Founders’ Memorial, Boston

A memorial erected on the 300th anniversary of Boston’s settlement honors the city’s founders.

The 1930 Founders’ Memorial on Boston Common, near the corner of Beacon and Spruce streets, features a bronze bas-relief on its south face depicting the arrival of the city’s Puritan settlers.

In the scene William Blackstone, the first settler of Boston, is greeting John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Native Americans watch the scene, which includes Ann Pollard, the first white woman to land in Boston. An allegorical figure representing Boston watches from the far right.

On the north face, facing Beacon Street, a dedication reads, “”In gratitude to God for the blessings enjoyed under a free government, the City of Boston has erected this memorial on the three hundredth anniversary of its founding – September 17th, 1630-1930.”

Above this dedication, two quotes from early settlers have been inscribed. The first composed by Winthrop during the long Atlantic voyage, reads, “For wee must consider that wee shall be as a citty upon a hill. The eies of all people are uppon us, soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our God in this work…wee shall be made a story and a byword through the world.”

The second quote is from a history of Plymouth colony by governor William Bradford: “Thus out of smalle beginnings, greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things out of nothing…and as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone to many, yea, in some sorte to our whole nation.”

William Blackstone (also spelled Blaxton), the first English settler in Boston, was an Anglican minister. With a keen eye for valuable real estate, he lived on today’s Beacon Hill and Boston Common, and sold the land for the common to the Puritan settlers. After religious and political disagreements, he moved south and became the first settler in today’s Rhode Island. The Blackstone River is named after him.

The monument was created by sculptor John Francis Paramino, who also provided a number of public memorials in Boston.

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