boston Harbor, after removing from Wessagusset, which island was named after him, Peddock'b Island, arid he makes another of those who settled around Boston who were first in Wessagusset.






After 1624 ships came to America at intervals, some to the Maine cixist, some to Massachusetts, arid others to Boston Bay. Fishing vessels also came to Maine and to Boston Harbor.

In the old English records we find mention of vessels going Out with passengers for New England. While the record does not mention the special place where these passengers or emigrants were going, yet no doubt many of those for New England were bound for Plymouth, Weymouth and some for Boston Bay.

There was also some communication between Plymouth and Weymouth, as some went from Weymouth to Plymouth and others from Plymouth to Weymouth. There was also intercourse between Weymouth and the individual settlers around Boston Harbor.

There was more relation, however, between the settlement at Mount Wollaston and Weymouth than with the others. Passonagusset, the place where the Wollaston Company settled, was a hill rising up gently from the shore, till on the top it formed a hill from which could be seen all the surrounding shore, the sea and the land back of the hill.

Between Mount Wollaston and Weymouth therc was the Monatiquot River, which widened out at its mouth into a bay or estuary and several salt water creeks, and in visiting back and forth the people usually went in boats, and in course of time a ferry was established, but further up the river, in the region now called East Braintree, there was a ford by means of which it was possible to get back and forth

After Captains ~Vollaston, Rasdall and Fitcher, who were the first leaders at Wollaston, had gone to Virginia, Thomas Morton became the leader. The others wished to give tip the settlement, one winter being enough for those leaders, but Morton was opposed to such action and he remained with those who were willing to stay-

Morton had a Maypole erected at Mount Wollaston. This pole was eighty feet high, and at the top was nailed the spreading antlers of a buck. The pole itself was wreathed with garlands and decorated with ribbons. Around this pole the settlers joined in the Maypole dance of England on May Day, and on account of these revels the place was called Merry Mount.

The May day festivities were celebrated by Morton and his companions much as it was celebrated in England. They danced

68 THE FARLY IHSTORY OF WFYMOUTH

and sang, and the Indians finally joined in with them as they learned the spirit of the amusement, arid it suited them well.

Morton himself says they had a barrel of beer, and when they Averc thirsty the beer was served. in cups, so for those days they had a happy time and celebrated May Day with real enjoyment.

This was on May 1, 1627, and among the songs which were sung suitable to such a celebration were some composed by Morton himself. It was no doubt a great day for the settlers at Merry Mount, and they could see no harm in it, but to the Pilgrims at Plymouth it was a most horrible thing and a scandal to the community which they determined to stamp out.

They would not allow the younger people to celebrate Christmas Day in 1621 at Plymouth after the fashion in which it was celebrated in England, and they certainly could not prermit the celebration of May Day revels in a neighboring village. They therefore made plans to stop all such revels and stamp out Morton and his settlement. Morton was in the habit of visiting at Wessagusset, as he knew a number of people there. Among these were William Jeffreys, John Bursley, John King, Thomas Rawlins, William Newland, George Allen, Thomas Applegate and Richard Collicott.

Some time after this May Day feast, the Plymouth people made a plan to arrest Morton at Wessagusset while he was making one of these visits. Indeed, it is said that they laid a plot to decoy Morton over to Wessagusset that they might seize him there. Bradford sent Myles Standish with a body of men to Weymouth to carry out the pMns arid capture him on his visit to WessagusseL

Morton came over from Wollaston, as he usually did, without suspecting anything and not knowing the plan to capture him, lie was enjoying himself with his friends when Myles Standish, in obedience to Governor Bradford's orders, arrived at Wessagusset with eight men, and there he found Morton and arrested him. When Morton demanded why he was arrested he was told that it was for his Maypole conduct and life at Merry Mount, and for selling arms to Indians.

Morton asked to know who his accusers u,~e and they refused to give him any further information. As Morton knew his rights at law, he refused to answer to such charges, in which course he was legally right. It was a common thing for traders and fishermen to bring arms and trade them for furs with the Indians, and Morton very likely had done so also, but his arrest was a high-handed affair and not in accordance with law.

The agents from Plymouth had orders to bring him to Plymouth where, if need be, he would be tried and perhaps sent back to England. It was necessary to secure Morton over night and lie wits plared in a room with guards over him.

One of the things Morton was accused of was drunkenness in the rise of liquor, but the strange thing is that Standish and his men made merry with some of the people at Wessagusset and drank so much that they fell asleep and did no( awake till morning. Morton




was wise enough not to drink any liquor and so was able to keel, awake, and when his guards were in a drunken sleep he was abl( to make his escape.

Six men had been set as guards over him, but in spite of all thi, Morton was able to make his escape. When his guards did wak(, and found the prisoner gone they were in a great state of excitement.

Morton describes it in air amusing way; he says:

The word which was given with an alarm was " 0 , he's gone! What shall m du? He's gone!" The rest (half asleep) start up in a maze and like rams ran their heads one at another full butt in the dark. Their grand leader, Capt. Shrimp Standish, tooke an most furiously and tore his clothes for anger to sec the empty nest and their bird gone. The rest were eager to have torne thrn hair from their heads, but it was so short that it would give them no hold.


Morton had no means of crossing the river so as to get back to Mount Wollaston by the most direct way. A storm was gathering and it was so dark they could not follow him, so Morton followed the river up to the ford and there he crossed.

It was eight miles longer to go around this way to his home at Merry Mount, but Morton easily accomplished it. When he reached his home he prepared to defend it, for he knew that Standish would follow him, when the day came, by water, the shortest way.

At this time most of Morton's Company were on an expedition looking for furs, and he had only three men with him. This was fortunate for Standish, but it is said that Standish knew the men were away inland and had planned his expedition so as to take Morton when he could make but little resistance. Standish in the daytime went with his men to Merry Mount and called on Morton to surrender. After some show of resistance Morton finally thought it best to surrender and avoid bloodshed. Standish burned Morton's house and took him to Plymouth, where at first they were planning to execute him, but as that course might have a bad effect upon the settlement, they kept him a prisoner till a ship came in which they sent him to England to be punished for his misdeeds. He was put in gaol there, but was in the end set at liberty, as there was no case against him according to law, and he came back again to New England.

We have now carried the early history of Weymouth to the year
1628. By this time Weymouth had become quite a village. Settlers
had been coming in from time to time and the people had learned
to govern themselves. Dea. Clarence W. Feering, in his letter to
the "Weymouth Gazette," in the issue of Nov. 11, 1921,
shows very cleatrly that the American town government had its
origin in Weymouth. Plymouth had a local Governor, as did also
Boston in due time, but Weymouth from the first had no local
Governor.

The Governor at Plymouth tried to be Governor also at Weymonth, but the Charter of Sir Ferdinando Gorges prevented that.

70 I'll[-, FARLY HISTORY OF WFYINIOU'ril

While Gorges had the power of Governor over Weymouth by law, 5 et lie did not rise it, and the people at Wessagusset were left to make a government for themselves; hence there arose among the people of that se(dement the forn) of "Government of the people, for the people and fly the people."

They fir~t had the townsmen arid soon the New England form of town gmernarent, which has become so farnous because of the form (if government in Weymouth, and it is safe to say that Weymonth was tile first to originate that form in New England, and when site. became incorporated as a town, it was in that form she was incorporated.

Gilbert Nash, in his " First Twenty Years of Weymouth History," tries to make an estimate of the population of Weymouth before tire coming of the Hull Company in 1635. This estimate he forms from tire early records of landowners, the number of families, and the nanies of persons in Weymouth who must have been here before Hull came, and lie concludes that there must have been no less than six hundred when Hull came,

In 1628 a special tax was levied in connection with the arrest of Morton. Plymouth was taxed X2 10s., while Weymouth was taxed C2. This seems to indicate that in 1628 Weymouth was not so very far behind Plymouth.

In the Calendar of Colonial S~ ite Papers, under date of 1630, air item concerning the settlement of Wessagusset in 1622 states that in 1630 that colony had increased to five hundred people.

In this Calendar arid in the Minutes of the Council for New England, mention is made of emigrants at different dates going out to New England, and some of these may have gone to Weymouth.

Thus it is stated that it, "April, 1630, in the beginning of the month, many from the town of Dorchester, England, went to plant in New England and among the rest, Mrs. Sandford."

Another record states "that in 1634, April 17, Mr. Newburg of Marthwood Vito and many others set sail from Waimouth, England, for New England." William Woods, in his "New England Prospect," printed in London in 1634, has the following concerning Weymouth:


Weymouth, the outmost plantation in tile patent to the southward, which i , called Wessagusset, air Indian name. 'this as yet is but a small village, yet it is very pleasant and healthful, very good ground and is well timbered and bath good store of hay ground; it hath a very spacious harbour for shipping before the town , the salt water being navigable for boates and Pinnaces two league~. Here the inhabitants have good store of fi~li of all sorts and swine, having Acornes and Clani,ir, at tile time of year; there is likewise air Alewife river. Three miles to the North of thi~ is Mount Wollaston.


While the little settlement at Wessagusset was slowly growing, other settlements were being made on ao~ Mab,achusetts, as. for instance, at Cape Ann, Gloucester arid Dorchester.




In 1628 John Endicott came with a party to Salem, and after making a settlement there he began to act as though he were a Governor. Having heard of the trouble the Plyniouth people had with Morton at Wollaston, and that Morton's followers were still there, he took a party with him arid went across the bay to Wollaston, and at Merry Mount he terrified the followers of Morton arid cut down the Maypole. He sternly rebuked the people there, telling them they must friend their ways or the consequences to them would be terrible. He changed the name of tile place from Merry Mount to Mount Dagon.

In 1630 the Massachusetts Bay Company was formed, and John Winthrop came out with a large party tinder the auspices of that company, and in the Minutes of the Council for New England, in a narrative addressed to Secretary Coke concerning the settlement of New England, under the date of 1630, this statement is made: "This year, Mr. Winthrop with six ships and 1000 people land in Massachusetts, having sent two years before; between three arid four hundred servants to provide houses and corn, which through idleness they neglected to do."

Winthrop arrived at Salem in 1630, and from thence went to what is now East Boston. Here lie was visited by Rev ' William Blackston, the first settler of Boston. The result of that interview was the removal of Winthrop and his party to the other side of the bay where Blackston was already settled. This was the beginning of what may be called the real settlement of Boston. Winthrop as soon as he became settled began to look into the various settlements such as Salem, Charlestown, Braintree, Weymouth and Plymouth. He began to take to himself the power of Governor, as he had been so designated by the Massachusetts Bay Company. The result of this is seen in the tax of E2 levied on Weymouth arid .0 10s. on Plymouth.

In 1632 Governor Winthrop with a party went by vessel to Wessagusset and from there he went by land to Plymouth. Oil the way, both going and coming back from Plymouth, the party was generously entertained by the people at Wessagusset. The same year a tax was ordered by the Court. Five pounds of this lax was levied on Wessagusset, X8 on Boston, and ~C4 10s- on Salem, and in 1634 Wessagusset was ordered to pay all expenses incurred by taking care of Thomas Lane, a servant of John Bursley of Weymouth, who fell sick in Boston.