Fun Facts & Crafts about Pilgrims

Have you been following our Fun Facts series? Yesterday we looked at the Mayflower. Today we are looking at the Pilgrims in general, but we will be looking at some of them individually over the next couple weeks. I hope you will join us for all the fun!!

Fun Facts

  1. The Pilgrims were members of the Separatist Church and wanted to separate from the official Church of England. The Separatists went further than the Puritans. They wanted new formations of new, separate congregations which was illegal in England at the time.
  2. They left England for Holland where they had religious freedom but life was not easy. They first lived in Amsterdam and then moved to the city of Leiden. Some of the older children were tempted by the Dutch culture and left their families to become soldiers and sailors. They also feared a war between Holland and Spain so they decided to move again.
  3. Leiden American Pilgrim Museum1
    Leiden American Pilgrim Museum By Herenld (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  4. Since they didn’t have enough money for the journey they made an agreement with financial investors. The investors would provide the needed money and the colonists would send back natural resources like fish, timber and furs. All the land and assets including houses would belong to the company for the first seven years when it would be divided amongst the investors and colonists. Only a small portion of the congregation were ready to travel. The larger portion including their pastor stayed in Europe to settle their affairs.
  5. They worked with Thomas Weston who represented a group of investors called the Adventurers. Weston was not honest with them. The original deal was the colonists would work four days for the company and two days for themselves with the Sabboth to worship. In the spring of 1620 they had 125 people (about one third of the congregation) ready to leave but they saw Weston’s true colors. He said the new terms were they would have to work every minute for the Adventurers. They also discovered he had not yet arranged any transportation. This is when they purchased the Speedwell which they had hired to bring them back to England from Holland.
  6. The congregation bought a small ship, The Speedwell, for the trip. It was joined by the Mayflower in Southampton, England filled with other colonists who they called Strangers. They called themselves Saints. The two ships set out together twice but had to turn around because the Speedwell leaked. All the colonists crammed into the Mayflower and left England on Sept 6, 1620.
  7. Pilgrim exiles, Plymouth, Mass (76419)
    Pilgrims in Plymouth Postcard By Pub. by Smith's Inc., Plymouth, Mass. Tichnor Bros. Inc., Boston, Mass. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  8. Not knowing if they would be able to get animal hides they brought plenty of shoes—William Mullins brought 126 pairs of shoes and 13 pairs of boots for all of them to share. The pilgrims wore colorful clothes with red-brown, blue, green and purple being most popular. They also brought farm animals including chickens, pigs and goats.
  9. Mayflower 2 2008
    Mayflower II By Jérôme (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  10. They were on rough seas for 66 days when they arrived in New England. This was far north from where they were supposed to be near the Hudson River (now in New York). They arrived in Cape Cod on November 11, 1620. After a skirmish with the Nauset tribe, they moved onto Plymouth and arrived there on December 16, 1620. They began to build their town, but lived on the ship while the building was happening. Many fell ill. It was not unusual for two or three people to die each day during the first couple of months. Only 52 people survived the first year. The Mayflower set sail for England on April 5, 1621. 
  11. There were four unaccompanied children on the Mayflower. They were assigned to various families for the passage.
  12. At age four Mary Allerton lost her mother during the first winter in Plymouth. Mary lived to be 87 in 1704, and was the last survivor of the original settlers.
  13. The common house in Plymouth (the first building built) caught fire. No one was hurt, but the sick people staying there had to flee into the freezing morning while the thatched roof burned. Luckily the loaded muskets did not explode.
  14. Plimoth Plantation farm house
    Pilgrim House at Plimouth Plantation Swampyank at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  15. During the first winter there were days where two or three people died in a day, and at least one person died each day. Only five of the eighteen women who sailed on the Mayflower survived the first winter. Nineteen of the unmarried men, hired hands, and servants of the twenty-nine to set sail died and half the married men died the first winter. However almost all the children lived. All seven of the girls and ten of the thirteen boys survived. They buried their dead secretly during the night so the Native Americans would not know how few of them were left alive.
  16. At the first Thanksgiving there were only four married Pilgrim women left alive—Elizabeth Hopkins, Susanna White Winslow, Elinore Billington, and Mary Brewster. They prepared the food with the help from children and servants. 

Craft Round-Up

1) From 123 Homeschool 4 Me: Early Settlers #2 - Pilgrims
2) From Sallie Borrink: Free Pilgrims Sentence Scramble Activity
3) From Adventures in Mommydom: Lego History of Thanksgiving
4) From The Preschool Toolbox: A Circle of Thanksgiving
5) Our Pilgrim Lollipops
6) Our Toilet Paper Roll Pilgrims
7) Our Peg Doll Pilgrims
8) From Wikki Stix: Thanksgiving Math Activity
9) From Creative Family Fun: Cardboard Tube Pilgrim Hat
10) From Wikki Stix: Pilgrim Hat Craft from Recycled K-Cups