Pat Shingleton: "November 21, 1620..."
William Bradford, governor of Plymouth Plantation, chronicled the difficulties of the Pilgrim's crossing. The decision to land on the shores of Massachusetts was dictated by the weather. The Mayflower, a small 180-ton ship, was sailing near the southeastern tip of Cape Cod on November 19, 1620, expecting to hold its course the landing in New York Harbor. With high winds and waves, the crew turned northward, picked up southerly winds, rounding the northern tip of the Cape into the protected waters of the bay. Clear weather and favorable winds on November 20 kept The Mayflower on its northerly tack, dropping anchor on the 21st in Provincetown Harbor after 65 days at sea. Other items identify the winter of 1620-1621 as "a calm winter, such as was never seen here since" wrote Thomas Dudley of Massachusetts Bay. Details as to subsequent winters at Plymouth are sketchy. Journals that were returned to England may have been slanted toward favorable weather conditions, possibly designed to not only please sponsors, but to persuade other settlers to come to America. Almost half of the original passengers and crew of the Mayflower encountered disease during the first winter on the shores of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bay. Many stayed on the Mayflower, anchored a mile offshore and weather permitting, went ashore each day to build adequate shelters. As for the Thanksgiving menu, the Pilgrims may have enjoyed: wild fowl, venison, seal, wheat flour, Indian corn, pumpkin, peas, beans, onions, lettuce, radishes, carrots, plums, grapes, chestnuts, and acorns. Seasonings were liverwort, leeks, dried currants, and parsnips.
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