Front Matter Why This Story was Written The Leaking Speedwell Searching for a Home After the Storm Wash Day Finding the Corn Attacked by the Savages Building Houses Miles Standish The Sick People The New Home Master White and the Wolf Inside of the House A Chimney Without Bricks Building the Fire Master Bradford's Chimney Scarcity of Food A Timely Gift The First Savage Visitor Squanto's Story Living in the Wilderness The Friendly Indians Grinding the Corn A Visit From Massasoit Massasoit's Promise Massasoit's Visit Returned The Big House Burned The Mayflower Leaves Port Setting the Table What and How we Eat Table Rules A Pilgrim Goes Abroad Making a Dugout Governor Carver's Death Bradford Chosen Governor Farming in Plymouth Cooking Indian Corn The Wedding Making Maple Syrup Decorating the House Trapping Wolves and Pigeons Elder Brewster The Visit to Massasoit Keeping the Sabbath Holy Making Clapboards Cooking Pumpkins A New Oven Making Spoons and Dishes The Fort and Meeting-House The Harvest Festival How to Play Stoolball On Christmas Day When the Fortune Arrived Possibility of Another Famine On Short Allowance A Threatening Message Pine Knots and Candles Tallow From Bushes Wicks for the Candle Dipping the Candles When James Runs Away Evil-Minded Indians Long Hours of Preaching John Alden's Tubs English Visitors Visiting the Neighbors Why More Fish are not Taken How Wampum is Made Ministering to Massasoit The Plot Thwarted The Captain's Indian Ballots of Corn Arrival of the Ann Little James Comes to Port The New Meeting-House The Church Service The Tithingmen Master Winslow Brings Cows A Real Oven Butter and Cheese Settlement at Wessagussett The Village at Merrymount The First School Too Much Smoke Schools Comforts How Children Were Punished New Villages Making Ready for a Journey Clothing for Salem Food for the Journey Before Sailing for Salem Beginning the Journey The Arrival at Salem Sight-Seeking in Salem Back to Plymouth

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Governor Carver's Death

It was in April, when, because the weather had grown so warm it seemed much as if we had been restored to the favor of God, that a great calamity came upon us of Plymouth, and my father says it is impossible for us to understand how sore a stroke it was to our people who count on making a home in this new world.

Governor Carver had hoped to make such a garden as should be a model for all in the village, and to that end he worked exceedingly hard, so father says. He was planting and hoeing from early light until it was no longer possible to see what he was about because of the coming of night. Already many of the plants, concerning which Samoset and Squanto had told us, were showing through the ground, until, as Captain Standish said, "all the others should take pattern by him that we might not taste again of the bitterness of famine."

The day had been very warm, and the governor was working exceeding hard, when suddenly he complained of a pain in his head. He strove in vain to continue the labor; but Mistress Carver insisted that he come into the house and lie down on a bear skin, which Captain Standish had made into a bed-cover, and this he did.

Master Bradford and my father were summoned in the hope that it might be possible to give him some relief; but they could do no more than pray for his recovery, and even while they were pleading most fervently with God, the poor man lost all knowledge of himself, nor did he speak again.

During three days every one prayed; no trees were hewn lest the noise disturb him, and all the women in the village gathered in or around the house that they might be ready in case their services were needed. It was as if we were having three Sabbaths at once. Then he died, without having come to know that he was ill, and we were more heartsick and lonely even than when the Mayflower  sailed away.

Those among us who should know best, and my father is one of the number, say that all prayers either over or for the dead, are not only superstitions and vain, but are also idolatry, and against the teachings of the Bible. Therefore Governor Carver was laid in the grave without a word or sound, other than the sobs of the women and children, who mourned so sorely.

Those who had muskets discharged them as a parting salute to him who had been our governor, and we walked sorrowfully and in silence away, little dreaming that within three short weeks Mistress Carver would be buried near her husband's last resting place in this world.