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PREFACE

Though the history of ancient Towns, whose population, wealth, and nororiety are less than those of a metropolis, is not of great comparative importance, yet, when faithfully written, it is a miniature likeness, in many proportions and parts, of such Towns' own County and State. A history of this kind, at least, extends a helping hand, to draw back from the current of time not a few facts, which, without being so preserved, would be speedily borne down to oblivion. When candidly examined, it may not fail to exhibit views, which are suited to interest the curiosity, to enlarge the surveys of the mind, and improve the affections of the heart. With these prefatory remarks, it may not be amiss to relate here what was known of Agawam, previously to its becoming a permanent settlement.
381614. Capt. John Smith, in his Description of North Virginia, as New-England was then called, says of Augoan or Agawam, - "Here are many rising hills, and on their tops and descents are many corne fields and delightfull groues. On the east is an Isle of two or three leagues in length; the one halfe plaine marish ground, fit for pasture, or salt ponds, with many faire high groues of mulberry trees. There are also okes, pines, walnuts, and other wood, to make this place an excellent habitation."
*1620, Dec. Before the Company, who occupied Plymouth, had finally concluded to dwell there, some of them "urged greatly the going to Auguan or Augoun, a place twenty leagues off to the northward, which they heard to be an excellent harbour for ships, better ground and better fishing." As to the excellence of the harbour, they had been wrongly informed. 181630, Sept. 7th. "A warrant shall be presently sent to Agawam for those planted there, to come away." 221633, Jan. 17th. "The Court of Assistants order, that a plantation be commenced at Agawam (being the best place in the land for tillage and cattle), lest an enemy finding it, should possess and take it from us." Governor Winthrop's son, John, is to undertake this settlement and to have no more "out of the Bay, than twelve men; the rest to be supplied at the coming of the next ships." The word Bay, as here used, did not formerly include towns to the north of Winisimet, now Chelsea. 24The following appears to have been written a short time before Winthrop and his company came to Ipswich: "Agawamme is nine miles to the north of Salem, which is one of the most spacious places for a plantation, being near the sea. It aboundeth with fish and flesh of fowls and beasts, great meads and marshes, and plain plowing grounds." Thus introduced to us, before civil authority allowed it to be retained by unauthorized settlers, Ipswich, in the value of its soil and productions generally, has not fallen below its original recommendations.

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© 2005 by John Slaughter