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First Voyage of the "Mary and John," 1630


Edited by Mrs. Paul H. Walker

Those who have read this periodical since the present editor began her duties are very familiar with the voyage of the MAYFLOWER and the extreme hardships of the first winter in 1620.

However, knowledge of such physical difficulties in this New World did not deter our English and European ancestors from undertaking their great resettlements in a new land. Merchant Adventurer Companies quickly expanded their activities to include emigrants in addition to the fur and lumber businnes which they had been exploiting for perhaps a hundred prior years.

The next ten years after the MAYFLOWER voyage in 1620 saw an influx of thousands of settlers up and down the coast in America. To show what a great contrast ocean travel and settlement were in 1630 compared to 1620m here is a brief account of the voyage and first year here of passengers aboard the MARY AND JOHN.

This ship was filled with Puritans emigrating to the American coast with the Reverand John Warham. John Winthrop had inspired a large body of Puritans from Plymouth, England to come here, where they first settled at Dorchester. He said, "I shall call that my country where I may glorify God, and enjoy the presense of my dearest friends."

The Reverand Warham and his group of Puritans were the first settlers to cross the Atlantic in the ship MARY AND JOHN and were part of the Winthrop fleet. It was a vessel of four hundred tons. It was chartered for the voyage and fitted out at Plymouth. The large companies of Puritans embarked on the 20th of the month of March in 1630. They encountered no storms at sea which had gravely damages the MATFLOWER earlier, ships having found better routes and months to travel since then. They arrived off Nantasket on the 30th of May, just 72 days later.

One of the band of Warham's Puritans on that voyage was Roger Clapp who has given us an interesting account in his "Memoirs" of the voyage and landing. It follows.

"What a wondrous work of God it was, to stir up such Worthies to undertake such a difficult Work as to remove themselves and their Wives and Children, from their Native Country, and to leave their gallant situations there, to come into the Wilderness to set up the pure worship of God her! So we came, by the good hand of the Lord, through the Deeps comfortably; having Preaching or Expounding the Word of God every Day for Ten weeks together by our Ministers.

"When we came to Nantasket, Camptain Squeb, who was Captain of the great ship, would not bring us into Charles River, as he was bound to do, but put us ashore, and our Goods, on Nantasket Pointm and left us to shift for ourselves in a forlorn Place in this Wilderness. "In the beginning many were in great straits for want of Provision for themselves, and their little ones. Oh, the hunger that many suffered, and saw no hope in the eye of reason to be supplied; only clams, and muscles, and fish. But bread was with many a very scare thing; and meats of all kinds as scare. And in those days, in our straits, though I cannot say God sent a raven to feed us as He did the Prophet Elijah, yet his I can say to the praise of God, that He sent poor ravenous Indiansm which came with their Baskits of corn on their backs to trade with usm was a good supply unto many." "...In those Days God did cause his people to trust in Him and to be contended with mean things. It was not accounted a strange thing in those Days to drink Water, and to eat Samp, or Hominy without butter and Milk. Indeed, it would have been strange to see a piece of Roast Beef, Mutton, or Veal, though it was not long before there was Roast Goat...After the first Winter, we were very healthy, though some of us had no great store of Corn. The Indians sometimes did bring Corn and, and Truck to us for Clothing, and Knives; and once I had a Peck of Corn, or thereabouts, for a little Puppy Dog. Frotfish, Muscles, and Clams were still a relief to many."

One account relates that,"We found out a neck of land joining to a place called by ye Indians, Mattapan; so they settled at Mattapan. They began their settlement here ye beginning of June, A.D. 1630, and changed the name to Dorchester."

For a full three years, the Pilgrims at Dorchester lived in harmony. We quote again from Roger Clapp's Memoirs: "In those days Great was the Tranquility of Peace: and there was great love one to Another; very ready to help each other; not seeking their own, but every one another's Wealth." Early on they made progress towards comfortable living. They had fair corn fields, gardens, a great many cattle, goats and swine, and the Plantation had a reasonable harbor for ships.

One can see from this account of the Dorchester settlement that although they lacked some types of food at first, the Indians supplied them for corn in exchange for other goods--and it does not appear they lost the greater part of their numbers trough death their first uncomfortable winter. It certainly helped, to be sure, that they arrived in May in time to build shelters and perhaps plant a crop--and not in the yearly fall, as did the Plymouth pilgrims.

[From articles in the DESCEND-O-GRAM written by Wayne E. Higley, Jr.]



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