Sunday, November 9, 2014

1631 - Roger Williams moves to New England

Massachusetss Bay Colony in 1631
Roger Williams

February 5, 1631 - Roger Williams arrives at Boston.

Roger Williams (London, December 21, 1603 - April 1, 1683)
English theologian, promoter of religious tolerance and separation of Church and State, he was a strong advocate of fair trade relationships with Indians.

Born into an Anglican family, young Roger chose at the age 11 the puritan doctrine against his father’s protest, James Williams, a well-to-do merchant based in Smithfield near London. He achieved his studies at Sutton's Hospital and Cambridge University under the patronage of famous jurist Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634). Gifted for languages, he learned Latin, Greek, French and even gave poet John Milton Dutch lessons in exchange for Hebrew lessons. After graduating, he served as chaplain to a wealthy family but soon realized that he could not work under Archbishop William Laud and adopted a dissenting position. He decided to immigrate in New England to seek freedom of conscience untraceable in England. He went to Boston late 1630 aboard the Lyon with his wife Mary, the daughter of a minister in Nottinghamshire. He was offered upon arrival to replace the minister who had just left for England. Williams refused this offer, considering that members of the church were not to punish offenses such as idolatry, Sabbath violation, non-compliance prayers and blasphemy and that everyone was free to follow his own convictions in religious concerns. His first idea was that civil authority should be distinguished from ecclesiastical powers and the second that people were able to enjoy their freedom of thought about religion. He maintained that it was necessary to build a separation wall between Church and State, a concept that would become a cornerstone of the future constitution of the United States.

March 1631 - William Bradford is re-elected governor of the Plymouth colony for the 9th one-year term.

March 16, 1631 - a fire breaks out in Boston in the chimney of Thomas Sharp's house, burning it to the ground.

It was the first large-scale fire since the founding of the city. This disaster led the government to ban thatched roofs and wooden chimneys.

April 4, 1631 - Governor of Boston John Winthrop has the visit from Wahginnacut, a Poduck leader whose tribe lives along the Connecticut River (Quohnetacut). This one urges him to establish a colony on its lands, convinced that the English presence would protect his people from Pequot Indians. 

He was coming from Salem where he had made the same proposal to governor John Endicott. He was sided in his request by Sagamore John and an Indian from Virginia named Jack Straw who both served him as interpreters. He promised the settlers a premium of 80 beaver pelts and provisions up to the following harvest if they agreed his bid.
Wahginnacut was likely trying to regain his former power by moving towards the English. Accept the annual tribute promised requiring, in the Algonquian tradition, to commit to provide protection was what he was trying to get from this powerful ally. Puritan governors were undecided. Winthrop suspected him of trying to involve the English in his quarrels with the Pequot while Endicott did find him insincere. Both declined the proposal.

Gov. John Winthrop
April 13, 1631 - Chickatabaut, sachem of Nepon-set visits Governor John Winthrop to sell him English clothes. The latter finally agrees and asks his tailor to make a suit. Chickatabaut gives in return two large beaver pelts to Winthrop.

May 18, 1631 - John Winthrop is elected first governor of Massachusetts.

When the Puritans led by John Winthrop arrived in Massachusetts, they were granted a royal charter allowing them to settle a government free to draft its own laws insofar these were not contrary to those of England. According to this charter, free men were to elect their governor and officials. Any shareholder of the Massachusetts Bay Company, the organization backing the colony, was considered as free man. In May, 1631, during the second assembly of the General Court elected by the colonists as their legislative and executive organs, they were 116 settlers to take the oath, that was almost all of the grown-up men.

So then, the administrators of the Company decided that the title of free man would return henceforth to the only members of the church. The fact to attend the puritanical church and be baptized was insufficient to become member of the General Court. It was necessary to have carried out a long spiritual progress to Grace and having related his experience and benefits to the congregation before being introduced. This decision had the effect of considerably reducing the number of free men because there were few who dared follow the sequence of steps. Winthrop declared to justify that he considered essential to impose restrictive rules to avoid that the assembly eventually counts thousands of representatives and that the fact of being member of the church was a sign of respectability

May 16, 1631 - William Claiborne bases a trading post on Kent Island in the Bay of Chesapeake. He is sided by Reverend Richard Jones. He has obtained from King Charles 1 a commission authorizing him and his associates to trade for furs, corn and other commodities in New England and Nova Scotia in places where no license has already been granted without however being officially allowed to develop his business in Virginia.

William Claiborne (c.1587 - Virginia c.1677) 
Hailing from Westmorland, England, he had arrived in Virginia as land surveyor in 1621. He had then been appointed Secretary of State of the colony and a member of the governor's council. He began getting some bargains in tobacco plantation but had been fast interested in furs trade in the Bay of Chesapeake Bay. From 1627, he was granted a license allowing him to deal with the Indians and succeeded in developing relationship with the Susquehannock who supplied him beaver pelts sold to good price in England. He settled an active trading post on Kent Island without knowing that, at the same moment, King Charles 1 had just granted this land to Lord Baltimore.
At that time, tobacco sales had crumbled and prices were at their lowest while beaver pelts were sold at £ 1 each. Due to the climate, furs however, were not so rated in the Bay of Chesapeake Bay than in areas further north. But Claiborne had managed to trade high quality skins through Susquehannock who had close links with many nearby tribes enjoying subsequently a profitable exclusiveness.

June 3, 1631 – the Dutch ship Walvis captained by Peter Heyes arrives on the west side of Delaware Bay with a small group of 28 would-be settlers led by David Petersz DeVries, some supplies and livestock. 

In 1629, Samuel Godwyn, an officer of the Dutch West India Company was given the privilege to establish a colony on the South River (Delaware River). Godwyn had been joined by Samuel Blommaert, later founder of the Company of New Sweden who was also a member of the Dutch Company. They bought to Indians an about 30-mile-long strip of land south of Delaware Bay, from Cape Henlopen to the mouth of the Delaware on a 2-mile-width. The passation, ratified by the Indians, had been signed by Governor Pieter Minuit July 16, 1630.
The first colonists landed at Hoornkill and settled on the river bank at a place they named Zwanendael (Valley of Swans). They built a small fort to be protected from Indian attacks and DeVries returned to Holland to look for supplies.
They harvested their first corn in summer, cows had calves and some new settlers came to join the small community when burst a quarrel between the leader of the colony and the neighboring Indians about the theft of a pewter object. The packet manager was killed by the Dutch and to take revenge, the Indians took advantage of what the colonists worked in the fields to attack and slaughter them, with the exception of an only one who succeeded in escaping.

June, 1631 - French ships attack a trading post of the Plymouth colony based on the Penobscot River.

Capt. John Smith (c.1580 - 1631)
June 21, 1631
- Captain John Smith dies in London. He was the author of several works on Virginia of which he was one of the very first settlers in 1607.

July 20, 1631 - a ship carrying supplies from William Claiborne's London associates Cloberry & Co. arrives at Kecoughtan with 28 passengers on board. They build a storehouse to keep peltries pending ship them to England.

They also constituted reserves to set sail as soon as possible to the new Claiborne’s plantation on Kent Island

August 8, 1631 Pawtucket leaders Sagamore John and his brother Sagamore James (Montowampate,1609-1633) are both wounded at Agawam (Ipswich) in a fight against about 100 Tarratines warriors, come in three canoes, while they’re on the way to meet their ally Masconomet. Seven men are slain and Montowampate’s wife Wenunchus (the daughter of the Pennacook leader Passaconaway) is captured with other Indians. 

August 17, 1631 - William Claiborne who has just founded Claiborne-Virginia-Susquehannock-London Puritan Interest Group Alliance starts his business on Kent Island which becomes Kent County. It is about the first trade partnership between English and Indians. Reverend Richard Jones, associate member of the company makes of it a Protestant colony, being the first one to preach Gospel in to-be Maryland.

August, 1631 - Governor John Winthrop is present at the launching of the 30-ton sloop Blessing of the Bay, the first born in the new Boston shipyards.

Boston shipyards began to thrive as well as in other ports of the Massachusetts Bay Colony due to cheapness of American woods compared with England.

September 17, 1631 – Wenunchus, the wife of Sagamore James abducted a month earlier by Tarratines is released against ransom. She is exchanged against wampum and ten beaver pelts following Abraham Shurd’s mediation, a settler based in Pemaquid dealing usually with Tarratines.

October 3, 1631 - Massachusetts leader Squidrayset and his warriors kill, on Richmond Island  (Maine), Walter Bagnall called the " Big Walt " and his partner John Peverel-Peverly, two disreputable merchants with whom they had trouble, after what they burn their house, taking with them weapons and various goods.

As many others, Bagnall bartered alcohol and weapons in exchange for beaver pelts and dried fish but was considered a dishonest and corrupt man. Squidrayset, with whom he dealt since 1624, felt he has been cheated and somehow settle accounts.
Two years later, in January, 1633, a Massachusett Indian called Manahtaqa ( Black William) was recognized as one of Squidrayset’s men by Captain Nead, left with a group of volunteers to chase pirates. They hanged him on the field though he was not directly involved in the murder.

John Peverel-Peverly (1599 - 1631) 
Born in Dorset, he had arrived in New England in 1621 aboard the Fortune, with the group of colonists led by Thomas Weston who had based a short-lived colony in Massachusetts. He went some time back to England before getting involved in the adventure of the Laconia Company. He went in spring 1623 to New Hampshire under the command of Captain Neal and Captain John Mason. He took part in the founding of Strawberry Banke, at the mouth of the Piscataqua. He appeared later on the list of Massachusetts merchants present on the Kennebec River alongside Walter Bagnall, Edward Gibbons and Thomas Morton. Accused to be part of Mason’s close relations, considered unscrupulous squatters, he was banished by Puritans in 1628 and went therefore to settle in Maine, on Richmond Island (named in honor of Ludovik Stuart, Duke of Richmond, son of  King James’s cousin) where he could continue to conduct trade with the Indians.

Late 1631 - Governor of New Amsterdam Pieter Minuit is called back to Holland. Walter Van Twiller is appointed in his stead.

He was blamed for having granted undue privileges to some big landowners, the patroons, but also for having concentrated the political and economic power in the hands of a small minority. Secretary of the Company Johan Van Remunde had described Minuit as a hypocritical, cruel and dishonest character. After a long survey, Minuit was convicted and removed.

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