Our First Thanksgiving in Plymouth

Most of us envision Pilgrims and Indians peacefully sitting down to a feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts around this time of year in the early 1600s as the “first” thanksgiving.  However, the first official Thanksgiving holiday was  created  by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 during the American Civil War.  And actually, the new settlers were Puritans and only became known as Pilgrims during the 18th century when historians started to refer to them as such.
Puritans were a group of people (primarily English and Dutch) who felt persecuted by The Church of England and King James I.  They believed The Church had become a product of political struggles, man-made doctrines, and was beyond reform. To escape religious persecution from church leadership and the King, the Puritans set off to America.  The term Great Migration usually refers primarily to those early settlers who escaped England and Holland in family groups and were motivated chiefly by a quest for freedom to practice their Puritan religion.
The people of the Wampanoag Tribe are known mostly as the Indians who greeted and befriended the relatively small group of families in 1620, bringing them corn, pumpkin, and turkey to help them through Plymouth’s difficult winter.  Unfortunately many arrived sick or became sick shortly after arriving.  In fact, about  half of all women and children got sick and died.   The relationship between the Puritans and Indians soured.  Between the years 1620 when the first families arrived and 1640,  more British colonists came to Massachusetts, displacing the Wampanoags from their traditional lands.  The Wampanoag leader Metacomet, known as King Philip to the English, appealed to the British, but war ensued. The British won decisively, sold many of the Wampanoag survivors into slavery, drove the rest into hiding, and forbade the use of the Massachusett language and Wampanoag tribal names. It wasn’t until 1928 that the Wampanoag people reclaimed their tribal identity.   The surviving 2,500 or so Wampanoags still live in New England.
Among our family members aboard the Mayflower was Edward Fuller, his wife Anne Hopkins, and young son, Samuel.  Edward was born in 1575 in Redenhall, County Norfolk, England.  His father was a butcher and his brother Samuel, a doctor and church deacon.  Edward married Anne Hopkins about 1605.  They lived in Leyden, Holland, for a while and joined the Pilgrims at Southampton, first aboard the Speedwell.  When that ship beame unseaworthy, thePuritans transferred to the Mayflower–a cargo ship used to ship wine between England and France.
While anchored at the harbor near Cape Cod, Massachusetts in November 1620,  all 41 man aboard the Mayflower drew up a document known as The Mayflower Compact to establish  fair and equal laws of governing their New World  and for the general good of the settlement, with the will of the majority.  Edward Fuller was the twenty-first signer.  He and his wife died soon after their arrival (1620-21), and are buried in unmarked graves on Coles Hill at Plymouth.   After being orphaned, Samuel was brought up by his uncle, Dr. Samuel Fuller, the physician of the Pilgrims.  Samuel was the only Mayflower passenger to settle permanently in Barnstable and was one of the last surviving Mayflower passengers. It was, in fact, Samuel Fuller,son of Edward and Ann who founded Barnstable, Massachusetts.   On April 8, 1635, Samuel married Jane Lothrop, daughter of Rev. John Lothrop.   They were married by the infamous Captain Miles Standish at the James Cudworth house. The Fullers had 9 children.  Samuel Fuller died there on October 31, 1683.
Jane Lathrop/Lothrop is my 8th great grand aunt–ancestor of my grandmother’s (Alice Lauretta Lathrop Ford) paternal “Lathrop” family.
It is my desire to collect, authenticate, analyze, preserve, and publish all relevant Family information to give my family an accurate accounting of its past.  Information within this article has been gathered throughout my 20+ years of ongoing genealogical research. I wish also to thank contributors from the Ancestry.com public trees, the U.S. Census Bureau and Ancestry.com’s historical facts compilations, and similar materials and web sites dedicated to promoting Americans’ heritage and religious, moral, and societal contributions.

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salem-witches 1692-1693

salem-witches 1692-1693

This is my very first post.    I’m looking forward to sharing with you many interesting facts and stories about the nearly 40 generations of people in my family and their times from around the world.  Many of the stories were unearthed through my 20+ years of  genealogical research.  As in most families, ours has the good , the bad, the beautiful, the not so beautiful, the oppressed, founding fathers–leaders, dignitaries, kings, princes, princesses; scholars, ministers, musicians, and even one alleged witch in Winston-Salem, Massachusetts.  (Note that most women, and men, who were accused of witchcraft in the 15th-19th Centuries were feared for their nonconformist ways more than anything else.   But it still is fun to claim a witch in our family)  (Hmmm…I wonder if I get my self determination from her?) Excerpt from:  Hunting for Witches in the Family Tree By Kimberly Powell, About.com Guide…

Witchcraft in Europe & Colonial America

Talk of witches often brings the famous Salem Witch Trials to mind, but punishment for practicing witchcraft was not unique to colonial Massachusetts. A strong fear of witchcraft was prevalent in 15th century Europe where strict laws against witchcraft were put into effect. It is estimated that around 1,000 people were hanged as witches in England over a 200-year period. The last documented case of an individual found guilty of the crime of witchcraft was Jane Wenham, Woman of Walkern, in 1712. She was reprieved. The largest group of convicted witches in England were nine Lancashire witches sent to the gallows in 1612, and nineteen witches hanged at Chelmsford in 1645. Between 1610 and 1840, it is estimated that over 26,000 accused witches were burned at the stake in Germany. Between three and five thousand witches were executed in 16th and 17th century Scotland. The anti-witchcraft sentiment that had been growing in England and Europe undoubtedly had an impact on the Puritans in America, ultimately leading to the witch craze and subsequent Salem Witch Trials I hope you will enjoy reading my blogs and provide feedback on topics and discussions. Happy Blogging and Reading!