Showing posts with label Thirteen Colonies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thirteen Colonies. Show all posts


The Mayflower

the ship Mayflower anchored in the harbor after arriving at Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Women on the Mayflower

The Ship Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor
By William Halsall

The passengers on the ship Mayflower were the earliest permanent European settlers in New England. They were referred to as the "First Comers" and they lived in perilous times. With their religion oppressed by the British government and the Church of England, the small party of Separatists who comprised almost half of the passengers on the ship sought a life where they could practice their religion freely.

Freedom We Seek
On September 6, 1620, the ship Mayflower set off from Plymouth, England on its journey to the New World. There were 102 passengers, which included 41 English Separatists (who would become known as the Pilgrims), who were seeking a new life of religious freedom in America. The Separatists had obtained a Patent from the London Company, which indentured them into service for the Company for seven years after they arrived.

The Mayflower was a merchant ship made for carrying cargo like barrels of food or cloth, large pieces of wood and casks of wine. This cargo was stored in the lower decks of the ship in one large, open area with very low ceilings and no windows. A little water always leaked in, making it cold, damp and dark. This is where the 102 passengers lived for 66 days.

Seas of Horror
In October the ship Mayflower encountered a number of Atlantic storms that made the voyage treacherous. Several times, the seas were so rough they had to drift wherever the winds took them. It was not safe to use the sails. Men, women and children were crowded together below deck.

After two months, the crew of the Mayflower saw the shores of America, but they had been driven far off their course. The crew determined that they were at Cape Cod, an area already granted to the Plymouth Company. They had no legal right to settle there, and decided to sail southward to find the Hudson River, where they intended to establish their plantation.

Soon they found themselves in dangerous seas. Fearing their ship would be destroyed, they turned back. When they reached the shelter of Cape Cod harbor, they vowed to settle there, hoping they could make things right with the Plymouth Company later. They entered Cape Cod in the early morning of November 11, 1620 and anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor.

The Mayflower Compact
Before going ashore, the Pilgrims held a meeting in the little cabin of the Mayflower and drew up rules for the government of the colony. Forty-one men signed the Mayflower Compact, which was modeled after a Separatist church covenant, and agreed to be bound by its laws:
In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&c.

Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620.
The Pilgrims decided to call their settlement Plymouth, the name of the last town they had seen in England. Then they all went ashore, choosing as a landing place a flat rock. Mary Chilton Winslow has the distinction of being the first woman to step foot on Plymouth Rock as the Pilgrims descended from the Mayflower.

The Pilgrims

bronze statue dedicated to the young Pilgrim women on the Mayflower

Pilgrim Women at Plymouth Colony

The Pilgrim Maiden Statue
Sculpted by Henry Hudson Kitson
Brewster Gardens, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Dedicated in 1924 to "those intrepid English women whose courage, fortitude and devotion brought a new nation into being."

In the first years of the 17th century, small numbers of English Puritans broke away from the Church of England and committed themselves to a life based on the Bible. Most of these Separatists were farmers, poorly educated and without social or political standing. The Separatists were persecuted in England, and many fled to Holland where their religious views were tolerated. They remained there for almost 12 years.

These English Separatists soon became known as pilgrims, because they were forced to wander from their native land, looking for religious freedom and the right to worship as they saw fit. At some point, the word was capitalized, and they have been known as Pilgrims throughout history.

Pilgrim women lived in a society which believed that women were created by God for man's benefit, and for him to subjugate. While women were required to submit to their husbands, the Pilgrims also believed that husbands were to love their wives. Females were usually taught to read, but not write and had to sign documents by making an X. The law usually treated women as minors, with only a few more rights than children.

By 1617, the Separatist elders had become concerned about the unhealthy conditions their young people were exposed to - Holland was famous for its legal prostitution and free-wheeling lifestyle. Although they were able to worship freely in Holland, it was difficult for them to make a living. Discouraged by economic difficulties and their inability to secure civil autonomy, the congregation voted to emigrate to America.

On September 16, 1620, the ship Mayflower set off from Plymouth, England, on its journey to the New World with 102 Pilgrims on board. Fifty of the Pilgrims were men and nineteen were women, mainly in their thirties. There were also fourteen young adults between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, and nineteen children twelve and under. The ship arrived at Cape Cod (now Massachusetts) in the early morning of November 11, 1620.

The men went ashore at Plymouth Colony to build shelter for their families. The other Pilgrims were still cooped up on the Mayflower anchored in Plymouth harbor. The weather outside was bitterly cold. Before long, disease began to spread. This might have been typhus fever, but was probably some sort of infectious pneumonia. By the time two or three of the one-room houses were built, the deaths were multiplying. The common house was soon crowded with the sick and the dying.

The Pilgrim women must have endured horrors we can only imagine. They were homeless now, facing a new and alien country. They had to quickly adjust to a new way of life. Their supply of food was quickly disappearing, and completion of the housing was delayed by the foul weather and the lack of men strong enough to work.

There were sick to be nursed, children to be cared for, and women with frail bodies, like Rose Standish and Mary Allerton, who were ravaged by the sickness. The death toll increased and the illness spread until there were only a few left to care for the sick, to fetch wood for the fires, and to bury the dead. More than half of the colonists who journeyed to America on the Mayflower were buried on the Plymouth hillside by spring.


Georgia Colony

Georgia Native Americans

Thirteen Colonies

Oglethorpe and the Indians
From the Frieze of American History
In the Capitol Rotunda
Washington, DC

In the 1730s, England founded Georgia, the last of its colonies in North America. The project was the brain child of James Oglethorpe, a former army officer and a member of Parliament. He was concerned about the atrocious and crowded conditions in the debtor's prisons, and resolved to ship the inmates to America where there was plenty of room.

Georgia, named for England's new King, would also provide a refuge for persecuted Protestants, and a military presence between the other colonies, especially South Carolina, an increasingly important colony with many potential enemies close by. These enemies included the Spanish in Florida, the French in Louisiana and along the Mississippi River, and their powerful Indian allies.

Oglethorpe and the Trustees
Twenty trustees received funding from Parliament and a charter from King George, issued in June 1732. The charter granted the trustees the powers of a corporation – they could elect their own governing body, make land grants, and enact their own laws and taxes. Since the corporation was a charitable body, none of the trustees could receive any land from, or hold a paid position in, the corporation.

Oglethorpe was chosen governor. He traveled to America with thirty-five families, arriving in the spring of 1733. The land was inhabited by Native Americans, primarily the Creek and the Cherokee. Oglethorpe bought the land from the Indians, and retained their friendship from the start. On one of his visits to England he took a party of red men with him, entertained them at his country place and presented them at court.

On a bluff overlooking the Savannah River and the sea, he founded the first city and named it after the river. In 1734, the first religious immigrants arrived in Savannah. The Salzburgers, a devout Protestant people, were led by Oglethorpe up the mouth of the Savannah, where they founded the town of Ebenezer. Others came soon after: John Wesley, the founder of Methodism came as a missionary, and a large group of Scottish highlanders.

Since the undertaking was designed to benefit the poor, the trustees placed a 500-acre limit on the size of individual land holdings. People who had received charity and who had not purchased their own land couldn't sell or borrow money against it. The trustees wanted to avoid the situation in South Carolina, which had very large plantations and extreme differences between the wealthy and the poor.

The trustees didn't trust the colonists to make their own laws, and therefore didn't establish a representative assembly, although every other mainland colony had one. The trustees made all laws for the colony. The settlements were laid out in compact and concentrated townships. This arrangement was instituted to enhance the colony's defenses, but social control was another consideration. They prohibited the import and manufacture of rum and Negro slavery, hoping to encourage the settlement of English and Christian people.

Georgia's first year, 1733, went well enough, as settlers began to clear the land, build houses, and construct fortifications. Those who came in the first wave of settlement realized after the first year that they would be working for themselves.


South Carolina Colony

map of the colony of South Carolina

The Year:1670

Districts of South Carolina Colony

The first English settlement was made in 1670, when William Sayle sailed up the Ashley River with three shiploads of English emigrants from the Barbados. They pitched their tents on river banks and built a town, which has since wholly disappeared. In 1671, Sir John Yeamans joined the colony, bringing with him about two hundred African slaves, and before the year was over, two ships bearing Dutch emigrants arrived from New York. In 1680, the colonists sought a more favorable site for their town, and chose a point between the Cooper and Ashley Rivers, and there they founded Charleston.

Scarcely had the first immigrants landed when a popular assembly began to frame laws. William Sayle was their first governor, but he soon died and was succeeded by Sir John Yeamans, who ruled for four years, when he was dismissed for having enriched himself at the expense of the people. Yeamans was followed by John West, an able and honorable man, who held the office for nine years.

The Huguenots
The close of the century was marked by the coming of the Huguenots to South Carolina. The Huguenots were not only forbidden to worship God in their own way, but also forbidden to leave France on pain of death. Many, however, probably half a million, escaped from the land of their cruel king and settled in various parts of the world. They were a noble and intelligent people, who "had the virtues of the English Puritans without their bigotry," and their coming to America infused into colonial life another element of stanchness of character that was felt all through colonial days.

These people were at first coldly received on the shores of South Carolina, but in time they came to be regarded as a substantial portion of the population. It was Governor Blake that first recognized the worth of the Huguenot immigrants, and he secured for them full political rights.

Governor Blake died in 1700, and South Carolina entered upon a long period of turbulence and strife. Sir Nathaniel Johnson became governor in 1703, and the trouble began. His first act was to have a law passed excluding all Dissenters – who composed two-thirds of the population – from the assembly.

The people discovered the trick, and the next assembly voted by a large majority to repeal the law. But Governor Johnson refused to sign their act. The assembly then appealed to the proprietors, but they sided with the governor. The people then appealed to the House of Lords and won their case. But the Church of England was made the state church and so it continued until the Revolution, ant the colony was divided into parishes.

Native Americans
The most distressing calamity that befell South Carolina in its early days was the Indian War of 1715. The Yamassee tribe, who had aided the whites against the Tuscaroras in North Carolina, joined with other tribes and turned against the Yamassee, and a disastrous war followed.


North Carolina Colony

early settlements in the North Carolina colony

The Year: 1653

By 1729, there were settlements on each of North Carolina's major river systems, but the largest settlements were on the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

North Carolina almost became the first of the permanent English colonies in America. In 1584, Queen Elizabeth I, granted a charter to Sir Walter Raleigh for land in present-day North Carolina (then Virginia). Five voyages were made under the Raleigh charter with the view of planting a permanent colony on the soil that became North Carolina. Raleigh established two colonies on the coast in the late 1580s, both ending in failure.

The first settlements in North Carolina that were destined to succeed were made by Virginians in 1653, on the banks of the Chowan and Roanoke rivers, in a district called Albemarle from the Duke of Albemarle.

A few years later men from New England made a settlement, which they soon abandoned, on the Cape Fear River. In 1665, Sir John Yeamans, an English nobleman, came from Barbados with a company of planters and joined the few New Englanders who had remained on the Cape Fear River. This district was called Clarendon.


Virginia Colony

picture of the Governor's Palace at Williamsburg
Governor's Palace at Williamsburg

Thirteen Original Colonies

At the beginning of the seventeenth century all the eastern portion of North America, which afterward became the thirteen original states, was known as Virginia. On May 14, 1607, the Virginia Company explorers landed on Jamestown Island, and established the Virginia colony on the banks of the James River, sixty miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Early Virginia was a death trap. Of the first 3,000 immigrants, all but 600 were dead within a few years of arrival. Virginia was a society in which life was short, diseases ran rampant, and parentless children and multiple marriages were the norm.

Unlike New England, which was settled mainly by families, most of the settlers of Virginia were single men bound in servitude. Before the colonies turned decisively to slavery in the late seventeenth century, planters relied on white indentured servants from England, Ireland, and Scotland. They wanted men, not women. During the early and mid-seventeenth century, as many as four men arrived for every woman.

The Barter System
There were no banks in colonial Virginia, and very few people used currency and coins to buy goods and services. A form of trading and exchanging, called barter was commonly used instead of money. Colonial Virginians could buy goods from merchants and shopkeepers on credit, and pay their debts when their crops were harvested and sold.

Tobacco was often used as money. It was grown and then sold in England as a cash crop – a crop that is grown to sell for money rather than for use by the planter. Inspectors at public warehouses where tobacco was sold issued these certificates, that were also issued for transacting business. When a colonial planter bought and traded goods with England, they were exchanged for English pounds, shillings, and pence.

Native Americans
Almost immediately after landing, the colonists were under attack from their on-again off-again enemy, the natives. As a result, in a little over a months' time, the newcomers managed to "bear and plant palisades" enough to build a wooden fort.

The early colonists discovered that Virginia was an ideal place to cultivate tobacco, which had been recently introduced into Europe. Since tobacco production rapidly exhausted the soil of nutrients, the English began to acquire new lands along the James River, encroaching on Native American hunting grounds.

By 1622, the friendly chief Powhatan – father of Pocahontas – was dead, and his brother Opechancanough ruled the region. He pretended friendship with settlers but made plans to drive them from his country. On March 22, 1622, along a 140 mile front covering most of the colonized area, the Native Americans attacked the English settlements and killed 347 colonists. The whites, recovering from the shock, pursued the savages with merciless fury, putting to death a far greater number than they had lost.


Pennsylvania Colony

Pennsylvania Colony

The Year: 1682

William Penn's 1682 treaty with the Lenape
Benjamin West Painting

In 1661, the year after Charles II was restored to the throne of England, William Penn was a seventeen-year-old student at Christ Church, Oxford. His father, a distinguished admiral in high favor at Court, had abandoned his erstwhile friends and had aided in restoring King Charles to the throne again.

Born to all the advantages of the landed aristocracy of England, Penn was sent to the finest English schools and on a grand tour of the continent by his father, Admiral Sir William Penn, conqueror of Jamaica.

Quaker Faith
While at a high church Oxford College, William Penn was surreptitiously attending the meetings and listening to the preaching of the despised and outlawed Quakers. There he first began to hear of the plans of a group of Quakers to found colonies on the Delaware River in America.

In 1667, William was converted at the age of 23 to the Quaker faith, and this gave new meaning and direction to the remaining 51 years of his life. His father at first disowned him, but later relented, and left him a considerable fortune. Penn's outspoken support of Quakerism and opposition to the Church of England led to his imprisonment in the Tower of London in 1668-69, and twice in Newgate.

Colony of Pennsylvania
Because of his father's service to the Crown, William Penn secured a charter from the king in 1681 for the land now included in the State of Delaware, and, with certain other Quakers, that of New Jersey as well. In addition, the Crown placed at the disposal of the Quakers 55,000 square miles of valuable territory, lacking only about three thousand square miles of being as large as England and Wales. Even when cut down to 45,000 square miles by a boundary dispute with Maryland, it was larger than Ireland.

William Penn founded the colony of Pennsylvania, and called it a Holy Experiment. He was the leader of a group of settlers called Quakers, who wanted Pennsylvania's government to rule according to their religious truths. Though rooted in Christianity, the early Quakers taught that all people in the world, regardless of their religion, were illuminated by an inner light. They believed that this light was part of God, and that it would help guide a person to do what was right.

Penn advertised for colonists, and began selling land at 100 pounds for five thousand acres, and annually thereafter a shilling quitrent for every hundred acres. He drew up a constitution – a frame of government, as he called it – after wide and earnest consultation with many. In the end, his constitution was very much like the most liberal government of the other English colonies in America. He had a council and an assembly, both elected by the people.

The council was very large, with seventy-two members, and had the sole right of proposing legislation, and the assembly could only accept or reject its proposals. This was a new idea, and it worked so badly in practice that in the end the province went to the opposite extreme, and had no council or upper house of the Legislature at all.


Salem Witch Trials

13 women were hanged on Gallows Hill during the Salem Witchcraft Trials

Witchcraft in 17th Century Massachusetts

Witchcraft Victims on the Way to the Gallows
Illustration in the Boston Herald 14 May 1930

Scattered episodes of witch trials and hangings occurred throughout New England from the middle sixteen hundreds. The only escape for the accused or condemned was to confess and claim to negate the pact with the Devil, or to escape south out of New England to New York or Pennsylvania where witchcraft was not punished. Most of the accused were not wealthy enough to escape south fast enough to stay ahead of the sheriff sent to detain them.

In a world where people saw the Devil lurking behind every misfortune, belief in witches was common in seventeenth century New England. What made the events in Salem unique was the extent of the witch hysteria, which led to the imprisonment of more than 100 men and women and the execution of 13 women.

In the late spring 1692, a number of unnatural or unexplained events took place and members of the town of Salem were severely frightened about their future survival. About that same time, a group of adolescent girls in Salem began having strange fits, during which they accused several people, primarily middle-aged women, of being witches.

The girls learned that by having screaming spasms and accusing women of witchcraft, all the adults started paying attention to them. As their importance grew so did the number of their accusations. The evidence they stated was always spectral: based on dreams and visions. Officials convened a court to hear the charges of witchcraft.

Procedure Used in Witchcraft Trials
• The afflicted person made a complaint to the Magistrate about a suspected witch.
• The Magistrate issued a warrant for the arrest of the accused person.
• The accused person was taken into custody and examined by two or more Magistrates.
• The case was presented to the Grand Jury and depositions were entered into evidence.
• If the accused was indicted by the Grand Jury, he or she was sent to jail to await trial.
• A jury instructed by the Magistrate decided the defendant's guilt or innocence.
• The convicted defendant received his or her sentence from the Court.
• In each case at Salem, the convicted defendant was sentenced to be hanged.
• The Sheriff and his deputies carried out the sentence on the specified date.

Many of the accusers came from a traditional way of life tied to farming and the church, whereas a number of the accused witches were members of a rising commercial class of small shopkeepers and tradesmen. Salem's struggle for social and political power between the older traditional groups and the newer commercial class was one repeated in communities throughout American history.

Amazingly, those who confessed to being witches – whether it was true or not – were not executed. The Puritans believed that once a person made a full confession, his or her fate should be left in God's hands, not man's. These confessors were kept apart from the other prisoners, and were called upon to testify in other trials if they could be helpful to the prosecution. Fifty-five people in the Salem area confessed to witchcraft in 1692.


Carolina Colony

map of the Province of Carolina

The Year: 1663

Map of the Carolina Colony

In 1630, Sir Robert Heath, the Attorney General of King Charles I, obtained from his king a charter for a domain south of Virginia, six degrees of latitude in width, and extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This included the region between Albemarle Sound and the St. John's River in Florida. That patent was declared void in 1663, because neither the proprietor nor his assigns had fulfilled their agreements.

Sufferers from the oppression of the Church of England in Virginia looked to the wilderness for freedom, as the Huguenots and the Pilgrims had done. In 1653, a few Presbyterians from Jamestown settled on the Chowan River. Others followed, and the settlement flourished.

The King's Men
In 1661, some adventurous New Englanders appeared in a small vessel in the Cape Fear River, in search of a home in a more genial climate. They purchased land from the Native Americans, and established a colony of farmers and herdsmen there, when news came that the whole region had been given by King Charles II to some of his courtiers.

The king's favorites were the Earl of Clarendon, the Duke of Albemarle, Lord Craven, Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, Sir John Colleton, Lord John Berkley and his younger brother (Sir William Berkley, who was then governor of Virginia), and Sir George Carteret, proprietor of New Jersey. Many locations in North and South Carolina bear the names of these men.

These men begged of the king for land in America under the pretense of "a pious zeal for the propagation of the gospel" among the heathen, meaning the Native Americans. Their real object was to rob the heathen of their lands, and to accumulate riches and honor for themselves.

In March, 1663, King Charles II gave these men a charter for the same territory that had been given to Sir Robert Heath. The eight proprietors were made absolute sovereigns of the region. The title of Carolina, in honor of the king, was given to this vast domain.

Northern Carolina
The non-conformists from Virginia, who had settled on the Chowan River ten years before this charter was granted, had established plantations on the northern bank of the river. In the autumn of 1663, the new proprietors authorized Governor Berkeley of Virginia to extend his jurisdiction over them.

He organized a separate government under the title of the Albemarle County Colony. He appointed a governor – William Drummond, a Presbyterian emigrant from Scotland to Virginia – and gave to the colonists every freedom they reasonably desired. And they were left to grow into an independent state with very little hindrance.


New York Colony

map of the colony of New York

The Year: 1664

Colonial New York on Manhattan Island

New York best illustrates the great melting pot that would become America. By 1646, the population along the Hudson River included Dutch, French, Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, English, Scots, Irish, Germans, Poles, Bohemians, Portuguese and Italians.

The English
In 1664, the English claimed New Netherland and renamed it New York, arguing that the Hudson Valley was part of Virginia as given by James I to two companies in 1606. This tract had been settled at both ends, they reasoned – on the James River and the New England coast – and why should a foreign power claim the central portion?

Richard Nicolls of the Royal Navy set out with a small fleet and about five hundred of the king's veterans. Reaching New England, he enlisted several hundred militia from Connecticut and Long Island, and sailed for the mouth of the Hudson River.

Governor of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant had heard of the fleet's arrival at Boston, but he was at Fort Orange (now Albany) when he was told that Nicolls was moving toward New Amsterdam. Stuyvesant made it to New Amsterdam one day in advance of the English fleet.

The Surrender
Upon arrival, Nicolls demanded the surrender of the fort. Stuyvesant refused. He swore and stamped his wooden leg, and tore to bits a conciliatory letter from Nicolls. He mustered his forces for defense, but the colonists didn't cooperate. They were tired of his tyrannical government and of enriching a company at their own expense, forcing the old governor to yield.

The fort was surrendered without bloodshed, and Charles II gave the entire colony to his brother James, Duke of York, who named the colony New York. The upper Hudson also yielded, and Fort Orange became Albany, another of the duke's titles. All of New Netherland, including the Delaware Valley, fell under English control.

In the Charter of 1664, the Duke of York has the power to establish laws, appoint officials, and make judiciary decisions that can only be appealed to the Privy Council in England. Eventually, the duke delegates many of his powers to his governors and establishes a Council that consists of important citizens who advise the governor.

At the time of the Nichols conquest, the little city of New Amsterdam at the southern tip of Manhattan Island contained some fifteen hundred people. The whole province of New Netherland was about ten thousand, one-third of whom were English. Nicolls became the first governor.

The rights of property, of citizenship, and of religious liberty had been guaranteed in the terms of capitulation. To these were added at a later date, equal taxation and trial by jury. In one year, Nicolls' tact and energy had transformed the province into an English colony.

The people over whom Nicolls became governor in 1664 were composed of three separate communities, each different from the others in its government: the Dutch settlers on the Hudson River, the settlements on the Delaware River, and the English towns that had grown up under Dutch rule on Long Island.


New Jersey Colony

Map of Colonial New Jersey

The Year: 1664

Map of Colonial New Jersey

The early European settlement of New Jersey involved the Dutch and the Swedes. The Dutch West India Company worked to stimulate settlement in the area by granting large tracts of land to its members in New Netherland, which included the area that would become New Jersey. These grants were called patroonships. A patroon was a landholder who was granted one of these great estates in exchange for bringing fifty new settlers into the colony.

In 1620, a trading post was established at the site of Bergen, New Jersey, which would later be developed as the first permanent white settlement in the area. Other Dutch enclaves followed at Fort Nassau and at Jersey City.

Swedish settlements began in southern New Jersey in 1638, which touched off a rivalry between the two powers over the fur trade. The Dutch under Peter Stuyvesant successfully evicted the Swedes in 1655.

The entire region was claimed by England in 1664. King Charles II granted domain to his brother James Duke of York, who granted the land between the Delaware and Hudson Rivers to two of his supporters, Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret.

These enterprising businessmen offered land at bargain prices and full religious toleration to attract settlers. The name New Jersey was introduced, which honored the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel.

In 1665, Carteret began to colonize his new possessions. He sent his nephew Philip Carteret to act as governor of the first settlement at Elizabethtown, named in honor of Sir George's wife. A large number of settlers came from New England, especially from New Haven, where the colonists had been forced to become a part of Connecticut. These Puritans founded Newark and adjacent towns.

Carteret granted a form of government known as the Concessions, which granted religious liberty to all Englishmen in the new colony and established a government to be carried on by a governor, a council, and an assembly of twelve to be chosen by the people, and no taxes were to be charged without the consent of the assembly.

A farm, free for five years, was offered to any one "having a good musket... and six months' provisions," who should embark with the governor, while those who came later were to pay a half-penny an acre quitrent.

The first assembly met at Elizabethtown in 1668, and the severity of the laws that were adopted clearly indicated the Puritan domination of the colony. After a session of but five days it adjourned, and met no more for seven years.


Witchcraft in Connecticut

Colonial women

The Year: 1647

Witchcraft Trial

In 1642, witchcraft became punishable by death in the Connecticut Colony. This capital offense was backed by references to the King James version of the Bible: Exodus (22:18) says, Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. And Leviticus (20:27) says, A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood (shall be) upon them.

Belief in witchcraft was common in seventeenth-century New England. The infamous witchcraft trials at Salem in 1692 are well known, but if you exclude those, ninety-three complaints of witchcraft were made in New England between 1638 and 1697—forty-three in Connecticut and fifty in Massachusetts, which was much more heavily populated.

Witchcraft was defined as giving entertainment to Satan. The first known witchcraft trial in North America and the first execution for witchcraft took place in Connecticut in 1647. Eleven of the sixteen persons executed for the crime of witchcraft in New England prior to 1692 lived in Connecticut. They were:
  • Alse Young of Windsor hanged in 1647
  • Mary Johnson of Wethersfield executed in 1648
  • Joan and John Carrington of Wethersfield killed in 1651
  • Goodwife Bassett of Fairfield hung in 1651
  • Goodwife Knapp of Fairfield hung in 1653
  • Lydia Gilbert of Windsor killed in 1654
  • Rebecca and Nathaniel Greensmith of Hartford killed in 1662
  • Mary Sanford of Hartford killed in 1662
  • Mary Barnes of Farmington hanged in 1663

The Water Test
Suspected witches were sometimes dropped into a body of water to determine if they possessed evil spirits. If she sank, she was innocent. If she floated, she was guilty because the pure water had cast out her evil spirit.

Witches were believed to have superhuman powers to harm other people or to lure them into a compact with the devil. They were generally charged with giving themselves to the devil or losing their fear of God. Sometimes, a witch would be identified through witch marks seen on her body. Accusers tried to force witnesses to testify against the accused.


Maryland Colony

American Colonies: Maryland

Thirteen Colonies

A Southern Colony
The Province of Maryland was an English colony in North America that was founded in 1632. It began as a proprietary colony of Lord Baltimore, who wanted to create a haven for English Catholics in the New World, and to demonstrate that Catholics and Protestants could live together harmoniously. Although Maryland was an early pioneer of religious tolerance in the British colonies, religious strife between Anglicans, Puritans, Catholics, and Quakers was common in the early years.

A Royal Charter
Charles I of England granted a charter for about twelve million acres to Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore on June 20, 1632. The charter had originally been granted to Calvert's father, George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore, but he died before it could be executed, so it was granted to his son. Cecil had converted to Catholicism, which was a severe stigma for a nobleman in 17th century England. Catholics were considered enemies of the crown and traitors to their country.

The Lords Baltimore were the only Catholics in the history of the British Empire to have or obtain a proprietary colony—a type of settlement in which favorites of the British Crown were awarded huge tracts of land in the New World to supervise and develop. Most of the American Colonies were financed and settled by joint stock companies, in which investors owned shares.

The charter created a state ruled by Lord Baltimore, who owned all of the land granted in the charter, and had absolute authority over it. Settlers were required to swear allegiance to him rather than to the King of England. The charter also created an aristocracy—Lords of the Manor, as they were called—who bought 6,000 acres from Baltimore and held greater legal and social privileges than the common settlers.

Early settlement
The Calvert family recruited Catholic aristocrats and Protestant settlers for Maryland, luring them with generous land grants and a policy of religious toleration. Of the 200 initial settlers who traveled to Maryland, the majority were Protestant. In fact, Protestants remained in the majority throughout the history of colonial Maryland.

The ships Ark and the Dove landed at St. Clement's Island on March 25, 1634. The new settlers were led by Lord Baltimore's younger brother Leonard Calvert, whom Baltimore had delegated to serve as governor of the new colony. The 150 or so surviving immigrants purchased land from the local Native Americans.

One of the highlights of the early days of Maryland was the Act Concerning Religion, which guaranteed people in Maryland the freedom to practice whatever religion they wanted. This law attracted members of many different faiths, including Quakers, Presbyterians, Puritans, and Episcopalians

Maryland was a southern colony. Despite early competition with the colony of Virginia, the Province of Maryland developed along very similar lines as Virginia. Its early settlements clustered around the rivers and other waterways that empty into the Chesapeake Bay.

Native Americans
The Yaocomico were a Native American tribe who lived along the north bank of the Potomac River near its confluence with the Chesapeake Bay. The first settlers of the Maryland Colony purchased the land for their settlement at St. Mary's City from the Yaocomico, who had a settlement there. European settler accounts claim that the Yaocomico were content to sell the land to the Maryland colonists because they were being threatened by tribes to the north.


Delaware Colony

map of the Delaware Colony

The Year: 1638

Early explorations of Delaware's coastline were made by Samuel Argall in 1610. During a storm, Argall was blown off course and sailed into a bay that he named in honor of his governor—Lord De La Warr. In 1631, the first white settlement was made on Delaware soil, after a group of Dutchmen formed a trading company headed by Captain David Pietersen de Vries. The expedition of about 30 individuals sailed from the town of Hoorn on the ship De Walvis (The Whale). Arriving in the New World in 1632, Captain de Vries found the settlers had been killed and their buildings burned by the Indians.

The Swedes
In 1638, a Swedish trading post and colony was established at Fort Christina (now Wilmington) by Dutchman Peter Minuit and a group of Swedes, Finns, and Dutch. This was the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley.

The first expedition, consisting of two ships, Kalmar Nyckel and Vogel Grip, under the leadership of Peter Minuit, landed about March 29. The location of the first Swedish settlement was at The Rocks. A fort was built called Fort Christina after the young queen of Sweden, and they named their settlement New Sweden.

The Swedes purchased lands of the Indians on the western side of the Delaware as far up as a point opposite Trenton, founded a town on the site of Philadelphia, built churches here and there, and soon presented the appearance of a happy and prosperous community. The Dutch claimed the entire Delaware Valley as part of New Netherland, and Dutch Governor Kieft had protested the Swedes' settlement, but Sweden was too powerful a nation to be defied at that time.

New Sweden grew by immigration and spread over the surrounding country. It seemed for a time that the whole Delaware Valley would be settled and held by the Scandinavians, but the Dutch came in 1651 and built Fort Casimir where New Castle now stands, and took control of the bay. In 1654, the new Swedish governor Johan Rising seized Fort Casimir.

In 1655, Peter Stuyvesant was the governor of New Amsterdam, and he was determined to put an end to New Sweden. He entered the bay with a fleet bearing over six hundred men, and the Swedes were overtaken. New Sweden, which had existed for seventeen years, ceased to exist as a separate colony, but the people were allowed to keep their farms, and the community continued to prosper under its new government.


Overview of the Middle Colonies

American Colonies: Middle Colonies Map

The Middle Colonies — New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania — created a unique environment of early settlement by non-English Europeans, mostly Dutch and German. English men and women were the smallest minority. These immigrants came mostly in family units that preserved a balanced sex ratio.

Religious Tolerance
The Middle Colonies were the most ethnically and religiously diverse of the thirteen original colonies because of the influence of their Polish, English, Dutch, French and German origins. In this atmosphere of religious tolerance, New Netherland and New Amsterdam became the commercial center of the eastern North American colonies.

The Middle Colonies had the highest ratio of churches to population of the three sections of colonial America. Small congregations of Dutch Mennonites, French Huguenots, German Baptists, and Portuguese Jews joined larger established congregations of Dutch Reformed, Lutherans, Quakers, and Anglicans to create a unique religious society. African Americans and the indigenous Indians, with religious traditions of their own, added further variety to the Middle Colonies.

The Middle Colonies had more agriculture than the New England Colonies, where the soil was rocky and infertile, making farming very difficult. In the Middle Colonies, the soil was soft and pliable, and the area became known as the "breadbasket" of the thirteen colonies, because of their large grain export. Shorter winters meant that they could grow a larger variety of crops—maize, wheat, rye, potatoes, peas, and flax

There were many brick buildings in the Middle Colonies, due to the amount of clay along the riverbanks. The Dutch built houses that were two-and-a-half to three stories high with steep roofs. Many people had their shops and homes in the same building. Homes in the country were made of logs and chinked with moss or mud.

Food and Drink
Corn was one of the main foods eaten in the colonies. Many ate a form of pudding called cornmeal mush every day of the year. Johnny cake, bread made with cornmeal, was also popular. Vegetables were used to make soups and stews. Pies were made from gathered raspberries, strawberries, and cherries.

The Middle Colonies were full of fish, oysters and lobsters. For meat, they killed wild game. Boar was the game of choice. Wild turkeys roamed everywhere and were ripe for the picking.

Since water was sometimes impure, all members of the family drank milk and whiskey, which was made from corn, rye, wheat, and barley. The whiskey was often mixed with spices, milk, and sugar to improve the taste.

Clothing was homemade. Flax produced linen, and forest products were used to dye the cloth. Yellow came from butternut tree bark, and red from the roots of the madder herb. Blue was extracted from the flowers of indigo plants, and brown came from the hulls of black walnuts. Deerskin was used for breeches, shirts, jackets, and moccasins.

New York
The Dutch were the first Europeans to claim and settle lands between the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers, a region they named New Netherland. The colony was highly aristocratic, with large feudal estates along the Hudson River. These grand estates, called patroonships, were granted to stockholders who promised to have fifty adults living on the estate within four years. This approach to colonization met with little luck because volunteers for serfdom were hard to find.


New Haven

Native Americans and the Colony of New Haven

The Year: 1638

Monument to the Quinnipiac Indians

John Davenport, a London clergyman of an extreme Puritan type, Theophilus Eaton, a London merchant and a member of the Eastland Company, were the leaders of the movement. The leaders and many of their followers were men of considerable property.

The company included men and women from London and others from Kent, Hereford, and Yorkshire. Both Davenport and Eaton were members of the Massachusetts Bay Company, and they were familiar with its work. On arriving in America in June, 1637, they stopped at Boston and remained there during the winter.

Pressure was brought on the newcomers to make Massachusetts their home, but Davenport was not content to remain where he would be only one among many. He sent Eaton voyaging to find a suitable place for worship and trade. Eaton suggested that Quinnipiac on the Connecticut shore would be perfect for their new settlement.

The Quinnipiacs
On April 24, 1638, five hundred English settlers arrived at the harbor to settle permanently on the lands of the Quinnipiac Native Americans. Dangerously weakened by disease, they welcomed the English as military allies. On November 24, 1638, the Quinnipiacs signed a treaty with Davenport and Eaton. The eastern side of the harbor was designated as a reserve for the Momauguin band. Ownership of the remaining lands was transferred to the English.

During the early years of New Haven, the Quinnipiacs traded deer meat to the colonists, who were unskilled in hunting. The Native Americans served as guides, traded canoes, and killed wolves that preyed on the colonists' livestock. They taught the English how to clam and build weirs (dams) to catch fish.

The leaders of the Quinnipiacs were sachems—wise men and women who acted as civil or village chiefs. They exercised considerable influence as long as they were competent leaders and were not domineering. A sachem typically made important decisions only after consulting with his or her counselors, who were the older, respected members of the band.

Gimme Shelter
Description of the shelters that were first built by the colonists:
The temporary shelters, which the first planters of New England provided for their families till they could erect permanent dwellings, were of different kinds. Some planters carried tents with them to the place chosen for a new home; some built wigwams like those of the natives.

Either species would suffice in summer; but for winter they usually built huts, as they called them, similar to the modern log-cabins in the forests of the West, though in some instances if not in most, they were roofed, after the English fashion, with thatch. It was perhaps a peculiarity of New Haven, that cellars were used for temporary habitations. They were, as the name suggests, partially underground, and perhaps in most cases on a hillside.


Rhode Island Colony

Colony of Rhode Island

The Year: 1636

The Colony of Rhode Island
Scattered Europeans began to settle the area that would become Rhode Island as early as 1620, but the first permanent settlement wasn't established until 1636. When Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious beliefs, he took refuge among the Narragansett Native American tribe, who occupied the country at the head of Narragansett Bay. Canonicus, their chief, held the good man in high esteem, and presented him with a large tract of land, which the devout Williams named Providence.

A New England Colony
Other nonconformists followed Roger Williams to that region, including Anne Hutchinson and William Coddington, who founded Portsmouth in 1638. A short-lived dispute sent Coddington to the southern tip of Aquidneck Island (also purchased from the Narragansetts), where he established Newport in 1639. The fourth original town, Warwick, was settled in 1642 by Samuel Gorton, another dissident from Portsmouth.

These communities were founded on the principle of absolute freedom of conscience. Most of the settlers were people who couldn't endure the rigors of Puritan theology, law, and custom. In fact, they couldn't agree among themselves, and for many years Rhode Island was the most turbulent of all the New England colonies. Their soul liberty, as Roger Williams called it, apparently didn't extend to civil matters.

To settle disputes over land titles and to dispose of town lands, Providence established in 1640 a court of arbitration consisting of five disposers, who served as a sort of executive board for the town. In all outward relations she remained isolated from her neighbors, pursuing a course of strictly local independence.

Portsmouth and Newport, for the sake of greater strength, united in March, 1640, and a year later agreed on a form of government which they called "a democratic or popular government." They set up a governor, deputy governor, and four assistants, regularly elected, and provided that all laws should be made by the freemen or the major part of them. But it was only a was halfhearted effort—each town reserved complete control over its own affairs.

A Parliamentary Charter
Rhode Island was harassed for years by claims upon its territory by Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Colony, seeking a better harbor than that of Plymouth Bay, claimed the eastern mainland and the Hog, Conanicut, and Aquidneck Islands. Massachusetts Bay Colony claimed Pawtuxet, Warwick, and the Narragansett country in general. Connecticut Colony wanted to push her eastern boundary beyond the Pawcatuck River.

If each of these colonies made good its claim, there would be little left of the Rhode Island Colony. But the Rhode Islanders were plucky, and they successfully defended their rights. In spite of external encroachments and internal dissensions, the colony grew in strength and importance, and its trade extended in every direction.

Roger Williams secured a patent from the English Parliament in March 1643, which united the four towns into a single colony and confirmed their land claims. The charter was issued to the Incorporation of Providence Plantations in the Narragansett Bay in New England. It gave the people the power to govern themselves, but was simply a charter of incorporation—still no land grant.

A general meeting was held at Portsmouth consisting of the freemen from Warwick, Portsmouth, and Newport, and Providence. The patent didn't state how affairs were to be managed, so the colonists worked out the problem in their own way. They refused to have a governor, created only a presiding officer with four assistants, constituted a court of trials for the hearing of important criminal and civil causes. No general court was created by law, but a legislative body soon came into existence consisting of six deputies from each town.


Maine Colony

map of the American colony of Maine

History of Maine

Map of Early Maine

The 1622 grant of the Province of Maine is outlined in blue. The Province of New Hampshire is shown in teal, and the colony of Maine is shown in pink. The boundaries of the Massachusetts Bay Company grant are shown in green.

The Province of Maine refers to several English colonies of that name that existed in the 17th century along the northeast coast of North America, roughly encompassing portions of the present-day states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the Canadian province of Quebec. The province existed through a series of land patents in several incarnations, the last of which was eventually absorbed into the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

Maine History Timeline
The first English and Acadian settlements in Maine. By 1620, both fishing and trading are well established.

A few months after the Jamestown Colony was established, two ships carrying 125 people arrive at Popham Beach—at what is now Phippsburg. George Popham and Raleigh Gilbert establish an English settlement, known as Popham Colony, at the mouth of the Kennebec River—a fortified village, a dozen cabins, a storehouse, chapel, and a modest sailing vessel, the Virginia.

George Popham dies. Raleigh Gilbert, the new leader of the colony, learns that he has inherited his family's estates in England, and decides to leave. The colonists elect to return to England in the fall of 1608, and the fledgling Popham Colony is abandoned.

The Great Dying, a three-year pandemic, begins to decimate the Native American population, wiping out some coastal groups altogether. This was just the first of several epidemics that killed as many as 90% of Maine Indians in an area from Penobscot Bay to Cape Cod.

King James I signs a charter that grants most of the land that is Maine today to the Council for New England, a group of English noblemen who plan to settle the area.

The first patent establishing the Province of Maine—the first time the name appears in writing—is granted on August 10, 1622 to Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason by the Plymouth Council for New England. This first patent encompasses the coast between the Merrimack and Kennebec rivers, as well as an irregular parcel of land between the headwaters of the two rivers.


Connecticut Colony

map of the American colony of Connecticut

One of the Thirteen Original Colonies

The Colony of Connecticut included all of the present State of Connecticut and a few townships on the shore of Long Island Sound. The Dutch claimed the territory and erected a fort on the Connecticut River in 1633. A number of Massachusetts traders settled at Windsor in 1633. Saybrook, at the mouth of the Connecticut, was settled in 1635. A great many emigrants came from Massachusetts in 1636, the principal leader being Thomas Hooker.

Dutch, Pilgrims and Puritans
The people of Massachusetts were not long in casting their eyes westward from their own barren coast to the fertile valley of the Connecticut River. That knowledge had come early to the Dutch, who had planted a blockhouse, the House of Good Hope in 1633. Plymouth Colony, searching for new trading opportunities, sent William Holmes, who sailed past the Dutch fort and took possession of the site of Windsor.

The territory was also claimed by English lords, Saye and Brooke, who claimed to have obtained from the New England Council a grant of land extending west and southwest from Narragansett Bay. The lords sent over twenty servants, known as the Stiles party. Thus by autumn 1635, there were four sets of rivals claiming the land along the Connecticut River: the Dutch, the Plymouth traders, various emigrants from Massachusetts Bay, and the Stiles party.

Father of Connecticut
In 1630, Thomas Hooker, a zealous Puritan minister in England, was ordered to appear before the high court to answer charges of nonconformist preaching, and instead fled to Holland. Dissatisfied with the state of religion in the Netherlands, Hooker returned secretly to England, and prepared to travel with his family to the New World.

In July of 1633, Hooker and his family boarded the Griffin to sail for Massachusetts. Also aboard the same ship were Puritan preachers Samuel Stone and John Cotton. The Griffin docked at Boston in September, after an eight week journey, and Hooker and Stone went to Newtown, now Cambridge, where a group of his former parishioners had settled.

On the 11th of October, Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone were chosen as the Pastor and Teacher of the Church of Newtown. John Cotton became the Teacher of the Boston church. The church led by Hooker and Stone prospered, and one of the church's leading members, John Haynes, was later elected governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

But Hooker and the members of his church soon became restless. The current governor of the colony, John Winthrop, believed in the government of the many by the few, and he had influenced the Bay colony to create freemen out of the citizens very slowly, and to limit voting rights to members of the church. Hooker couldn't agree to such a policy.


New Hampshire Colony

Colony of New Hampshire

The Year: 1629

One of the New England Colonies, New Hampshire began as a proprietary colony - a colony in which private land owners retained rights that were normally the privilege of the state. King James I provided ships, provisions, and free land - with one important condition, that it always be subject to the English crown. So it remained until the Revolutionary War.

Land in the New World was granted to Captain John Mason who lived in Hampshire County, England. In 1623, Mason sent two groups of English settlers to establish a fishing colony in what is now New Hampshire, at the mouth of the Piscataqua River.

One of these groups settled at a place they called Pannaway, now the town of Rye, where they erected salt-drying fish racks and a stone house. The other set up their fishing stages on a neck of land they called Northam, afterwards named Dover.

Other towns followed. People living in these towns made their living by fishing and by trading furs and timber. Since the towns were near rivers that led to the Atlantic Ocean, settlers could easily get their goods to port and across the ocean to Great Britain.

Thus the settlement of New Hampshire did not happen because those who came there were persecuted out of England. They set out to make a profit from the very beginning. The colony's income from fishing was increased by trade in furs and timber.

A company called the Laconia Company was formed in England in 1629, and the next year it sent a vessel to the mouth of the Piscataqua River, bearing a colony of settlers and a governor. Portsmouth, first called Strawberry Bank, was settled.

Captain John Mason died in 1635, without ever seeing the colony he had spent a considerable amount of money building. He had invested more than twenty-two thousand pounds in clearing the land, building houses, and preparing for its defense—a considerable fortune in those days.