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

How Wampum is Made

You must know that the Indians hereabout have no tools of iron or of steel, as do you in Scrooby; but perform all their work by means of fire and sharp pieces of flint stone. In order to have something that can be called money, although they of course do not use that word in speaking of it, they get from the dark spots which are found in clam shells, beads about one-eighth of an inch in thickness and an inch long.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

These they call wampum, and string them on threads cut from the skin of a deer. Because of a great deal of labor's being necessary in the making of them, these bits of wampum, or beads, are valued as highly by the Indians as we value gold or silver, and the savage who would hoard up his wealth that it may be seen of others, makes of these strings of wampum a belt many inches broad.

It is convenient to wear these belts, for when the owner wishes to buy something from another Indian or even from us white people, he has merely to take off one or two strings from the belt, thereby decreasing the width ever so slightly.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

When Massasoit came to Plymouth, he wore three of these wampum belts, and among those who followed him, I saw five or six who had an equal number.