Darby Field Climbs Mount Washington (1642)

Two Indian guides lead the first European expedition to the top of the White Mountains

I first encountered this account in Colin G. Calloway’s Dawnland Encounters, but the full text is available on pp. 62-63 of John Winthrop’s Journal (1630-1649).  In addition to keeping such detailed notes on New England history, John Winthrop was of course a twelve-time governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

“Piscataquack” is an early neighborhood of Dover, NH.

This must have been a real high point (literally) in the life of Darby Field.  He was in his early thirties at the time.  Apparently he was a translator for Indian languages, too.  Hiking with people is usually a good way to learn their language!

Hats become very important when stick figures wear little else…  Darby’s is based on the knit 17th century caps I found on this 17th century fashion site.  (I’m glad there’s a corner of the web devoted to clothing of 17th century Britain.)  The hats worn by the native guides are based on an 18th century watercolor to be found in Calloway’s book (above).

I like imagining the delicious feeling, however brief, of thinking you’d stumbled across an enormous mountain full of diamonds…

3 Comments

  1. do you have any idea what happen to Darby at the end of his life? he’s my 8th or 9th great grandfather and we can not find out what happen to him after he was arrested for “roaming while disoriented”. did he die in jail? where is he buried?

    1. Ann ~ Oh, that sounds like an interesting story… No, I don’t know anything more than I’ve found in John Winthrop’s journal. Please keep me posted on your family’s discoveries & perhaps we can have a comic to bring Darby’s story up to date! ~ M

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