There is no surer sign of decay in a country than to see the rites of religion held in contempt. — Machiavelli

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

The Settlement at Wessagussett

Because of having spent so much time, and set down so many words in trying to describe how we lived when we first came to this new world, I must hasten over that which occurred from day to day, in order to tell you what seems to me of the most importance, without giving heed to the time when the events took place.

I have already told you of the village at Wessagussett, which was built by men who had been sent to this land by Master Weston, and also that they were driven away by Captain Standish because of working so much mischief among the Indians that our own lives were in danger.

Well, it was not long after Captain Standish had punished them, before one and then another came back to the huts, which had been left unharmed, and we at Plymouth learned of their doings through Samoset or Squanto.

Had they been God-fearing people, willing to obey our laws, Governor Bradford would have welcomed them right gladly; but because of their refusing to do that which was right, and their giving themselves up to riotous living, our fathers could do no less than hold them at a distance.

Then it was that one Master Thomas Morton, calling himself a gentlemen, who came over in the Charity  and had lived among us in Plymouth a short time, much to the shame and discomfort of those who strove to profit by the teachings of the Bible, claimed that the evil-doers at Wessagussett were being wronged by us. He even went so far as to tell Governor Bradford to his face that he was stiff-necked and straight-laced, preaching what decent men could not practice.


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