Exploring Boston Harbor and the Story of Squanto

Some Indian Events of New England, Allan Forbes, 1934

Summer today turns Boston Harbor into a bustling place of recreational fun, but local North End researcher Anne M. Pistorio reminds us of how foreign the harbor was to the newly arrived Pilgrims in the New World.

It was September 1621, about a year after the arrival in Plymouth that the Pilgrims decided to explore Boston Harbor, or Massachusetts Bay, as it was then called. Captain Myles Standish led the party of thirteen with Squanto as their guide “to discover and view that bay and trade with ye natives … party to see the country, partly to make peace with them, and partly to procure their trucke, or barter.

Squanto is largely credited with helping the New England colony survive. He later used his position as the Indian spokesman with the Pilgrims for his personal benefit. He warned the Indians that if they did not listen to him, the Pilgrims would release the plague. This belief dramatically increased the Indians’ fear of the Pilgrims.

Governor William Bradford wrote in his history Of Plimoth Plantation, “. . . Squanto continued with them (the Pilgrims) and was their interpreter and was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation. He directed them how to set their corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities, and was also their pilot to bring them to unknown places for their profit, and never left them till he died.

There is much to the story of Squanto and his experiences with the Pilgrims, pieced together through various historical sources. Read more of the story of Squanto at The Pilgrims & Plymouth Colony: 1620 by Duane A. Cline

Some Indian Events of New England, Allan Forbes, 1934
The Pilgrims & Plymouth Colony: 1620, Duane A. Cline, 2001

Research submitted by Anne M. Pistorio