Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mount Wollaston has a most unusual history. In 1624, Thomas Morton emigrated from England to the Plymouth Colony, in the company of a Captain Wollaston. Unable to get along with the Pilgrim authorities in Plymouth Colony, Wollaston and Morton left the colony in 1625 with a company of thirty or forty colonists. They cleared the land and built log-huts on the seaward slopes of the hills in what is now the city of Quincy, Massachusetts. In 1626, however, the captain and most members of the community departed for Virginia.
Morton remained, renamed the village Mare Mount (Merry Mount), and proceeded to outrage the Puritans. As Morton himself wrote in The New England Canaan (Book III, Chapter 14): "The Inhabitants of . . . Mare Mount . . . did devise amongst themselves . . . Revels and merriment after the old English custome; (they) prepared to sett up a Maypole upon the festivall day . . . and therefore brewed a barrell of excellent beare . . . to be spent, with other good cheare, for all commers of that day. And . . . they had prepared a song fitting to the time and present occasion. And upon May day they brought the Maypole to the place appointed, with drumes, gunnes, pistols and other fitting instruments, for the purpose; and there erected it with the help of Salvages, that came thether to see the manner of our Revels. A goodly pine tree of 80 foot longe was reared up, with a peare of buckshorns nayled one somewhat neare unto the top of it: where it stood, as a faire sea mark for directions how to finde out the way to mine Hoste of Mare Mount." See also Nathaniel Hawthorne's account in The Maypole of Merrymount.
In 1628, Plymouth authorities dispatched Miles Standish to restore order. He promptly cut down the Maypole and took Morton into custody. Morton and associates were too drunk to resist; they were exiled to a small nearby island to await transportation back to England. There Morton was supplied with provisions by sympathetic Indians, escaped, and returned to England on his own. However, he reappeared in Plymouth the following year; once again, his property was confiscated and he was again sent home. In 1642, Morton returned to Massachusetts yet again, and was promptly imprisoned in Boston. Following his release, he was exiled to Maine, where he remained for the rest of his life.
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