An Historical Sketch of The City of Salem and
the Towns of Marblehead, Peabody, Beverly, Danvers, Wenham, Manchester, Topsfield,
and Middleton" by C. H. Webber and W. S. Nevins. Salem, Mass: A. A. Smith
& Co., Publishers. Boston: Lee & Shepard. (1877)
"In religious matters those who came to Salem differed somewhat from
those who established themselves at Plymouth. The former were not true separatists
from the Church of England; they were dissenters from its corruptions, its intolerance,
and its formula only. ...On the other hand, the people who settled at Plymouth
A few years after the settlement at Plymouth a number of persons led by
Rev.John Lyford, dissatisfied with the extreme separation of the Colony and Church
from the English Church, removed to Nantasket, near the entrance to Boston harbor,
where they made a temporary settlement, and the next year (1625) removed again,
this time to Cape Ann. Here they attempted to plant a farming, fishing and trading
colony, and being joined by Mr. Lyford, and Roger Conant, the former was made
preacher and the latter 'governor.' When Conant arrived at Cape Ann, which must
have been some time in the fall of 1625, he found the affairs in an unsatisfactory
state. The fishing had turned out unprofitable and there was much insubordination.
He was unable to revive the interest, and in the fall of 1626 the settlement
broke up, a portion of the people returning to England. Conant, it appears, had
sailed up along the shores of the Cape as far as the mouth of the Naumkeag river
during the summer of that year, and marked it as one evidently suitable as a
'receptacle for such as upon the account of religion would be willing to begin
a foreign plantation in this part of the world.'
Conant...(induced the settlers) to follow him to Naumkeag; there to lay the foundation
of a colony destined to plant the spirit of Puritanism so deeply and so firmly
that amid the changes of two hundred and fifty years it still bears its impress.
...The number who came hence from Cape Ann was about twenty-five,
or one-half of the settlement there. Aside from the women and children there
were Roger Conant, Humphrey Woodbury, John Lyford, John Woodbury, John Balch,
Peter Palfry, Walter Knight, William Allen, Thomas Gray, John Tylly, Thomas Gardner,
Richard Norman and Son, William Traske, and William Jeffry. They left Cape Ann
in September or October, 1626... Conant and his followers are thought to have
landed from the South River, not far from the foot of Elm or Central streets
as now (1877) laid out.
Hardly had the first settlement been effected at Naumkeag, and preparations
made for permanently abiding there, when dissatisfaction was manifested by some
of the settlers. They were dissatisfied with the location, and with the prospects
for the future, and they also professed a dread of interference from the Indians.
The desire to remove was heightened by the proposal of Mr. Lyford that they
follow him to Virginia, whither he was to go at once. Several announced a determination
to accept the offer. Had Conant consented to go with them, every member of the
...settlement would have readily departed. But he would not go himself, and
strongly urged the others to remain, declaring, that 'they might go if they wished,
and though all of them should forsake him, he should wait the providence of God
in that place, not doubting that if they departed he should have more company.'
Again the reasoning of Conant prevailed and Lyford was obliged
to depart unaccompanied. He died shortly after arriving at the Virginia settlement."
(In March, 1628, the council of Plymouth for New England thought it best
to select one of their own number to be the actual governor of the colony, and
John Endicott was chosen. Endicott arrived in Salem harbor on September 6, 1628).
"...At a General Court, convened by Endicott in the following June
(1629), all 'united in an effort to promote the common good.' It was at this
meeting that the name Salem (meaning peace) was substituted for that of Naumkeag."
THE MASSACHUSETS BAY COMPANY AND ITS PREDECESSORS
by Frances Rose-Troup, F.R. Hist. Soc., The Grafton Press, NY, 1930:
Cape Ann was begun by the Dorchester Company.
Rev. John White of Dorchester, England, was the promoter of the Dorchester
Company. He didn't come over to America. His English church did not contemplate
separation (like that of the Pilgrims' of Leyden) and the wave of religious fervor
in the west of England was entirely different from that which was in the east
of England (like the Puritans'). White's desire was to
provide religious instruction for the fishermen and others of our nation upon
the New England coast, and to provide a refuge to which churchmen could flee
when no longer able to comply with (Archbishop) Laud's demands. White invited
the assistance of certain "religious and well-affected persons" who
had, they heard, left Plymouth "out of dislike of the principles of rigid
separation" held there. Rev. LYFORD went to Cape Ann at that time (after
CONANT). The opinions held by the Dorchester men, it turns out, were diametrically
opposed to those entertained at New Plymouth, and instead of being made under
the auspices of the Pilgrim Fathers, were established in direct opposition to
those colonists and incurred their undying hatred.
When the association of Adventurers of the Dorchester Company, established
a plantation at Cape Ann, a few men were there by 1623, and it was to be a business
venture (fishing and farming). In 1623 14 men had "inhabited" at Cape
Ann, and 32 more came the following Spring. John TILLY and Thomas GARDNER were
in charge of the plantation the first year which was failing, when Roger CONANT
was sent to take over. The plantation did not much better under CONANT's leadership
and it was doomed to failure as a business venture.
The Dorchester Company, having failed to accomplish its object (of a fishing/farming
trade) by 1626, ceased to exist and the plantations, servants and supplies were
taken over by a few members of the Company who had not lost faith in the ultimate
success of their purpose. The settlement at this time was transferred to "Nahum
Keike (or Naumkeag)" and the name changed later to Salem.
The remnants of those once associated with the Dorchester Company were later
absorbed into the Massachusetts Bay Company (about 1629 upon the arrival of ENDICOTT
who came in readiness for the 1630 arrival of the WINTHROP FLEET).
Fourteen or so men who were probably involved with the original Cape Ann
were the following:
From Banks PLANTERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH:
John TILLY, Thomas GARDNER, Roger CONANT, John WOODBURY, John BALCH, Peter
PALFREY, Walter KNIGHT (came from Nantasket), William ALLEN, Richard NORMAN and
his son John NORMAN, Thomas GRAY, William TRASKE.
From Savage's GENEALOGICAL DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST SETTLERS OF NEW ENGLAND:
(probably) William JEFFREY/JEFFRIES/JEFFERY (later of Weymouth), and John
OLDHAM (came with CONANT).
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