Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Pilgrims--some unknown facts

When I was in grade school I loved the celebration of Thanksgiving because
we got to dress up as both Indians and Pilgrims, and we got to taste some of
the foods they ate. We also heard their story every year. 

There were about 102 passengers and 30 crew members on the Mayflower,
but some of the passengers were called Strangers because they were not
part of the Pilgrims and were not coming to the new world to escape 
persecution. The Mayflower sailed from Holland where the Pilgrims lived 
for a number of years after fleeing England. (One Thanksgiving we visited 
Leyden and attended a Thanksgiving service in the church where the 
Pilgrims had worshiped.) Two died on the 65 day voyage in a very stormy 
crossing. The ship was forced by storms to go further north than intended  
and landed in an uninhabited area in November of 1620. They built a common 
house which was destroyed by fire in January of 1621 which meant losing 
supplies and  forcing them to shelter on the cramped ship. William Bradford 
said of that winter: “...soon a most lamentable blow fell upon them. In two or 
three months time half of their company died...scarcely 50 remained, and 
sometimes two or three persons died in a day. In the time of worst distress, 
there were but six or seven sound persons, who, to their great commendation 
be it spoken, spared no pains night or day, but with great toil and at the risk of 
their own health, fetched wood, made fires, prepared food for the sick, made 
their beds, washed their infected clothes, dressed and undressed them; in a 
word did all the homely and necessary services for them which dainty and 
queasy stomachs cannot endure to be mentioned.”  Approximately 55 people
survived the voyage and that awful winter but in March when the ship sailed, not 
one of the Pilgrims was on board. 

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

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