Front Matter Our Country Long Ago The Barbarous Indians The Mounds Where the Northmen Went The Northmen in America Queer Ideas Prince Henry the Navigator Youth of Columbus Columbus and the Queen "Land! Land!" Columbus and the Savages Home Again Columbus Ill-treated Death of Columbus How America Got its Name The Fountain of Youth "The Father of Waters" The French in Canada French and Spanish Quarrels The Sky City Around the World Nothing but Smoke Smith's Adventures The Jamestown Men Smith Wounded Pocahontas Visits England Hudson and the Indians The Mayflower Plymouth Rock The First Thanksgiving Snake Skin and Bullets The Beginning of Boston Stories of Two Ministers Williams and the Indians The Quakers The King-Killers King Phillip's War The Beginning of New York Penn and the Indians The Catholics in Maryland The Old Dominion Bacon's Rebellion A Journey Inland The Carolina Pirates Charter Oak Salem Witches Down the Mississippi La Salle's Adventures Indians on the Warpath Two Wars with the French Washington's Boyhood Washington's Journey Washington's First Battle Stories of Franklin Braddock's Defeat Wolfe at Quebec England and her Colonies The Stamp Tax The Anger of the Colonies The Boston Tea Party The Minutemen The Battle of Lexington Bunker Hill The Boston Boys The British leave Boston Declaration of Independence A Lady's Way of Helping Christmas Eve The Fight at Bennington Burgoyne's Surrender Winter at Valley Forge The Quaker Woman Putnam's Adventures Indian Cruelty Boone in Kentucky Famous Sea Fights The "Swamp Fox" The Poor Soldiers The Spy A Traitor's Death Two Unselfish Women Surrender of Cornwallis British Flag hauled down Washington's Farewell

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

The Beginning of Boston

Besides Puritans, a few other men came over to New England. Among these was Standish, who, as you know, proved very useful to the Plymouth colony, and a learned man named Blackstone. The latter tried at first to live with the Separatists at Plymouth, but when he saw that they were not willing to let him do as he thought right, and wanted to force him to think just as they did, he boldly said: "I came from England because I did not like the Lord Bishops, but I cannot join with you, because I would not be under the Lord Brethren."

Having spoken thus, Blackstone left the colony, and withdrew to a hill about forty miles up the coast, where he built himself a comfortable house. Here he soon had a fine garden, where he grew the first apples seen in New England; and his cow, wandering around in search of pasture, made the first winding paths through the forest in that part of the country.

Although the Plymouth settlers were, as we have seen, usually on friendly terms with the Indians, there were some worthless settlers where Weymouth now is, who soon quarreled with them (1623). Hearing that the Indians had planned to kill all the whites, Captain Standish and his little force marched over to Weymouth. Though small, he was very brave. He sent for the Indian chiefs, and met them in a log hut. When one of them threatened his life, Standish boldly attacked him. There was a terrible tussle, but the white man finally killed his huge enemy. This act of daring made other Indians respect Standish, whom they called the "big little man."

While Standish was struggling with one Indian, two more were killed by the other white men in the hut, and a few others were slain afterwards. When this news reached Mr. Robinson at Leyden, he sadly cried: "Oh, that they had converted some before they killed any!"

In 1630 the colonists of Massachusetts Bay were reinforced by the arrival of seven hundred newcomers, "the very flower of the English Puritans." Led by John Winthrop, a noble and clever man, some of them came over in a ship which was called the Lady Arbela, in honor of a delicate lady on board. But seventy-six days of sea journey proved so trying to this frail woman that she died soon after landing at Salem.

At first the newcomers tried to settle near Charlestown; but they found the drinking water so bad there that they finally went to Trimountain, or Tremont ("Three Hills"), where Blackstone had built his house. Not liking to live so near a large colony of Puritans, Blackstone sold them his house and land, and went to settle elsewhere.

The land thus purchased was divided among the settlers, who, for convenience' sake, built their houses along the paths made by Blackstone's cow. Some people say that this accounts for the crooked streets in old Boston, for such was the name this settlement received soon after it was made (1630). Six acres, however, were set apart as the Common, or pasture ground, for everybody. This part of Blackstone's farm still bears that name, but it is now in the very heart of the city of Boston, a beautiful, well-kept park, and no longer a mere pasture ground.

The Boston colonists had brought tools, cattle, and seed in abundance; but in spite of all their foresight and supplies, their first winter proved very hard. It was very cold, and as they had to go some distance for their fuel, many could not secure enough. We are told that one man was even caught stealing wood from Winthrop's pile. Now, the Puritans considered stealing almost as bad as murder, and had the man been publicly accused, they would perhaps have condemned him to death. But Governor Winthrop was so good and gentle that he merely said he would cure the man of the habit of stealing, and did so by sending the rascal all the fuel he needed until spring.

Like the Plymouth colonists, the Puritans were threatened with starvation long before their ships could return. Winthrop then generously supplied the people's needs from his own store, and actually gave the last flour he had in his house to a poor man who came to beg. But the good governor did not suffer on account of his generosity, for that very day the returning ships sailed into port, bringing plenty of provisions for all.

The colony now prospered greatly, and sent home such encouraging letters that more and more people ventured across the ocean. Winthrop sent for his wife, and a minister wrote to his friends that "a sup of New England air is better than a whole draught of Old England's Ale."

During the next ten years, more than twenty thousand English-speaking persons came over to New England. There, in time, they formed fifty parishes, or villages, connected by roads and bridges. Some of these settlements were planted far inland, although the Puritans at first declared they would never need more land than what was inclosed in a circle drawn ten miles around Boston.

A governor was elected to rule over the colony, and each town ruled itself. But the people also sent representatives to the General Court, or Assembly, where public matters were discussed and laws were made for the good of the whole colony.

The government being in the hands of the people, and the Puritans wishing their children to be well educated, public schools were soon provided in every village, and in 1636 the General Court started the first college. It was located in a spot which was called Cambridge, in honor of the great university town in England. Two years later, a minister named Harvard left his library of about two hundred and fifty books and some money to the new college, which since then has borne his, name.