Sunday, April 26, 2015

1642 - William Berkeley arrives in Virginia

Indian tribes around New Amsterdam

January 12, 1642 - During its meeting, The Assembly of Virginia signs a declaration against the return of the Virginia Company of London.

January 20, 1642 - Willem Kieft, the Director-General of the New Netherlands tries to convince the Council of Twelve Men to plan a military action against the Indians.

February, 1642 - Sir William Berkeley takes his duties as governor of
Virginia. He replaces Francis Wyatt.

William Berkeley
Berkeley quickly summoned a meeting to re-examine all the work done two years earlier by George Sandys. A petition was sent to the king protesting against restoring the rights of the Virginia Company of London. But although it was signed by the council, representatives and new governor, the preamble showed many different standpoints. This change of position resulted likely of uncertainty about the outcome of the war raging in England between the loyalists and the parliamentary rebellion. Most Virginians agreed with the restoration of the Charter but they would not oppose the king.      
Sir William Berkeley (1605-1677) 
He was the son of Sir Maurice and Lady Elizabeth Killigrew who were both among the shareholders of the Virginia Company of London. After studying at St Edmund Hall and Merton College, Oxford, he devoted himself to law before traveling across Europe. Back in England, he got in 1632 a post in the royal apartments, what enabled him to attend an influential literary circle known as the Wits. He wrote several plays including The Lost Lady, a tragicomedy that was performed before King Charles I and Queen Henrietta-Maria. Knighted during the Bishops’ Wars (1639-1640), he was however disappointed by the nature of these conflicts and realizing in spring, 1641 that he could no longer meet his ambitions in the Court, he considered as a first step a diplomatic position in Istanbul.
He eventually gave up this idea to become governor of Virginia and received for it the support of friends who got from the king his appointment in August, 1641 to succeed Francis Wyatt. The latter was very popular in the colony while the loyalist sympathies of Berkeley were not playing in his favor. That is why, upon his arrival at Jamestown, his first goal was to quickly insert within the elite of the colony and to defend the idea that there would be no return of the Virginia Company of London.
He had built Green Spring House on a track of land west of Jamestown where he experimented alternative crops to tobacco. He soon produced flax, fruit, vegetables, rice, silk and liquors he would export through a commercial network from North America and the West Indies towards England and Holland. He did not hide either his ambition to turn Jamestown into a true urban area and to explore territory beyond the borders of Virginia.

February 8, 1642 - Willem Kieft dissolves the Council of Twelve Men, considering that its opinion provided further to the murder of a Dutch colonist by an Indian does not suit his expectations. Kieft is a proponent of war against the Indians. 

He ordered the soldiers of the Dutch West India Company to attack the bordering Indian villages. 

February 25, 1642 - Kieft organizes the killing of a group of innocent Indians who sought refuge near New Amsterdam after being ousted by hostile tribes in the Fort Orange area. This campaign will quickly become ineffective.

The Dutch and the French who sold firearms to their Indian allies, had however been very cautious about the amount of ammunitions provided, lest they ever be used against them. But recently arrived, the Swedes had tried to make up their delay in fur trade by supplying lots of weapons to Susquehannock, at which point these had emerged as a threat to the nearby tribes. When a little later, in 1640, the English tradesmen of Connecticut tried to break the alliance between the Mohawk and the Dutch by offering firearms to the first ones, the second reacted by supplying guns and quantities of ammunitions to Iroquois and Mahican. And whereas war was raging in the North on the banks of the St Lawrence River between the Iroquois League supported by the Dutch and the Hurons allied to the French, the Mohawk and Mahican made together peace on the Hudson River. The European presence in this region had promoted the spread of new disease that would gradually upset the geopolitical environment. Smallpox which had propagated from New England had decimated the Indian tribes in 1634. To maintain their dominance in trade with the Dutch, the Mahican and Mohawk were in need to enlarge their hunting territories while they had been struck hard by plagues and were forced to compensate for a radical drop in population by partnering. They fought together in 1642 against Montagnais and Sokoki but their military successes and territorial gains were not enough to ensure the expected supply of beaver pelts, an increasingly scarce animal.
The only solution for Mahican and Mohawk was then to submit the weakest populations of the south and to require from them tribute in wampum, a currency that accepted the Dutch. While the Mohawk put pressure on the Munsee, the Mahican picked on Wappinger. During winter 1642-43, they were 80 warriors Mahican heavily armed who intruded into Wappinger villages near Yonkers. In the fray that followed, 17 Wecquaesgeek (or Wappinger) were killed and most of their wives and children taken prisoners. Others fled southward to the Hackensack and Tappan, hoping that the Dutch would provide protection, but further to previous incidents, the latter regarded them as unwanted hosts.
March 1, 1642 - Georgeana (York) in Maine becomes the first self-administered American city.

Mars 1642 - Willem Kieft dispatches an 80-men army under Hendrick Van Dyke's command to attack by night the Wacquaesgeek village in Yonkers.

Van Dyke and his people got lost on the way and informed of the threat, the Indians hastened to sign a truce with the Dutch. These hoped to get back the murderer of Claes Switts but he had since sought refuge in another tribe.

March 28, 1642 – Rev. Francis Doughty founds the city of Maspeth in the Queens near New Amsterdam on lands purchased from the Indians by the Dutch in 1635.

April, 1642 - Samuel Gorton is elected deputy governor of Rhode Island.

He got on well with the Indians and became with his brother Thomas, familiar with their language. His troubles with the Massachusetts prosecutors were not however complete. Supported by William Arnold, these indeed claimed that the land on which he had settled was under the Boston administration and sent two Indians burn down the family home. Soldiers come from Massachusetts arrested him and his followers and threw them in jail. All escaped death penalty but once released, Gorton was forced to leave Shawomet.
He decided to set sail to England to defend himself and passed for it through New Amsterdam because wanted in Massachusetts.

April 10, 1642 - George Wyllys is appointed governor of Connecticut instead of John Haynes.

George Wyllys (Warwicks.1590 - March 6, 1645)
He was born at Fenny Compton manor, Warwickshire, into an old and rich English family. He attended several universities without being graduated but got acquainted with the Puritan doctrine. Widowed in first wedding in 1629, he emigrated with his second wife and his children in the early 1630s to New England. He was appointed in 1634 assistant to the General Court of Massachusetts Bay. He decided to settle in the Connecticut valley fom 1636 and purchased a land in Hartford where he built a vast house in which he came to live two years later with his family. He employed at the time no less than 20 servants. He was soon elected clerk in the General Court, then deputy governor of the colony in 1641 and finally governor in 1642.

Rumors that the Narragansett were trying to form an alliance with other tribes to destroy the English positions required him to send two delegates for a meeting in Boston where would  emerged in May, 1643 " Articles of Confederation", a pact of mutual cooperation of defense to form the United Colonies of New England

June, 1642 - William Bradford is re-elected for the 16th time governor of the Plymouth colony.

June, 1642 - John Winthrop gets his position back as governor of Massachusetts Bay.

June 19, 1642 - Cornelis Melyn purchases much of Staten Island and founds the first whisky distillery.

Although Melyn has long been one of the main opponents of Director Kieft’s policy, the latter asked him to build the first whisky distillery of America on the site of present-day New Brighton. The settlers so taught to the Indians to drink whisky. The effects were disastrous and the Dutch knew how to abuse drunk Indians to steal them. These took offence at it, massacred several farmers and burned their houses, incidents to which was given the name of Whiskey War. Following these events, Cornelius Melyn and his family decided to go back to New Amsterdam.

Further to the murder of a Dutch settler by a Hackensack warrior, Willem Kieft asked his tribe this one be given to him. The Indians were willing to comply with his request but demanded in exchange a payment in wampum intended " to cover the dead ". Their leaders were not however decided to go to New Amsterdam lest unrelenting Kieft takes them hostage. 

July 5, 1642 – The petition signed by the House of Burgesses and Governor of Virginia William Berkeley is presented to King Charles 1. This one answers that he has no intention to consent to the return of the Company.

Although loyal to the king, the Virginians had really never embraced the party of the High Church of England. Wearing the chasuble was not required from ministers who granted more importance to Sabbath following and presence in services. When war broke out England, the settlers of Nansemond and Norfolk Counties, south of James River showed their preferences for Parliament and a form of more Congregational Worship.

Summer, 1642 -  Narragansett sachem Miontonimo leaves his lands of Rhode Island with hundred warriors to visit the tribes of Long Island and Hudson Valley.

He went to the Metoac, the Wappinger and Mahican to recruit allies for the war that he intended to wage on the Mohegans in Connecticut. While inter tribal wars regarded only by far the English colonies, the belligerent attitude of Kieft had caused a real confusion among the Dutch. These were convinced that the Indians sought to unite in order to rise up against the Europeans.

Johan Printz
August 2, 1642 - the city of Seekonk is mentioned for the first time in the Plymouth colony. It will take the name of Rehoboth from 1645.

August 15, 1642 - Johan Printz becomes governor of New Sweden, on the Delaware shores. He was chosen because this colony is mostly Finnish and he lived many years in Finland where he acquired language and habits.

At the beginning of the year, arrangements were set out for a new expedition, provided that the Swedish government would assume all expenses related to the travel except for the wages of employees of the company and cost of the settlers. These last had, conversely, to offset the travel expenses by agreeing to work for the company once they arrived in the colony.
This one was later set at 26 riksdalers a head (or $ 144 today). For a man and his family, the refund of this sum would take years.
Supplies and reserves necessary for the expedition were bought in Holland by the Swedish agents and many efforts were made to secure the colony against the English ambitions. They sought on the other hand to attract new candidates for emigration but without real success to the point that the council decided that poachers and deserters would be forced to serve a few years in New Sweden. Despite this, the number remained insufficient and from August, families of Finnish land-clearers were taken to Gothenburg to be embarked for North America.

Johan Printz (July 20, 1593-May 3, 1663) 
He was nearly 50 when he was apppointed governor of New Sweden. Born in Bounyard, province of Smaland, where his father was a minister, he received the best education possible with project to follow the paternal footsteps but had, lack of means, to stop his theological studies for a military career. Enlisted in King Gustavus Adolphus’s army, he served in Poland during the Thirty Years War but was relieved in 1640 after a few misjudgements. His career seemed finished before he was knighted and appointed as Royal governor of New Sweden.
Big and fat, the Lenape gave him the nickname of Big Belly because of his unstandard stoutness (about 400 lbs.)
This was a year since the Swedish government had bought the shares of the Dutch people who had taken part to the founding of New Sweden in such a way that the colony was now only ruled by the Swedish krona. A new charter in 28 articles, The Instruction, had been granted. This concerned all people living on the territory of the colony including Indians. These ones benefited from a recognition that allowed them to maintain with the Europeans much better relationship than in areas occupied by the Dutch and the English.
The last article stated that the governor was appointed for three years.

September 13, 1642 - Leonard Calvert, the governor of Maryland, declares Susquehanock, Wicomese and Nanticok Indians, foes of the province.

September 23, 1642 – Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts delivers its first degrees.

October, 1642 - Englishman John Throgmorton gets Dutch permission to found a settlement on the Vriedelandt peninsula, northwest of Manhattan.
He gives it the name of Throg's Neck.

October, 1642 - Cornelius Dicksen creates a ferry service between Manhattan and Long Island.

November 15, 1642 - Pennacook Chief Passaconaway agrees to the sale of the land of Pentucket (present-day Haverhill, Massachusetts), purchased by the English at the price 3 pounds and 10 schillings.

December, 1642 - Sir Edmund Plowden, called Earl of New Albion arrives at the head of a group of immigrants to take up his colony. He moves to Watcessit in the Schuykill mouth.

The vicinity of the Dutch and the Swedes soon deprived this colony of any future since there was no real way of running a claimed territory that included the equivalent of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Plowden spent most of his time in Virginia and explored the region by leaving "A Description of the Province of New Albion " published after his final return to England in 1648.

December, 1642 - The General Court of Connecticut adopts its first penal code that lists 12 capital crimes.

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