Gateway to the Classics: Ruth of Boston by James Otis
Ruth of Boston by  James Otis

Deciding upon a Home

Then we learned for the first time that it had not been the plan of our people to settle in this pleasant place. It was not to the mind of Governor Winthrop, nor yet in accord with the belief of our people in England, that all of us who were to form what would be known as the Massachusetts Bay Colony, should build our homes in one spot.

Therefore it was that our people, meaning the elders among the men, set off through the forest to search for a spot where should be made a new town, and we children were allowed to roam around the village of Salem at will, many of us, among whom were Susan and I, often spending the night in the houses of those people who were so well off in this world's goods as to have more than one bed.


Lady Arabella Johnson and her husband had gone on shore to live the second day after we arrived, for my lady was far from well when she left England, and the voyage across the ocean had not been of benefit to her.

Our fathers were not absent above three days in the search for a place to make our homes, and then Sarah and I were told that it had been decided we should live at Charlestown, where, as I have already told you, a year before our coming, Master Endicott had sent a company of fifty to build houses.

It pleased me to know that we were not going directly into the wilderness, as both Susan and I had feared; but that we should be able to find shelter with the people who had already settled there, until our own houses could be built.

It appeared that all the men of our company were not of Governor Winthrop's opinion, regarding the place for a home. Some of them, discontented with the town of Charles, went further afoot, deciding to settle on the banks of a river called the Mystic, while yet others crossed over that point of land opposite where we were to live, and found a pleasing place which they had already named Rocksbury.

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