Thanksgiving Part 1: From Leyden to Liberty

Greetings all!  ‘Tis Thanksgiving Day come upon us in just a week and I’ve much to share with ye in story and song about the goodness of our God.  ‘Tis to Him alone we give thanks – for the great things He has done!

          I am called Mistress Kate.   
I live with the fellowship of Pilgrims come to this new world from England across the sea.  ‘Tis a tale to tell be sure. 
You’ve heard of we Pilgrims?  Let me explain who we are before I tell the tale.  A pilgrim is one who wanders, a traveler, passing on from one place, to a better place, in search of a homeland where Christ is Lord and God is King.
Back in England, the land of our birth, King James ruled us with a hard and selfish hand and did not give glory to God even though he had sworn to serve God when he was made King.  Those of us who heard the Word of God and sought to obey Him were punished by the King who wanted us to worship God only the way he ordered – which was not always in keeping with God’s commands in the Holy Bible.  
When we obeyed God as Christians, others mocked us, and sought to do us harm.  We suffered many things. 
“But these things did not dismay them for their desires were set on the ways of God, to enjoy His Providence, and they knew Whom they believed.”
William Bradford, Governor 
Of Plimoth Plantation 1620-1647
We were settled in our hearts to worship God in truth only.  So, we joined ourselves together into a church estate, separate from the King and his type of church.  The people called us “separatists”.  No matter what the cost, we will walk in the way of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, live clean lives of obedience according to God’s Word, and give God the glory in all things.
“All great and honorable actions are only accomplished with great difficulties and must be overcome with answerable courages.” 
Elder William Brewster, Plimoth Plantation
Elder Brewster was the postmaster in our town of Scrooby, England.  It was in his own State Postal Office that we would meet conducting secret church services until the day the Sheriff’s men arrived and our good Elder Brewster was removed from his post.  We looked to the Providence of God for our next step.
“Thus, being constrained to leave their native soil and country, their lands and livings, and all their friends and familiar acquaintances, it was . . . thought marvelous by many to go into a country they knew not . . . where they must learn a new language and get their livings they knew not how.  It was by many thought an adventure almost desperate, a case intolerable, and a misery worse than death.  They were not acquainted with the trades and traffic, but these things did not dismay them for their desires were set on the ways of God, to enjoy His Providence, and they knew whom they believed.”

William Bradford, Governor,
Of Plimoth Plantation 1620-1647

After much struggle, we set off in search of a better place.  Selling all we had, we hired a ship and tried to sail for the shores of  Holland – but not before the King’s men were set against us.  We were searched – our goods stolen – and accused as outlaws by the King!  Some of our good men and women lived for a month in the King’s prison until God saw fit that we were freed.  In the spring of 1608, it appeared we were finally on our way to Holland, but were again deterred by the King’s men and stormy seas until the mercies of the Lord saw us reunited on the shores of this new land in the Dutch town of Amsterdam.

“The Providential Hand of God is the only thing we could be sure of.  Though some left in England with sharp beginnings, yet many came on with fresh courage and greatly animated others.”
William Bradford, Governor,

Of Plimoth Plantation 1620-1647
Eventually we settled in the town of Leyden, and there we remained, living in relative peace for about ten years.  We learned trades as wool combers, silk workers, felt makers, button makers, hatters, and metal workers.  But, the Dutch did not follow the ways of the Lord and our children were being influenced by them.  Though there be much wealth and riches in this land, our wee ones were taking on some of the uncouth language of the Dutch – and forgetting about their English – and Godly – roots.
Add to that, good William Brewster, causing no small stir with his printing press – publishing tracts against the state church and smuggling them into England.  King James eventually traced the tracts to us in Leyden – and Elder Brewster was to return to England.  Yet, even in this, the hand of God was at work for His purposes.

“After our early trials, and the riches of peace and spiritual comfort that we knew for some time in our Leyden, Holland, the mediocrity of such a life began to overtake us and our desire was before the Lord to ultimately bring us to a place of true destiny where our children might know the fullness of their God in liberty of conscience and life.  Together, we agreed, and called a solemn day of humiliation where we sought the Will of God in this.  It was by His providential Hand that the great King James who once persecuted us – forcing us to live in Holland as men in exile – has now granted us this patent to sail to America and establish there the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia!”

Elder William Brewster, Plimoth Plantion
And, in one accord, we gathered with Elder Brewster in prayer ‘ere we depart:

“Father . . . we know we are Pilgrims and strangers in this land here below.  We look not on these things that are seen, but we lift our eyes to Heaven, our dearest country, where you alone have prepared a city for us.  Be near our dear friends as we separate one from another.  We thank Thee for Thy hand of protection upon us as we put to sea and cross to the New World – where the New Man you have made us to be through your Son Jesus Christ, might bask in truth and liberty . . . Amen.”


Stay tuned for Thanksgiving Part 2:  Meanwhile in an Indian Village Across the Sea
Copyright Kathryn Ross, 2011 – taken from my original performance material and primary sources of the writings of William Bradford’s and William Brewster’s personal first hand accounts.

Sharing Thanksgiving Part 1 with:

  Trish’s LACE Wednesday at Lily Rose Cottage
Laura’s Brag on God Friday at Beholding Glory

About Miss Kathy

"I teach families how to restore their God-given authority as the primary educator in their child’s life through the experience of reading together as a family. Learn how to use literature to create teachable moments, build strong minds, and bind loving hearts."

Kathryn Ross, writer, speaker, and dramatist, ignites a love of literature and learning to equip young and old towards developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle—reading together, learning together, loving together. Her works challenge families to deepen their literacy skills and grow into the greater things God has purposed for them. She’s taught in Christian and homeschool circles, trained in the Principle Approach® through the Foundation for American Christian Education. Miss Kathy owns Pageant Wagon Publishing, producing homeschool enrichment materials, devotional works, study guides, and theatrical dramas for church, school, and community production. She podcasts at and blogs at


  1. Hello Kathryn,
    I like this style of story telling. You have me eagerly awaiting the next installment.
    Even though I know the basic story of the Pilgrims…the quotations Mistress Kate has used has brought it alive.
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

  2. Thank you for the history lesson..
    I always find things easier to remember when they are made into a story..
    blessings to you

  3. I love this! We certainly need to be reminded of how far our country’s come, and the sacrifices that were made to enjoy the freedom to worship God biblically!

    Can’t wait for Part II!

  4. Thank you so much. Benjamin and I have been reading and reading about the Pilgrims…and I am humbled once again over the hand of God…it is so easy to forget. Over 1/2 died the first winter…out of the woods comes an Indian that can speak English…oh my. I am going to read your post to him today and tonight to my high schooler.

    Thanks for the reminder and for sharing…I can’t wait for part two.

  5. Wonderful history lesson, I can’t wait for part 2! I love your writing and I’m thrilled I found your blog, I’ll be back! I’m now your newest follower.

  6. I will be indeed waiting for the next installment! Thanks so much Kathy!

  7. Dear Miss Kathy…welcome back to blog land…I don’t like it when you’re absent. This is a fine post and it leaves me longing for more.
    Thank you for taking the time to create a treasure.

  8. I so enjoyed this – (and knowing that there wasn’t going to be a pop quiz made it much more fun to read – there isn’t going to be quiz…right, Mrs. Ross??)

    Mistress Kate tells a wonderful story, and I can’t wait for the next installment. I love the intrepid spirit of those early believers. May we hold tightly to our ROCK! (Did you get the very lame attempt at some *punnery* about Plymouth Rock??)


  9. Kathy, this is a wonderful way of telling the Pilgrim’s story.
    You have us sitting on the edge of our seats!
    At least 3 of us commenters so far are Aussies and don’t have a Thanksgiving history as you do – but we are all interested to hear the rest of your Pilgrim story 🙂
    It is always such a blessing to learn how God has delivered His peoples from oppression.
    He is faithful to ALL His covenants!
    Thanks for linking this to LACE, my friend.
    Love in Jesus..Trish

  10. Ah Mistress Kate, you tell the tale well! I’m looking forward to more tales as you cross the Atlantic.

    BTW, that William Bradford of whom you speak is the ancestor of a fellow now named Sir Lotsa Hair.
    Yea, (he) has a goodly heritage. (Psalm 16:6)

  11. You are a lovely story teller xo

  12. Thank you for sharing this, Kathy. I finally made it here, and I will catch up. I’ve been sick with a terrible cold and cough – this is the third week. But, I continue to improve a bit at the time.

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