The Puritans at Thanksgiving
Although in common use, the term *Pilgrim* means the same as *Puritan*, there were major differences. And the difference is as big as comparing Plymouth Rock to Massachusetts Bay. The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, the Puritans at Massachusetts Bay, where Boston is.
The Pilgrims were Separatists. That is, they wanted to completely break away from the Anglican Church. The Puritans, as the name implies, were interested in purifying the church. And while ultimately both groups broke away from England, the Puritans were the last to do so.
My family, the Puritans, didn't find themselves starving, out in the middle of a *howling wilderness*. They established their new community in a bay, where there were ships sailing regularly to and from England. There was a lot of money in Boston then, and there still is.
Don't get me wrong, my family weren't Loyalists. When independence was declared from Britain in 1776, they did their part. They served on Safety Committees, they served in the military. And so the *cozy* relationship that my family in the Boston area had with the British was quickly covered up. We all became Pilgrims, anxious to severe ties with King George!
My family did not come over on the Mayflower, with William Bradford. They came over with John Winthrop. They had the embarrassment of the wealth of Massachusetts Bay to try to cover up, when the young country was still trying to establish its identity as humble people striving to survive in the wilderness, with no help from nasty old England.
And as the United States became more successful, and more wealthy, the story of *the Pilgrims* was taught to remind everyone of our humble origins as a country. And most of the actual history was thrown away, especially if it was a bit embarrassing. It is a good story, and I hope that kids will continue to trace their fingers to draw turkeys, and will draw Pilgrims with buckles on their hats. That's what I did. But as I grew older, I wanted to learn more, and I still do.
Posted by Brad Hall