Monday, February 24, 2014

1623 - Birth of New-Hampshire

January, 1623 - Short-provisioned, the Wessagusset settlers have no choice but to deal with the Indians in exchange for food despite unfavorable conditions.

Indians greatly increased the corn price and forced the colonists to give them their clothes and essential supplies. Some were compelled to serve them to survive. A dozen colonists died of starvation or disease. Another was hanged after being caught stealing (a legend tells that the real culprit escaped the gallows and that an innocent person was executed on his stead).

January, 1623 - governor William Bradford travels to Nemasket and Manomet to stock up on corn. He narrowly escapes an assassination attempt.

January, 1623 - In Virginia, the settlers launch various retaliatory operations against the Nansemonds, Powhatans, Weyanocks, Pamunkeys and Chickahominies.

February, 1623 - while his colony is struck hard by starvation, Governor of Wessagusset John Sanders requests the Plymouth authorities to coordinate with him an attack against the Indians. These reject the proposal.

February, 1623 - Captain Myles Standish escapes a murder attempt prepared by Massachusetts Indians while he has gone to deal corn supply at Mattachiest.

February 18, 1623 - John White, reverend of the Holy Trinity in Dorchester (Dorset) and Sir Walter Earle are granted a patent for the setting up of a fishery on the Massachusetts coast.

They founded on this occasion the "Dorchester Company" and joined a group of merchants represented by Richard Bushrod who benefited, since the previous year, a fishing license granted by the Council for New England
Rev. John White was the first initiator of this company. While at Oxford, he had subscribed to Puritans' principles which felt necessary to cleanse the Church from within. It is the reason why he had little sympathy for the Separatists of the Plymouth colony.

March 1623 - William Bradford is re-elected Governor of Plymouth. He sends Edward Winslow negotiate with the Wampanoag leader Massasoit to prevent the Dutch from interfering in the fur trade. Myles Standish escapes from his side a new assassination attempt organized by a group of Massachusetts.

March 5, 1623 - The first American temperance law is enacted in Virginia. It aims to control liquor consumption.

March 18, 1623 - while she was on the way to supply the Jamestown colony, the Seaflower explodes in Bermuda further to a carelessness of the captain's son.

March 23, 1623 - Henry Spelman and 19 men who accompany him are killed by Nacotchanks during a trade expedition. The Natives seize their armors and their guns.

Henry Spelman (1595 - March 23rd, 1623) English adventurer, soldier and writer from Norfolk. He had left at the age of 14 to Virginia aboard the Unity, one of the nine ships of the fleet commanded by Admiral George Somers, dispersed in a storm off Bermuda. He had arrived in Jamestown in October, 1609. Two weeks later, he had accompanied captain John Smith during an expedition along the James River, leading them to a Powhatan village. John Smith knew that, with the approach of winter, Jamestown could not meet the arrival of hundreds new settlers. He wished to entrust the young Henry to the Indians to serve eventually as interpreter and facilitate relationship between their communities. Captain Christopher Newport had proceeded to exchanges of this kind the previous year with Chief Powhatan. Henry kept living a year and a half at the Indians what allowed him to learn the Algic language and act as interpreter. Captain Samuel Argall got back him in 1610 and therefore used him for trade-related purposes with the Natives. Spelman also played a role in the abduction of Pocahontas.
He returned to England in 1613 but soon joined Virginia with a rank of captain. In 1619, a rival interpreter accused him of having distorted the words of Openchacanough to new governor Samuel Argall and he was accused of treason. Deprived of his captaincy, he only kept since his interpreter's post.
After the massacre of 1622, he was appointed to renew the English alliance with Powhatan and left Jamestown with 19 men. They had to sail up the Potomac River and negotiate the supply of corn and food when their group was attacked by Indians Anacostan come from the village of Nacochtank. Henry Spelman and all those around him were killed. He was 28 years old.

March 24, 1623 - a Wessagusset settler reaches Plymouth with a message announcing an impending Indian attack. Already informed by other sources of the potential threat of Massachusetts tribes, Edward Winslow sends a posse to Wessagusset under the command of Myles Standish.

March 26, 1623 - Myles Standish arrives with his men at Wessagusset. He asks the colonists to gather in the storehouse to insure their defence.

Myles Standish meets Indian Sachem Peckusot 
March 27, 1623 - the local sachem Peckusot, his wife and three of his warriors go to Wessagusset at the invitation of Myles Standish for peaceful talks. Yet, after taking place in the room where the meeting is to be held, Myles Standish orders to open fire. All the Indian representatives are killed.

A fast skirmish ensued between the settlers and other members of the tribe making several deaths on both sides. Standish offered then to post some soldiers there to protect the colony but John Sanders declined his offer, preferring to start with few others to England aboard the Swan. The last survivors chose to go and live in Plymouth, abandoning the settlement. Thomas Weston who got there a few months later could only see the failure of his project.
Once the case settled, Myles Standish did not hesitate to get beheaded the leader of the plot, Wituwamat whom he showed off the head at the end of a spear at the entrance of Plymouth Fort, as a warning sign. This somewhat presumptuous attitude was supposed to flaunt the English power to the Natives while the young colony was still unable to meet its own needs.
Actually, the raid led by Myles Standish had disastrous consequences for the colony. Further to this incident, the Indian trade was shattered for years, depriving the Pilgrims of the furs whereby they paid off their debts to the London backers. The local tribes which for the most part, had been sympathetic to the Plymouth colony began to build relationships with other nations to protect against English, foreshadowing the coming wars. This offered on the other hand to Massasoit the opportunity to restore some of the lost power of the Wampanoags.

Showing Wituwamat's head off

Early April, 1623 - Powhatan Chief Opechancanough sends his two emissaries Comahum and Chanco deliver a peace message to the Jamestown authorities in which he considers that " enough blood has been shed on both sides ".

He also specified that his people starved and wished to establish a truce which would allow the Powhatans sowing corn for the next year. He promised in exchange to return the English women he had captured. To prove his sincerity, he sent back one week later Mrs Boyse. When she joined her fellow countrymen, she was dressed as an Indian queen adorned with beads and copper jewels, with a tunic of deerskin and various furs and feathers. Governor Wyatt echoed Opechancanough's proposal in a letter to his father but the settlers considered it as a way to spy them and declared better to kill Indian enemies rather than to save English prisoners. They were subsequently not to negotiate this truce.

April 1623 - Sir George Yardley leads a party of 100 armed men to the Chickamonies, accused to have killed 10 colonists.

April, 1623 - Starvation which raged during winter in the Plymouth colony urges Governor William Bradford to make decisions regarding farming. The settlers are all given a plot of land to grow their own corn. This provision puts an end to the joint farming.

The community farming system set up by the Plymouth authorities after the founding of the colony proved increasingly ineffective, each believing not to be personally rewarded for supplied efforts. Faced with the general unwillingness, farming knew no development and it was accordingly agreed that everyone would now have the property of his own crops.

First New-Hampshire colony
Spring, 1623 - David Thompson and the brothers Edward and William Hilton found at the mouth of the Piscataqua, the first colony in New Hampshire that they call Pannaway Plantation.

A native of Scotland, David Thompson, whose father worked  formerly for Sir Ferdinando Gorges, had been commissioned by John Mason, holder since the previous year of a royal patent authorizing the founding of a new settlement in New England. It was located at Odiorne's Point in present-day Rye and was built with a fort, a manor-house and a few dwellings. This was especially dedicated to fisheries.   

Spring, 1623 - brothers William and Edward Hilton, two fishmongers of London who traveled from England together with David Thompson, set up a settlement they name Hilton Point (today Dover) on the New Hampshire coast.

They were sent by the Laconia Compania led by John Mason with plans to establish a settlement and a fishery on the shore of the Piscataqua not far from the Newinchawannock Indian tribe.

May 22, 1623 - captain William Tucker commits peace negotiations with Powhatans on neutral ground along the Potomac River. After talking about the release of captives, Tucker offers them to drink in honor of a future peace treaty. The wine was poisoned with the aid of doctor John Pott. 200 Indians die immediately and 50 others are massacred. Openchancanough reaches however to escape.

William Tucker (1589-1644) 
A London-born, he arrived in Virginia in 1610 accompanied with his brother Thomas aboard the Mary and James. He was appointed in 1618 commander of Point Comfort by governor Samuel Argall. Become a member of the House of Burgesses in Jamestown, he was granted in 1620 a patent to farm a 650-acre plantation located in Norfolk, along the James River.
He went to London with Ralph Hamor to defend the cause of Virginia about contracts concluded for the sale of tobacco.
He was the one who on May 22, 1623, organized the meeting with Opechancanough and Powhatan officials which ushered in a wave of attacks led against the Indians in response to the massacre of 347 settlers committed the previous year.

John Pott (Cheshire c. 1595 - 1642?)
Physician and governor of Virginia in Jamestown.
He seems to have been graduated from Oxford in 1605. He was recommended as a physician next to the Virginia Company by Dr Théodore Gulston of the London College of Physicians. In the Company records dated July 16, 1621, we can read the following mention " insofar as the doctor's post is now vacant further to the death of Dr Bohune occurred on March 19 when a fight with two Spanish warships, doctor Gulstone took the trouble to recommend next to the Company, Mr Pott, Master of the Arts to replace him. He is a good practitioner in surgery and physician and also expert in the distilling of water ".
Dr Pott and his wife left London on March 19, 1621 aboard the George, a 150-ton vessel commanded by William Ewen. They arrived in Jamestown in May after a 2- month trip.
In 1623, Pott was known as the maker of the poison used against the Indians during a "peace ceremony" organized in Jamestown. About 200 of them were killed almost instantly. This particularly spectacular action was an answer to the massacre committed the previous year during which almost a third of the settlers had been slain. Perhaps Johh Pott had extenuating circumstances that Indians were responsible for the disappearance of many fellow countrymen but this event caused in England a real scandal and he was temporarily relieved from his duties.

June 1623 - a drought starts in Plymouth to last 7 weeks. Their wheat fields getting dry, the settlers make do with fishing.

Late June, 1623 - Captain Francis West who insured the military command of the Virginia colony, arrives at the Plymouth Plantation with the appointment of Admiral to New England.

Francis West (October 28, 1586 - February, 1634) 
Deputy Governor of Virginia, he was the second son of Thomas West, 2nd Baron De La Warr (1556-1602) born in Wherwell Abbey, Hampshire, and Anne Knollys his wife.
He landed  as captain for the first time in Jamestown in July, 1608 and returned to Virginia in 1610 aboard the Mary and Margaret.
He was from 1608 a member of the Governor Council. From 1612 to 1617, he served as commander of Jamestown and was chosen as a representative to sit in the new colonial assembly which took place from July 30 to August 4, 1619. It was the first meeting of the House of Burgesses appointed by Governor Sir George Yardley.
From 1622, West was promoted at first Admiral to New England.

July 12, 1623 - Captains William Tucker, Nathaniel West, Samuel Matthews and William Pierce are commissioned to hire men to attack the Natives.

July 23, 1623 - In Jamestown, the captains of various plantations prepare a coordinated attack against the Natives.

William Pierce and captain William West are in charge to lead an expedition against the Chickahominies and Weyanocks. Many Indians are killed, villages burned, crops destroyed. These attacks come at a moment when it is already too late to plant corn. The English also hope to cut the trade routes between tribes and reduce their ability to resupply. Given the intensity of these attacks, the Chickahominies withdraw upstream.
For their part, George Sandys attacks the Tappahatomaks whereas George Yardley goes to the Weyanockes.

William Pierce had arrived in Virginia with Thomas Gates in 1610. He was aboard the Sea Venture shipwrecked off the Bermuda coast and had taken 10 months before joining the English colony while his wife who was aboard the Blessing had not experienced the same mishap. A letter dated April 11, 1623 described Lieutenant Pierce " as the most honest person in Virginia ". He was appointed governor of Jamestown on next May 29. He had for son-in-law John Rolfe who had married in third wedding his daughter Jane in 1620.

The Weyanocks were approximately 600. Recntly connected with the Powhatan Confederation, they could be regarded as attractive trade partners through their links with the Southern Iroquois. Their territory extended on both sides of the James River where were located their two main villages. They were mainly engaged in hunting and fishing.
About 1500 people, the Chickahominies were allied to Powhatan while remaining independent from the confederation. Their territory extended on both sides of the Chickahominy River. They were ruled by an eight-ancient council and not a a single leader. They were notorious for the colorfull richness of their ceramics and their taste for large festive gatherings.

July, 1623 - the Dutch West India Company starts its first trade campaign along the Hudson River, taking over from the Van Tweenhuysen Company. It intends to benefit from contacts taken for several years with Mahicans who control the fur trade up to the St Lawrence valley.

Its ship, the Mackreel will spend all winter on-the-spot and will not return to Amsterdam until the following summer .

August, 1623 - The Little James and Ann, a ship carrying 67 new settlers from England arrives at New Plymouth with equipment and supplies. Among them are John Oldham with his family and John Tomson.

John Oldham (1592-1636)
English captain and merchant, he was one of the first Puritan settlers in Massachusetts. From Derby, he had subscribed, when he was young, to the Puritan doctrine. He came to Plymouth with his wife, his children and her sister. He was also the brother-in-law of William Brewster's son, one of the pilgrims fathers of the Mayflower and their spiritual leader. He would soon grow rich through the trade with Indians but his poor relations with the Plymouth government also had a few years later to drive him into exile.

Summer, 1623 - The "Dorchester Company" led by John White and Walter Earle charters the Fellowship for a first fishing season in New England.

This one arrived too late in the season for a successful fishing. 14 men were landed at Cape Ann with reserves. The site to which was given the name of Gloucester had been explored for the first time in 1604 by French Samuel Champlain which he had called "Beauport".

Summer, 1623 - drought having destroyed most crops, the Plymouth settlers make their living by fishing and shellfish garhering.

August 31, 1623 - a proclamation from the governor of Virginia states that no settler will be allowed to get his part of tobacco until he has paid all his debts off.

sSeptember, 1623 - in Virginia, William Strachey makes the first reference to James City; the land surveyor William Claiborne (1587-1677) maps out the streets of the new city, a suburb outside the old fort of Jamestown.

Autumn, 1623 - Sir Robert Gorges lands at Piscataqua become Pannaway Plantation, the colony founded a few months earlier by David Thomson. He is the son of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, a prominent member of the Plymouth Company and several gentlemen accompany him.

He found however that the place was not his liking and decided to sail southward.

September, 1623 - Sir Robert Gorges lands at Wessaguset, Thomas Weston's colony abandoned four months earlier. He is seduced by the configuring of the place and decides to settle there, renaming it Weymouth in honor of his hometown in Dorset.

A few weeks later, Gorges went to Plymouth where he made arrest Thomas Weston, whereas he crossed the colony, charged with negligence and for recklessly selling the weapons designed to protect the settlement. The latter admitted the facts and once released, set sail to Virginia.

The son of Sir Ferdinando GorgesRobert Gorges had been appointed by the Plymouth Council for New England, to found a new colony that would become the civil and spiritual capital of New England. As new Governor General, he was supposed to have authority over Plymouth and to take the head of a future Council of Government within which William Bradford would have been only a simple member. Unlike the Puritans, Gorges brought with him two representatives of the Church of England who would have taken in charge the spiritual health of the people in the area. This ambitious project came to an end in Spring, 1624, for lack of funds. Sick, Sir Robert Gorges left to England where he died shortly after his return. Among the gentlemen who had come with him, some became established as Samuel Maverick who married a few years later Amias, the widow of David Thomson. Maverick is also known to have been the first settler in New England to have black slaves.
Most Gorges' companions went then back to England while some chose to settle down in Plymouth or Virginia.

October, 1623 - George Yardley leads an army of 300 men to the Nansemonds looking for Openchancanough.

Hounded, the Natives were only able  to see powerless their crops in the English hands and had no other choice but to negotiate the release of women captured in Martin's Hundred, but it took time and did not even appear as a major concern.

Though the settlers found themselves united to fight Indians, this war had on the English side effect of changing the colony's policies by favoring a takeover for the benefit of a few, further strengthening the gap that existed between the owners class and the servants or laborers. Dr. John Pott, in particular, got the release of Jane Dickinson in exchange for some beads but made her pay a high price by assigning her in his service for 3 years, the alleged outstanding time of her husband’s indentured servitude when he was killed during the uprising. Belonging mainly to the lower class, the other abducted women didn’t meet the same fate, however, some were released only after a few years, others were never reviewed.
November 1, 1623 - a fire breaks out in Plymouth destroying several buildings.

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