William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America


Letter of William Hilton to his Family

(William Hilton came to Plymouth on the ship Fortune in 1621)
Loving Cousin,

At our arrival at New Plymouth, in New England, we found all our
friends and planters in good health, though they were left sick and
weak, with very small means; the Indians round about us peaceable
and friendly; the country very pleasant and temperate, yielding
naturally, of itself, great store of fruits, as vines of divers
sorts, in great abundance. There is likewise walnuts, chestnuts,
small nuts and plums, with much variety of flowers, roots and herbs,
no less pleasant than wholesome and profitable. No place hath more
gooseberries and strawberries, nor better. Timer of all sorts you
have in England doth cover the land, that affords beasts of divers
sorts, and great flocks of turkeys, quails, pigeons and partridges;
many great lakes abounding with fish, fowl, beavers, and otters. The
sea affords us great plenty of all excellent sorts of sea-fish, as
the rivers and isles doth variety of wild fowl of most useful sorts.
Mines we find, to our thinking; but neither the goodness nor quality
we know. Better grain cannot be than the Indian corn, if we will
plant it upon as good ground as a man need desire. We are all
freeholders; the rent-day doth not trouble us; and all those good
blessings we have, of which and what we list in their seasons for
taking. Our company are, for the most part, very religious, honest
people; the word of God sincerely taught us ever Sabbath; so that I
know not any thing a contented mind can here want. I desire your
friendly care to send my wife and children to me, where I wish all
the friends I have in England; and so I rest

Your loving kinsman,

William Hilton


Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas