INTRODUCTION - REBA In September 1620, a ship sailed from Plymouth England. It was called the Mayflower. The passengers were headed for America or “the New World.” They traveled thousands of miles and endured great hardships, sickness, and death to begin new lives in a new place. There were 102 passengers on board the Mayflower – about 50 men, 20 women, and 32 children. Some were Separatists – they wanted to worship their own way. Some were hoping to make a better living in the New World. There were farmers, woodworkers, shopkeepers, blacksmiths, weavers, and servants.
After two long months of traveling in the dark, cramped hold of the Mayflower, a cargo ship, where fresh water was scarce and there were no bathrooms, the pilgrims finally sighted land. A bay was born during the trip a sign of hope and new life. He was named Oceanus Hopkins. During the trip people began to argue so the Pilgrims decided to write down some rules. Their agreement has come to be known as the Mayflower Compact. It was the first time in America that people wrote down ideas about governing themselves.
NARRATOR - MELINDA The Pilgrims suffered from disease, hunger, and bitter cold. Two or three people died each day during the winter. If it had not been for God’s grace and the welcoming spirit of the Wampanoag nation and their willingness to share their skills in hunting, gathering, planting and fishing, the colony at Plymouth would have been entirely wiped out.
In 1623 the Pilgrims celebrated their first feast with plentiful food and the company and good will of the Native People. They attended church all day long and ate deer, wild turkey, fish, stewed eels, ducks and geese, vegetables and boiled pumpkin. The feast was to last three days, but there was so much food they ate for several more days. There were only four married women who survived until that day. They and the children prepared the meal. The children could not eat until everyone was served. There was lots of work to do. Truly it was a day of Thanksgiving, for through God’s grace, they had prevailed.
Let us tell you about the magic tree house and some of the people Jack and Annie met in 1623 at the very first Thanksgiving.
Jack: (NOAH) Hi, My name is Jack. Annie: (AMBER) My name is Annie. Jack and Annie: (together) We have an exciting story to tell you about the first Thanksgiving. Annie: You see, we were there – at the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth Massachusetts.
Jack: We have a magic tree house and when we go there and point to a picture in a book, we say, “I wish we could go there,” and we go to the place in the picture! Annie : We met lots of interesting people who taught us about life in Plymouth Massachusetts in the early 17th century. Jack : Come on! We’ll take you there so you can meet them, too!
ERIN - My name is William Bradford. I am the governor of the small colony at Plymouth. Life is very difficult here. It’s important that there is a wise leader with a strong character who can help direct the people. When I was governor I kept peace with the Wampanoag and other Native People. I also wrote about the early Pilgrims in my History of Plymouth Plantation.
NICHOLAS - My name is Squanto. I am a Native American from the Patuxet tribe. I learned a lot from the English including the language and I was able to help the Pilgrims plant corn. I taught the Pilgrims to plant fish with the kernels of corn, so when the fish rotted it fertilized the corn. I helped the Pilgrims survive by teaching them how to hunt and fish. I also helped the Pilgrims form an alliance with the Wampanoag Indians. I was not always helpful – sometimes I would lie and try to gain power with the Wampanoag, but I did help save the colony and the Pilgrims called me an “instrument of God”
SCOTT - My name is Miles Standish. I am a soldier. I came to Plymouth as a military adviser. Later I became one of the Pilgrims’ best leaders. I am a small, but powerful man and was one of the few Pilgrims who did not get sick. I was not only prepared to protect the people, I also bathed, fed, and nursed many sick people. I, too, in my own way, helped to save the colonists.
Jack: Here comes Priscilla! SARAH - I am Priscilla Alden. I was born Priscilla Mullins and I traveled on the Mayflower with my family. Sadly, all my family died in the winter of 1621. I was left alone – but not for long. I married a young man named John Alden and we had 11 children. Jack and Annie helped me prepare the first Thanksgiving meal. We had turkey and other vegetables. We do not have forks – we just have knives and spoons, so we eat with our fingers. We use very large white cloths for napkins to protect our clothes.
NATHALIE - John Alden – I am John Alden. I came to Plymouth when I was 21 and Governor Bradford called me a young and hopeful man. I was a leader at Plymouth and people tended to trust and like me. My wife Priscilla and I moved to Duxbury, but we came back to Plymouth for church on Sundays. Schoolchildren centuries later learned about us from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow named “The Courtship of Myles Standish.” Our home in Duxbury still stands today.
Jack: Well, I guess it’s time to return home. We have learned a lot about the colony at Plymouth and the first Thanksgiving. Annie: Yes, it will be good to return home, but I also will miss our new, very brave friends. They have taught us to give thanks to God every day - not just on Thanksgiving Thursday. Jack and Annie leave by going up the steps to the Fellowship Hall and through the door, all the while waving and saying good-bye to the pilgrims and to Squanto. THE END