Front Matter Why This Story was Written The Leaking Speedwell Searching for a Home After the Storm Wash Day Finding the Corn Attacked by the Savages Building Houses Miles Standish The Sick People The New Home Master White and the Wolf Inside of the House A Chimney Without Bricks Building the Fire Master Bradford's Chimney Scarcity of Food A Timely Gift The First Savage Visitor Squanto's Story Living in the Wilderness The Friendly Indians Grinding the Corn A Visit From Massasoit Massasoit's Promise Massasoit's Visit Returned The Big House Burned The Mayflower Leaves Port Setting the Table What and How we Eat Table Rules A Pilgrim Goes Abroad Making a Dugout Governor Carver's Death Bradford Chosen Governor Farming in Plymouth Cooking Indian Corn The Wedding Making Maple Syrup Decorating the House Trapping Wolves and Pigeons Elder Brewster The Visit to Massasoit Keeping the Sabbath Holy Making Clapboards Cooking Pumpkins A New Oven Making Spoons and Dishes The Fort and Meeting-House The Harvest Festival How to Play Stoolball On Christmas Day When the Fortune Arrived Possibility of Another Famine On Short Allowance A Threatening Message Pine Knots and Candles Tallow From Bushes Wicks for the Candle Dipping the Candles When James Runs Away Evil-Minded Indians Long Hours of Preaching John Alden's Tubs English Visitors Visiting the Neighbors Why More Fish are not Taken How Wampum is Made Ministering to Massasoit The Plot Thwarted The Captain's Indian Ballots of Corn Arrival of the Ann Little James Comes to Port The New Meeting-House The Church Service The Tithingmen Master Winslow Brings Cows A Real Oven Butter and Cheese Settlement at Wessagussett The Village at Merrymount The First School Too Much Smoke Schools Comforts How Children Were Punished New Villages Making Ready for a Journey Clothing for Salem Food for the Journey Before Sailing for Salem Beginning the Journey The Arrival at Salem Sight-Seeking in Salem Back to Plymouth

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Farming in Plymouth

I wish you might have seen how different to that which is the custom in Scrooby, was our farming done on the first season after we came ashore from the Mayflower. Because of having no working cattle with which to plough, the men were forced to dig up the ground with spades, and weary labor it was. Those of our people who were well enough to remain in the field, planted nearly twenty-six acres, six of which were sown with barley and peas, while the remainder was given over to Indian corn.

Squanto showed us how this last should be done, and, strange as it may seem to you in England, he used fish with which to enrich the land, putting three small ones in each hill.

You must know that all of us children, and the women, work at the planting of this corn, for it is the only kind of food to be had which can be kept throughout the year without danger of being spoiled, and when one grows weary with the task, it is only needed to bring to mind our hunger when we first came ashore.

Perhaps you may wonder where we got so much of the corn for seed. It has all come from the Indians in one way or another. Some of it Squanto brought from Massasoit's people; but a goodly portion has been found on the graves, of which there are very many near our village.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

As to planting barley and peas, Squanto knew nothing; therefore the work was done somewhat as it would have been done at home, except that the land was encumbered with rocks and trees, and we were much perplexed by lack of tools.

The seed was finally put into the ground, but even when the task had been performed to the best of our ability, it was an odd looking farm to those who had seen the fair fields of England. Large rocks stood here and there, while many stumps of trees yet remained, for our fathers had not been able to clear the land entirely. We shall have much work at harvest, in gathering the crops from amid all these unsightly things.