- from Early Settlements
John Smith was a rover, a restless man who liked to keep on moving. He left Jamestown in 1609 and returned to England, but by 1614 was eager to see America again. Smith and a crew sailed for North America in two whaling ships.
The people paying for the voyage expected them to return with fresh whale meat. But catching whales proved more difficult than they expected. So while most of the crew fished and traded for furs, Smith and a few others explored the coast. They traveled as far north as southern Canada and as far south as Cape Cod. Smith named the place New England and created a map of it. When he got back to England, he wrote a book called A Description of New England. The book and map were published in 1616. On his map, Smith named one location New Plymouth, and in his book, he called it “an excellent good harbor, good land”* and said that the only thing it lacked was hard-working people. Four years later, partly thanks to Smith’s book, new people arrived.
*From Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. American Stationers’ Company, 1837.