On December 7th 1620 Captain Jones led a group of 34 on a second exploration of the Cape Cod area. The group was made up of 24 passengers and 10 sailors. The shallop had finally been rebuilt, but due to the wind they had difficulty weathering the point where the Mayflower was anchored. They were blown to the other side of the harbour where they found shelter in an inlet and spent the night there; the inlet is a part of what is now called Pilgrim Lake. Temperatures were now falling well below freezing and Bradford later reflected that this was the beginning of the death of some of those onboard the Mayflower. By morning there had been six inches of snow.
The party headed to south towards Parnet Harbour, being so cold and frostbitten they named the inlet Cold Harbour. They landed and spent the next few hours marching up and down the snow covered hills. Cold and fed up by now Captain Jones wanted to head back to the Mayflower. Others wanted to stay, and Captain Jones insisted they make camp for the night under several large pine trees. They caught six ducks and three geese and fed their cold hungry bodies. Their day’s work had shown them that Cold Harbour was not the place to found their settlement as the sea was too shallow.
In the morning it was agreed to relocate Corn Hill and collect more corn. By now the area had been covered by snow and after some time hunting for it and, having poked away at the surface with their cutlasses, they found the original bag and a further ten bushels. Captain Jones used this as a further supporting reason to get back to the Mayflower along with those who were too sick to continue. The others would explore the area further while they waited for the shallop to return.
On the morning of day three, Captain Standish, who was now in charge, led the group in search for the native that had been sighted the week before. They were however to remain elusive, having moved inland for the winter, not to return to the area until summer. However, in their search the explorers came across another apparent grave site. They found several boards, one with a carving of Poseidon’s trident, a clue that this came from a European ship. Further down they found two bundles one small and one large. In the large bundle there were some bones, with some flesh and golden hair on them along with a sailor's canvas bag which held a knife and sewing needle. In the smaller bag was another skull and the bones of a small child.
After returning their finds into the grave and covering the site back they carried on their exploration and found some native houses which from the evidence suggested they’d been left in a hurry. Bradford and Edward Winslow were later to leave one of the best first-person descriptions of a native house and their finds inside which included a pots, bowls, mats and the remains of a fire. As with the grave found earlier, they decided to take the best finds with them.
Finally, they headed back to the Mayflower where they were greeted with good news, a son had been born to Susanna and William White, who they called Peregrine. With their second exploration completed they were still without a site where they would settle down and over the next few days they discussed where to go next.
These scenes were built by James Pegrum and Dan Harris as part of a series of models on the voyage of the Mayflower. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see them first.
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