SUCH numbers were constantly emigrating to New-England, in consequence of the persecution of the puritans, that the people at Dorchester, Watertown and Newtown, began to be much straitened, by the accession of new planters. By those who had been at Connecticut, they had received intelligence of the excel-lent meadows upon the river: they therefore determined to re-move, and once more brave the dangers and hardships of making settlements in a dreary wilderness.

Upon application to the general court in May, 1634, for the enlargement of their boundaries, or for liberty to remove, they, at first, obtained consent for the latter. However, when it was after-wards discovered, that their determination was to plant a new colony at Connecticut, there arose a strong opposition; so that when the court convened in September, there was a warm debate on the subject, and a great division between the houses. Indeed, the whole colony was affected with the dispute.

Mr. Hooker, who was more engaged in the enterprise than the other ministers, took up the affair and pleaded for the people. He urged, that they were so straitened for accommodations for their cattle, that they could not support the ministry, neither receive, nor assist any more of their friends, who might come over to them. He insisted that the planting of towns so near together was a fundamental error in their policy. He pleaded the fertility and




happy accommodations of Connecticut: That settlements upon the river were necessary to prevent the Dutch and others from pos-sessing themselves of so fruitful and important a part of the coun-try; and that the minds of the people were strongly inclined to plant themselves there, in preference to every other place, which had come to their knowledge.

On the other side it was insisted, That in point of conscience they ought not to depart, as they were united to the Massachusetts as one body, and bound by oath to seek the good of that common-wealth: and that on principles of policy it could not, by any means, be granted. It was pleaded, that as the settlements in the Massachusetts were new and weak, they were in danger of an as-sault from their enemies: That the departure of Mr. Hooker and the people of those towns, would not only draw off many from the Massachusetts, but prevent others from settling in the colony. Besides, it was said, that the removing of a candlestick was a great judgment: That by suffering it they should expose their brethren to great danger, both from the Dutch and Indians. Indeed, it was affirmed that they might be accommodated by the enlargements offered them by the other towns.

After a long and warm debate, the governor, two assistants, and a majority of the representatives, were for granting liberty for Mr. Hooker and the people to transplant themselves to Connect-icut. The deputy-governor however and six of the assistants were in the negative, and so no vote could be obtained.1

This made a considerable ferment, not only in the general court, but in the colony, so that Mr. Cotton was desired to preach on the subject to quiet the court and the people of the colony. This also retarded the commencement of the settlements upon the river. Individuals, however, were determined to prosecute the business, and made preparations effectually to carry it into execu-tion.

It appears, that some of the Watertown people came this year to Connecticut, and erected a few huts at Pyquag, now Weathers-field, in which a small number of men made a shift to winter.2

While the colonists were thus prosecuting the business of set-tlement, in New-England, the right honourable James, Marquis of Hamilton, obtained a grant from the council of Plymouth, April 2Oth, 1635, of all that tract of country which lies between Connecticut river and Narraganset river and harbour, and from the mouths of each of said rivers northward sixty miles into the country. However, by reason of its interference with the grant to the lord Say and Seal, lord Brook, &c. or for some other reason, the deed was never executed. The Marquis, made no settlement upon the land and the claim became obsolete.

1Winthrop's Journal, p. 70.

2This is the tradition, and the Rev. Mr. Meeks of Weathersfield in his manu-scripts says, Weathersfield is the oldest town on the river.




The next May, the Newtown people, determining to settle at Connecticut, renewed their application to the general court, and obtained liberty to remove to any place which they should choose, with this proviso, that they should continue under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts.1

A number of Mr. Warham's people came this summer into Connecticut, and made preparations to bring their families, and make a permanent settlement on the river. The Watertown people gradually removed, and prosecuted their settlement at Weathersfield. At the same time, the planters at Newtown began to make preparations for removing to Hartford the next spring.

Meanwhile, twenty men arrived in Massachusetts, sent over by Sir Richard Saltonstall, to take possession of a great quantity of land in Connecticut, and to make settlements under the patent of lord Say and Seal, with whom he was a principal associate. The vessel in which they came over, on her return to England, in the fall, was cast away on the isle Sable.2

As the Dorchester men had now set down at Connecticut, near the Plymouth trading house, governor Bradford wrote to them, complaining of their conduct, as injurious to the people of Ply-mouth, who had made a fair purchase of the Indians, and taken a prior possession.3

The Dutch also, alarmed by the settlements making in Con-necticut, wrote to Holland for instructions and aid, to drive the English from their settlements upon the river.4

The people at Connecticut having made such preparations as were judged necessary to effect a permanent settlement, began to remove their families and property. On the fifteenth of October, about sixty men, women, and children, with their horses, cattle, and swine, commenced their journey from the Massachusetts, through the wilderness, to Connecticut river. After a tedious and difficult journey, through swamps and rivers, over mountains and rough ground, which were passed with great difficulty and fa-tigue, they arrived safely at the places of their respective destina-tion. They were so long on their journey, and so much time and pains were spent in passing the river, and in getting over their cattle, that, after all their exertions, winter came upon them before they were prepared. This was an occasion of great distress and damage to the plantations.

Nearly at the same time, Mr. John Winthrop, son of governor Winthrop, of Massachusetts, arrived at Boston, with a commis-sion from lord Say and Seal, lord Brook, and other noblemen and gentlemen interested in the Connecticut patent, to erect a fort at the mouth of Connecticut river. Their lordships sent over men,

1Winthrop's Journal, p. 82.

2Winthrop's Journal, p. 83 and 89.

3Winthrop's Journal, p. 86.

4The same, p. 86.




ordnance, ammunition, and 2000 pounds sterling, for the accom-plishment of their design.1

Mr. Winthrop was directed, by his commission, immediately on his arrival, to repair to Connecticut, with fifty able men, and to erect the fortifications, and to build houses for the garrison, and for gentlemen who might come over into Connecticut. They were first to build houses for their then present accommodation, and after that, such as should be suitable for the reception of men of quality. The latter were to be erected within the fort. It was required that the planters, at the beginning, should settle them-selves near the mouth of the river, and set down in bodies, that they might be in a situation for entrenching and defending them-selves. The commission made provision for the reservation of a thousand or fifteen hundred acres of good land, for the mainte-nance of the fort, as nearly adjoining to it as might be with con-venience.2

Mr. Winthrop, having intelligence that the Dutch were prepar-ing to take possession of the mouth of the river, as soon as he could engage twenty men, and furnish them with provisions, dis-patched them on November 9th, in a small vessel, of about thirty tons, to prevent their getting the command of the river, and to ac-complish the service to which he had been appointed.

But a few days after the party, sent by Mr. Winthrop, arrived at the mouth of the river, a Dutch vessel appeared off the harbor, from New-Netherlands, sent on purpose to take possession of the entrance of the river, and to erect fortifications. The English had, by this time, mounted two pieces of cannon, and prevented their landing.3 Thus, providentially, was this fine tract of country pre-served for our venerable ancestors, and their posterity.

Mr. Winthrop was appointed governor of the river Connecticut, and the parts adjacent, for the term of one year. He erected a fort, built houses, and made a settlement, according to his instructions. One David Gardiner,4 an expert engineer, assisted in the work, planned the fortifications, and was appointed lieutenant of the fort.

Mr. Davenport and others, who afterwards settled New-Haven, were active in this affair, and hired Gardiner, in behalf of their lordships, to come into New-England, and assist in this business.5

As the settlement of the three towns on Connecticut river was begun before the arrival of Mr. Winthrop, and the design of their lordships to make plantations upon it was known, it was agreed, that the settlers on the river should either remove, upon full satis-

1Winthrop's Journal, p. 88

2Appendix, No. II.

3Winthrop's Journal, p. 90, 91.

4This was evidently Lion Gardiner, as appears by his own narrative. His son David was born at Saybrook on the 29th of April, 1636, and appears to have been the first Gardiner of that name born in this country.-J. T.

5Manuscripts of Gardiner.




faction made, by their lordships, or else sufficient room should be found for them and their companies at some other place.1

The winter set in this year much sooner than usual, and the weather was stormy and severe. By the 15th of November, Con-necticut river was frozen over, and the snow was so deep, and the season so tempestuous, that a considerable number of the cattle, which had been driven on from the Massachusetts, could not be brought across the river. The people had so little time to prepare their huts and houses, and to erect sheds and shelters for their cattle, that the sufferings of man and beast were extreme. In-deed, the hardships and distresses of the first planters of Con-necticut scarcely admit of a description. To carry much provision or furniture through a pathless wilderness, was impracticable. Their principal provisions and household furniture were, there-fore, put on board several small vessels, which, by reason of delays and the tempestuousness of the season, were either cast away or did not arrive. Several vessels were wrecked on the coasts of New-England, by the violence of the storms. Two shallops laden with goods, from Boston to Connecticut, in October, were cast away on Brown's island, near the Gurnet's nose; and the men, with every thing on board, were lost.2 A vessel, with six of the Connecticut people on board, which sailed from the river for Bos-ton, early in November, was, about the middle of the month, cast away in Manamet bay. The men got on shore, and, after wander-ing ten clays in deep snow and a severe season, without meeting with any human being, arrived, nearly spent with cold and fatigue, at New-Plymouth.

By the last of November, or beginning of December, provisions generally failed in the settlements on the river, and famine and death looked the inhabitants sternly in the face. Some of them, driven by hunger, attempted their way, in this severe season, through the wilderness, from Connecticut to Massachusetts. Of thirteen, in one company, who made this attempt, one, in passing the rivers, fell through the ice, and was drowned. The other twelve were ten days on their journey, and would all have per-ished, had it not been for the assistance of the Indians.

Indeed, such was the distress in general that, by the 3d and 4th of December, a considerable part of the new settlers were obliged to abandon their habitations. Seventy persons, men, women, and children, were necessitated, in the extremity of winter, to go down to the mouth of the river, to meet their provisions, as the only ex- pedient to preserve their lives. Not meeting with the vessels which they expected, they all went on board the Rebecca, a vessel of about 60 tons. This, two days before, was frozen in twenty miles up the river; but by the falling of a small rain and the influ- ence of the tide, the ice became so broken and was so far removed,

1Winthrop's Journal, p. 88

. 2The same, p. 87.




that she made a shift to get out. She ran, however, upon the bar, and the people were forced to unlade her, to get her off. She was reladen, and, in five days, reached Boston. Had it not been for these providential circumstances, the people must have perished with famine.

The people who kept their stations on the river suffered in an extreme degree. After all the help they were able to obtain, by hunting, and from the Indians, they were obliged to subsist on acorns, malt and grains.1

Numbers of the cattle, which could not be got over the river before winter, lived through without any thing but what they found in the woods and meadows. They wintered as well, or bet-ter, than those which were brought over, and for which all the provision was made, and pains taken, of which the owners were capable. However, a great number of cattle perished. The Dorchester, or Windsor people lost, in this single article, about two hundred pounds sterling. Their other losses were very con-siderable.

It is difficult to describe, or even to conceive, the apprehensions and distresses of a people, in the circumstances of our venerable ancestors, during this doleful winter. All the horrors of a dreary wilderness spread themselves around them. They were encom-passed with numerous, fierce and cruel tribes of wild and savage men, who could have swallowed up parents and children, at pleas-ure, in their feeble and distressed condition. They had neither bread for themselves, nor children; neither habitations nor cloth-ing convenient for them. Whatever emergency might happen, they were cut off, both by land and water, from any succour or re-treat. What self-denial, firmness, and magnanimity are necessary for such enterprises! How distressful, in the beginning, was the condition of those now fair and opulent towns on Connecticut river!

For a few years after the settlements on the river commenced, they bore the same name with the towns in the Massachusetts, whence the first settlers came.

The Connecticut planters, at first settled under the general government of the Massachusetts, but they held courts of their own, which consisted of two principal men from each town; and, on great and extraordinary occasions, these were joined with committees, as they were called, consisting of three men from each town. These courts had power to transact all the common affairs of the colony, and with their committees, had the power of making war and peace, and treaties of alliance and friendship with the natives within the colony.

The first court in Connecticut, was holden at Newtown, April 26th, 1636. It consisted of Roger Ludlow, Esq., Mr. John Steel,

1Winthrop's Journal, p. 90, 91, to 98.




Mr. William Swain, Mr. William Phelps, Mr. William Westwood, and Mr. Andrew Ward. Mr. Ludlow had been one of the magis-trates of Massachusetts in 1630, and in 1631 had been chosen lieu-tenant-governor of that colony. At this court it was ordered, that the inhabitants should not sell arms nor ammunition to the Ind-ians. Various other affairs were also transacted relative to the good order, settlement, and defence of these infant towns.1

Several of the principal gentlemen interested in the settlement of Connecticut, Mr. John Haynes, who at this time was governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Henry Wolcott, Mr. Wells, the ministers of the churches, and others had not yet removed into the colony. As soon as the spring advanced, and the travelling would admit, the hardy men began to return from the Massachusetts, to their habitations on the river. No sooner were buds, leaves and grass so grown, that cattle could live in the woods, and obstructions removed from the river, so that vessels could go up with provis-ions and furniture, than the people began to return in large com-panies, to Connecticut. Many, who had not removed the last year, prepared, with all convenient dispatch, for a journey to the new settlements upon the river.

About the beginning of June, Mr. Hooker, Mr. Stone, and about a hundred men, women and children, took their departure from Cambridge, and travelled more than a hundred miles, through a hideous and trackless wilderness, to Hartford. They had no guide but their compass; made their way over mountains, through swamps, thickets, and rivers, which were not passable but with great difficulty. They had no cover but the heavens, nor any lodgings but those which simple nature afforded them. They drove with them a hundred and sixty head of cattle, and by the way, subsisted on the milk of their cows. Mrs. Hooker was borne through the wilderness upon a litter. The people generally carried their packs, arms, and some utensils. They were nearly a fortnight on their journey.

This adventure was the more remarkable, as many of this com-pany were persons of figure, who had lived, in England, in honor, affluence and delicacy, and were entire strangers to fatigue and danger.

The famous Mr. Thomas Shepard, who, with his people, came into New-England the last summer, succeeded Mr. Hooker at Cambridge. The people of his congregation purchased the lands which Mr. Hooker and his company had previously possessed.

The removal of Dorchester people to Windsor is said to have been disagreeable to their ministers, but, as their whole church and congregation removed, it was necessary that they should go with them. However, Mr. Maverick died in March, before prep-arations were made for his removal. He expired in the 60th

1Records of Connecticut.




year of his age. He was characterized as a man of great meek-ness, and as laborious and faithful in promoting the welfare both of the church and commonwealth.

Mr. Warham removed to Windsor in September, but he did not judge it expedient to bring his family until better accommodations could be made for their reception. Soon after the removal of Mr. Warham from Dorchester, a new church was gathered in that town, and Mr. Mather was ordained their pastor.

Mr. Phillips, pastor of the church at Watertown, did not re-move to Weathersfield. Whether it was against his inclination, or whether the people did not invite him, does not appear. They chose Mr. Henry Smith for their minister, who came from Eng-land in office.

The colony of New-Plymouth professed themselves to be greatly aggrieved at the conduct of the Dorchester people, in settling on the lands, where they had made a purchase, and where they had defended themselves and that part of the country against the Dutch. They represented that it had been a hard matter that the Dutch and Indians had given them so much trouble as they had done, but that it was still more grievous to be supplanted by their professed friends. Mr. Winslow of Plymouth, made a jour-ney to Boston, in the spring, before governor Haynes and some other principal characters removed to Connecticut, with a view to obtain compensation for the injury done to the Plymouth men, who had built the trading house upon the river. The Plymouth people demanded a sixteenth part of the lands and 100 pounds as a compensation; but the Dorchester people would not comply with their demands.1 There however appeared to be so much justice, in making them some compensation, for the purchase they had made, and the good services which they had done, that some time after, the freeholders of Windsor gave them fifty pounds, forty acres of meadow, and a large tract of upland for their satisfaction.2

At a court holden at Dorchester, June 7th, it was ordered, that every town should keep a watch, and be well supplied with ammu-nition. The constables were directed to warn the watches in their turns, and to make it their care that they should be kept according to the direction of the court. They also were required to take care, that the inhabitants were well furnished with arms and am-munition, and kept in a constant state of defence. As these infant settlements were filled and surrounded with numerous savages, the people conceived themselves in danger when they lay down and when they rose up, when they went out and when they came in. Their circumstances were such, that it was judged necessary for every man to be a soldier.

1Winthrop's Journal, p. 96.

2Governor Wolcott's manuscripts compared with governor Winthrop's journal.




At a third court, therefore, holden at Watertown, September 1st, an order was given, that the inhabitants of the several towns should train once a month, and the officers were authorized to train those who appeared very unskilful more frequently, as cir-cumstances should require. The courts were holden at each town by rotation, according to its turn.

A settlement was made, this year, at Springfield, by Mr. Pyn-cheon and his company from Roxbury. This for about two years was united in government with the towns in Connecticut. In No-vember, Mr. Pyncheon for the first time appears among the mem-bers of the court.

All the powers of government, for nearly three years, seem to have been in the magistrates, of whom two were appointed in each town. These gave all orders, and directed all the affairs of the plantation. The freemen appear to have had no voice in mak-ing the laws, or in any part of the government, except in some in-stances of general and uncommon concern. In these instances, committees were sent from the several towns. Juries were em-ployed in jury cases, from the first settlement of the colony.

This was a summer and year of great and various labors, de-manding the utmost exertion and diligence. Many of the planters had to remove themselves and effects from a distant colony. At the same time, it was absolutely necessary, that they should turn the wilderness into gardens and fields, that they should plant and cultivate the earth, and obtain some tolerable harvest, unless they would again experience the distresses and losses of the preceding year. These were too great, and too fresh in their memories, not to rouse all their exertion and forethought. It was necessary to erect and fortify their houses, and to make better preparations for the feeding and covering of their cattle. It was of equal impor-tance to the planters, not only to make roads for their particular convenience, but from town to town; that, on any emergency, they might fly immediately to each other's relief. It was with great difficulty that these purposes could be at first accomplished. The planters had not been accustomed to felling the groves, to clearing and cultivating new lands. They were strangers in the country, and knew not what kinds of grain would be most con-genial with the soil, and produce the greatest profits, nor had they any experience how the ground must be cultivated, that it might yield a plentiful crop. They had few oxen, or instruments for husbandry. Every thing was to be prepared, or brought from a great distance, and procured at a dear rate. Besides all these labors and difficulties, much time was taken up in constant watch-ings, trainings, and preparations for the defence of themselves and children. The Pequots had, already, murdered a number of the English; some of the Indians, in Connecticut, were their allies; and they had maintained a great influence over them all. They




were a treacherous and designing people; so that there could be no safety, but in a constant preparation for any emergency.

Some of the principal characters, who undertook this great work of settling Connecticut, and were the civil and religious fathers of the colony, were Mr. Haynes, Mr. Ludlow, Mr. Hooker, Mr. Warham, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Wells, Mr. Willis, Mr. Whiting, Mr. Wolcott, Mr. Phelps, Mr. Webster, and captain Mason. These, were of the first class of settlers, and all, except the min-isters, were chosen magistrates or governors of the colony, Mr. Swain, Mr. Talcott, Mr. Steel, Mr. Mitchell, and others, were capital men. Mr. John Haynes, Mr. Hooker, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Stone, Mr. George Wyllys, Mr. Wells, Mr. Whiting, Mr. Thomas Webster, and Mr. John Talcott, were all of Hartford. Mr. Lud-low, Mr. Henry Wolcott, Mr, Warham, Mr. William Phelps, and captain John Mason, were some of the principal planters of Wind-sor. Mr. William Swain, Mr. Thurston Rayner, Mr. Henry Smith, Mr. Andrew Ward, Mr. Mitchell, and Mr. John Deming, were some of the chief men, who settled the town of Weathersfield. These were the civil and religious fathers of the colony. They formed its free and happy constitution, were its legislators, and some of the chief pillars of the church and commonwealth. They, with many others of the same excellent character, employed their abilities and their estates for the prosperity of the colony.

While the three plantations on the river were making the ut-most exertions for a permanent settlement, Mr. Winthrop was no less active, in erecting fortifications and convenient buildings at its entrance. Though he had, the last year, sent on one company after another, yet the season was so far advanced, and the winter set in so early, and with such severity, that little more could be done than just to keep the station. When the spring advanced, the works were, therefore, pressed on with engagedness. Mr. Winthrop and his people were induced, not only in faithfulness to their trust, but from fears of a visit from the Dutch, and from the state of that warlike people, the Pequots in the vicinity, to hasten and complete them, with the utmost dispatch. A good fort was erected, and a number of houses were built. Some cattle were brought from the Massachusetts, for the use of the garrison. Small parcels of ground were improved, and preparations made for a comfortable subsistence, and good defence.

There were, at the close of this year, about two hundred and fifty men in the three towns on the river, and there were twenty men in the garrison, at the entrance of it, under the command of lieutenant Gardiner. The whole consisted, probably, of about eight hundred persons, or of a hundred and sixty or seventy families.