Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Research and Reading Homework. From Mike Lohre


Sometimes in the consumer culture we can really lose the meaning of events and the past.  Is Thanksgiving about food?  Black Friday? The Michigan game?  Yes, it's become all these things.  But it has an original story.

Do a little research and try to answer at least two of these questions about the historical roots of Thanksgiving.  I will assign one of them to you and the other is up to you:

  1. Why did the Pilgrims leave England?  Who were they?
  2. How did they travel and what challenges did they face on the journey?
  3. Where did they settle and why?
  4. What challenges did they face in the first years here?  What was the famous starving time? 
  5. How did Native Americans and settlers work together?
  6. What conflicts did Native Americans and settlers both face? What conflicts happened between races?
  7. What might have been the foods enjoyed in those first Thanksgivings?

Post your discoveries and share what you learned in the Comments section of this post.

My guess it that you won't be able to read this without being really moved.  It's an incredible and true story.   



  1. 2. How did they travel and what challenges did they face on their journey?
    The pilgrims traveled by a boat called the mayflower. They took this boat to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. Along the way they faced many challenges, including a harsh winter, lack of food, seasickness, and illness. These conditions led to some deaths, but the outcome of this journey made it all worth it.

  2. topic 2 : Where did the pilgrims settle and why

    Originally the pilgrims were suppose to land in Virginia but they weren't able to because of the wind. They then landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts on November 11th, 1620. They decided to settle here because there were no already existing colonies or tribes, so they were free to start their colony here. After landing on Plymouth, a group of the governing men stayed aboard the ship to eventually create the Mayflower Compact, to try to establish a governing body in the colony.

  3. There were a lot of foods that were greatly enjoyed on the first Thanksgiving feasts. Meat was very plentiful so varieties of venison, wild turkey, and even lobster. Their only grains at the time consisted of corn and wheat flour and a few other foods that were served were cranberries, carrots, plums and grapes.

  4. The first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians was for certain nothing like the Thanksgiving we have today. We know for certain there was no pumpkin pies, cakes and other sweets. They didn't have ovens like we do today. Historians on the pilgrims know that they at least has venison and wild fowl. In this time of year it is not likely that they had fresh vegetables and fruits like the ones we have on our thanksgiving tables. They could have had fish, grain, venison, wild fowl, beans, pumpkin, plumbs and grapes but that's about it. It took a lot more work to prepare their thanksgiving feast. We are lucky to live in a time where all different types of food are readily available.

  5. In the year of 1559, the English law of the 1559 Act of Uniformity was passed demanding that all British citizens attend services and follow the traditions of the Church of England. A group of individuals known as the Puritans disagreed with some of the religious practices of the Church of England, starting a rebellion going against the 1559 Act of Uniformity. Upon hearing this King James ordered that any Puritans be executed if found going against this new law, but even when not practicing any religious practices Puritans were still looked down upon. The Puritans then decided to pursue religious freedom in Holland, but soon realized that if they wanted their children to grow up with the English culture traditions, and the practice of religious freedom, the Puritans had to find a brand new place to settle. Thus leading to the Pilgrims journey to the New World, leaving England on the Mayflower in 1609.

  6. topic 3 - where did they settle and why?

    The pilgrims met land at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts but they were originally aiming for Virginia, but due to wind that pushed them greatly off course they landed over 400 miles north. They settled here because they originally landed at Cape Cod and went to survey the surrounding land and found the Naset Indian tribe who are not fond of the English settlers, so they moved around the bay to what is now Plymouth

  7. Thanksgiving has always been thought to be a cheerful national holiday, but the real truth about what happened is a lot different. The background is, "By the time the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts Bay they found only one living Patuxet Indian, a man named Squanto who had survived slavery in England and knew their language. He taught them to grow corn and to fish, and negotiated a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Nation. At the end of their first year, the Pilgrims held a great feast honoring Squanto and the Wampanoags." More people from Europe, mostly English and Dutch, heard about this great place in the new world. The treaty fell through and began the Pequot War, which was one of the bloodiest Indian wars in history. They started coming over by the boatloads and bringing back boats full of 500 slaved Indians. The mercenaries started going village to village killing everyone younger than 14, including women, and the rest were captured as slaves. Feasts were celebrated after each successful raid. It is true that the Pilgrims and Indians had a big feast, but after that it was only violence and slavery. The ones that survived were killed off by smallpox that the settlers accidentally gave them.

  8. The pilgrims first sailed the mayflower to Southampton to load up food and supplies and waited for the arrival of the second boat to take voyage to the Americas, the Speedwell.on the journey to Southampton to meet up with the Mayflower the Speedwell started to leak. After patching it up the two ships set sail for America; however, the Speedwell once again started to leak. This happened once more and the pilgrims decided to ditch the Speedwell altogether. Afterwards the pilgrims left for America in the now over crowded Mayflower. The first half of the journey was somewhat smooth. However, the second half of the voyage went horrible due to lack of food, mass sea sickness, and an infestation of rodents. The pilgrims also encountered several treacherous sea storms on the second half of the voyage. As the pilgrims approached land they nearly shipwrecked as they approached south of cape cod, so they just decided to stay and explore.

  9. How did Native Americans and settlers work together?

    The settlers worked together when they were preparing the feast. The first thing that they needed was food. The Native Americans and the settlers went out with hunting parties. When they were out hunting they got a lot of wild fowl and a lot of fish. Also they would try and teach each other their language. When they were eating together they played games together although they didn't understand their language. The women worked together because they cleaned everything together. They made sure that no one at the table was eating with dirty hands. They went out and got a bucket of clean water and made everyone wash up. Another thing they did was make sure that the animals were ready to be eating. This meant that they would go and feed them the proper kind of feed. When they were out hunting they taught each other their own hunting techniques. They were working together to make this a proper feast. The settlers didn't want to disappoint the Native Americans. Also the Native Americans didn't want to let down the settlers. They worked together by being kind and respecting this feast that they were going to have.

  10. There were many conflicts that both the Native Americans and English Settlers had to endure. The Native Americans endured a lot of hardship regarding land. As more and more people settled west they not only started to those space but also started to run out of food to eat. They faced winds of starvation. The English settlers also saw hardships when they first settled. Many who had traveled from England fell ill and died in the first few weeks, less than half of the Mayflowers inhabitants lived past the first month after reaching America. They also faced the burden of hunger and disease in their villages, just like the Native Americans. These two groups of people had a hard time seeing eye to eye because they were certain their ways of living were the correct ways. Also because of the epidemic the settlers brought with them, a lot of Native Americans harbored bitterness for exposing their people to diseases. When the settlers came, missionaries often tried to convert Native Americans to their religion, disregarding that they had their own ancestoral beliefs. These were few of the many conflicts that they both endured.

  11. Thanksgiving is an event that took place in history that is still continuing today. There are views about Thanksgiving that aren't exactly "accurate", for instance people look at Thanksgiving and think about the food, the shopping, the sales, etc. But there are real reasons that Thanksgiving is such a big deal in todays world, and it's because history has evolved.
    People often wonder, how did the pilgrims travel and what different challenges did they face during their journey? "The English ship the Mayflower carried the Separatist Puritans, later known as Pilgrims, to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. To start on the trip to America, both the Speedwell and the Mayflower, carrying a total of about 120 passengers, sailed from Southampton on August 15,. But they were twice forced back by dangerous leaks on the Speedwell. So it was decided, at the English port of Plymouth, some of the Speedwell's passengers would regroup on the Mayflower, leaving some things behind because there was no room enough for everything. On September 16, 1620, the historic voyage began with only one ship, the Mayflower". The voyage took 65 days, during which two persons died.
    A couple different challenges that the pilgrims faced during this time is disease, severe weather climates, starvation, etc. A couple diseases that many of the Pilgrims died from pneumonia and scurvy. About fourteen out of the eighteen adult women died during the first winter from starvation. The severe weather climates made it hard because the snow and ice made it too difficult for the men to build shelters on land.

  12. 7. Common food source for both English settlers and Native Americans was Turkey, of course. They also ate other birds such as ducks, geese and swans. Another type of meat that they ate was deer, fish, and shellfish. Thanksgiving celebration marked the Pilgrims’ first autumn harvest, so they ate a lot of the bounty they reaped. They enjoyed vegetables like onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots and peas. Corn was also eaten but not in the typical way we eat it now. It was turned into cornmeal, boiled and pounded into a thick mush. Lastly, they ate pumpkin but they couldn't bake then and didn't have the right ingredients to make the crust, so they ate it differently.

  13. 1. The pilgrims were a group of people from Babworth, East Retford, and Nottinghamshire, England who came together around 1600. These pilgrims "Puritans" believed that the Church of England had lost its ways, and was beyond repair. It was illegal for them to attend any other church besides the Church of England. If one were to miss church then they would be fined, and if they were caught conducting their own religious ceremony then they would be brought into imprisonment and fined. This caused many of them to attempt at an escape, which the Church of England was well aware of. The Church of England would set up ambush's to stop the pilgrims from escaping. Once caught the pilgrims were usually thrown into prison for long periods of time and then later released. The pilgrims had become fed up with the Church of England and its control over what they do and who they worship, that they decided to plan an escape to a new world where they could do as they please and have religious freedom . And so the pilgrims were finally able to set off on the Mayflower where they eventually would find new land and construct a better religious system.

  14. When the Pilgrims landed in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, they had many plans to begin constructing their homes and buildings to start their lives there. However, the first winter they were there was a harsh one; the plans for building were delayed so much that the first common house took 2 weeks to build. During this winter, many of the colonists suffered from diseases like scurvy, lack of shelter, and other conditions due to weather and no substantial residences. 42 out of 102 immigrants had died that winter leaving only 7 of the 19 planned homes to be built. The colonists also had troublesome encounters with some of the Native Americans within the first few months of having their settlement completed. Also within the first few years there were a number of wars such as the Pequot War and King Phillips War.

    The famous starving time was a period in the winter of 1609-1610 where the colonists living in Jamestown in Virginia had starved due to lack of crops and food. 60 out of 500 colonists died that winter. There was a lack of water access and a dry rain season to plant and grow crops for the colonists. And they had no other source of food or supplies.

  15. The Natives were unsure of the settlers and vice versa. The settlers were in a new world and were afraid of a lot of the things on the land. There wasn't a lot of conflict between the wampanoag and the settlers. They made a treaty to protect one another. However it is very well known this kind of agreement probably didnt last much longer

  16. 1. Why did the Pilgrims leave England? Who were they?

    The Pilgrims left England because they felt that they could not practice the religion that they chose freely there. In 1559 there was a law, "The Act of Uniformity" in England that passed that said that "all British citizens attend services and follow the traditions of the church of England. At first they moved to Holland, but they found it difficult that they had to learn a whole new language, and when their children began forgetting their own traditions for that of the Dutch they decided they needed to find a "new world". So in 1620 they went back to England to set sail on the Mayflower to head to what they thought was Virginia.

  17. When the English pilgrims journeyed to the "new world" commonly known as America they were unaware of the many hardships that they would face on arrival.For starters a huge problem they faced was their poor timing. The pilgrims landed in Massachusetts on November 9th but didn't even find an area they deemed suitable to colonize till December 11th. As it is commonly known December in Massachusetts brings harsh frigid weather, making living without prepared housing and other accommodations like food unbearable. The pilgrims lack of preparation brought problems such as starvation and disease. One form disease that took the lives of many pilgrims came in was that of Scurvy. Scurvy was caused by deficiencies in vitamin c the pilgrims faced because of the lack of availability they had to fresh fruits and vegetables in winter months. Fruits and vegetables were not the only things that were scarce during winter months all food was. Starvation plagued the colony because new food could no be cultivated during the winter season. The pilgrims were forced to eat food left over from their journey which was scarce. Mothers often gave their food to their children and as a result 14 out of 18 adult women died in the first winter. The starving time was a time between 1609-1610 where all but 60 of the original 500 people died in the early colony of Jamestown Virginia. The lack of food was caused by a dry season and lack of water which crippled the agriculture of the colony.


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