Plymouth Colony

First of the New England Colonies Plymouth Colony Begins The people we know as the Pilgrims have become so surrounded with legends and tales that we tend to forget that they were real people – but they were placed in extraordinary situations. And yes, they did wonderfully brave things. Basically, they were English people who had suffered persecution in their homeland, and were searching for a place where they could worship God as they chose. On December 20, 1620, the Pilgrims dropped anchor in Plymouth Harbor. The spot they chose had been named “Plimouth” on a 1614 map made by Captain John Smith, and thus it was named. The men spent three days surveying for a settlement site. They finally…

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Plymouth Colony Women’s Rights

Pilgrim Mothers? There is so much made of the Pilgrim Fathers of Plymouth Colony, but what about the Pilgrim Mothers? Those brave women are only mentioned in conjunction with their husbands and their children. Their lives are seen only in brief glimpses. The women themselves are almost invisible. Plymouth Colony Life The Pilgrims continued to follow the laws of England concerning females, marriage and the family. They brought with them traditional attitudes about the proper status and roles of women. Women were considered to be the “weaker vessels,” not as strong physically or mentally as men, and less emotionally stable.

Plymouth Colony Harvest Celebration

The Harvest of 1621 In spring 1621, the colonists planted their first crops in Patuxet’s abandoned fields. The wheat and barley did not produce well, but their corn crop proved very successful, because Squanto of the Wampanoag tribe taught them how to plant corn in hills, using fish from the bay as fertilizer. The First Thanksgiving? It is apparent that the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony had some sort of celebration after their first crops were harvested in the autumn of 1621. It was probably held in early October 1621 and was celebrated by the 51 surviving Pilgrims, along with Chief Massasoit and 90 of his men. Only two written accounts exist—those of Edward Winslow and William Bradford, and I have…

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Pilgrims—Not Puritans!

English Separatists The men and women who founded Plymouth Colony were not Puritans. The Puritans were a totally different sect—they wanted to reform the Church of England. They established the Massachusetts Bay Colony a decade later. The people who sailed into Plymouth Harbor on the Mayflower in 1620 weren’t Pilgrims either. They were Separatists, because they wanted to make a complete break from the Church of England—they believed that it was too corrupt to be reformed. They were persecuted for their beliefs by the English monarchy and to a lesser degree by the Puritans. In 1608, a few congregations fled to Holland. They were referred to as pilgrims because of their sojourns in search of religious freedom. At some point,…

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Jamestown Colony

Women in Jamestown Colony Jamestown would not have survived as a permanent settlement without the daring women who were willing to leave behind their English homes and face the challenges of a strange new land. These women created a sense of stability in the untamed wilderness of Virginia. They helped the settlers see Virginia not just as a temporary place for profit or adventure, but as a country in which to forge a new home. The Early Years On May 13, 1607, an expedition of about 100 men and boys reached a marshy peninsula about 30 miles up the James River, now in the state of Virginia. There they anchored their three small ships – the Godspeed, the Discovery, and…

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Pocahontas Saves John Smith?

The Year 1607 This account of Pocahontas’ life comes from Chief Roy Crazy Horse, who is the head of the Powhatan Nation today. I tend to believe his version, because it’s more realistic. What motivation could he possibly have to lie? Image: Statue of Pocahontas Gravesend, Kent, England I’m not necessarily faulting the colonists. I’m sure they needed legends to believe in to make their lives more bearable. And that’s what I believe the story of Pocahontas we’ve heard all our lives is – a legend. This is Chief Roy’s history of Pocahontas: