For the most American holiday, steeped in tradition, a new book on "The Mayflower: The Families, The Voyage and The Founding of America." British historian Rebecca Fraser focuses on Edward Winslow, who she calls the most important, but least remembered, of the group of separatists known as the Pilgrims. We discuss the challenges they faced in England and in the New World, as well as the role of women and their changing relationship with the Native Americans.
GUEST: Rebecca Fraser, historian and author of "The Mayflower: The Families, The Voyage and The Founding of America."
Our tradition of Thanksgiving is based on this passage from a letter by Edward Winslow:
Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty. -Edward Winslow, December, 1621
Click on this link to read the entire letter from Edward Winslow.
The Pilgrim Hall Museum is a wealth of information. Their collection includes many paintings depicting the Mayflower, its voyage, and the arrival in Plymouth. They also provide this information about the difference between Pilgrims and Puritans: