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The Pilgrims Contribution to America

The Pilgrims Contribution to AmericaWhy do Pilgrims occupy such an enduring part in the American imagination? Jamestown was settled earlier than Plymouth, was larger and its settlers suffered physical conditions as grim as the Pilgrims experienced. The answer is that the Jamestown settlers were quite different than the Pilgrims and the political conditions under which Jamestown was settled were quite different than for Plymouth.

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Pilgrims and Wampanoag: The Prudence of Bradford and Massasoit

Pilgrims and Wampanoag: The Prudence of Bradford and MassasoitThe Algonquin Nation inhabited New England and the mid-Atlantic states. The Wampanoag federation at its peak contained 20,000 to 30,000 individuals in two dozen tribes who occupied southeastern Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island. The Wampanoag was ruled by a Sachem, Massasoit, and a council of young men who had proven themselves in battle and older men chosen for their wisdom. Europeans explored, and in some cases planted settlements along the coast of New England since at least 1498.

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Pilgrim Trades

Pilgrim TradesOur Mayflower ancestors were not of “royal blood.” For the most part, they were what we now would call “middle class” people who had to work for a living. Of the 58 male passengers, both men and boys, the trades or occupations of only 32 are known.

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2009 Kitty Little Award Address

2009 Kitty Little Award AddressThe following paper is by the 2009 recipient of the Katharine Fox Little Distinguished Mayflower Scholarship Award. Jane Fiske was honored at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the SMDPA in Essington, PA for her “Discovering, Recording, Compiling, Preserving, Publishing, And Facilitating the Same by Others, of Genealogy and History of the Pilgrims.” Her paper was not presented verbatim, although all issues were covered. It is posted here for those who could not attend the meeting.

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1621: A Historian Looks Anew at Thanksgiving

1621: A Historian Looks Anew at ThanksgivingNew publications still have some errors in fact.

"A Thanksgiving for plenty. O Most merciful Father, which of thy gracious goodness hast heard the devout prayers of thy church, and turned our dearth and scarcity into cheapnesse and plenty: we giue thee humble thankes for this thy special bounty, beseeching thee to continue this thy louing kindnes unto vs, that our land may yeild vs her fruits of increase, to thy glory and our comfort, through Iesus Christ our Lord, Amen"

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Book Review: Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners

Book Review: Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and SojournersAt last! Jeremy Bangs’ long awaited comprehensive history of the Pilgrims, Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners - Leiden and the Foundations of Plymouth Plantation has finally been published. When one reads some of the previously published Pilgrim history, it is something like looking at paintings in a museum, especially “history paintings,” where you get the viewpoint of the artist based on his or her biases and knowledge. What Dr. Bangs has provided is a step further; not presenting the “Hogwarts” framed images where the subjects move as they had in life, but rather he lets us step through the frame into the past.

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Comparing Plymouth and Jamestown

Comparing Plymouth and JamestownPilgrim families arrived in Holland in the spring of 1608 and in Plymouth in December 1620. In May 1607, 105 men arrived in Jamestown to establish the first permanent English settlement in North America. While the individuals in both settlements were English, the they were different in many important ways. To fully appreciate our Pilgrim heritage, it is important to understand the differences between Plymouth and Jamestown. This essay identifies major differences and explains how these differences affected the settlements during the first few decades of their arrival.

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Marriage Pilgrim Style & The Pilgrim Church

 Marriage Pilgrim Style & The Pilgrim ChurchThe 1627 Plimoth Plantation presented a recreation of a Pilgrim wedding ceremony on August 14, 2010. They chose to go back to the year 1623 when Governor William Bradford, whose wife Dorothy May had drowned shortly after the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620, married Elizabeth Carpenter, the widow Southworth.

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A Level Look at Land Allotments, 1623

A Level Look at Land Allotments, 1623In 1623, the Pilgrims ceased rotating their field assignments each year and assigned use of the same plot to the same family group for that year and the next years. That this represented their discovery of the advantages of private property over communalism is a commonly repeated distortion that dates back to William Bradford himself. So when an oversimplified version of Bradford's memories surfaces in some place like The Wall Street Journal, as it did on the day after Thanksgiving, 2005, one shouldn't be too surprised.

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The Pilgrim Story 2.0

The Pilgrim Story 2.0The Pilgrim story is known the world over as one of America’s founding narratives. The traditional account—the flight from religious persecution, exile in Holland, the 1620 voyage and the Compact, landing on Plymouth Rock, the fatal first winter, and the First Thanksgiving—has achieved canonical status. However, this narrative did not spring forth from history fully formed; rather it has evolved over time and is still being shaped by changing social and political circumstances.

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Theocracy in New England

Theocracy in New EnglandThat New England's Calvinist Puritans created theocratic governments is a stereotype that owes much to the nineteenth-century myth that Calvin established theocratic government in Geneva. In his Institutes, Calvin distinguishes between the jurisdiction of civil and ecclesiastical governments, stating that the magistrate in a Christian society has general authority over the entire society, including the obligation to protect and enforce religion and morality.

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Mayflower Namesakes

Mayflower NamesakesOver the years, the historic ship Mayflower that brought the Pilgrims to New England in 1620 has been honored by various namesakes, Of course there was another 17th century ship of that name that brought Separatists to settle in Salem, Plymouth Colony in 1629, but she was probably just one of many of that name back then for we are told that “Mayflower” was a common ship name.

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