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Vol II.1


February, 1860.

THE present number commences the second volume of the Historical Collections, and the second year of its existence.

The original plan of this serial publication, was to issue numbers of thirty pages each, as circumstances should permit, without recognizing the obligation for their appearance at definite and stated periods of time. In this manner five consecutive numbers have been printed, constituting a volume of two hundred pages of local historical information, which, it is hoped, will prove a valuable addition to the history of this section of the State.

The encouragement that has been extended to our undertaking, authorizes some alteration in our plans, which, we trust, will add greatly to its value and importance as a medium of communication with the public, on all subjects consistent with the objects that may come into our possession.

The various records of the public offices of the County, together with those of the several towns, parishes and churches within its limits, are replete with valuable bistoric materials. These should be rendered more generally accessible, and should receive a greater degree of attention in our common school education.

To this end our efforts will bo directed by the selection and arrangement for publication, of such portions and extracts from said records as will interest our readers and elucidate our local history.

VOL. II. 1

No. 1.

Attention will also be directed to the many interesting items found among old family papers, already in possession of the Institute, or which may be loaned for the purWe feel confident that many importpose. ant facts are locked up in such private repoɛitories, and that publications like this may be the humble instruments of preserving them for the gratification and instruction of the curious reader, and of furnishing material for elaboration by the future historian. This County, being one of the earliest of the great historical centres of our country, must ever be a place of resort by the listorian and genealogist, and by every lover of antiquarian and historic lore.

The increasing interest in relation to all matters connected with our early history, unequalled since the settlement of the country by the present generation, leads us to infer that the continuation of these Collections in a more permanent form, and issued at stated intervals, will be favorably received.

Acknowledgements are due to those friends, who, approving of the plan, have liberally aided in extending its circulation; as well as to those who have from time to time contributed to its columns interesting articles; from these, and from others in our immediate vicinity, known to be deeply interested in similar pursuits, we hope for a continuance of favors; and trust that our efforts will not be unavailing, but will receive a merited degree of public patronage.

harbor of Salem, they caught with a few hooks, in two hours, no less than 76 codfish,

HISTORICAL NOTICES OF SALEM SCENERY. "some a yard and a half long and a yard in


Read at a Meeting of the Fssex Institute, Thursday,
April 8, 1858.

Nearly two hundred and thirty years ago, on Saturday, June 12, 1630, as the worthy Gov. John Winthrop and his companions, on board the Arbella-and with the noble lady Arbella on board-approached Salem Harbor, they stood in (so the Governor's account tells us) "and passed through the narrow strait between Baker's Isle and Little Isle [the Misery] and came to an anchor a little within the Islands." And in the afternoon, Gov. John Endicott having visited the ship, the chief gentlemen and some of the women of the company returned with him to Nahumkeak, where they "supped with good venizon, pastry and good beer." Meanwhile the common people of the company went ashore on Beverly side-then called "Cape Ann side"-where they "gathered store of fine strawberries," which were very abundant there and very sweet. Having thus regaled themselves with the good things of the earth, and being warmly welcomed, not only by the townsfolk, but also by Masconomo, chief of the Agawams, who came aboard and spent the Sabbath with them in a friendly way, the first impressions of their new home must have been pleasing and satisfactory.

And we have evidence that these first im

pressions were subsequently confirmed, notwithstanding the many sad trials and hard experiences to which they were called. After a short sojourn, Gov. Winthrop wrote home to his wife, who remained in England:

"We are here in a paradise. Though we have not beef and mutton, &c., yet (God be praised) we need them not; our Indian corn answers for all. Yet here is fowl and fish in abundance."

They had had early proof of the abundance of fish, for Gov. Winthrop's journal informs. us that just before the Arbella reached the


All the accounts returned to England by the pioneer emigrants concurred in extravagant praise of the new country, and we now read their quaint and highly-colored narratives as amusing curiosities of literature. Turn for instance to Wood's New England Prospect, or the New England's Plantation, by Higginson, the worthy pastor of the Salem church. A perusal of these and other writings in a similar strain would almost persuade us that this is indeed a land "where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile."

Mr. Higginson wrote that "the fertility of the soil is to be admired at," and "the abundant increase of corn proves this country to be a wonderment." Also that "it abounds naturally with store of roots of great varietie and good to eat," and with "divers excellent pot-herbs." "The abundance of sea-fish, (he says) is almost beyond believing, and sure I should scarce have believed it, except I had seen it with mine own eyes." He had seen hundreds of bass seined at one time in our own waters, and mentions lobsters as being so abundant that even boys could catch them. But of the lobsters, he says, "as for myself I was soon cloyed with them, they were so great, and fat, and luscious." For wood, there was no better country in the world.

As for the trees, the author of the N. E. Prospect cannot contain his delight in plain prose, but launches forth in rhyme. Let us give a specimen of Wood on trees:

Trees both in hills and plaines, in plenty be,
The long liv'd Oake, and mournful Cypris tree,
Skie-towering Pines, and Chesnuts coated rough,
The lasting Cedar, with the Walnut tough;
The rosin-dropping Firre for masts in use;
The Boatmen secke for Oares, light, neate grown

The brittle Ash, the ever-trembling Aspes,
The broad spread Elme, whose concave harbors
The water-spongie Alder, good for naught,


Small Elderne by th' Indian Fletchers sought,
The knottie Maple, pallid birth, Hawthornes,
The Hornbound tree that to be cloven scornes,
Which, from the tender Vine oft takes its spouse,
Who twin is imbracin arms about his boughes.
With n tuis Indian Orchard fruits be some,
The ruddie Cherrie and the jettie Plumbe,
Snake murthering Hazell, with sweet Saxaphrage,
Whose spurnes in beere allays hot fevers rage,
The Diars Shumach, with more trees there be,
That are both good to use and rare to see."

The author of N. E. Prospect preferred the soil to that of Surry and Middlesex in England, which, he said, without manure "would be less fertile than the meanest ground in New England." The birds and beasts extorted equal admiration from these appreciative writers. There were turkeys, geese, and ducks in abundance, besides the smaller birds in great variety. Of the useful and valuable animals, the deer, beaver, otter, and martin, were most prized, and the bears and wolves most dreaded. Both Wood and Higginson mention reports of Lions at Cape Ann, though neither had had visible evidence thereof. But Wood expresses his confident belief that certain fearful noises heard in Plymouth, were made either by ons or devils," "there being," he says, "no other creatures which use to roar saving Beares, which have not such a terrible kind of roaring."

Even the common spring water in the country was averred to be superior by these zealous historians, whose pens were dipped in rose water. Wood says, "it is farre different from the waters of England, being not so sharp but of a fatter substance, and of a more jettie color; it is thought there can be no better water in the world, yet dare I not prefer it before good Beere, as some have done, but any man will choose it before bad Beere, Whey, or Buttermilk." And Higginson wrote, pursuing a similar comparison, but with more grace, that "a sup of New England's aire is better than a whole draught of Old England's ale."

the early colonists of Salem found it a fair and goodly place to look upon, and one in which it was pleasant to dwell. It was not merely "the good venizon, pastry, and good beer," qr "the virgia milk wita blushing strawberries strewn" which were the chief delights of this place. On the contrary every aspect of nature seemed to invite settlement and improvement. The harbor was capacious and easy of access. The islands at its entrance, covered with a primitive growth of trees and shrubs, presented, in combination with the densely wooded shore, a picture of beauty, such as is still preserved in the famous scenery of Casco Bay. The several rivers, the North, and South, Forest River, Bass River and the Essex Branch, divided the main land into distinct and prominent peninsulas, whose fertile slopes favored the desires of the planter. The numerous coves, formed by the indentations of the shore, offered shelter to the light shallops in rough weather, and were convenient for the prosecution of the Fisheries. The country around was everywhere clothed with an exuberant vegetation. Trees of varius value in the arts crowned the surrounding hills and bordered the sea-shore. Game abounded in the woods, fish in the sea, and birds in the air. In a word, there seemed to be provision for every urgent necessity of a new and self-helping people.


Of the early settlers of Salem proper, those who came with Roger Conant located at "the Planter's Marsh," on the tongue of land where Bridge street is, which, from its proximity to North river on one side and Collins' Covethen called Shallop Cove-on the other, was convenient for the pursuit of the fisheries. Another portion, subsequent settlers, preferred the rocky and sterile Neck, where for many years the fsteries were prosecuted with considerable success. Settlements were carly made and houses erected on Cat and Abbott's Coves, the former lying on the South side of the causeway to Winter Island, and the latter

Our local pride may well assure itself that on the North side, toward Juniper Point. Cat

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