Phineas Pratt (c.1593 - 1680) MP

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Nicknames: "Sailed to America on the Sparrow in 1622"
Birthplace: London, Middlesex, England
Death: Died in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts
Occupation: Joiner
Managed by: Thomas Edward Shirley
Last Updated:

About Phineas Pratt

Phineas Pratt was b.abt 1593 London, England and d.19 Apr 1680 Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts

Sailed to America on the Sparrow in 1622 arriving about 6 months after the Mayflower.

Pratt was described as long (tall) and lanky with light coloring.

He is the author of one the "Declaration" describing the woeful conditions of the early colony including starvation and the hostile intent, duplicity and mortal danger from the Indians.

Phineas Pratt was the first colonial "joiner" in the New World. Joiners were dedicated chest cabinet furniture makers. The large carved chests and cabinets made by joiners were the most prized possessions of families of this era.

It is a matter of record that certain pieces of furniture arrived in Plymouth on the Mayflower, and without doubt these included a number of chests. Elizabethan Chests were of the greatest importance in these early days. They were used for transporting clothing and bedding, silver and other valuables. Undoubtedly, the majority of chests were of plain boards. However, in the early inventories we find mention of "joyned" chests. This would refer to those chests and cabinets made by Phineas Pratt, a highly skilled craftsman who joined furniture sides by clever means of mortise and tenon, using dovetailing with fitted pinning and glue, rather than the board construction requiring much less skill. The dovetailing techniques allowed the invention of drawers, as the pulling of a drawer would not pull apart the piece when "joinery" was used. The furniture would not fall part from use and inside pressures due to the dovetail joinery. Whether one or more of "joyned" oaken chests arrived on the Mayflower in 1620 is unknown, they were most likely plank chests, but we do know that Phineas Pratt was the first named colonial joiner in America. He worked his skill as a joiner in Plymouth and the Weymouth colony first, and then spent the rest of his career in demand in Charleston (Boston) when it was growing in population due to the great Puritan colonial settlement of Winthrop.

Although the Pilgrims who settled Plymouth were simple people with few possessions, the Puritans who established the colonies around Boston were generally persons of higher economic status from the west of England. Soon after their arrival we find them exchanging the products of the New World - particularly "clapbords" and furs - in exchange for products from both England and Holland. Thus, clapboard cabinets may have been exported back to Europe.

Any furniture brought from England by the early eolonists was of oak in the Jacobean style still showing the influence of the earlier Elizabethan. Soon, the colonists were constructing furniture of native woods - including oak - copying the English style. Ash, hickory, maple, cherry, chestnut, pine and other wood's are found in the earlier examples of furniture made in the New World.

Next in importance to the chest and drawers was the cabinet or clapboard cupboard - court, livery and press. These were of the Elizabethan type then popular in England. The few brought to this new country by the early settlers were soon being crafted in the colony with a distinctly local touch added which distinguishes them today from, those made in England, which may indicate works by Pratt. By the early years of the 18th century these cupboards began to be replaced by space-saving built-in cabinetry, not requiring dovetail skill. Wealthier families retained joined cabinets as show pieces to house and display their finest goods. Carved joined chests containing the finest valuables of a young girl as her dowry with the bride's initials were passed down as family heirlooms.

According to his gravestone in the old Phipps Street Cemetery, "Old Burying Ground" in the Charlestown area of Boston, “Phinehas Pratt, agd about 90 yrs, decd April ye 19, 1680 & was one of ye first English inhabitants of ye Massachusetts Colony.” (Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 6, p. 1-2).

(See attached photo of his gravestone.)

  • Parents: Reverend Henry Pratt (1570 - 1593) &  Mary Adams (1571 - 1590)

Married:

  1. about 1630 in Cambridge or Plymouth Colony to Mary Priest (b.abt 1613 Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands - d.abt 1686 Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts).  She was the daughter of Degory Priest 1579 - 1620/21 & Sarah Allerton (- 1633)

Children

  1. John (abt 1631- 1713/4) born at Plymouth, Plymouth MA; m. Ann Barker
  2. Mary  (1633-1702/3) born at Plymouth, Plymouth MA; m. John Swan
  3.  Samuel (abt 1636-1676) born at Plymouth, Plymouth MA; m. Mary Barker
  4. Daniel (abt 1640 - BET 1680) born at Plymouth, Plymouth MA; m. Anne
  5. Mercy (abt 1642 - after 1679) born at Plymouth, Plymouth MA; m. Jeremiah Holman
  6. Joseph (abt 1645 - 1712) born at Plymouth, Plymouth, MA;. M. Dorcas Folger
  7. Peter (abt 1647 - 1688) born at Charlestown, Suffolk MA; m. Elizabeth Griswold
  8. Aaron (abt 1649- 1735/6)  at Charlestown, Suffolk, MA; m1) to Sarah Pratt married 2nd to Mrs. Sarah (Wright) Cummings

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ID: I5874 Name: Phineas PRATT Sex: M Birth: 1590 in England Burial: Fugit Hora. Here lies the body of Phinehas Pratt agd about 90 yrs decd April the 19 1680 & was one of the first English inhabitants of the Massachusets Colony" Reference Number: 6326 Death: 19 APR 1680 in Charlestown, MA Bay Colony Note:

MIGRATION: 1622 on the Sparrow FIRST RESIDENCE: Weymouth REMOVES: Plymouth 1623, Charlestown 1648 OCCUPATION: Joiner.

FREEMAN: In the "1633" Plymouth list of freemen ahead of those admitted on 1 January 1632/3 [ PCR 1:4]. He appears immediately following Joshua Pratt on the 7 March 1636/7 list of Plymouth freemen [ PCR 1:52]. In Plymouth section of 1639 list of freemen, but his name is crossed out and noted "gone," presumably when he left for Charlestown [ PCR 8:174].

EDUCATION: He was author of the remarkable Declaration, which showed him to be an intelligent man with an eye for detail. He signed his will, and his inventory included 8s. in books, a considerable library in those days.

OFFICES: Coroner's jury on the body of John Deacon, 2 March 1635/6 [ PCR 1:39]. Plymouth petit jury, 2 October 1637 [ PCR 7:7].

He appears in the Plymouth section of the 1643 Plymouth Colony list of men able to bear arms [ PCR 8:187].

ESTATE: In 1623 Plymouth land division, paired with Joshua Pratt as recipients of two acres as passengers on the Anne in 1623 [ PCR 12:6]. In 1627 Plymouth cattle division, thirteenth person in company of Francis Cooke [ PCR 12:9]. Assessed 9s., the minimum amount, in the Plymouth tax lists of 25 March 1633 and 27 March 1634 [ PCR 1:10, 27].

He was awarded 300 acres for authoring the "Declaration."

On 10 March 1633/4 "Phineas Prat, joiner, in the behalf of Marah his wife," exchanged thirty acres near the high cliff with Mr. Thomas Prence, for another thirty acres at Winslow's [ PCR 1:26].

On 14 March 1635/6 Phineas Pratt was to have hayground "between Fr[ancis] Billington and his own house" and on 20 March 1636/7 he was granted the same hay ground he and Mr. Coomes had the last year [ PCR 1:40, 56].

On 1 June 1640 Phineas Pratt was granted five acres of meadow [ PCR 1:154].

On 2 November 1640 he was granted six acres in the north meadow by Joanes River [ PCR 1:166].

On 5 August 1640 he joined John Combe, gentleman, in selling the acre that came to him from Godbert Godbertson in marriage to Godbertson's step-daughter [ PCR 12:61].

On 26 August 1646 "Phineas Prate of Plimoth, joiner," sold to John Cooke Jr. of Plymouth, planter, "all that his house & housing and garden place and orchard ... and fifty acres of upland, two acres of meadow at Joanes River ... [and] six acres of upland meadow"; Mary, his wife, consented to this sale, as did "Samuell Cudberte" [ PCR 12:137-38]. He was twenty-eighth on the list of purchasers [ PCR 2:177

On 5 June 1658 the court allowed "Phenias Prat" to look for a tract of land to accommodate himself and his posterity [ PCR 3:139]. Phineas Pratt and Elder Bates (in behalf of the children of Clement Briggs) petitioned the court and the court ordered on 8 June 1664 that since Briggs and Pratt had not received their proportions of land as other "Purchasers" had, two of Briggs's sons and Pratt were to have three hundred and fifty acres granted to them [ PCR 4:68].

On 7 June 1665 "Pheneas Pratt and James Lovell" were granted "a certain parcel of meadow ... lying on the westerly side of Phenias Pratt's land that was granted unto him the last June Court ... to be equally divided betwixt them" [ PCR 4:97].

On 1 January 1672/3 Phineas and Mary Pratt of Charlestown sold to John Shaw Sr. of Weymouth the land granted to them by the court on 8 June 1664 and 7 June 1665 [ PCLR 3:271].

On 30 June 1676 "Phineas Pratt aged eighty-one years" deposed "that the lands formerly which I did live upon and did enjoy at Plimouth ... containing twenty acres ... was granted by the Court unto Mr. John Combs" [ MD 2:46, citing PLR 1:81].

On 20 May 1648 George Bunker sold to "Phinias Prat" a house and garden in Charlestown [ ChBOP 99]. Phineas Pratt drew lot #54 in the 1 March 1657/8 division of wood and commons on Mystic Side [ ChBOP 77].

On 21 January 1662/3, Phineas Pratt and wife Mary sold to John Smith a woodlot in Charlestown [ MLR 10:136].

On 7 May 1662. In payment for his history of the early settlement entitled A Declaration of the Affairs of the English People That First Inhabited New England, the General Court on 7 May 1662 granted him three hundred acres "where it is to be had, not hindering a plantation" [ MBCR 4:2:56];

20 October 1664 this land was laid out "east of Merremack River, near the upper end of Nacooke Brook, on the southeast of it" [ MBCR 4:2:154-55].

In October 1668 Phineas Pratt again petitioned the General Court asking for further assistance [ MHSC 4:4:487-88; MD 4:134-35], but this petition went unanswered. Although the General Court declined his request, the selectmen of Charlestown provided amply for him for the rest of his life [ MD 4:135-36, citing Charlestown Town Orders 3:96, 100, 205, 4:2, 16, 17

In his will, dated 8 January 1677[/8] and proved 15 June 1680, "Phinias Pratt of Charlstown ... joiner, being very aged and crazy of body," bequeathed to "my beloved wife Mary Pratt all my moveable goods and 40s. a year to be paid out of my land in Charlestowne and the use of the garden for term of her life"; "this 40s. is to be paid by my son Joseph Pratt for and in consideration of the having of my land and my wife is to have a convenient room of my son Joseph with a chimney in it to her content to live in for term of her life, without molestation or trouble, but if my son Joseph doth not perform this will that then my wife Mary Pratt shall have the one half of the land to her disposing for her best comfort; it is to be understood that the one half which the new house standeth on is given to Joseph upon the condition of providing of a convenient room for me and my wife for term of our lives and this other half for the paying of the 40s. a year"; residue at the death "of my wife it shall be equally divided among all my children" [ MPR Case #12762; MD 4:139].

The inventory of the estate of "Phinias Prat of Charlstown, deceased," was taken 21 May 1680 and totalled £40 16s. 6d., including real estate valued at £24: "a parcel of land," £18; and "cow common in Charlstown stinted common," £6 [ MPR Case #12762; MD 4:139-40].

The town of Charlestown supported the widow Pratt with a small annual stipend, as seen in town orders dated 5 February 1683/4 and 7 March 1686/7 [ MD 4:137, citing Charlestown Town Orders 4:56, 84].

On 31 July 1738 the court's commissioners examined the estate of Phineas Pratt and determined that a share be given to each of the children, including the heirs of sons John and Peter, who were then dead. Although most of the other children were also deceased at that date, they were not so noted. The children listed were John, Samuel, Daniel, Peter, Mary, Joseph, Aaron and Mercy [ MD 4:138].

BIRTH: About 1593 (deposed 30 June 1674 aged "eighty-one years or thereabouts" [ MD 2:46, citing PLR 1:81], but see the inscription on his tombstone, which would make him slightly older).

DEATH: Charlestown 19 April 1680 ("Pinas Pratt [Senr.], of Charlstowne, joiner, died Apr. 19, 1680 [one of the 1st Planters in New England]" [ ChVR 1:110]. The inscription on his tombstone is frequently quoted: "Fugit Hora. Here lies the body of Phinehas Pratt ag[e]d about 90 y[ea]rs dec[ease]d April the 19 1680 & was one of the first English inhabitants of the Massachusets Colony" [ MHSC 4:4:476].

MARRIAGE: By about 1633 Mary Priest, daughter of DEGORY PRIEST and Sarah (Allerton) (Vincent) Priest, and step-daughter of GODBERT GODBERTSON . (On 3 August 1640 "Josuah Pratt" deposed regarding two acres of upland at Wellingsly Brook that were given by Godbert Godbertson to JOHN COOMBE, gentleman, and Phineas Pratt, in marriage with their wives, his [Godbertson's] step-daughters [ PCR 1:159].

On 11 November 1633, Phineas Pratt was appointed to "take into his possession all the goods and chattels of Godbert Godbertson & Zarah, his wife, & safely to preserve them" [ PCR 1:19].) She is likely the "Widow Pratt lately died" at Charlestown in July 1689 [ MD 4:136, citing Charlestown Town Orders 4:93].

CHILDREN: i MARY, b. about 1633 (d. Cambridge 11 February 1702[/3] "in her 70th year"); m. Cambridge 1 March 1655[/6] John Swan.

ii JOHN, b. say 1635; m. by 1664 Ann Barker (eldest child b. Kingstown, Rhode Island, 13 November 1664 [ RIVR 7:70], daughter of John Barker [ Macdonough-Hackstaff 425]. (See MD 3:1-7 for a discussion of the later life of this John Pratt and of his children.)

iii SAMUEL, b. say 1637; m. by 1668 Mary Barker, daughter of John Barker [ Gen Adv 4:31-32]. She married as her second husband Francis Coombs, son of JOHN COOMBS .

iv DANIEL, b. say 1641; m. by about 1680 Anna _____ [ MF 8:9].

v PETER, b. say 1643; m. Lyme, Connecticut, 5 August 1679 Elizabeth (Griswold) Rogers [ Lyme VR 255], widow of John Rogers and daughter of Matthew and Anna (Wolcott) Griswold [ MF 8:11].

vi MERCY, b. say 1645; m. by about 1665 Jeremiah Holman (eldest child Deborah m. in 1687 and had younger sibling b. 1667 [ MF 8:10, 24]).

vii JOSEPH, b. say 1647; m. Charlestown 12 January 1674/5 "Dorcas Foldgier" [ ChVR 1:89], daughter of Peter Folger.

viii AARON, b. about 1654 (d. 23 February 1735/6, aged eighty-one [Cohasset VR 221]; this estimated year of birth is not impossible, but the age at death may be misstated); m. (1) say 1684 Sarah Pratt, daughter of Joseph Pratt [ Small Gen 910-11]; m. (2) Reading 4 September 1707 Sarah (Wright) Cummings, daughter of Joseph Wright and widow of Abraham Cummings [ Parker-Ruggles 208-09].

ASSOCIATIONS: See JOSHUA PRATT for a discussion of the likelihood that he and Phineas Pratt were brothers.

COMMENTS: According to his Declaration, Phinehas Pratt was one of ten men who came to the new world on behalf of THOMAS WESTON, in the ship Sparrow in 1622. They arrived far up the coast at "Damorall's Cove" where they attempted to acquire a pilot, but none among the fishing ships there nor the Indians would assist them. Sailing down the coast, they recognized Plymouth when a round of celebratory ordnance greeted them. Two further ships with Weston's men followed and by August 1622 the settlement of Wessagusset [Weymouth] was commenced. Unfortunately, they spent their time building fortifications and were soon starving.

On learning of the intent of some Indians to wipe out the English at both Wessagussett and Plymouth, Pratt determined to travel on foot to Plymouth to warn the settlement and look for help. Pursued through the snow, he lost his way, and consequently lost his pursuers who better knew the path. Arriving nearly exhausted "running down a hill I [saw] an English man coming in the path before me. Then I sat down on a tree & rising up to salute him said, Mr. Hamdin, I am glad to see you alive.' He said, I am glad & full of wonder to see you alive: let us sit down, I see you are weary'" [ MD 4:91-92]. Miles Standish and his company, now amply warned, set out on a preemptive attack, which warded off the anticipated danger. Phineas made his home at Plymouth for a quarter of a century thereafter. On 5 November 1644 "Thomas Bunting, dwelling with Phineas Pratt, hath, with and by the consent of the said Phineas, put himself as a servant to dwell with John Cooke, Junior ... during the term of eight years ... the said John Cooke having paid the said Phineas for him one milch cow ... and 40s. in money and is to lead the said Phineas two loads of hay yearly during the term of seven years" [ PCR 2:78].

BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: The full text of Phineas Pratt's remarkable narration was published in 1858 [ MHSC 4:4:476].

Rodney MacDonough prepared in 1902 a com~pre~hensive biography of Phineas [ MacDonough-Hackstaff 382-423; MD 4:87-98, 129-140]. The eighth volume of the Five Generations Project of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, covering the descendants of Degory Priest, includes information on the children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren of Phineas Pratt

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Phineas Pratt was a joiner, which meant a fine furniture maker, who knew the skill of "joining" which was the highly-skilled state of the art of furniture making during the Elizabethan Tudor and entire Colonial period.

Here is a video below on the Anderson Cooper show revealing that Pilgrim Chests of the era when Phineas Pratt made them are valued today at half a million dollars ($500,000.00). There are only about a dozen Pilgrim Chests still surviving. The Pilgrim Chest on Anderson Cooper was probably not made by Phineas himself, as it is dated about 1680, but represents the value of such a chest that Phineas might have made. Phineas learned the art in England. Furniture maiming was greatly valued skill in the new colony. The style at that time was what we might describe as heavily carved Elizabethan. The plain and simple, lighter weight Colonial style emerged in the later colonial period long after Phineas Pratt had died.

PILGRIM CHEST: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mODHFBmIQI

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Phineas Pratt's Narrative (Modernized Version)

Home Fortifications Gorges' Servants 1635 Settlers List 1642 Native Deed to Weymouth Soils Wessagussett Locations Timeline of Wessagussett Edward Winslow's Account Translation of the name Wessagussett Phineas Pratt's Narrative Pratt Facts about Wessagussett Thomas Morton's Account Wessagussett Cast of Characters


Pratt begins with a brief history of the Separatist settlers who left England, arrived in Holland, and eventually left and settled at Plymouth. As a testament to the belief in astrology of his time, he correlates their decision to leave with a “blazing star” that appeared over Germany in 1618. He gives a brief description of their removal from England an initial settlement in the New World. He provides a commentary on the works, probably of such authors and explorers such as Captain George Weymouth, Captain John Smith and Samuel Pring, when he states states that “...some indiscreet men, hoping to encourage their friends to come to them, wrote letters concerning the great plenty of fish, fowl, and deer, not considering that the wild savages were many times hungry, yet have better skill to catch such things than English men have. The Adventurers, willing to save their monies, sent them weakly provisioned of vicyuals, as many more after them did the like, and that was the great cause of famine.” Essentially Pratt stated that due to the propaganda that was floating about England regarding the plenty of the the New World, the Pilgrims were ill prepared to hunt and fish. He also stated that even the Natives, who had better skill at catching fish and hunting than the colonists, were often hungry. It appears that Pratt was bitter, possibly about being hoodwinked himself into believing that because of the abundance of game and fish and the ease which it could be caught, a man could live off the land and not worry about starving once he got there.

He then gets into the history of the Wessagussett settlement. He begins by relating how Thomas Weston, merchant in London and treasurer of the Pilgrims venture, sent a ship to establish a colony at Massachusetts bay. Unfortunately, they lacked a pilot to guide the to the bay, and so put in at Damerill's Cove in Maine first, to obtain a pilot. Mr. Rogers, master of the Sparrow, the ship on which Pratt arrived, stated that no one wanted to be the pilot because an Indian named Rumhigan ventured to pilot a ship to Plymouth, resulting in a loss of the ship and everyone's lives. Mr. Gibbs was the Master's mate on the Sparrow and he volunteered to pilot the ship to Massachusetts bay.

These 10 men, probably six colonists and four ships crew, decided to settle on the south side of the bay because there were the fewest Natives dwelling here. As they were considering where to settle, they saw a large number of Natives and, deciding discretion was the better part of valor, decided it was time to travel to plymouth to see the remainder of the company who had arrived on the Fortune in November. Upon arriving they inquired where the remainder of the settlers who first arrived in 1620 were, and were told that sickness took them away. They also informed Pratt that they were so afraid of the Natives, that they set up th sick men of th company with their backs against trees and guns in their hands in order to fool the Natives regarding their strength. One or two of the Plymouth men then went with them to the fishing area off Maine to procure supplies. About 8 or 9 weeks later, two of the ships that Weston sent over arrived and the smallest, the Swan, remained for their use. After all the ships had arrived, the colonists numbered approximately 60 men. A great sickness affected the Natives in Massachusetts bay at this time, allowing them to settle at Wessagussett.

Initially the Natives were friendly, that is until famine pervaded the English Colonists' Plantation, they began to harass the English. Chief among the Native harassers was Pecksuot, a pniese who learned English. Pratt relates that Pecksuot continually told him that he loved Pratt and all Englishmen and that he hated the French. Pecksuot said that there had been a French ship in the bay once that had been damaged by a storm. The French had saved all their goods and buried them in the ground. The Natives captured the French and forced them to tell them where they had hidden the goods, subsequently taking away their clothes, feeding them the scraps they would usually feed to their dogs, and making them their servants. One man lived longer than the others, was allowed to marry and although he is now dead, had a son who was still alive in 1622. Another French ship came into the bay and Pecksuot persuaded the sachem to attack them and take their goods. Pecksuot said that he conceived a plan where they would paddle to the ship in their canoes, carrying furs to trade but no bows or arrows, clubs or hatchets, but only knives. They would sell their beaver cheap and then stab the Frenchmen. They killed all of them initially except Master Finch who, though wounded, leapt into the hold. He would not come out so the Natives cut the anchor line, and the ship drifted to shore, lay upon her side, and “slept”. Finch them came up and was killed. The sachem then divided the goods, fired the ship and built a large fire. One of the English asked how long ago they saw the first ship and it was related that the first time they saw a ship they thought it was a floating island, broken off from the mainland, wrapped in roots with trees on it. The Natives canoed out to it but were repelled by guns being fired at them.

After the famine began, Pecksuot asked the English “Why do your men and dogs die? Pratt told him that they weren't starving and then proceeded to fool Pecksuot into thinking he had a chestful of corn. Pecksuot doesn't seem to have believed him and soon thereafter the Natives moved some of their houses to “a great swamp near to the pale of our plantation”, to show their intent to make war.

Pratt saw a weary and sore footed Native messenger arrive one day and turned to Mr. Salisbury the surgeon, and said that surely the sachem had employed him for some intent to make war on them. Pratt, apparently not fearing the Natives and their intents, put a bag of gunpowder in his pocket and went to see the man. He went in to the house and tried to talk to the man who was lying on a mat. The woman who was in the house grabbed hold of the bag and asked why it was so big. Pratt hit her on the arm as hard as he could and said it was good for the Natives to eat. She replied that the powder was very bad and that the sachem of Wessagussetts Aberdikes would bring many warriors and kill all the English at Wessagussett and Patuxet. The man on the mat got mad at the woman and Pratt left. He asked one of the English who spoke the Native language to go and ask the woman, out of the man's earshot, why he was angry and she was afraid. He reported to Pratt that the she feared that the man would tell Aberdikes (Obtakiest) and that he and all the Indians would be mad at her. Some time later Pecksuot met with Pratt , expressed his love for the English and Pratt, to which Pratt replied that he loved Pecksuot and the natives as much as they loved him. Pecksuot then showed him a knife with the face of a woman carved on the handle and said that he had another at home with the face of a man and that they should marry, clearly threatening the English.

The sachem, presumably Aberdikes, and a large number of armed warriors, arrived at the Native community and went into one of the houses. After about 15 minutes the Natives went to the palisade of the English community and Pratt had the young man who could best speak the Native language to ask Pecksuot why they had come so armed. Pecksuot answered that the sachem was angry with them, to which Pratt replied that the English were angry with him. The sachem replied that when the English first came, they and the Natives exchanged gifts, that they had traded and were friends, but now things were obviously different, so what was it that the Natives had done to the English. Pratt responded that the sachem should first say what the English did to wrong the Natives. The sachem replied that some of the English steal the Native corn and that the Natives had complained about it many times and still the corn was stolen and now the sachem wanted to see what was to be done about it. The English answered that it was only one man who had done it and that he had been whipped as a punishment, that he was now bound, and that they would turn him over to the Natives to do as they wish. The sachem answered that that was not how they dealt with crimes. He said that if one of his men wrongs a neighbor sachems people, the sachem sends word and he the sachem of the offender would beat or kill the man according to the offense and the same goes for any other sachem's people who wrong his “All sachems do justice by their own men. If not, we say they are all agreed and then we fight, and now I say you all steal my corn.” While this discussion was occurring, some of the warriors pointed to the men on the fort an said “Machit Pesconk”, meaning 'Evil guns'.

Following this meeting, the English increased their watch and observed the Natives creeping on the snow and hiding behind bushes and trees to see if we were keeping watch. Pratt said the final act that led him to conclude that there was no other course of action than to go to Plymouth for help, was one night, after the food had run out, he walked around the Plantation and finally arrived at the Court of Guard. Here he saw three men dead, in front, to the left, and to the right of him, all dead from hunger.

The narrative appears to be missing some portion or was somehow compiled out of sequence, because he then narrates the trial and conviction of a man who stole corn from the Natives. This man was caught stealing corn from Native storage pits once, was bound (possibly neck to heels as we know was a punishment used in Plymouth for two servants caught dueling), and then was let go because they were so short on food that everyman had to fend for himself. The man was told to go gather ground nuts, clams & mussels, as other men did, & steal no more. A day or two later, the same man was brought to the fort by the Natives, having, of course, been caught stealing corn again. The Natives sarcastically presented him to the other English and said “Here is the corn.” (presumably in the man's stomach). The man was again bound for some few days.

As an aside, during this time, Pecksuot told Pratt that if Pratt would give him guns then the Natives would give them corn. Pratt told Pecksuot that they didn't need the corn because eventually more English would come and bring food for them.

During this same time various settlers report abuses by the Natives onto the colony including a report that they killed one of the English hogs (which may have been set free to forage in the woods and mudflats), that they threatened another man with a knife, and that they threw dirt in another's face. Two of the colonists who were living with or were associating with the Natives, arrived at the fort and reported that the sachem was close to finishing the last canoe of their fleet which they were going to use to attack the ship and that th Native's greatest concern was how, because of the snow, to get their forces to Plymouth to attack them there. From Pratt's account, he appears to have been the leader of the colony (there is no mention of Mr. Saunders/ Sanders who was the official leader), for he says that when he heard of the plot he would have sent someone to Plymouth to warn them, but no one was willing to go. He decides that if no one else is willing to risk their life, then he will do it himself.

Pecksuot heard of Pratt's plan to go to Plymouth from one of the younger English settlers who was hoping to get on the Native's good side, and confronts Pratt saying “Me hear you go to Patuxet; you will lose yourself; the bears and the wolves will eat you; but because I love you I will send my boy Nahamit with you; & I will give you victuals to eat by the way & to be merry with your friends when you come there.”. Pratt inquires as to who told Pecksuot such a lie and that he will kill the person when he finds out. Pecksuot says he knows it is not a lie and will not reveal his source. Five armed Native warriors soon arrive at the fort. When asked why they come armed they respond that when the English visit them they come armed so they are doing the same. The keep watch on Pratt for seven or eight days and nights, then finally deciding it must have been a lie, they “became careless of their watch”. Pratt feels that this was the break he was looking for and tells the others that he needs a compass. He is told that no one has one except the ship's compass, which were obviously too big to carry in the woods. Pratt also says that he can't take any weapons with him because, since he hasn't born any arms the entire time that they were watching him, if he does so now, they will mistrust him. His fellow colonists tell him “The savages will pursue after you & kill you & we shall never see you again.’ Thus with other words of great lamentation, we parted.” So without a compass and without a weapon, Pratt decides to set out to travel to Plymouth to save the colony singlehandedly.

Pratt takes a hoe and “...went to the long swamp nearby their houses & dug on the edge thereof as if I had been looking for ground nuts, but seeing no man, I went in & ran through it.” Pratt ran through the snow until three in the afternoon, hearing the wolves howl, ever fearing that the Natives would follow his footprints in the snow. He eventually came to a river and although the water was deep and cold with many rocks, he crossed it. “Faint for want of food, weary with running, fearing to make a fire because of them that pursued me” Pratt pushed on, eventually coming to a “ deep dell or hole” where he was concealed enough that he could build a fire. The next day he tried to continue but could not, possibly because of the cold, and snow and fatigue, and returned to the fire. Eventually the sun came out and he continued on, arriving at what would later be Duxbury. Keeping the water, presumably the bay, on his left, he came to a brook where there was a path and crossed the James River (Jones River). He reports that he felt like a deer pursued by wolves but resolved to continue on, knowing that if he failed, all the colonists would die.

He then found a piece of something (the manuscript is damaged in this section and it is impossible to make out what he found but presumably it was something from the English) and carried it in his hand. He then found a piece of a jerkin which he carried under his arm. He took these items as signs from God to continue on. Then running down a hill he came upon Mr. John Hamden, a visitor with the colonists at Plymouth. Pratt sat down on a tree, saluted Hamden and asked for some parched corn (which presumably the English carried with them regularly). Hamden told him he knew why Pratt had come.

The next day Hugh Stacey, a young man who was out felling wood, came upon two Natives rising up from from the ground. They said that they were carrying a message from Aberdikes (Obtakiest) that he would like the English to come and trade beaver. They also were wondering if a man had arrived from Wessagussett, because he was their friend. . Stacey told them that he had arrived and unfortunately the narrative is incomplete and jumbled at this point.

Pratt reports that two or three days after he arrived, the English at plymouth sent 10 or 11 men to Wessagussett, but being “faint” he couldn't go himself. Presumably hearing from someone how the encounter went, Pratt reports that the Plymouth men first warned the men on the ship and then killed Witauwamet and Pecksuot, the former once boasting that no gun could kill him (he was stabbed with his own knife by the English). Aberdikes (Obtakiest) hearing about what had happened, attacked the English but was shot in the arm and retreated. Pratt reports that Hobbamcock, whom he says lived with the English because he was fleeing from his sachem, chased the retreating warriors. Pratt reports that two of the English were killed in killed in their houses (whether he means the English's houses or more likely the Native's is unclear). The English took Witawaumet's head to Plymouth.

All told Pratt reports that nine of the English died of famine and one died on the ship later while the ship was in Maine after abandoning Wessagussett. Pratt, feeling stronger, had gone along on this voyage in search of food and fish. During this time he encountered two of the Natives from Wessagussett who recognized him. They told him “When we killed your men, they cried and made ill-favored faces.’ I said, ‘When we killed your men, we did not torment them to make ourselves merry.”. This encounter is believed to have taken place in present day Dorchester. Pratt reports that eventually Robert Gorges tried to resettle Wessagussett but the supply ship was lat, they almost starved in the winter, and thus they abandoned the site. The third attempt to settle Massachusetts bay was by Captain Wolleston & Mr. Rosell who chose not to settle at Wessagussett but established the settlement at Mount Wollaston in present day Braintree.

http://plymoutharch.tripod.com/thewessagussettplantation/id3.html

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Phineas Pratt is a cousin of Jared Pratt who became one of the Founders of the Mormon Church as one of its Twelve Apostles.

VIDEO of the Mormon Pratt Family: http://jared.pratt-family.org/general_histories/pratt-family-in-england-movie.html

This Pratt line originated with Reverend Henry Pratt who was a Puritan imprisoned and persecuted in England. His son, Phineas Pratt sailed to America on the Sparrow with the Great Migration of Puritans to found the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Jared Pratt, a descendant of Reverend William Pratt, who was a first cousin of our Phineas through Reverend Henry Pratt, and also a Puritan. Our cousin Jared Pratt became the father of four of the founders of the Mormon Church. Two Pratt sons were two of the first Twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church.

This is what was written to describe the Pratt men:

"They were men of sound hearts, firm and fixed resolution, and persevering effort. Their faith in God never wavered. They kept constantly in view the grand design of their coming to this wilderness. Their notions of religious liberty were far from being mere speculations. Their views were intelligent and rational. Their purposes were strong, their aims high. Their principles were not to be shaken by any temporal consideration; their consciences were not to be swayed by flatteries of frowns. They were determined to obey God rather than men."

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Phineas Pratt was a member of a company of men sent from England by Thomas Weston.  They arrived in New England in 1622 on three ships : the Sparrow, Charity and Swan (Pratt was a passenger on the Sparrow, the first to arrive).  The approximately 67 men, many of them ailing, arrived with no provisions.  The Pilgrims supported them throughout the summer of 1622.

In the fall of 1622, the Weston men left to colonize an area north of Plymouth called Wessagusset.  They soon fell into difficulties through behaving, generally, in a very foolish and improvident fashion.  They also severely angered the local Native Americans by stealing their corn.  

Massasoit, sachem of the Wampanoags, informed the Plymouth colonists that there was a conspiracy among the Natives of the Wessagusset area to massacre the Weston men. Myles Standish prepared to head north with a small company of Plymouth men to rescue Weston’s men.

The same message was also delivered by one of Weston’s men, who came to Plymouth in March of 1623 “from the Massachusetts with a small pack at his back.”

Phineas Pratt was the man with the backpack. He had secretly snuck out of the Wessagusset settlement, traveling for several days without food through a snowy landscape on his 25-mile journey.

Myles Standish and a small contingent (minus Phineas, who was still recovering from his arduous journey) headed to Wessagusset to recognize Weston’s men.  The Plymouth contingent killed several Native Americans in the process (for which, they were roundly scolded by their pastor, John Robinson).  Soon afterwards, Weston’s group abandoned Wessagusset.  Sometime in late 1623, Phineas joined the Plymouth settlement.    Notes

  • According to his Declaration, Phinehas Pratt was one of ten men who came to the new world on behalf of THOMAS WESTON, in the ship Sparrow in 1622. They arrived far up the coast at "Damorall's Cove" where they attempted to acquire a pilot, but none among the fishing ships there nor the Indians would assist them. Sailing down the coast in a shallop, they recognized Plymouth when a round of celebratory ordnance greeted them. Two further ships with Weston's men followed and by August 1622 the settlement of Wessagusset [Weymouth] was commenced. Unfortunately, they spent their time building fortifications and were soon starving. [Anderson Grt Mig Begins]
  • Listed in Banks on Swan, small vessel with 7 passengers.
  • Joshua Pratt may have been his brother.  Shortly after the FORTUNE arrived at Plymouth in 1621, a shallop from the ship SPARROW, which had arrive in Damaris Cove. In this little vessel were ten men, who came to select a site for another plantation; Phineas Pratt was one of them, Joshua Pratt, probably the brother of Phineas, and like him, unmarried, arrived at Plymouth in the Anne in the summer of 1623. Most of those who came in thes ship and in the LITTLE JAMES were friends and relatives of the Plymouth settlers. During the year 1623 there was a division of the land at Plymouth, under three groups: those who came in the MAYFLOWER, those who came in the FORTUNE, and those who came in the ANNE. As part of the last group, Phineas and Joshua received two acres. Since Phineas did not come by any of those vessels, the probability is that he was the brother of Joshua and put with that group to make the division complete.
  •  Phineas Pratt was by profession a “joiner.” “Joining” was the principle method of the finest quality of furniture during the 17th century. “Joiners” were highly skilled craftsmen who specialized in this work; their skills were valued more highly than those of an ordinary carpenter. Joiners were high tech engineers of that era and were in demand in the New World because of the demand for homes and home furnishings that needed to be made and built for the growing colonies. Carpenters would call them in to consult to determine and make the joints needed for a project so that it would be sturdy and sophisticated in the latest construction methods. Joiner technology was a specialized and most advanced form of engineering the use of wood in buildings and furniture at that time.
  •  Joshua and Phineas were assigned to Francis Cooke. Phineas married Mary Priest,  daughter of Degory and Sarah Allerton. Phineas was probably born about 1593, Mary was probably born about 1612.  It seems likely, given the probably age of their oldest child at the time of her death, that they married about 1631 or 1632. Phineas and Mary Pratt had 8 children.
  • they moved from Plymouth to Charlestown somtime between 17 Sep., 1646 and 20 May, 1648 when he bought a house and garden in Charleston.
  •  In 1662, Pratt presented to the General Court of Massachusetts a narrative entitled “A declaration of the affairs of the English people that first inhabited New England” to support his request for financial assistance. The extraordinary document is Phineas Pratt’s own account of the Wessagusset settlement and its downfall.  Click HERE for Phineas Pratt's Narrative.

References:

  • "Ancestors and Descendants of Minnie Hale Gorton" by Carolyn C. Volpe, p. 108-110.

Links

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Phineas Pratt was a member of a company of men sent from England by Thomas Weston. They arrived in New England in 1622 on three ships : the Sparrow, Charity and Swan (Pratt was a passenger on the Sparrow, the first to arrive). The approximately 67 men, many of them ailing, arrived with no provisions. The Pilgrims supported them throughout the summer of 1622.

In the fall of 1622, the Weston men left to colonize an area north of Plymouth called Wessagusset. They soon fell into difficulties through behaving, generally, in a very foolish and improvident fashion. They also severely angered the local Native Americans by stealing their corn.

Massasoit, sachem of the Wampanoags, informed the Plymouth colonists that there was a conspiracy among the Natives of the Wessagusset area to massacre the Weston men. Myles Standish prepared to head north with a small company of Plymouth men to rescue Weston’s men.

The same message was also delivered by one of Weston’s men, who came to Plymouth in March of 1623 “from the Massachusetts with a small pack at his back.”

Phineas Pratt was the man with the backpack. He had secretly snuck out of the Wessagusset settlement, traveling for several days without food through a snowy landscape on his 25-mile journey.

Myles Standish and a small contingent (minus Phineas, who was still recovering from his arduous journey) headed to Wessagusset to recognize Weston’s men. The Plymouth contingent killed several Native Americans in the process (for which, they were roundly scolded by their pastor, John Robinson). Soon afterwards, Weston’s group abandoned Wessagusset. Sometime in late 1623, Phineas joined the Plymouth settlement.

Sometime before May of 1648, when he purchased a house and garden in Charlestown (now a part of Boston), Pratt left Plymouth. In 1662, Pratt presented to the General Court of Massachusetts a narrative entitled “A declaration of the affairs of the English people that first inhabited New England” to support his request for financial assistance. The extraordinary document is Phineas Pratt’s own account of the Wessagusset settlement and its downfall. Click HERE for Phineas Pratt's Narrative.

Phineas Pratt was by profession a “joiner.” “Joining” was the principle method of the finest quality of furniture during the 17th century. “Joiners” were highly skilled craftsmen who specialized in this work; their skills were valued more highly than those of an ordinary carpenter. Joiners were high tech engineers of that era and were in demand in the New World because of the demand for homes and home furnishings that needed to be made and built for the growing colonies. Carpenters would call them in to consult to determine and make the joints needed for a project so that it would be sturdy and sophisticated in the latest construction methods. Joiner technology was a specialized and most advanced form of engineering the use of wood in buildings and furniture at that time.

Phineas Pratt married Mary Priest, daughter of Degory and Sarah Allerton Vincent Priest (the sister of Mayflower passenger Isaac Allerton, Sarah had been married to Jan Vincent and widowed before she married Degory Priest). Degory Priest journeyed to Plymouth on the Mayflower, his wife and two daughters intended to join him later. Priest died during the first winter. Before sailing for America, the widowed Sarah Allerton Vincent Priest married Godbert Godbertson, who became Mary Priest’s stepfather. The family (mother, stepfather and two daughters) were among the passengers of the Anne and Little James, arriving in Plymouth in 1623.

Phineas was probably born about 1593, Mary was probably born about 1612. It seems likely, given the probably age of their oldest child at the time of her death, that they married about 1631 or 1632. Phineas and Mary Pratt had 8 children.

According to his gravestone in the old Phipps Street Cemetery, in the Charlestown area of Boston, “Phinehas Pratt, agd about 90 yrs, decd April ye 19, 1680 & was one of ye first English inhabitants of ye Massachusetts Colony.” (Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 6, p. 1-2). For the text of Phineas Pratt's will and the inventory of his estate taken at the time of his death, click HERE.

Mary Pratt outlived her husband; the date of her death is not certain but she did receive stipends from the Town of Charlestown in 1683/4 and 1686/7 (Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, Vol. 3, p. 1516).

THE WILL & INVENTORY OF PHINEAS PRATT

The Will of Phineas Pratt

I, Phinias Pratt of Charlstown in the Countie of Midellsex Joyner being very aged and Crazye of body yett in my pfect memory and understanding doe make This my last will and Teastamoen. Item I give unto my belovid wife Mary Pratt all my movabl goods and fortie Shillings a year to be payed oute of my land in Charlstowne and the use of the gardon for term of hir life: this fortie Shillings is to be payed by my sonn Joseph Pratt for and in consideration of the having of my land and my wif is to have a convenient room of my sonn Joseph with a chimny in it to hir content to lie in for term of hir life. Wthout molestation or trubl; but If my sonn Joseph doeth not perform this will that then my wif Mary Prat shall have the one half of the land to hir Dispossing for his vest comfort: it is to be understod that the one half wch the new hous standeth one is given to Joseph upon the condistion of providing of a convenient room for me and my wife for term of our lives and this other half for the paying of the fortie Shillings a year paying it quartterly that is to say ten shllig a quarter in mony and fier wood at mony price and If ther be any thing left at the death of my wife it shalbe equally devided a mung all my children. this eight of Jeneary 1677 Phinehas Pratt Sealed and deliverd in the presents of Use Walter alen, the marke of Rebeack Alen

The Inventory of Phineas Pratt

Note: inventories are valued in pounds (L), shillings (s) and pence (d). There were 12 pence (or pennies) to a shilling and 20 shillings to a pound.

Ann Innvyntory of the Estat of Phinias Prat of charlstown deceased

a psell of land

In primis in woolen clothes of his

It in linning shirts

It 8 pillober & 5 napkins

It 5 sheetts

It 4 blanckitts & 2 rugs

It a bed boulster & pillo

It a small bed

It 2 culbards 2 Chests one box

It peuter

It 2 bras Skillitts 5s a warming pan 5s

It 2 Iorn potts on Skillit

It 2 Iorn keettells

It a tramil & fring pan

It a small tabell 2 chayers

It a pr of hose 2 bages

It earthen war 5 trenchers

It wooden ware

It a hachit a houldfast a froue

It lumber

It bookes

thes goods are prized by Larenc Dowse & henery Balcom the 21: 3: 1680 15: 4: 80 Sworn in Court by the executrix Mary Pratt as attest, Tho: Danforth. R.

Added 4. 12. 81. Cow comon in charlstown stinted comon.

Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 4, p. 139-140.

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THE NARRATIVE OF PHINEAS PRATT

In 1662, Pratt presented to the General Court of Massachusetts a narrative entitled “A declaration of the affairs of the English people that first inhabited New England” to support his request for financial assistance. The extraordinary document is Phineas Pratt’s own account of the Wessagusset settlement and its downfall. Following is the text of Pratt’s narrative, taken from the pages of the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th series, Volume 4, 1858, with regularized spelling and punctuation [there are missing pieces, indicated by … ]:

A DECLARATION OF THE AFFAIRS OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE THAT FIRST INHABITED NEW ENGLAND

In the time of spiritual darkness, when the state [ecclesiasti…] Rome ruled and over ruled most of the nations of Europe, it [plea…] to give wisdom to many, kings and people, in breaking that spiritual [yo…]; yet, not withstanding, there arose great strife among such people that are known by the name of Protestants, in many cases concerning the worship of God; but the greatest & strongest number of men commonly prevailed against the smaller and lesser number. At this time the honored Estates of Holland gave more liberty in cases of religion that could be enjoyed in some other places. Upon which divers good Christians removed [the…] dwellings into the Low Countries.

Then one company that dwelt in the city of Leiden, being no well able outwardly to subsist, took counsel & agreed to remove into America, into some port northward of Virginia. The Dutch people offered them divers conditions to supply them with things necessary if they would live under the government of their state, but they refused it. This they did that all men might know the entire love they bore to their king & country; for in them there was never found any lack of lawful obedience. They sent to their friends in England to let them understand what they intended to do. Then divers [fr…] disbursed some monies for the furthering of so good a work.

It is [f…] to be understood that, in the year 1618, there appeared a blazing star over Germany that made the wise men of Europe astonished their […]

Speedily after, near about that time, these people began to propose removal. They agreed that their strongest & ablest men should go […] to provide for their wives & children. Then coming in England, they set forward in two ships, but their lesser ship sprung a leak & returned […] England; the bigger ship arrived at Cape Cod, 1620, it being winter, then called New England but formerly called Canada.

They sent forth their boat upon discovery. Their boat being returned to their ship, they removed into the bay of Plymouth & began their [planta…] by the river of Patuxet. Their ship being returned & safely arrived in England, those gentlemen & merchants, that had undertaken to supply them with things necessary, understanding that many of them were sick & some dead, made haste to send a ship with many things necessary; but some indiscreet men, hoping to encourage their friends to come to them, wrote letters concerning the great plenty of fish, fowl and deer, not considering that the wild savages were many times hungry, yet have a better skill to catch such things than English men have.

The Adventurers, willing to save their monies, sent them weakly provided of victuals, as many more after them did the like; and that was the great cause of famine.

At the same time, Mr. Thomas Weston, a merchant of good credit in London, that was then their treasurer, that had disbursed much of his money for the good of New England, sent forth a ship for the settling a plantation in the Massachusetts Bay, but wanting (lacking) a pilot we arrived at Damerill’s Cove.

The men that belonged to the ship, there fishing, had newly set up a Maypole and were very merry. We made haste to prepare a boat fit for coasting. Then said Mr. Rogers, Master of our ship, ‘here are many ships & at Monhegan, but no man that does undertake to be your pilot; for they say that an Indian called Rumhigin undertook to pilot a boat to Plymouth, but they all lost their lives.’ Then said Mr. Gibbs, Master’s Mate of our ship, ‘I will venture my life with them.’

At this time of our discovery, we first arrived at Smith’s Islands, first so called by Captain Smith, at the time of his discovery of New England, […fterwards] called Isles of Shoals; from then to Cape Ann […] so called by Captain Mason; from thence to the Massachusetts Bay. There we continued 4 or 5 days.

Then we perceived, that on the south part of the Bay, were fewest of the Natives of the country dwelling there. We thought best to begin our plantation, but fearing a great company of savages, we being but 10 men, thought it best to see if our friends were living at Plymouth.

Then sailing along the coast, not knowing the harbor, they shot off a piece of ordinance, and at our coming ashore, they entertained us with 3 volleys of shot. Their second ship was returned for England before we came to them. We asked them where the rest of our friends were that came in the first ship. They said that God had taken them away by death, & that before their second ship came, they were so distressed with sickness that they, fearing the savages should know it, had set up their sick men with their muskets upon their rests & their backs leaning against trees.

At this time, one or two of them went with us in our vessel to the place of fishing to buy victuals. 8 or 9 weeks after this, two of our ships arrived at Plymouth - the lesser of our 3 ships continued in the country with us. Then we made haste to settle our plantation in the Massachusetts Bay - our number being near sixty men. At the same time, there was a great plague among the savages &, as themselves told us, half their people died thereof.

The Natives called the place of our plantation Wessagusset. Near unto it is a town of later time called Weymouth.

The savages seemed to be good friends with us while they feared us, but when they saw famine prevail, they began to insult, as appears by the sequel; for one of their Pineses, or chief men, called Pecksuot, employed himself to learn to speak English, observing all things for his bloody ends.

He told me he loved English men very well, but he loved me best of all. Then he said, ‘you say French men do not love you, but I will tell you what we have done to them. There was a ship broken by a storm. They saved most of their goods & hid it in the ground. We made them tell us where it was. Then we made them our servants. They wept much. When we parted them, we gave them such meat as our dogs eat.

One of them had a book he would often read in. We asked him what his book said. He answered, it says, there will a people, like Frenchmen, come into this country and drive you all away, & now we think you are they. We took away their clothes. They lived but a little while. One of them lived longer than the rest, for he had a good master & gave him a wife. He is now dead, but has a son alive.

Another ship came into the bay with much goods to truck (trade), then I said to the Sachem, I will tell you how you shall have all for nothing. Bring all our canoes & all our beaver & a great many men, but no bows nor arrows, clubs nor hatchets, but knives under the skins that abut our lines. Throw up much beaver upon their deck; sell it very cheap & when I give the word, thrust your knives in the Frenchmen’s bellies. Thus we killed them all. But Monsieur Finch, Master of their ship, being wounded, leaped into the hold. We bid him come up, but he would not. Then we cut their cable & the ship went ashore & lay upon her side & slept there. Finch came up & we killed him. Then our Sachem divided their goods & fired their ship & made a very great fire.’

Some of our company asked him ‘how long it was ago since they first see ships?’ They said they could not tell, but they had heard men say the first ship that they see, seemed to be a floating island, as they supposed, broken off from the mainland, wrapped together with the roots of trees, with some trees upon it. They went to it with their canoes, but seeing men & hearing guns, they made haste to be gone.

But after this, when they saw famine prevail, Pecksuot said, ‘Why do your men & your dogs die?’ I said, ‘I had corn for a time of need. Then I filled a chest, but not with corn & spread corn on […him] come opened the cover and when I was sure he had seen it, I put [dow…] as if I would not have him see it.’ Then he said ‘No Indian [so…] You have much corn & English men die for want.’ Then they [h…] intent to make war, they removed some of their houses to [th…] a great swamp near to the pale (palisade) of our plantation. After this [yer…] a morning, I saw a man going into one of their houses, weary with traveling & galled on his feet. Then I said to Mr. Salisbury, our Chirurgeon, surely their Sachem has employed him for some intent to make war upon us. Then I took a bag with gunpowder and put it in my pocket, with the top of the bag hanging out, & went to the house where the man was laid upon a mat. The woman of the house took hold of the bag, saying, what is this so big? I said it is good for savages to eat, and struck her on the arm as hard as I could. Then she said, Matchet powder English men, much matchet.

By and by Aberdikes bring much men, much sannups, & kill you & all English men at Wessagusset & Patuxet (Plymouth). The man that lay upon the mats, seeing this, was angry and in a great rage, and the woman seemed to be sore afraid.

Then I went out of the house and said to a young man that could best understand their language, go ask the woman, but not in the man’s hearing, why the man was angry, & she afraid? Our interpreter, coming to me, said ‘these are the words of the woman - the man will […] Aberdikes what I said & he & all Indians will be angry with me […] This Pecksuot said, ‘I love you.’ I said ‘I love you.’ I said ‘I love you as well as you love me.’ Then he said, in broken English, ‘Me hear you can make the likeness of men & of women, dogs & deer, in wood & stone. Can you make […]’ I said, ‘I can see a knife in your hand, with an ill-favored face upon the haft.’ Then he gave it into my hand to see his workmanship & said, ‘This knife cannot see, it cannot hear, it cannot speak, but by & by it can eat. I have another knife at home with a face upon the haft as like a man as this is like a woman. That knife cannot see, it cannot hear, it cannot speak, but It can eat. It has killed much, Frenchmen, & by & by this knife & that knife shall marry & you shall be there […] knife at home he had kept for a monument, from the time they had killed Monsieur Finch;’ but as the word went out of his mouth, I had a good will to thrust it in his belly. He said, ‘I see you are much angry.’ I said, ‘Guns are longer than knives.’

Some time after this their Sachem came suddenly upon us with a great number of armed men; but their spies seeing us in readiness, he & some of his chief men turned into one of their houses a quarter of an hour. Then we met them outside the pale of our plantation & brought them it. Then said I to a young man that could best speak their language, ‘Ask Pecksuot why they come thus armed.’ He answered, ‘Our Sachem is angry with you.’ I said, ‘Tell him if he be angry with us, we be angry with him.’ Then said their Sachem, ‘English men, when you came into the country, we gave you gifts and you gave us gifts; we bought and sold with you and we were friends; and now tell me if I or any of my men have done you wrong.’ We answered, ‘First tell us if we have done you any wrong.’ He answered, ‘Some of you steal our corn & I have sent you word times without number & yet our corn is stolen. I come to see what you will do.’ We answered, ‘It is one man which has done it. Your men have seen us whip him divers time, besides other manner of punishments, & now hear he is, bound. We give him unto you to do with him what you please.’ He answered, ‘That is not just dealing. If my men wrong my neighbor Sachem or his men, he sends me word & I beat or kill my men, according to the offense. If his men wrong me or my men, I send him word & he beats or kills his men according to the offense. All Sachems do justice by their own men. If not, we say they are all agreed & then we fight, & now I say you all steal my corn.’

At this time, some of them, seeing some of our men upon our fort, began to start, saying ‘Machit Pesconk,’ that is ‘Naughty Guns.’ Then looking round about then, went away in a great rage. at this time we strengthened our watch until we had no food left. In these times, the savages oftentimes did creep upon the snow, starting behind bushes & trees to see whether we kept watch or not […times] I having rounded on our plantation until I had no longer […nth]; then in the night, going into our Court of Guard, I see one man dead before me & another at my right hand & another at my left for want of food.

O, all the people in New England, that shall hear of these times of our weak beginning, consider what was the strength of the arm of flesh or the wit of man; therefore in the times of your greatest distress put your trust in God.

The offender being bound, we let him loose, because we had no food to give him, charging him to gather ground nuts, clams & mussels, as other men did, & steal no more. One or two days after this, the savages brought him, leading him by the arms, saying ‘Here is the corn. Come see the place where he stole it.’ Then we kept him bound some few days.


After this, two of our company said, ‘We have been at the Sachem’s house and they have near finished their last canoe that they may encounter with our ship. Their greatest care is how to send their armies to Plymouth because of the snow.’ Then we prepared to meet them there. One of our company said, ‘They have killed one of our hogs.’ Another said, ‘One of them strikes at me with his knife;’ & others say ‘They threw dust in our faces.’ Then said Pecksuot to me, ‘Give me powder & guns & I will give you much corn.’ I said ‘By & by men bring ships & victuals.’ But when we understood that their plot was to kill all English people in one day when the snow was gone, I would have sent a man to Plymouth, but none were willing to go. Then I said if Plymouth men know not of this treacherous plot, they & we are all dead men; therefore, if God willing, tomorrow I will go.

That night a young man, wanting wit, told Pecksuot early in the morning. Pecksuot came to me & said in English, ‘Me hear you go to Patuxet; you will lose yourself; the bears and the wolves will eat you; but because I love you I will send my boy Nahamit with you; & I will give you victuals to eat by the way & to be merry with your friends when you come there.’ I said, ‘Who told you so great a lie, that I may kill him.’ he said, ‘It is no lie, you shall not know.’ Then he went home to his house.

Then came 5 men armed. We said, ‘Why come you thus armed.’ They said ‘We are friends; you carry guns where we dwell & we carry bow & arrows where you dwell.’ These attended me 7 or 8 days & nights. Then they supposing it was a lie, were careless of their watch near two hours in the morning. Then said I to our company, ‘Now is the time to run to Plymouth. Is there any compass to be found.’ They said, ‘None but them that belong to the ship.’ I said, ‘They are too big. I have born no arms of defense this 7 or 8 days. Now if I take my arms they will mistrust me.’ Then they said, ‘The savages will pursue after you & kill you & we shall never see you again.’ Thus with other words of great lamentation, we parted.

Then I took a hoe & went to the long swamp nearby their houses & dug on the edge thereof as if I had been looking for ground nuts, but seeing no man, I went in & ran through it. Then looking round about me, I ran southward til 3 o’clock, but the snow being in many places, I was the more distressed because of my footsteps. The sun being clouded, I wandered, not knowing my way; but at the going down of the sun, it appeared red; then hearing a great howling of wolves, I came to a river; the water being deep & cold & many rocks, I passed through with much ado.

Then was I in great distress - faint for want of food, weary with running, fearing to make a fire because of them that pursued me. Then I came to a deep dell or hole, there being much wood fallen into it. Then I said in my thoughts, this is God’s providence that here I may make a fire. Then having made a fire, the stars began to appear and I saw Ursa Major & the […] pole yet fearing […] clouded.

The day following I began to travel […] but being unable, I went back to the fire the day […] sun shone & about three o’clock I came to that part […] Plymouth Bay where there is a town of later time […] Duxbury. Then passing by the water on my left hand […] came to a brook & there was a path. Having but a short time to consider […] fearing to go beyond the plantation, I kept running in the path; then passing through James river I said in my thoughts, now am I as a deer chased […] the wolves. If I perish, what will be the [condit…] of distressed English men. Then finding a piece of a […] I took it up & carried it in my hand. Then finding a […] of a jerkin, I carried them under my arm.

Then said I in my […] God has given me these two tokens for my comfort; that now he will give me my life for a prayer. Then running down a hill [J…] an English man coming in the path before me. Then I said down on a tree & rising up to salute him said, ‘Mr. Hamden, I am glad to see you alive.’ he said, ‘I am glad & full of wonder to see you alive: let us sit down, I see you are weary.’ I said, ‘Let […] eat some parched corn.’ ;Then he said, ’I know the [caus…]. Come. Massasoit has sent word to the Governor to let him […] that Aberdikes & his confederates have contrived a plot hoping […] all English people in one day here as men hard by making [canoe…] stay & we will go with you.

The next day a young […] named Hugh Stacy went forth to fell at tree & saw two […] rising from the ground. They said Aberdikes had sent […] the Governor that he might send men to truck for much beaver, but they would not go, but said, ‘Was not there an English […] come from Wessagusset.’ He answered, ‘He came,’ […] They said he was their friend and said come and see who […] But they turned another way. He said, ‘You come to let us […]’

Providence to us was great in those times as appears […] after the time of the arrival of the first ship at [Pl…] forenamed Massasoit came to Plymouth & their made a [co…] peace, for an Indian called Tisquantum came to them & spoke English […] They asked him, how he learned to speak English?  He said that an Englishman called Captain Hunt came into the harbor pretending to trade for beaver & stole 24 men & their beaver & carried & sold them in Spain.  & from thence with much ado, he went into England & from England with much ado, he got into his own country.  

This man told Massasoit what wonders he had seen in England & that if he could make the English his friends then […] enemies that were too strong for him would be constrained to bow to him; but being prevented by some that came in the first ship that […] recorded that which concerned them, I leave it.

Two or 3 days after my coming to Plymouth, 10 or 11 men went in a boat to our plantation, but I being faint was not able to go with them. They first gave warning to the Master of the ship & then contrived how to make sure of the lives of two of their chief men, Wattawamat, of whom they boasted no gun would kill, and Pecksuot, a subtle man. These being slain, they fell upon others where they could find them.

Then Abordikes, hearing that some of his men were killed, came to try his manhood, but as they were starting behind bushes & trees, one of them was shot in the arm. At this time an Indian called Hobbamock, that formerly had fled for his life from his Sachem to Plymouth, proved himself a valiant man in fighting & pursuing after them. Two of our men were kill that they took in their houses at an advantage […] this time [pl…] were instruments in the […nds] of God for […] their own lives and ours. They took the head of […] & set it on their fort at Plymouth at […] 9 of our men were dead with famine and one died in the ship before they came to the place where at that time of year ships came to fish - it being in March.

At this time, ships began to fish at the Isles of Shoals and I having recovered a little of my […th] went to my company near about this time […] the first plantation at Piscataqua the […] thereof was Mr. David Tomsen at the time of my arrival at Piscataqua. Two of Abordike’s men came there & seeing me said ‘When we killed your men, they cried and made ill-favored faces.’ I said, ‘When we killed your men, we did not torment them to make ourselves merry.’ Then we went with our ship into the bay & took from them two shallops loading of corn & of their men prisoners there as a town of later time called Dorchester.

The third and last time was in the bay of Agawam. At this time they took for their castle a thick swamp. At this time one of our ablest men was shot in the shoulder. Whether any of them were killed or wounded we could not tell. There is a town of later time, near unto that place, called Ipswich.

Thus […] plantation being deserted, Captain Robert Gore [cam…] the country with six gentlemen. Attending him & divers men to do his labor & other men with their families. They took possession of our plantation, but their ship’s supply from England came too late. Thus was famine their final overthrow. Most of them that lived returned to England.

The overseers of the third plantation in the bay was Captain Wolleston & Mr. Rosell. These seeing the ruin of the former plantation said, we will not pitch our tents here, lest we should do as they have done. Notwithstanding these gentlemen were wise men, they seemed to blame the overseers of the former companies, not considering that God plants & pulls up, builds & pulls down, & turns the wisdom of wise men into foolishness. These called the name of their place Mount Wolleston. They continued near a year as others had done before them; but famine was their final overthrow.

Near unto that place is a town of later time called Braintree. Not long after the overthrow of the first plantation in the bay, Captain Louis came to their country. At the time of his being at Piscataqua a Sachem or Sagamore gave two of his men, one to Captain Louis & another to Mr. Tomsen, but on that was there said, ‘How can you trust these savages. Call the name of one Watt Tyler & the other Jack Straw, after the names of the two greatest rebels that ever were in England.’ Watt Tyler said, ‘When he was a boy, Captain Dormer found him upon an island in great distress.’

END OF THE NARRATIVE OF PHINEAS PRATT ---------------

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Phineas Pratt's Timeline

1593
1593
London, Middlesex, England
1600
1600
Age 7
1622
May 1622
Age 29
May 1622
Age 29
Weymouth, Massachusetts, USA
1622
Age 29
England
1630
1630
Age 37
Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts
1631
1631
Age 38
Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
1635
1635
Age 42
Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
1637
1637
Age 44
Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
1637
Age 44
Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA