The Pilgrims

By: Paige Miller


Most people don't know the real story behind the Pilgrims and the build up to the first Thanksgiving. Their lives in England were pretty rough. Then, the first winter after they landed was almost too unbearable for them to handle. Lastly, Squanto, Samoset, and the Wampanoag chief helped them the following summer, and they had the first Thanksgiving. If you read on, you'll find out the struggle the Pilgrims went through, how they survived, and what the real meaning of Thanksgiving is.

Before they even left England

The Pilgrim's lives in England were unfair and tough. King James the First was king before they left. You couldn't celebrate most holidays, including Christmas. Before the Pilgrims left, they formed a joint-stock company. A joint-stock company is a company where instead of one person putting up all the money for the company, each person puts up a little. That way, if the company loses their money, nobody loses EVERYTHING, they just lose a little bit. There were also laws against what you believed in. They couldn't attend any church but the church of England. If you didn't go to church on Sunday, you got a fine. The Pilgrims held secret church meetings in the Scrooby Manor. The leader of the Pilgrim's church was Parson Richard Clyfton. Some of the Pilgrims got caught trying to leave England. 150 people WERE able to leave, though. The Pilgrims had started their voyage!

The First Few Months

The Pilgrims had landed, and they were in for a rough winter ahead. The Pilgrims landed in 1620, in Cape Cod, which is now Massachusetts. The Mayflower brought in 102 passengers. When they landed, the Pilgrims wrote the "Mayflower Compact". Some of the men who signed were; William Bradford, Myles Standish, and John Alden. Winter was the hardest time of all. Their beds were made of straw, and many died in the first few months. Only four women survived the first winter. The native people watched the Pilgrims as they struggled through the harsh winter. the following March, Samoset the Indian introduced himself to the Pilgrims. On March 22, 1621, the Pilgrims signed a peace treaty with the Wampanoag Indian Tribe. Spring was finally on it's way!

Life is Looking Up

The Pilgrims had met the Indians, and life was looking MUCH better. The group of Indians that helped the Pilgrims were called the Wampanoag Indian Tribe. The Indian chief's name was Massasoit. Squanto the Indian also helped the Pilgrims. Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to hunt, farm, and fish. They held the first Thanksgiving to thank God for helping them survive. The first Thanksgiving lasted three days! They invited the Indian chief, and he brought 90 Indians with him! They needed big napkins for the feast, because they needed to wipe their greasy hands. Some of the foods they ate were; soup, fish, turkey stuffed with geese and duck, bread, vegetables, and even stewed pumpkin! Some of the foods people eat around the world on Thanksgiving today are; berries, corn, squash, pumpkins, sunflower seeds, sweet potatos, and sometimes mushrooms. The Pilgrims managed to survive, and they became good friends with the Wampanoag Indian Tribe.


The Pilgrims set out on a journey and managed to make it. First, their lives in England were very unfair before they left. After that, a lot of them died in the first winter. Last of all, their lives improved a lot by the time they had the first Thanksgiving. All in all, the Pilgrims survived and started our country we know today.


Voyage- A long trip someone or something takes

Peace Treaty- A piece of paper on which two groups of some sort sign, promising peace between them.

Compact- A piece of paper that has rules written down on it for some sort of town, country, or in the Pilgrim's case, a colony.


- People in Time and Place Our Country. Dr. Herbert J. Bass. 1991
- The Landing of the Pilgrims. James Daughtery. 1950
- The Mayflower. J. Poolos. 2004
- The Pilgrims of Plymouth. Barbara L. Beck. 1972
- The Plymouth Colony. Pamela Dell. 2004

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