Saturday, January 19

We Were There With the Mayflower Pilgrims

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When King Henry VIII made himself head of the Church of England in 1534, many people were unhappy.  Some of them created a new church and called themselves "Separatists.”  They were treated poorly because they did not conform, so many moved to Holland for religious freedom.
About a decade later, they joined with a group of investors to get ships so that they could sail to America.  The investors provided them with supplies for the journey, and the Separatists agreed to send fish, timber, and fur back to England for seven years to pay off their debts.

The colonists began with two ships – the Mayflower and Speedwell – but had to leave the Speedwell in England due to it taking on water.  Some people stayed in England, and the rest crowded onto the Mayflower.  Not everyone aboard was a Separatist; some were “Strangers” who were coming to the New World for its opportunities.  There were 102 colonists and 26 crew members on the 66 day journey.  Two people died and one baby, Oceanus Hopkins, was born on the ship.

In November 1620, the Mayflower reached Provincetown.  About 24,000 Native Americans of the Wampanoag tribe lived in the area at the time.  There were minor skirmishes between the two groups.  Still aboard the ship, the men signed the Mayflower Compact, which was an agreement of government.

They pulled into Plymouth Harbor in December 1620, and began the arduous task of setting up a home site.  They found land that the Patuxet tribe had abandoned (due to a smallpox epidemic), and this provided them with a good harbor, a clean supply of water, cleared fields for planting, a hill to build a fort on, and no nearby hostile natives.  One Patuxet remained who did not die from the plague; Squanto helped these colonists survive the first winter.

Still living on the Mayflower while homes were being built, people began to get sick from disease.  They contracted pneumonia and scurvy, and two or three died each day during the first months in Plymouth.  Half of the crew died; the remaining crew returned to England in the spring.

Squanto, Samoset, and Massasoit helped the colonists to plant seeds, hunt, and live like the Native Americans.  They lived in relative peace alongside the colonists, and brought much food to the first harvest gathering, which we call Thanksgiving today.


Make / Do
  • Take a virtual field trip at Plimoth Plantation
  • Write ten negative things in your life; then find a reason to be thankful for them.  For example, I’m thankful for the spot I find at the far side of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking

Watch / Listen

Define / Identify
  • Pilgrims
  • Vestments
  • Squanto
  • Indentured servants
  • Mayflower Compact
  • William Bradford
  • Wampanoag
  • Samoset
  • Massasoit
  • Patuxet
  • Pneumonia
  • Scurvy
  • Sachem
  • Separatists
  • New World
  • Colony
  • Leyden
  • Investor
  • Puritan                          
  • Common House
  • The Pilgrims made a peace treaty with Chief Massasoit.  What do you think would be important to include in a treaty?
  • Read “THE WAMPANOAG SIDE OF THE FIRST THANKSGIVING STORY.” .”  Why do you think the story of Thanksgiving changed so much through the years?  What do you think of the Native American tribes referring to this as the “Day of Mourning?”
  • Write a newspaper article describing the first Thanksgiving as though you were there.  Remember to address the questions : who, what, when, where, why, and how.

1 comment:

  1. i like your make/do... good to remember to find a way to be thankful even for the hard (or sometimes just slightly annoying things).