The Parson’s Hearth

A rare survivor of New England’s earliest days testifies to the strength that forged a nation


When Joseph Capen moved to Topsfield, Massachusetts, in 1682 to become minister of the Congregational church there, his prospects did not seem bright. Two of the last three preachers had difficulties collecting their salaries, and another went on trial for intemperance. These conflicts degenerated into charges and countercharges of slander and drunkenness.Read more »

New England In The Earliest Days

Before Plymouth Colony there was Sagadahoc, the short-lived settlement for which Sir Ferdinando Gorges had high hopes

We owe the name of New England to Captain John Smith. This may be surprising, since his name is so memorably associated with those first years in Virginia. But in 1614 he made a voyage along the coast of New England—the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts, from the towering cliffs of Penobscot, in and out of the islands that form a kind of barrier reef, to the sandy shores of Cape Cod and the Massachusetts coast that reminded him of Devon. The coast of New England in summer conquered him; from that time forward he was its slave and its promoter.