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Myles Standish Speaks Out on NH's First Settler

Plimoth role player Scott AtwoodAt Plimoth Plantation it is always 1627.  The tourists come and go, grow old and die, but the hardy members of the Mayflower Colony are untouched by time. If a role player depicting Elder William Bradford or Captain Myles Standish moves on, then another role player takes his place at the living museum. (Continued below)


I’ve met people, and not just children, who think the outdoor museum in Plymouth, MA is the real deal. It is a marvelous re-creation, but the English Village was built in the 1950s, the brainchild of a stockbroker. It is a scholarly guess as to what the actual, larger settlement two miles away might have looked like. Its trained costumed inhabitants have been re-living the calendar from 1627 ever since. If you ask one of them if she owns a computer, she will say, “Pewter? Yes, I have a little of it.”  They know nothing of states or Pilgrims or Separatists. They are “planters” come from England or thereabouts, and they are intolerant of just about everyone outside their little circle.  

NH’s first settler  

But they all know David Thompson (also spelled “Thomson”), the first settler of New Hampshire, only there was no New Hampshire back then. Thompson, who set up a fishing post at what is now Odiorne’s Point in Rye in the spring of 1623, was from “Pascataway” or “Pannaway.” The name Strawberry Bank had not even been applied to this region by then. Thompson, his wife Amais and their young son John, arrived with 10 fishermen. The Rye settlement lasted only a few years and was largely abandoned by the time the Strawberry Bank settlers arrived in 1630.  

MORE ON David Thompson and family click here

We don’t know what happened to David Thompson. He disappeared in 1626 or 1627, presumably on a trip to what became Boston Harbor where he laid claim to an island there. Local historians sometimes suggest that Thompson met with foul play. Portsmouth historians, a highly provincial bunch, have always had what I call “Pilgrim envy.” Massachusetts gets all the glory. New Hampshire history is always a day late and a dollar short. So in revenge, when things go wrong up here, we often blame the Pilgrims and the Puritans who soon followed them in droves.   


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Friday, February 23, 2018 
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