Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans  by Edward Eggleston


The First Governor in Boston

B EFORE the white people came, there were no houses in this country but the little huts of the Indians. The Indian houses were made of bark, or mats, or skins, spread over poles.

Some people came to one part of the country. Others started settlements in other places. When more people came, some of these settlements grew into towns. The woods were cut down. Farms were planted. Roads were made. But it took many years for the country to fill with people.

The first white people that came to live in the woods where Boston is now, settled there a long time ago. They had a governor over them. He was a good man, and did much for the people. His name was John Winthrop.

The first thing the people had to do was to cut down the trees. After that they could plant corn. But at first they could not raise anything to eat. They had brought flour and oatmeal from England. But they found that it was not enough to last till they could raise corn on their new ground.

Winthrop sent a ship to get more food for them. The ship was gone a long time. The people ate up all their food. They were hungry. They went to the sea-shore, and found clams and mussels. They were glad to get these to eat.

At last they set a day for everybody to fast and pray for food. The governor had a little flour left. Nearly all of this was made into bread, and put into the oven to bake. He did not know when he would get any more.

Soon after this a poor man came along. His flour was all gone. His bread had all been eaten up. His family were hungry. The governor gave the poor man the very last flour that he had in the barrel.

Just then a ship was seen. It sailed up toward Boston. It was loaded with food for all the people.

The time for the fast day came. But there was now plenty of food. The fast day was turned into a thanksgiving day.

One day a man sent a very cross letter to Governor Winthrop. Winthrop sent it back to him. He said, "I cannot keep a letter that might make me angry." Then the man that had written the cross letter wrote to Winthrop, "By conquering yourself, you have conquered me."