Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why the Puritans Came

It’s easy to look at the Puritan migration to New England just from a religion point of view but that’s a mistake. Yes, they came to New England to worship without persecution but many also came for other reasons. The ships were full of individuals looking for economic gain. This was a new country with new opportunities.

Mary Blott and Thomas Woodford

Mary, the eldest of 10 children, came from Bedfordshire, England in 1632 as a servant. Her parents and siblings followed a couple of years later. Thomas Woodford, also a servant, came to New England on the William and Francis ship in 1632. I haven’t proven yet if Mary was on the same ship. Maybe we have a shipboard romance.

Looking at the Gains

From the Hampshire County Probate Records we find that upon his death Thomas Woodford’s inventory was valued at more than 197 pounds and included  “a dwelling house, barn, orchard, garden” with land adjoining, 4 acres over the swamp, 8 acres in the third square, “5 acres of mowing land in the Great Rainbow” and discusses three more acres. This is a nice accumulation of wealth for someone who started out a servant.

Would you have taken that dangerous ocean crossing trip to come to a wild unknown land?


  1. I do not understand the courage or the desperation that would make people board such a tiny ship to take such a long journey. I would have remained a servant.

    This research is interesting. I'd love to know more about the "rainbow" hay field and why it was called that.

    1. June, I am so sorry I did not reply to you sooner. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog. It must have taken a lot of courage but I think I would have gone if I was in their circumstances. The "rainbow" hay field was new to me and so far I have not seen another reference to it. I'll let you know if I find something.