Since it is going to be Thanksgiving, I thought I would leave a blog appropriate to the occasion. As you who have read my previous articles know, my family had several people on the Mayflower. Most of them lived to attend that first Thanksgiving. They are: Thomas Rogers, John Bundy, Anna Churchman, Walter Deane, John Gilbert, John Howland, John Rogers, John Stong, Samuell Williams, Sarah Williams, and Thomas Williams. Two of them, Thomas Rogers, and Thomas Williams even signed that famous document, The Mayflower Compact along with Miles Standish and John Alden on November 11, 1620. They weren’t terribly good sailors. They were trying to get to North Virginia and ended up at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Now my family wasn’t anything great mind you. They were merchants. They weren’t even pilgrims. They were not separatists like the others. But so many people died on the voyage and during that first year that they were promoted to full free colonist status. Anyway, since my family WAS there and all, we have handed down from one generation to the next the personal diary of Thomas Rogers, signatory to the Mayflower Compact and I thought you might enjoy reading a few of the entries prior to Thanksgiving.
November 12, 1620
Finally! We have escaped the hands of the heretic King James of England. No longer can he force us to worship the almighty God in his corrupt fashion. No longer can he deny us the liberty to worship God in our own way. Now we are free to enlighten others to worship God in our way by whatever means necessary.
Let me just jump ahead a year in the diary:
November 13, 1621
Brother Macy is beginning to ticketh me off. Ever since All Hallowed Eve, he has spoken of nothing but Christmas time. It is too early in the year we tell him, but he has decorated his home in traditional Christmas manner. But that is not all. Constant he is at speaking against the noble pastime of farming. He sayeth that soon he will divest himself of said farmlands and purchase forthwith a mercantile store wherein he shall sell cloth and perfumes and all manner of item to indulge a pilgrim’s fancy. He is beseeching the other pilgrims to follow him about whilst he carries aloft a giant inflated effigy of a turkey. I believe he is bewitched.
November 18, 1621
Brother Guthrie hath dropped a large amount of garbage at the bottom of a cliff. Claimeth he that he was only helping to clean Sister Alice’s abode. Constable Obie had sketched twenty-seven 8 by 10 color drawings of the refuse to be used as evidence against him. We have placed him in the pillory for littering and have declared him unfit for the militia. We believe him to be bewitched.
November 20, 1621
Brother Rogers hath spent the better part of his tyme in the Indian camp instead of attending community prayer meetings. Rumour hath that the Indians are fond of playing the game of lots and othere gambling pastimes. We must ensure that the noble savage must never allow gambling to take place upon their lands for it is an annoyance to the Lord. Sister Agatha says he is bewitched.
November 22, 1621
Many of the men, along with Captain Rockne have taken up playing a curious game. It involves carrying a small oblong ball made of pigskin across the meadow whilst the Indians try to knock them down. Many of the women folk stand by the sides chanting prayers that the Lord might aid the men in touching the pigskin down behind a line. For some reason, all the other men of the colony hath resigned themselves to watching this sporte for all the day forsaking all worke. The town elders believe they are bewitched.
November 24, 1621
Brother Darren and Sister Samantha have strange happenings at their home. The children say they have seen the broom moving on its own. Sister Samantha seems to have developed a strange twitch in her nose. The Reverend Robertson believes she is….bewitched.
November 25, 1621
Today have we the feast of which we shall partake along with our brothers and sisters even of the Indian camp nearby. So much have they instructed us in the ways of hunting, fishing, and planting crops. Were it not for these noble savages we surely would have perished long ago. We must find some fitting way in which to repay the Indians for their generosity and kindness. We will leave this to our descendants to forever repay them for this goodness.
November 27, 1621
All have feasted until they can eat no more. For some reason, our newspaper, The Mayflower Dispatch, is ten times larger than usual. Many are blaming Brother Macy. He is surely bewitched.
These are just a few of Thomas’s entries. It’s a long diary. I hope this brings the history of this important date into your own homes this holiday and I hope you all have the best Thanksgiving ever. God bless us, everyone!