THE AMAZING PART OF THE PILGRIM STORY, THE PART MOST OF US WERE NEVER TAUGHT IN SCHOOL, WAS JUST HOW CLOSE THE PILGRIMS CAME TO NOT HAVING A THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION AT ALL. WHY? BECAUSE THEY VERY WELL MAY HAVE ALL DIED WITHIN THAT FIRST YEAR WERE IT NOT FOR ONE VERY SPECIAL MAN WHO PROVIDENTIALLY CAME TO THEIR COLONY AND SAVED THEIR LIVES.
HIS NAME WAS SQUANTO. HE WAS A NATIVE AMERICAN WHO CAME TO BE CALLED “INDIANS” – A MEMBER OF THE PATUXET TRIBE.
IN 1605, WHEN SQUANTO WAS JUST A YOUNG BOY, HE AND FOUR OTHER BOYS WERE CAPTURED FROM THEIR VILLAGE BY CAPTAIN GEORGE WEYMOUTH AND TAKEN BACK TO ENGLAND. CAPTAIN WEYMOUTH’S PLAN WAS TO CAPTURE SOME OF THE NATIVES IN AMERICA AND TEACH THEM HOW TO SPEAK ENGLISH SO THAT THEY COULD COMMUNICATE WITH INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR AREA AND JUST WHERE THE BEST PLACES WOULD BE FOR THE ENGLISH TO ESTABLISH NEW COLONIES.
IT WAS A CRUEL BUT CUNNING PLAN AND SQUANTO SPENT THE NEXT NINE YEARS OF HIS LIFE IN ENGLAND AT THE HOUSE OF SIR FERDINANDO GORGES. AND HE WAS TAUGHT PERFECT ENGLISH.
FINALLY, IN 1614, CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH SET SAIL ON A VOYAGE TO AMERICA AND HE AGREED TO TAKE SQUANTO BACK TO HIS HOME AND HIS PEOPLE. BUT WHEN SQUANTO RETURNED, HIS HOMECOMING DIDN’T LAST LONG. SAILING ON ANOTHER SHIP WITH SMITH’S EXPEDITION WAS CAPTAIN THOMAS HUNT, AND HE HAD ONLY ONE THING IN MIND – MONEY.
AS SOON AS SMITH HAD LEFT THE AREA, ONLY A FEW WEEKS LATER, CAPTAIN HUNT MADE HIS WAY BACK DOWN THE COAST AND LURED SQUANTO AND TWENTY OTHER PATUXET BRAVES ON BOARD HIS SHIP – AND PUT THEM IN CHAINS. AND THEN, AFTER CAPTURING SEVEN MORE BRAVES FROM ANOTHER TRIBE, CAPTAIN HUNT MADE HIS WAY TO MALAGA, A PORT ON THE COAST OF SPAIN WHICH WAS WELL KNOWN FOR ITS BRUTAL SLAVE TRADE.
THERE, THESE STRONG INDIAN BRAVES COULD BE SOLD FOR AS MUCH AS $1,400 EACH. SQUANTO AND THE OTHERS WERE SOLD AS SLAVES.
BUT SOMETHING QUITE MIRACULOUS HAPPENED. A LOCAL MONASTERY HAD ACTUALLY GATHERED TOGETHER ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY A FEW OF THE SOON-TO-BE SLAVES, AND ONE OF THESE WAS SQUANTO. THEY BOUGHT HIM AND, UNBELIEVABLY, SET HIM FREE. HE LITERALLY OWED HIS LIFE TO THEM.
HOW COULD ANY OF THEM KNOW THEN WHAT AN IMPORTANT PART SQUANTO WOULD PLAY IN OUR NATION’S HISTORY. FOR A SHORT TIME SQUANTO LIVED AT THE MONASTERY AND LEARNED ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN FAITH.
FINALLY, IN 1619, SQUANTO WAS ONCE AGAIN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO HOME. HE COULDN’T WAIT TO SEE HIS FAMILY. BUT, WHEN HE STEPPED OFF THE BOAT AND MADE HIS WAY BACK TO HIS VILLAGE, WHAT HE SAW THERE WAS THE MOST DEVASTATING BLOW OF HIS LIFE. THERE WAS NOT ONE MEMBER OF HIS TRIBE ALIVE. NOTHING BUT SKULLS, AND BONES, AND RUIN. WHILE SQUANTO HAD BEEN AWAY, A TERRIBLE SICKNESS HAD COME TO HIS VILLAGE AND HAD KILLED LITERALLY EVERY MAN, WOMAN, AND CHILD.
FOR THE NEXT SIX MONTHS, SQUANTO WANDERED AIMLESSLY. JUST WHAT COULD HE DO, WHAT WOULD HE DO?
HIS MOTHER, HIS FATHER, HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS, HIS ENTIRE TRIBE – THEY WERE ALL DEAD. HE FINALLY MADE HIS WAY INTO CHIEF MASSASOIT’S CAMP NEARBY. HE HAD NOWHERE ELSE TO GO.
HE TOLD THE CHIEF HIS STORY AND THE CHIEF TOOK HIM IN.
BUT SQUANTO MERELY EXISTED. HE BELIEVED HE HAD NOTHING TO LIVE FOR.
THEN ONE DAY, SQUANTO WAS TOLD THAT A SMALL GROUP OF PEACEFUL ENGLISH FAMILIES WAS BUILDING A COLONY, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WHERE HIS OWN VILLAGE HAD BEEN. THIS SMALL BAND OF PEOPLE WE KNOW AS PILGRIMS HAD JUST ENDURED THAT FIRST TERRIBLE WINTER AND ALMOST HALF HAD DIED. THEY WERE SICK AND WEAK AND HAD LITTLE FOOD.
IT SEEMED CLEAR THEY WOULD NOT SURVIVE UNLESS SOMEONE HELPED THEM. SQUANTO MADE HIS WAY TO THEIR CAMP.
AT FIRST THE PILGRIMS WERE SCARED. WAS HE PART OF A WAR PARTY? WOULD THEY ALL DIE? BUT AMAZINGLY, THIS YOUNG MAN COULD SPEAK PERFECT ENGLISH, AND AS THEY TALKED, SOMETHING VERY MIRACULOUS HAPPENED – SQUANTO FELT IN HIS HEART THE NEED TO TAKE THESE PEOPLE INTO HIS CARE.HE SAW THESE PILGRIMS AS LITTLE BABES – SO IGNORANT TO THE WAYS AND WILDS OF THE NEW WORLD. HE WOULD COMMIT HIMSELF TO TEACHING THEM, AND SAVING THEIR LIVES. HE TAUGHT THEM HOW TO FISH, STALK DEER, REFINE MAPLE SYRUP, FIND HERBS GOOD TO EAT AND FOR MEDICINE. BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING HE TAUGHT WAS THE PLANTING OF CORN – THE INDIAN WAY. AND WITH SQUANTO’S HELP – THEY SURVIVED.
SO, IN OCTOBER OF 1621, WHEN THE PILGRIMS DECIDED TO HAVE A THREE-DAY FEAST GIVING THANKS TO ALMIGHTY GOD FOR THEIR DELIVERANCE, THEY INVITED SQUANTO AS THEIR SPECIAL GUEST. AND HE BROUGHT WITH HIM 120 BRAVES. IT WAS TRULY A WONDERFUL AND THANKFUL CELEBRATION.
BUT JUST WHAT HAPPENED TO SQUANTO? HE BECAME A VERY VALUABLE SCOUT TO OTHER EXPLORERS WHO CAME TO AMERICA.
AMAZINGLY, AFTER ENDURING ALL THE HARDSHIPS IN HIS LIFE AND OVERCOMING EVERY OBSTACLE, ONLY TWO YEARS AFTER THAT FIRST THANKSGIVING WAS CELEBRATED, SQUANTO WAS STRUCK WITH A TERRIBLE FEVER AND HE DIED.
AND WHAT DID THE PILGRIMS THINK OF THIS MAN, SQUANTO? WILLIAM BREWSTER, ONE OF THE FIRST GROUP OF PILGRIMS, IN HIS DIARY WROTE THESE WORDS, “SQUANTO WAS A SPECIAL INSTRUMENT OF GOD FOR OUR GOOD, BEYOND ANY POSSIBLE EXPECTATIONS.” THE KNEW THAT SQUANTO HAD BEEN SENT TO THEM MY GOD.
WHAT AN AMAZING STORY.
About Jerry Stewart
I am a story teller. Since 1998, I have been telling the true stories of our nation and those Americans gone before us. To say the least, these stories have been well received by Americans, both young and old. So, here’s where the stories have taken me. In 1998, I was broadcasting my stories on just one radio station in Washington State. Today, from Texas 15 years later, these programs are now broadcast through a syndicated radio network to over 400 radio stations all across America, with literally millions of listeners.
“America is great because America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, it will cease to be great.”
French Philosopher, Alexis De Tocqueville 1840
“What we obtain for too cheap a price, we esteem too lightly.”
“Son, remember that God is your only sure trust.”
George Washington’s Mother
“The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated because our deeply rooted faith will sustain us”.
Plaque at the Oklahoma City Bomb Site
“I regret i have but one life to lose for my country.”
Nathan Hale, just before he was hanged by the British army
“Many men fail because they quit too soon. They lose faith when the signs are against them. They do not have the courage to hold on, to keep fighting in spite of that which seems insurmountable. If more of us would strike out and attempt the impossible, we very soon would find the truth of that old saying – nothing is impossible”.
Doctor C.E. Welch, Founder of Welch's Grape Juice
“You cannot lift your children to a higher level than that on which you live yourself.”
“Duty, honor, country. These three hallowed words reverently dictate what a soldier ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are the soldier’s rallying post to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when all hope is gone. Duty…honor…country.”
General Douglas Macarthur
“The philosophy of our school room in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”
“Never let yourself be persuaded that any one great man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America; when America consists of one leader and 250 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
President Dwight Eisenhower
“Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. For tis better to be alone than in bad company.”