Saturday, November 19, 2011

Celebrating Thanksgiving

 Remember Allerton looks over the food for Thanksgiving at Plimoth Plantation

            The Late Reverend Peter Gomes* once said that if all the descendents of the Mayflower Puritans were put back aboard a ship, it would have to hold millions. 
            My family traces itself back to Isaac Allerton (1585-1659), an enterprising gentleman who was among those who landed at  Plymouth on November 21, 1620.  The girl in the photo above is the young enactor representing Remember Allerton, Isaac’s daughter. 
            We’ve visited Plimoth Plantation at Plymouth, MA several times, and each time it has been a fascinating learning experience.  The reenactors who populate this little town live in 1627.  Each of them has learned his part so well that when you talk with them, you feel you are really talking to a person from this colony.  They don’t know about radio, electricity or automobiles, or the United States.  There’s not a word for “fruit” in their vocabulary.  If it wasn’t common knowledge in 1627, they don’t know about it.

Pilgrim women at work in their home.

            We think of the Pilgrims as English, yet they left England in 1609, and returned only in 1620 to board the Mayflower and the Speedwell to sail to the New World.  They all spoke Dutch.
            By 1627 the Pilgrims figured they’ve seen it all.  During that first brutal, cold winter of 1620-21 the Indians never came near them, either to attack them or to make friends.  The Indians had met English sailors before. The sailors attacked the Indians, raped their women, and carried some back to England.  The Indians had caught European diseases from them which nearly wiped out some villages.  So they stayed away from the Pilgrims.

We have the idea that the Indians the Pilgrims encountered were wild savages, but one day in March, 1621 an Indian named Samoset came walking up, and he had the ability to speak bits of English. Then he introduced them to Squanto, who had been kidnapped and taken to London where he trained as an interpreter.  It appears that Squanto was the kind of guy you hope you’ll meet in a foreign country, because he opened up this part of America for the Pilgrims.  He taught them how to tap maple trees for their sap, how to grow native crops.  He showed them the best fishing grounds, and introduced them to clams, mussels and scallops.  

Wampanoag woman sewing deerskin coat.

The Pilgrims and the Wampanoags seem to have gotten along well and in 1621 Governor William Bradford decided they’d have a feast and thank the Indians for teaching them how to survive.  It lasted three days.  That was the basis for our modern Thanksgiving Day dinner.
At Plimoth Plantation today, in addition to the Pilgrim village, there’s a Wampanoag village, but here, instead of reenactors, there are actual Wampanoags and members of other Indian tribes, to tell visitors about what life was like amongst the Indians in Massachusetts in 1627.
Every time we have visited Plimoth Plantation, we ask about our ancestor, Isaac Allerton.  The Pilgrims always give us the same answer:  “He’s gone back to England.”  It turns out that Allerton was something of a wheeler-dealer, traveling back and forth across the Atlantic as the colony’s business agent, buying and selling ships and goods.  It seems he saddled the colony with debt, and was accused of pulling some shady deals, so he was eventually declared persona non grata
            I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

                                    Sam Coulbourn
 [Above photos courtesy of Plimoth Plantation.]

* Peter John Gomes (1942-2011) was an American preacher and theologian, professor at Harvard School of Divinity.  He was black, descended from Cape Verdeans, West Africans, Portuguese Jews and one of the Mayflower Pilgrims.  He was a brilliant, delightful man, a Republican most of his life, and author of two best-selling religious books.  And he was gay. He became an advocate of homosexuality in America and particularly in religion.  At one time he headed the Plymouth chapter of the Mayflower Society.

Here are some books and papers The Personal Navigator offers for your consideration:

Guinea Gold, Dec. 27, 1944

Guinea Gold, American Edition, Wednesday, December 27, 1944 Port Moresby, Papua-New Guinea: U.S. Army/Royal Australian Army. This unique World War II newspaper, published in New Guinea and flown daily to U.S. and Australian troops all over South West Pacific command, often scooped the world, since General MacArthur released his communiques to them 20 hours before they were released to the world press.  This issue's lead story:  "Japs Suffer Worst Defeat; Annihilation at Leyte, Samar; Jap Death Roll Now 113,281"  is from Gen. MacArthur's HQ. From SEAC in Kandy, Ceylon, Commander-in-Chief Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten states that the Allies are already threatening to break the Japanese grip on Burma. U.S. Warhips and Bombers made their second co-ordinated assault on the Japanese air base at Iwo Jima on Sunday.  B29s and Liberators bombed the island while warships poured in heavy shellfire. The first assault was by a large raid of B-29s on Saturday.   An important step towards the solution of internal disorder in Greece was taken today when Mr. Churchill and British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden arrived in Athens for a conference with C-in-C Mediterranean, Field Marshal Alexander, Harold MacMillan, and the British Ambassador to Greece. Churchill met later with Greek Prime Minister M. Papandreou. 4 pp. 26.2 x 39 cm. Newspaper, good. (8204) $39.00. World War II           

General Warren at Bunker Hill

Revolutionary War: History of the Siege of Boston, and of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill, also an account of the Bunker Hill Monument, Illus. Second Edition by Frothingham, Jr., Richard 1851 Boston, MA: Charles C. Little and James Brown. Author produced this book after he completed his History of Charlestown, MA, using many original sources, and it contains a very interesting 40 x 48 cm. fold-out map of the action at Bunker Hill, by Lieut. Page, which was originally published in England in 1776 or 1777. Fascinating account of Revolutionary War battles in and around Boston, the raising of the American army, evacuation of the British, General Howe, Debate in Parliament. There is a 22-page History of the Bunker Hill Monument, and an appendix.420 pp. 14.5 x 23.5 cm.  Cloth on board, blindstamped with gilt medallion front and back; medallion on front is bust of Washington, and on back cover is medallion showing the Recovery of Boston, March 17, 1776. Spine is torn for parts of front and rear hinge and inside front hinge is cracked.  There is a six cm closed tear in large foldout map of Plan of Bunker Hill Battle, and Plan of Boston and Environs is loose.  Plan of Boston facing Title page is missing.  All other maps and illustrations are present. Fair. (5782) $120.00. History/Revolutionary War/Boston.

United Kingdom:: Our Own Country. Descriptive, Historical, Pictorial [6 volumes bound as 3] 1882     London, England: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.  1944 pp. 19 x 26.5 cm.            Magnificent set of three elegantly bound volumes, each containing two volumes of history and descriptions of cities, towns, castles, ports, rivers in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with many, many engravings and line drawings. Vol. I: Frontis. "Port of Liverpool", Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge, Leeds, Cinque Ports, Dunfermline, The Plym, Crowland, Ludlow, The Clyde, The Dee, Dublin City. Vol. II: Frontis. "Lichfield Cathedral"; Lichfield, Coventry, Island of Skye, Exeter, The Wye, Londonderry, Cambridge, Gloucester, Birmingham, Exmoor, Cork. Vol. III: Frontis."New Town Hall, Manchester"; Norwich, Newark and Southwell, Aberdeen, The New Forest, Coast of North Devon, Lakes of Killarney, Oxford, Manchester, The Severn, Guildford, York, Audley, Lizard District, The Boyne, Sheffield.  Vo. IV: Frontis. "Fountains Abbey"; Nottingham, Wells and the Mendips, Balmoral and Braemar, Shrewsbury, Ely, The Conway, Hull, Belfast, Isle of Wight, Blenheim, Dorking, Dundee, Limerick, Eton, Swansea, Marlborough, Poole to Portland. Vol. V: Frontis. "Hawarden Castle"; Bradford, Cardiff, Llandaff, Harrow-on-the-Hill, South Devon, Lincoln, Great Glen of Scotland, Leicester, Wicklow, Isle of Man, Rochester, Chatham, Warwick, Highland Railway, Antrim, Flintshire, Winchester, Bury St. Edmonds, Southampton and Dorchester. Vol. VI: Frontis. "Canterbury from Harbledown".  Canterbury, Rugby, Iona, Staffa, Arran, Donegal, Richmond on the Swale, Bath, The Trent, The Tweed, Southern Pembrokeshire, Connaught, Chichester, West Sussex, Carlisle, Great Yarmouth, The Thames, and East Sussex Coast. Quarto quarter leather with marbled paper on boards, elegantly gilt-decorated, ribbed spines, very slight wear, slight scuffing at edges, 2 cm tear in lower outer hinge of spine on second volume. Very good to excellent condition. Weight about 15 lbs. (7 kg.)  (7695) $250.00. Travel/History

Colby College Library

Dorothy Morton’s Colby College Diary, 1928 (Handwritten) 1928 Waterville, ME: ephemera. This diary gives an excellent view of a life of a young woman at Colby College in Waterville, Maine in 1928. Dorothy is an eager, attentive student. She writes about classmates who get caught going to a public dance and then punished. She notes advice on how to deal with men, sex, avoid smoking. Dorothy, from Melrose, Mass., writes about her trips home, touring Boston area, berry picking near Waterville, teaching Sunday School. Prof. Weber drives friend and Dorothy to Boston, and they tour Boston historic sites, Cambridge, Concord, lunch at Brunswick Cafeteria. List of expenses, notes, class schedules. Calendar, populations of U.S. cities, eclipses, festivals and holidays, almanac information.  [Note, Dorothy L. Morton died Feb. 19, 2002 at age of 93. She was employed for 42 years by Boston Children's Services Association.]  ~150 pp. 7.3 x 15.2 cm. Red leather diary.  Very good. (8203) $48.00. American Originals/Ephemera

No comments:

Post a Comment