Featuring students from South Elementary School, Plymouth, MA.
STUDENT 10 Didn’t it hurt when the Pilgrims stepped on you? PLYMOUTH ROCK No! I was happy to help them. They had a long journey and were so happy to be on land again, and it was my job to greet them! STUDENT 11 So what happened after they got off the Mayflower? PLYMOUTH ROCK It wasn’t easy for the Pilgrims. They had a lot of work ahead of them, and needed a lot of help. Luckily they weren’t alone. STUDENT 12 They weren’t? PLYMOUTH ROCK The Wampanoag were here for many, many years before the Pilgrims or anyone else arrived in America. They knew the land better than anyone else, and if it weren’t for them, the Pilgrims would have never survived. In fact, for years before the Pilgrims arrived, I watched the Wampanoag fish and farm the land, and they taught all these skills to the Pilgrims. STUDENT 13 So the Wampanoag let the Pilgrims live with them? PLYMOUTH ROCK The story gets a little more complicated than that, but we’ll save the lesson on colonization for your teacher for another day. TEACHER Thank you. Can you share with the students what life was like for you after the Pilgrims arrived? PLYMOUTH ROCK Of Course! Children would play on the beach around me, and sometimes they’d even sit on me to take a rest from all their running around and exploring. It was so exciting seeing all this new life around me, and my long days of feeling bored seemed to be over. TEACHER As the Pilgrims got more comfortable in their new home, their families grew. They had children and more of their family and friends made the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. PLYMOUTH ROCK That’s right. I loved watching the village grow. I felt so special when some of the older Pilgrims would show the young villagers and newcomers the spot where I had helped them come ashore for the first time. However, over time, less people would come to visit me. I started to feel like I wasn’t important to them anymore! STUDENT 14 But what about the ships after the Mayflower? Didn’t you help those people get ashore? PLYMOUTH ROCK You see, as more and more people arrived, the villagers built wharves and docks to handle the increased shipping traffic. STUDENT 15 What’s a wharf? WILL It’s like a big dock, where ships can park. TEACHER That’s exactly right, Will. PLYMOUTH ROCK Just look at the Mayflower. It rests alongside a wharf. ABBY My grandfather said there used to be several wharves in Plymouth Harbor. TEACHER That’s right. There’s still a few, but there were even more when Plymouth Harbor was used as a port. PLYMOUTH ROCK Did you know I was almost thrown into the harbor when the people of Plymouth wanted to build their first wharf? STUDENT 16 No way! PLYMOUTH ROCK Yes, but luckily one of the Pilgrim’s ancestors stuck up for me. He told the people who wanted to build the wharf how important I was and they agreed to let me stay and build the wharf around me! STUDENT 17 That must have let you see people everyday! PLYMOUTH ROCK It did! And what a busy pier it was. Plymouth was growing and ships were constantly coming and going. I watched fishermen unload their catches and trade ships unload their chests full of supplies. Usually Mr. Seagull would watch with me too! TEACHER During this time, America was growing, and from what started in Plymouth as a single village, several colonies now existed along the coast. ABBY Were these colonies America or England? TEACHER Great question. Although they were in America, the colonies were still ruled by the King of England. WILL But then the Boston Tea Party happened and we had the war against England, right? TEACHER Partly, but there were a lot of events that led to America fighting for its independence. England’s tightening rule began to interfere with the colonists’ lives. People would gather to share their frustrations. PLYMOUTH ROCK In Plymouth, people would gather around me. I was becoming a symbol for independence. At this time, the colonists wanted to move me to the center of town. STUDENT 18 How would they get you there? PLYMOUTH ROCK With a lot of help, that’s for sure. A large crowd with a cart and twenty oxen arrived to haul me into town. But can you guess what happened next? STUDENT 19 They couldn’t lift you because you were too heavy? PLYMOUTH ROCK Oh no, they managed to lift me alright. They wrapped me in chains, but as they were lifting me into the cart, the chains broke and I fell hard on the ground and split in two! CLASS Oh no! PLYMOUTH ROCK I was devastated but the colonists saw this as a sign of wanting to separate from England. They had the idea of leaving a part of me here by the sea, and taking my top half to Town Square. So that’s what they did.