Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Bounty of New England

William Hilton came to New England in the Fortune,  November 11, 1621. William sent the letter transcribed below to his cousin in England. It was first printed in Capt. John Smith's "New England Trials," edition of 1622. William's wife and two children came to New England in the Anne, in the summer of 1623.

Louing cousin, at our ariuall at New Plimmoth in New England, we found all our friends and planters in good health, though they were left sicke and weake with very small meanes, the Indians round about us peaceable and friendly, the country very pleasant and temperate, yeelding naturally of it self great store of fruites, as vines of diuers sorts in great abundance; there is likewise walnuts, chesnuts, small nuts and plums, wiht much varietie of flowers, rootes, and herbs, no lesse pleasant then wholsome and profitable: no place hath more goose-berries and straw-berries, nor better, Timber of all sorts you haue in England, doth cover the Land that affoords beasts of diuers sorts and great flocks of Turkies, Quailes, Pigeons and Partriges: many great lakes abounding with fish, fowle, Beuers and Otters. The sea affoords us as great plenty of all excellent sorts of sea-fish, as the riuers and Iles doth varietie of wilde fowle of most usefull sorts. Mines we find to our thinking, but neither the goodness nor qualitie we know. Better grain cannot be then the Indian corne, if we will plant it upon as good ground as a man can desire. We are all free-holders, the rent day doth not trouble us, and all those good blessings we haue, of which and what we list in their seasons for taking. Our companie are for most part very religious honest people; the word of God sincerely taught euery Sabbath: so that I know not any thing a contented mind can here want. I desire your friendly care to send my wife and children to me, where I wish all the friends I haue in England, and so I rest

Your louing kinsman  William Hilton

I have Hilton's in my ancestry but I haven't linked any of them to this immigrant. I came across this while looking for my Hilton ancestors and liked the description.

Sources: Genealogies: the Hassam family, the Hilton family, the Cheever family. [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

1 comment:

  1. We are indeed descended from this William Hilton through our Shepherd line. Mark Shepherd of York and Biddeford married Hannah (Hilton) Cole, who was a granddaughter of William. The Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire notes that William "badly misrep[resented] conditions" in Plymouth in this letter, and says that "The 'cousin' may have been a blind for Capt. Smith himself, or one of Hilton's own nephews or one of his w[ife's], with directions to send her over."