104 Peregrine White Dr, Marshfield, MA 02050, USA
Owned By: Private
Peregrine White was the first child born to the Pilgrims in the New World. After he married in 1648, he built a home here. At one time there was a saltworks nearby. This historic site does not offer public access. A historic marker is visible from the road.
Peregrine White was born on the Mayflower in 1620, when it was anchored at Provincetown. He is celebrated as the first English child to be born in New England. His parents were William and Susannah White. After William’s death in 1621, Susannah married Edward Winslow. (Both of their spouses had succumbed to illness that first winter in Plymouth.) This was the first marriage ceremony in Plymouth Colony. Edward Winslow was a leader in the colony, and served several terms as governor. Edward and Susannah’s first child together, Josiah, arrived in 1629. Together with their mother, stepfather, and brother, Peregrine White and his older brother, Resolved, settled in Marshfield in the early 1630s. A sister, Elizabeth, completed the family.
In 1636, at age 16, Peregrine White volunteered as a soldier in the Pequot War. He continued his military service, eventually earning the title of Captain. He was a well respected member of the early Marshfield community, serving as a member of the General Court, and the Council of War, and also working as a surveyor. In 1698, at age 78, he joined the church — many decades beyond what was the norm in those days. In 1700, at the age of 80, he became the town’s school keeper.
Peregrine White married Sarah Bassett in 1648, and they had 6 children together. They lived on Sarah’s family’s land, on the banks of today’s South River, across from what was then the North River mouth. (William Bassett was granted 100 acres at the base of Snake Hill in 1640.) Through the years, Peregrine purchased several adjacent pieces of land. The road from South River Street to his homestead is now named after him. His estate remained in the White family for five generations, until about 1870. At the beginning of the 20th century, its owner was Alonzo Ewell, who is said to have kept the largest flocks of poultry, ducks, geese and pigeons in Marshfield. At that time, some of the original timbers were still in place in the house.
In 1665, to honor Peregrine White for being “the first white native in New England,” the General Court awarded him 200 acres of land. These were located on the path from Bridgewater to Plymouth, and he sold them. Peregrine is fondly remembered in Marshfield for his devotion to his mother. In her later years, she would receive a daily visit from her son, who rode a black horse and wore a coat “with buttons the size of a Spanish dollar.” Susannah White died in 1680. The weathervane that stands at the top of Marshfield’s Town Hall depicts Peregrine on his horse. Peregrine White passed away in 1704, at age 84. His wife, Sarah White, lived until 1711.
This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) and Wampanoag Native American tribes.
Habitats and Wildlife
The Peregrine White homestead is located at the base of Snake Hill. Looking toward the ocean from there, the view is spectacular. In the foreground are the marshes of the South River. Farther out are Rexhame Beach and the site of the Old Mouth of the North River, and beyond them, the Atlantic Ocean.
The South River originates deep in Duxbury. Its source is in the Round Pond area, and from there it winds unobtrusively through the woods for several miles. Although one can view it from Route 3, and also from both the South River Bog and the Camp Wing Conservation Area, it remains a narrow and mostly un-navigable stream until just below Veterans Memorial Park. From there it flows through South River Park, behind the playground of South River School, and under the Willow Street and Francis Keville Bridges. Wider at that point, and navigable at most tides, its course winds through the marshes as it runs parallel to Route 139, all the way to Rexhame. From there the river turns northward. It flows for 3 miles between Humarock and the mainland to Fourth Cliff, where it joins the North River at its outlet to the sea.
Historic Site: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Size: 1.4 acres
Hours: Closed to the public.
Parking: No public parking available.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: South River watershed