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Earliest Mystic River ship-building.

by John H. Hooper.
‘October 15-1635. A number of Dorchester, Mass., families began their journey to Windsor, Conn., and arrived at their destination just as winter was setting in. Many died of cold and starvation. In December about 70 adults and children, including some of these emigrants came to Saybrook from the up-river settlement and took passage for Boston in the Rebecca, a vessel of 60 tons burden.’

‘April 26-636. The possessions of William Pynchon and others, who settled Springfield, Mass., were sent to the head of navigation on the Connecticut, in the Blessing of the Bay belonging to Gov. John Winthrop.’

The Rebecca was owned by Gov. Mathew Cradock, and was, no doubt, built in Medford soon after the settlement of the plantation.

The establishment of his men on the Mystic, extensively employed in the fisheries, caused the building of small vessels therefor, and this leads to the inference that ship-building was commenced on the Mystic at an early date.

In a letter from the company in London to the authorities here, dated April 17, 1629, they say, ‘We have sent six shipwrights of whom Robert Moulton is chief.’ . . .

In another letter, May 28, 1629, they say, ‘The provisions for building ships, as pitch, tar, rosin, oakum, [p. 72] cordage and sail-cloth in all these ships, with nine firkins and two half-barrels of nails in the Two Sisters, are two-thirds for the company and one-third for the Governor, Mr. Cradock.’. . .

These letters show conclusively that vessels were built in the settlement prior to the building of the Blessing of the Bay, claimed to have been the first built in New England.

As Governor Cradock's location was in Medford, and the place where his vessels were built, it is fair to consider the Rebecca the older vessel of the two.

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