Puritans and Pilgrims

I’ve had time lately to do some enjoyment reading as I sit for chemotherapy treatments these last few weeks.

Finally, I’ve begun to read some from a stack of books that has been piling up since 2010. This week, I read Philbrick’s 2008 NYTimes bestseller “The Mayflower and the Pilgrims’ New World” (albeit mine is the shorter adaptation for young people–useful for chemo brainfog). There are several interesting points in the book that I had either forgotten or possibly I am just looking at the Mayflower differently now, after studying Daytons of the same period.

So, there are now at least five or six points to talk about that I hope will interest others.

The first is the simple observation that Myles (or Miles) Standish was a contemporary of our Ralph Dayton–contemporary as in–the two men might have actually been born in the same year and died within two years of one another. Standish, of course, is a popular historical figure and at various times in American history, has been a pop-culture figure.

Although Standish was not himself a Pilgrim, he was hired by and lived with the Pilgrims. On the other hand, Ralph Dayton was a New Haven Puritan of the same stock as those Puritans of Massachusetts Bay. Although seemingly interchangeable to many today, Pilgrims and Puritans were distinct in many ways. One such example is the way they interacted with Native Americans.

According to Philbrick,

The Pilgrims had done little to convert the Indians to Christianity, but for the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay, it was a priority from the start.

It is fascinating to consider the seal of the colony of Massachusetts Bay which contains an image of the Indian saying “Come over and help us” that was created before the arrival of the Puritans in the New World.

In Massachusetts, the Puritans made efforts to teach Native Americans to read and write in order that they might read the scriptures, and some even attended Harvard at its beginnings.

You might remember also that some Puritan churches had seating reserved for Native Americans.


This entry was posted in Ashford, Dayghton, Howland, Mary Knight Haines Dayton, New Haven Colony, New London, Ralph Dayton, Skiff, Skiffe and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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