Connecticut

An Early Puritan Settler Plants White Pease and Gray Pease

The early Puritan settler Thomas Minor may have kept a diary from 1653 to 1684 just to keep track of the days. He lived in partial isolation in the wilds of Stonington, Conn., where calendars were not usually found and the days blended into each other.

The Arbella, reproduction

The Arbella, reproduction

His diary was published in 1899. It showed how the earliest settlers lived at home and how they reacted to the events of the day. The diary got handed down through the family at his homestead in Quiambaug in Stonington.

Minor came from Somerset County in England to America with the Winthrop fleet on the Arbella in 1630. He quickly rose to prominence in the community. Minor learned the Indians’ language, and Gov. John Winthrop often asked him to negotiate with them. He would also accompany a missionary to read them the gospel in their own language. He also led the militia against the Narragansetts.

Minor took special pride in John Winthrop’s visits to his house. He often recorded how they met at the Old Mill to talk things over.

A Puritan Settler

Between 1630 and 1640, Thomas Minor lived in Salem, Charlestown and Hingham, Mass.  Minor and other Puritan settlers then founded New London, Conn., after the General Court granted them land on “the Pequot Colony.” Finally, in 1653 or 1654 he made his permanent home in Quiambaug. The court had granted him land because of his valuable service to the Indians.

His diary shows the wildness of his surroundings. Indians visit frequently, looking for work and payment in clothing. He served in a number of town offices including selectman, treasurer, recorder, brander of horses and leader of the militia.

Thomas Minor had lived in Quiambaug for more than a decade when he made this diary entry on April 14, 1665.

The 14 day of April 1665 we had sowed six bushels of white pease and Two bushels of gray pease in the orchard.

This story last updated in 2022. 

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