“a very lusty man, in his best years” — Pilgrim Tercentenary Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin

Today, the Pilgrim Tercentenary Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin remembers the meeting of peace between Massasoit and the Pilgrims on March 22, 1621.

From the Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers of the Colony of Plymouth, From 1602-1625 compiled by Alexander Young, published in 1844:


Thursday, the 22d of March, was a very fair, warm day.

About noon we met again about our public business. But we had scarce been an hour together, but Samoset came again, and Squanto, the only native of Patuxet, where we now inhabit, who was one of the twenty captives that by Hunt were carried away, and had been in England, and dwelt in Cornhill with Master John Slanie, a merchant, and could speak a little English, with three others; and they brought with them some few skins to truck, and some red herrings, newly taken and dried, but not salted; and signified unto us, that their great Sagamore, Masasoyt, was hard by, with Quadequina, his brother, and all their men.

They could not express well in English what they would; but after an hour the king came to the top of a hill over against us, and had in his train sixty men, that we could well behold them, and they us.

We were not willing to send our governor to them, and they were unwilling to come to us.

So Squanto went again unto him, who brought word that we should send one to parley with him, which we did, which was Edward Winsloe, to know his mind, and signify the mind and will of our governor, which was to have trading and peace with him.

We sent to the king a pair of knives, and a copper chain with a jewel at it.

To Quadequina we sent likewise a knife, and a jewel to hang in his ear, and withal a pot of strong water, a good quantity of biscuit, and some butter; which were all willingly accepted.

Our messenger made a speech unto him, that King James saluted him with words of love and peace, and did accept of him as his friend and ally; and that our governor desired to see him and to truck with him, and to confirm a peace with him, as his next neighbor.

He liked well of the speech, and heard it attentively, though the interpreters did not well express it.

After he had eaten and drunk himself, and given the rest to his company, he looked upon our messenger’s sword and armor, which he had on, with intimation of his desire to buy it; but, on the other side, our messenger showed his unwillingness to part with it.

In the end, he left him in the custody of Quadequina, his brother, and came over the brook, and some twenty men following him, leaving all their bows and arrows behind them.

We kept six or seven as hostages for our messenger.

Captain Standish and Master Williamson met the king at the brook, with half a dozen musketeers.

They saluted him, and he them; so one going over, the one on the one side, and the other on the other, conducted him to a house then in building, where we placed a green rug and three or four cushions.

Then instantly came our governor, with drum and trumpet after him, and some few musketeers.

After salutations, our governor kissing his hand, the king kissed him; and so they sat down.

The governor called for some strong water, and drunk to him; and he drunk a great draught, that made him sweat all the while after.

He called for a little fresh meat, which the king did eat willingly, and did give his followers.

Then they treated of peace, which was:

1. That neither he nor any of his should injure or do hurt to any of our people.

2. And if any of his did hurt to any of ours, he should send the offender, that we might punish him.

3. That if any of our tools were taken away, when our people were at work, he should cause them to be restored; and if ours did any harm to any of his, we would do the like to them.

4. If any did unjustly war against him, we would aid him; if any did war against us, he should aid us.

5. He should send to his neighbor confederates to certify them of this, that they might not wrong us, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace.

6. That when their men came to us, they should leave their bows and arrows behind them, as we should do our pieces when we came to them.

Lastly, that doing thus, King James would esteem of him as his friend and ally.

All which the king seemed to like well, and it was applauded of his followers.

All the while he sat by the governor, he trembled for fear.

In his person he is a very lusty man, in his best years, an able body, grave of countenance, and spare of speech; in his attire little or nothing differing from the rest of his followers, only in a great chain of white bone beads about his neck; and at it, behind his neck, hangs a little bag of tobacco, which he drank, and gave us to drink.

His face was painted with a sad red, like murrey, and oiled both head and face, that he looked greasily.

All his followers likewise were in their faces, in part or in whole, painted, some black, some red, some yellow, and some white, some with crosses, and other antic works;  some had skins on them, and some naked; all strong, tall men in appearance.

So after all was done, the governor conducted him to the brook, and there they embraced each other, and he departed; we diligently keeping our hostages.

We expected our messenger’s coming; but anon word was brought us that Quadequina was coming, and our messenger was stayed till his return; who presently came, and a troop with him.

So likewise we entertained him, and conveyed him to the place prepared.

He was very fearful of our pieces, and made signs of dislike, that they should be carried away; whereupon commandment was given they should be laid away.

He was a very proper, tall young man, of a very modest and seemly countenance, and he did kindly like of our entertainment.

So we conveyed him likewise, as we did the king; but divers of their people stayed still.

When he was returned, then they dismissed our messenger.

Two of his people would have stayed all night; but we would not suffer it.

One thing I forgot; the king had in his bosom, hanging in a string, a great long knife.

He marveled much at our trumpet, and some of his men would sound it as well as they could.

Samoset and Squanto, they stayed all night with us; and the king and all his men lay all night in the woods, not above half an English mile from us, and all their wives and women with them.

They said that within eight or nine days they would come and set corn on the other side of the brook, and dwell there all summer; which is hard by us.

That night we kept good watch; but there was no appearance of danger.

The next morning, divers of their people came over to us, hoping to get some victuals, as we imagined.

Some of them told us the king would have some of us come see him.

Captain Standish and Isaac Alderton went venturously, who were welcomed of him after their manner.

He gave them three or four ground nuts and some tobacco.

We cannot yet conceive but that he is willing to have peace with us; for they have seen our people sometimes alone two or three in the woods at work and fowling, whenas they offered them no harm, as they might easily have done; and especially because he hath a potent adversary, the Narowhigansets, that are at war with him, against whom he thinks we may be some strength to him; for our pieces are terrible unto them.

This morning they stayed till ten or eleven of the clock; and our governor bid them send the king’s kettle, and filled it full of pease, which pleased them well; and so they went their way.


The Pilgrim Tercentenary Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin shows with an artist’s image, circa 1915, of Massasoit on his way to meet the Pilgrims and sign the Treaty in 1621.

Pilgrim Tercentenary Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin

Pilgrim Tercentenary large mug