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 was partially isolated 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 because it showed how the earliest settlers lived at home and how they reacted to the events of the day. It was handed down through the family at his homestead in Quiambaug in Stonington.

Minor came from Somerset County in England to America in the Arbella in 1630, and he quickly became a prominent member of the community.  He learned the Indians’ language, and was often asked by Gov. John Winthrop 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 as a young man.

He was especially proud of John Winthrop’s visits to his house, and often recorded they met at the Old Mill to talk things over.

Between 1630 and 1640, Thomas Minor lived in Salem, Charlestown and Hingham, Mass.  Minor and other Puritan settlers founded New London, Conn., after the General Court then granted them land on ‘the Pequot Colony.’ Finally, in 1653 or 1654 he made his permanent home in Quiambaug , where he had been granted 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 was selected for a number of town offices including selectman, treasurer, recorder, brander of horses and leader of the militia.

Thomas Minor had been living 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:

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