Thursday, November 19, 2009

a pilgrim thanksgiving

Wishing you all a most blessed Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for you.

Every year we talked of visiting Plymouth Rock and having Thanksgiving dinner as the Pilgrims did that first Thanksgiving.
When both our married children had plans to spend the holiday with their in-laws,
we decided that it was time. Last November, my husband and I spent our first Thanksgiving away from family and home.
Most of all, we wanted to spend some time in Plymouth, Massachusetts exploring and doing some research into my husband's family history there. We wanted to have an authentic 1627 Harvest dinner, which we did and loved.
~~~ If you want to immerse yourself in a little bit of our country's rich history, this is the place to begin.
wonderful old ocean weathered timber framed buildings and fences in the re-created 1627 English farming village of the Plymouth Colony near Plimoth Plantation. The Pilgrim's first home in the New World.
But, along with the beauty of it were the stories of the people who once lived there. The harsh realities of the bitter cold, lack of food,the local "savages", dreary grey days, epidemics and the death of over half of the pilgrims who first set foot here on the rocky shores of Massachusetts. ~~~
I loved everything about it.
The simple practical beauty of it all.
Smoke crept out from the top most of the tule thatched roof tops.
The tall peaked thatched roofs.
Large and neatly edged or raised bed herb and vegetable gardens beside or behind every
It was lovely.
a basket in a tiny window the community wood pile
the thatcher's coat
winter blue sky
a moments respite beside the fire
overseeing the thatcher
isn't her blue linen jacket and
pettiecoat lovely?
I had the chance to visit with this Goodwife.
She proudly allowed a close look at the linen hand stitching
I told her I had never seen such finer stitching.
How beautifully
it was made. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ While we were there we wanted to be able to see and learn firsthand a little more of what all the old family stories of being descendants of the "old Pilgrim" were about. To either dispel or hold on to the long told stories handed down through the family and
hopefully, at last, find out what really happened.
While there is much more than I can write here or bore you with, I will share this with you.
What we learned was that my husband's ancestor, Robert Cushman, came to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. He had arranged the leasing of the Mayflower for the Pilgrims, but didn't sail aboard the Mayflower to America , but came on the Speedwell instead. The Speedwell developed leaks and had to return to England. He then took passage on the Fortune to America. We learned that he was well loved and revered by the Pilgrims.
There is a wonderful *monument to him at the Old Burying Ground. see below~
It was Robert's son, Thomas, who married Mary Allerton who, of course, then became Mary Allerton Cushman.
My husbands mother, Mary Ann Cushman,(Crocker) was descended from Mary Allerton Cushman.
I will never forget seeing the exhibit for Mary Allerton Cushman at Plymoth Plantation the first time we went to Plimoth. There was her journal and sewing...some other things...
things like this give me chills....
If my memory serves me, there was a letter she had written to her oldest daughter who was pregnant with her first child and Mary was pregnant with what I believe was her last child.
Mary Allerton Cushman was the very last of the Mayflower passengers.
~In search of the Old Pilgrim~
the Old Burying Ground after dark
After dinner one evening we pored over our brochures and maps.
From our map we found the Old Burial Hill Cemetery
We decided to go on an adventure. Right then.
I cannot tell you how the chills and shivers ran down my spine, standing there in the freezing cold, fog and dark (of course we went at night)
I took a few pictures out into the dark cold pitch black night...who knows what you might find.
I'm always looking for orbs and things of that sort.
It didn't take long before the dark and freezing cold cemetery, dripping in wet ocean fog,
soon began to lose it's charm.
We decided to come back the very next day.
It was a beautiful New England morning.
Perfect for a good brisk walk
to the Old Burying Ground.
and so, there, at long last, at the top of the long climb of stairs
in the center of this ancient and sacred place
my farmer met his ancestor,
Robert Cushman
well, it's actually a monument dedicated
by the descendants of Robert Cushman in honor of their
Pilgrim ancestors.
Robert is actually buried in England.
Seeing my husband standing there reading about this man we had come so far to learn
more about made me realize how very strong of spirit they had to have been.
I see that fierce spirit in my husband,
my farmer who came from such
hardy brave souls.
As you gather around your Thanksgiving table today
with your loved ones all around,
would you join me in a prayer of thanks for all
the American Farmers who are the stewards and guardians of the fields and earth
and thank them as they work hard
to feed our country.
Thank you my friends,
A very blessed Thanksgiving to you all,
~ Plymouth Rock~
it's actually a lovely white granite, not large.
which simply reads


...Miss...Maddie's... said...

Such a wonderful tale...
I can well understand your feelings standing so close to the beginnings of one's family on this continent.
May you enjoy your Thanksgiving with family and friends...
xo Susan

Becky said...

Hello dear, What a treat this must have been for you Christine. And that dress and pettycoat is just lovely. And what a treat for you to share it all. Love it all.
Wishing you a most pleasant and beautiful Thanksgiving Day.


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful Christine.
I enjoyed this posting immensely.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful journey.
Happy Thanksgiving my friend,

Laura said...

dear Christine,

Wow . . what a wonderful story . . . being able to trace your farmer's family history back to that amazing time in history. I'm so thankful for the risk taking and the faith of all those folks that came on the Mayflower to work this virgin land . . . trailblazers, leading a path for others to follow. I am always amazed by those that leave their home country to come here. My mother came here from Scotland with her family when she was nine and I love to ask her about what that was like.

Thank you for sharing this part of your family history that goes straight back to the pilgrims. . . and thank your farmer for us!


Heather said...

Oh, what a lovely thanksgiving adventure! It sounds so marvelous, just love all those photos of the village. So amazing too that your husband's people were among those first settlers! what brave souls they were...I dont know if I could have withstood all that they did.
Happy thanksgiving!~

Diane Costanza said...

My parent's took us to Plymouth when we were kids in the 70's, and then I went again with my husband in the 90's. I love that it looks exactly the same. It is truly a wonderful place. Thanks so much for sharing your photos.


Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Hello awesome this history is...(I even have tears streaming down), so moving. How wonderful for your dear Farmer to see this monument. Yes it is a wonderful linen jacket...all the clothes...everything about this post...I love it!!!