Commissioned for the 300th anniversary of Boston’s founding, this piece depicts the city’s first English resident, William Blackstone, greeting colonial governor John Winthrop and his company. Blackstone is considered the first white settler to have lived in present-day Boston. Winthrop originally landed in the area of Charlestown, north of the current city center, but he relocated and joined Blackstone after finding Charlestown unsuitable for settlement.
As Winthrop and the European settlers disembark, their ship, the Arabella, floats in the background. Among the newcomers is Ann Pollard, Boston’s first white female inhabitant – here depicted as a child though she was a woman at the time of her arrival. On the left of the main scene, two Native Americans observe the Europeans’ arrival to Shawmut, renamed Boston, not yet aware of the impending devastation to their culture by the European immigrants. On the right, a female figure representing Boston looks on, accompanied by a soldier. Together, the female figure and the soldier symbolize the growth of the city and the protection of its inhabitants. Interestingly, the depiction of William Blackstone resembles James Curley, mayor of Boston at the time of the commission. The memorial’s reverse side is inscribed with quotations by Mayor Curley, John Winthrop, and William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony.