New England

Everyone knows the region of America that runs from Massachusetts to Maine as ‘New England’, yet how did that start?

Prior to 1614, John Smith (associated with story of Pocahontas) had been in Jamestown, Virginia colony and was no longer welcomed in that colony. So John Smith joined an expedition that sailed up the coast away from northern Virginia colony to the area of Maine. They saw many rivers, ample game for hunting and good farmland, some 350 miles along the coast. The crew along with Smith made notes and measurements of distances and places. Smith raised money to bring a group of English settlers in 1614 to cross the Atlantic. A storm at sea ended the first attempt. His second attempt in 1615, the ship was captured by French pirates, with Smith and others imprisoned. He and the passengers were able after many weeks to escape.

They eventually returned to England. He learned that Pocahontas was planning a trip to England, so John Smith had a map drawn of this area north of Virginia. He had created an advertising brochure yet the names of settlements and villages did not exist. Labeled as the Charles River, Plymouth, Cape Ann, etc. Smith named the whole region ‘New England’. It became part of his book titled A Description of New England, in 1616. It helped promote settlement there. His statement: “Here every man may be master and owner of his owne labour and land … If he have nothing but his hands, he may .. by industries quickly grow rich.”

When the Separatists on the Mayflower sailed across the Atlantic in 1620, they had a copy of that map, eventually landing to Plymouth.

Smith never returned to the New World but remained in England and continued to promote New England. He died in London on June 21, 1631.

Check your family lineage, you might have many ancestors who started in the New England region.

Photos: John Smith and 1616 Map of New England

Related Blogs:

Smith Families

Mail-order Brides to Jamestown Colony

Images of New England

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