Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

The First School

I must not forget to tell you that last year there was opened a school, in that part of the old fort which was first used as a meeting-house. Our friends in England sent to us a preacher by name of John Lyford, as I have already said, and he it was who began the school, teaching all children whose parents could pay him a certain amount either in wampum, beaver skins, corn, wheat, peas, or money.

Sarah and I went during seven weeks, and would have remained while school was open, but that Master Lyford had hot words with Governor Bradford because of letters which he wrote to his friends in England, wherein were many false things set down concerning us of Plymouth. Then it was father declared that I should go on with my studies at home, rather than be taught by a man who was doing whatsoever he might to bring reproach upon our village.

It caused me much sorrow thus to give over learning, for Master Lyford taught us many new things, and neither Sarah nor I could understand how it would work harm to us, even though we did study under the direction of one who was not a friend to Plymouth.

I felt sorry because of Master Lyford's having done that which gave rise to ill feelings among our people, since it resulted in his being sent away from Plymouth. It would not have given me sorrow to see him go, for to my mind he was not a friendly man; but it seemed much like a great loss to the village, when the school was closed.

It would surprise you to know how comfortable everything was in the school; it seemed almost as if we children were being allowed to give undue heed to the pleasures of this world, though I must confess that during the first hour of the morning session we were distressed by the smoke.


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