Nearly four hundred years after the pilgrims left England in search of a better life, their stories still resonate with Americans today. In this account, the pilgrims’ own writings of their adventures and hardships are brought to life for young readers.
This touching account shows the pilgrims’ voyage on the Mayflower, their first meeting with the native people, and the hardships of hunger, illness, and death that they faced during their first winter. Finally, after more than a year in the New World, they celebrate the harvest and truly give thanks.
|Publisher:||Open Road Media|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||4 MB|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Our First Year in the New World
By Peter Roop, Connie Roop, Shelley Pritchett
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1995 Peter and Connie Roop
All rights reserved.
August 5, 1620: At length, after much travel and debates, all things were got ready and provided. A small ship (the Speedwell) was bought, and fitted in Holland, which was intended to serve to transport us and to use for fishing and such other affairs for the good and benefit of the colony.
We had not gone far, but Mr. Reinholds of the lesser ship complained that he found his ship so leaky as he could not put further to sea till she was mended. The ship was thoroughly searched from stem to stern, some leaks were found and mended, and now it was conceived by the workman and all, she was sufficient, and they might proceed without either fear or danger. So with good hopes, we put to sea again, conceiving we should go comfortably on.
But it fell out otherwise, for after we were gone to sea again, the small ship was so leaky we could scarce free her with much pumping. So we resolved both ships to bear up back again and put into Plymouth. No special leak could be found, but it was judged to be the general weakness of the ship, and that she would not prove sufficient for the voyage.
September 6, 1620: Many troubles blown over, and now all being compact together in one ship (the Mayflower), we put to sea again with a prosperous wind, which continued many days together, which was some encouragement unto us; yet according to the usual manner many were afflicted with seasickness.
And, I may not omit here a special work of God's providence. There was a proud and very profane young man, one of the seamen, of a lusty, able body, which made him the more haughty. He would always be condemning the poor people in their sickness, and cursing them daily. But it pleased God before we came half seas over, to smite this young man with a grievous disease, of which he died in a desperate manner, and so was himself the first that was thrown overboard.
In all this voyage there died but one of the passengers, which was William Butten, a youth, servant to Samuel Fuller.
November 9, 1620: After many difficulties in boisterous storms, by God's providence, by break of day we espied land which we deemed to be Cape Cod. The appearance of land much comforted us, especially seeing so goodly a land and wooded to the brink of the sea. It caused us to rejoice together and praise God that had given us once again to see land.
And thus we made our course south-southwest, purposing to go to a river ten leagues to the south of the Cape. That night, the wind being contrary, we put around again for the bay of Cape Cod.
November 11, 1620: We came to an anchor in the bay. It is a good harbor and pleasant bay, circled round except in the entrance, with oaks, pines, juniper, sassafras, and other sweet wood. It is a harbor wherein a thousand sail of ships may safely ride.
Today, November 11, 1620, before we came to harbor, it was thought there should be an association and agreement. That we should combine together into one body, and submit to such government and governors as we should by common consent agree to make and choose.
IN THE NAME of God Amen. We whose names are underwriten, the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord King James by the grace of God, of great Britaine, Franc, & Ireland king, defender of the faith, &.
Haveing undertaken, for the glorie of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant the first colonie in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly & mutualy in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant & combine our selves togeather into a civill body politick; for our better ordering, & preservation & furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof to enacte, constitute, and frame shuch just & equall lawes, ordinances, Acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete & convenient for the generall good of the Colonie: unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
In witnes whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at CapCodd the 11 of November, in the year the raigne of our soveraigne Lord King James of England, France, & Ireland the eighteenth and of Scotland the fiftie fourth. An°: Dom. 1620.
Being brought safe to land, we fell upon our knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought us over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered us from all its perils and miseries.
Crossing the vast ocean, and the sea of troubles before in preparation, we now had no friends to welcome us, nor inns to entertain or refresh our weather-beaten bodies, no houses or much less towns to seek help.
What could now sustain us but the spirit of God and his grace?
We relieved ourselves with wood and water, and refreshed our people, while our shallop was fitted to coast the bay to search for a habitation. There was the greatest store of fowl that ever we saw.
We could not come near shore by three quarters of an English mile, because of shallow water, which was a great problem for us. Our people going onshore were forced to wade to land, which caused many to get colds and coughs, for it was freezing cold weather.
The same day we set ashore fifteen or sixteen men, well armed, to fetch wood, for we had none left. We also wanted to see what the land was like, and what inhabitants we could meet with.
We found it to be a small neck of land. On the side where we lay is the bay, and far side the sea. The ground or earth has sand hills, much like the downs in Holland, but much better.
At night our people returned, but found not any person, nor habitation.
November 13, 1620: We unshipped our shallop and drew her on land, to mend and repair her. It was sixteen or seventeen days before the carpenter had finished her.
Our people went onshore to refresh themselves, and our women to wash, as they had great need.
EXPLORING THE LAND
November 15, 1620: We sent men ashore. We marched, single file, about a mile by the sea. We espied five or six people with a dog, coming towards us who when they saw us, ran into the wood and whistled the dog after them. First we supposed them to be Master Jones, the ship's master, and some of his men, but after we knew them to be Indians. Our men marched after them into the woods, lest other of the Indians would lie in ambush. But when the Indians saw our men following them, they ran away with might and main. We followed them that night about ten miles by the trace of their footings. At length night came upon us, so we set forth three sentinels. Some men kindled a fire, and others fetched wood.
In the morning so soon as we could see the track, we proceeded on our journey. We marched through boughs and bushes which tore our very armor in pieces. We could meet with none of them, not their houses, nor find any freshwater, which we greatly desired, and stood in need of, for we brought neither beer nor water with us. Our victuals was only biscuit and Holland cheese, and a little bottle of aqua vitae, so we were sore athirst. About ten o'clock we came into a deep valley and found springs of freshwater and sat us down and drunk our first New England water with as much delight as ever we drunk drink in all our lives.
When we refreshed ourselves, we directed our course to the shore and there made a fire that they in the ship might see where we were.
From thence we went on and found much plain ground, about fifty acres, fit for the plow, and some signs where Indians had formerly planted their corn. We found a little path to heaps of sand. One was covered with old mats and an earthen pot laid in a little hole at the end. We, musing what it might be, dug and found a bow and rotted arrows. We guessed there were many other things, but because we deemed them graves, we put the bow in again and made it up as it was and left the rest untouched, because we thought it would be odious unto them to ransack their sepulchres.
We went further on and found new stubble of this year's corn. We found where a house had been and a great kettle brought out of Europe. There was also a heap of sand made like the former, but it was newly done, for we could see how they had paddled it with their hands. We dug it up, and in it we found a little old basket full of fair Indian corn.
Digging further we found a fine new basket full of very fair corn of this year, with some thirty- six goodly ears of corn, some yellow, and some red, and others mixed with blue. After much consultation, we concluded to take the kettle and as much of the corn as we could carry away with us. When our shallop came, if we could find any of the people and speak with them, we would give them the kettle again, and satisfy them for their corn.
That night, we made a great fire and a barricade. We kept good watch with three sentinels all night, everyone standing when his turn came, while five or six inches of match was burning. It proved a very rainy night.
In the morning we lost our way. As we wandered, we came to a tree, where a young sapling was bowed down over a bow, and some acorns strewed underneath. Stephen Hopkins said it had been to catch some deer. As we were looking at it, William Bradford came upon it. As he went about it, it gave a sudden jerk up, and he was immediately caught by the leg. It was a very pretty device, made with a rope of the Indian's own making and having a noose as skillfully made as any roper in England.
In the end, we got out of the wood. We also did spring three partridges and we saw great flocks of wild geese and ducks.
At length, we came near the ship, shot off our pieces and the longboat came to fetch us. And thus we came both weary and welcome home, and delivered in our corn into the store, to be kept for seed, for we knew not how to come by any. This was our first discovery whilst our shallop was in repairing.
November 17, 1620: When our shallop was fit, we set forth to make a more full discovery of the rivers. The wind was so strong the shallop was forced to harbor there that night. It blowed and snowed all that day and night, and froze withal. Some of our people that are dead took the origin of their death here.
The next day we sailed to the river formerly discovered which we named Cold Harbor. We found it not navigable for ships, yet thought it might be a good harbor for boats, for it flows there twelve foot at high water.
In the morning, we looked for the rest of the corn that we left behind when we were here before.
This place we called Cornhill, and dug and found the rest, of which we were very glad. We went to another place and found more corn and a bag of beans, with a good many of fair corn ears. In all we had about ten bushels, which will serve us sufficiently for seed. And surely it was God's good providence that we found this corn, for else we know not what we should have done, for we knew not how we should find or meet with any Indians.
The next morning we followed certain beaten paths and tracks of the Indians supposing they would have led us into some town or houses. After five or six miles, we returned again another way, and found a grave much bigger and longer than any we had yet seen.
Whilst we were searching, two of the sailors espied two houses which had been lately dwelt in, but the people were gone.
The houses were made with long young saplings, bended and both ends stuck into the ground. They were made round, and covered down to the ground with thick and well-wrought mats. The door was not over a yard high, made of a mat to open. The chimney was a wide open hole in the top for which they had a mat to cover it close when they pleased. One might stand upright in them. Round the fire they lay on mats. There was also a company of deer's feet stuck up in the houses, hart's horn, and eagle's claws, also two or three baskets full of parched acorns, pieces of fish, and a piece of broiled herring. Some of the best things we took away with us, and left the houses standing still as they were. So, it growing towards night, and the tide almost spent, we hastened with our things down to the shallop, and got aboard that night, intending to have brought some beads and other things to have left in the houses, in sign of peace and that we meant to trade with them. But this was not done, by means of our hasty coming away from Cape Cod. But so soon as we can meet conveniently with them, we will give them full satisfaction. Thus is much of our second discovery.
THE THIRD DISCOVERY
A company was chosen to go out upon a third discovery. Whilst some were employed in this discovery, it pleased God that Mistress White was brought abed of a son, which was called Peregrine.
December 5, 1620: We, through God's mercy, escaped a great danger by the foolishness of a boy Francis, one of John Billington's sons. In his father's absence, he got gunpowder, made squibs, and shot them off in the cabin. With a loaded fowling piece, a little barrel of powder half full, and the fire within four feet of the bed and many people about the fire, and yet, by God's mercy, no harm was done.
December 6, 1620: We set out, being very cold and hard weather, for the water froze on our clothes and made them many times like the coats of iron.
In the morning, we divided our company, some eight in the shallop and the rest onshore to discover this place. We found great fish called grampus dead on the sand. They were cast up at high water, and could not get off for the frost and ice.
About five o'clock the next morning, we began stirring and two or three who doubted their pieces would go off shot them. After prayer, we prepared ourselves for breakfast and for a journey. Some said it was best not to carry the armor down to the shallop; others said they would be readier, two or three said they would not carry theirs till they went themselves. But the water was not high enough, so we laid the things down upon the shore and came up to breakfast. Anon, we heard a great and strange cry. One of our company cried, "They are men! Indians! Indians!" and withal, their arrows came flying amongst us. Our men ran out with all speed to recover their arms. In the meantime, Captain Miles Standish made a shot.
The cry of our enemies was dreadful, their note was after this manner, "Woach woach ha ha hach woach."
There was a lusty man and no whit less valiant, who was thought to be their captain, stood behind a tree within half a musket shot of us, and there let his arrows fly at us. He was seen to shoot three arrows, which all were avoided. He stood three shots of a musket. At length one took, after which he gave an extraordinary cry and away they all went.
Thus it pleased God to vanquish our enemies and give us deliverance. We called this place The First Encounter.
From thence we sailed all day along the coast. The seas had grew so great that we were much troubled and in great danger. Night grew on. Anon Master Coppin bade us be of good cheer; he saw the harbor. As we drew near, the gale split our mast in three pieces, and were like to have cast away our shallop. Yet, by God's mercy, we had the flood with us and struck into the harbor. We fell upon a place of sandy ground. We kept our watch all night in the rain upon this island.
On the Sabbath day we rested, and on Monday we sounded the harbor, and found it a very good harbor for our shipping. We marched also into the land, and found diverse cornfields, and little running brooks, a place very good for settling.
December 16, 1620: We put to sea again, and came safely into a safe harbor. This harbor is a bay greater than Cape Cod, compassed with goodly land, and two fine uninhabited islands. This bay is the most hopeful place, innumerable store of fowl, and excellent good fish in their season; skate, cod, turbot, and herring. We have tasted an abundance of mussels which are the greatest and best that ever we saw; crabs and lobsters, in their time infinite.
December 18, 1620: We went a-land. We marched along the coast in the woods, but saw not an Indian or Indian house; only we found where formerly had been some inhabitants, and where they had planted their corn. We found four or five small running brooks of very sweet, fresh water, that all run into the sea. Many kinds of herbs we found here in winter and an excellent strong kind of flax. Here is sand, gravel, and excellent clay for pots, and will wash like soap.
Excerpted from Pilgrim Voices by Peter Roop, Connie Roop, Shelley Pritchett. Copyright © 1995 Peter and Connie Roop. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.