This Day in History – 3/16 – A Visitor to the Plymouth Plantation!

800px-Plimoth_Plantation_2002
Plymouth Plantation

So on this date in 1622 at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, the following was written: (From Mourt’s Relation):

Friday the 16th a fair warm day towards; this morning we determined to conclude of the military orders, which we had begun to consider of before but were interrupted by the savages, as we mentioned formerly; and whilst we were busied hereabout, we were interrupted again, for there presented himself a savage, which caused an alarm. He very boldly came all alone and along the houses straight to the rendezvous, where we intercepted him, not suffering him to go in, as undoubtedly he would, out of his boldness. He saluted us in English, and bade us welcome, for he had learned some broken English among the Englishmen that came to fish at Monchiggon, and knew by name the most of the captains, nigers, and masters that usually came. He was a man free in speech, so far as he could express his mind, and of a seemly carriage. We questioned him of many things; he was the first savage we could meet withal. He said he was not of these parts, but of Morattiggon, and one of the sagamores or lords thereof, and had been eight months in these parts, it lying hence a day’s sail with a great wind, and five days by land. He discoursed of the whole country, and of every province, and of their sagamores, and their number of men, and strength. The wind being to rise a little, we cast a horseman’s coat about him, for he was stark naked, only a leather about his waist, with a fringe about a span long, or little more; he had a bow and two arrows, the one headed, and the other unheaded. He was a tall straight man, the hair of his head black, long behind, only short before, none on his face at all; he asked some beer, but we gave him strong water and biscuit, and butter, and cheese, and pudding, and a piece of mallard, all which he liked well, and had been acquainted with such amongst the English. He told us the place where we now live is called Patuxet, and that about four years ago all the inhabitants died of an extraordinary plague, and there is neither man, woman, nor child remaining, as indeed we have found none, so as there is none to hinder our possession, or to lay claim unto it. All the afternoon we spent in communication with him; we would gladly have been rid of him at night, but he was not willing to go this night. Then we thought to carry him on shipboard, wherewith he was well content, and went into the shallop, but the wind was high and the water scant, that it could not return back. We lodged him that night at Stephen Hopkins’ house, and watched him. Read More

Can you imagine, that must have really shocked the hell out of the colonists! His name was Samoset  and here’s some more about the visitor from Wikipedia:

Samoset (ca. 1590–1653) was the first Native American to make contact with the Pilgrims. On March 16, 1621, the settlers were more than surprised when Samoset strolled straight through the middle of the encampment at Plymouth Colony and greeted them in English, which he had begun to learn from an earlier group of Englishmen to arrive in what is now Maine.[1]

A member of the Wampanoag tribe that resided at that time in what is now Maine, Samoset was a sagamore (subordinate chief) of his tribe and was visiting Chief Massasoit. He had learned his broken English from the English fishermen that came to fish off Monhegan Island. After spending the night with the Pilgrims, he came back two days later with Squanto, who spoke much better English than Samoset.  Read More

 

And about Mourt’s Relation:

Mourt’s Relation – The book Mourt’s Relation (full title: A Relation or Journal of the Beginning and Proceedings of the English Plantation Settled at Plimoth in New England) was written primarily by Edward Winslow, although William Bradford appears to have written most of the first section. Written between November 1620 and November 1621, it describes in detail what happened from the landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims inside the fishhook tip of Cape Cod (became Provincetown Harbor), through their exploring and eventual settling of Plymouth Colony; the book describes their relations with the surrounding native Indians, up to the First Thanksgiving and the arrival of the ship Fortune in November 1621. Mourt’s Relation was first published in London in 1622, presumably by George Morton, sometimes called George Mourt[1] (hence the title “Mourt’s Relation”). The purpose of Mourt’s Relation was clear: to paint the new settlement in the brightest possible hues.

Once again I ask myself did I ever know this?? Sounds vaguely familiar but then I don’t know. I do know I’ve never heard of Mourt’s Relation – you learn something new or again every day!