Roger Conant Statue

In 1913, Henry Hudson Kitson, famous for the Lexington Minuteman Memorial, sculpted this statue of Roger Conant, the founder of the English settlement in Salem. Conant’s descendants commissioned this statue.The work highlights that era’s idea of the early colonists, with Conant dressed as a stern Puritan, his smooth cloak in contrast with the rough stump which he grasps decisively, representing the land he was thought to have tamed.

A salter of fish from England, Conant and his wife, Sarah, arrived first in the Plymouth Colony. In 1626, Conant led the creation of a new English settlement at Naumkeag, the site of a Massachusett village. In opposition to the pillaging early history of the Plymouth Colony, what little accounts survive of Conant’s governance at Naumkeag suggest an uneasy peace with local Native Americans as the colonists appropriated their land. In 1628, John Endecott took over the administration from Conant, changing the settlement’s name to Salem. After relinquishing his power, Conant remained active in local and colony matters and farmed in Beverly, where he died in 1679.

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