Ranger Headquarters

Ranger Headquarters
Big Pine National Forest, Knotty Pine

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Squanto's Thanksgiving Miracle

Squanto is the Native American Indian who just about single-handedly saved the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1621. As you may know, the first year, especially the first winter, for the Pilgrims was one of failures, hunger, disease, and death. In that first year, fifty of the one hundred or so settlers to the New World died. The Pilgrims prayed fervently that God would have mercy on them and somehow rescue them from almost certain death. God answered their prayers by sending them Squanto. Squanto somehow knew perfect English. He taught the settlers how to plant corn and other crops, how to catch lobsters and fish, and even how to stomp in the mud to catch eels. Squanto was the miracle the Pilgrims needed so desperately. And so they flourished and thrived and gave thanks to God for His goodness to them on what we call Thanksgiving Day in 1621.
But the Pilgrims were also a miracle for Squanto. His story may be even more miraculous than theirs.
English trading ships were already visiting North America from time to time. A few had even visited Plymouth Bay area around 1600. These visits from traders had been fairly pleasant events for the natives around Plymouth. So when yet another trading ship arrived in 1608, they were warmly welcomed. But these traders were bad men. They stole from the Indians and even kidnapped as few, including 7-year-old Squanto.
The traders sailed to Spain and sold Squanto as a slave. By God's blessing, Squanto was bought by a group of monks. The monks treated him well and wanted to get Squanto back to his tribe. It took five years, but they finally found Squanto a job as a stable boy in London.
The stable's owners also treated Squanto kindly and taught him the king's English. The family promised to send Squanto back to America on the first trading ship going that way. As you might imagine, very few trading ships went to North America. But after another five long years, Squanto was able to book passage to Plymouth in 1618.
When he arrived near Plymouth, Squanto headed directly for home, but his home was gone. His entire tribe had died of smallpox while he was gone. Squanto was devastated. He was now entirely alone. He ran off into the forest to live without a single friend, without any other human at all.
Then the Pilgrims arrived and settled near where Squanto's village had once been. From a distance he saw them starving and dying. He was moved by their plight.
One spring morning, Squanto walked into the Pilgrim camp and offered to show them how to find food and survive. The settlers eagerly took him up on his offer. Then they took him in and gave him a home. Squanto became a deeply loved member of the Pilgrims. So as they feasted on that first Thanksgiving Day, the Pilgrims offered thanks for not only life but abundance, and Squanto celebrated a place to call home.
About a year later, Squanto became ill, and in a matter of days he died. Before he died, Squanto publicly accepted Christ.
This story comes from a Moody interview with author Eric Metaxas. I have done my best to retell the story faithfully. I found several versions of Squanto's story on the 'Net. The details of his age and if he was kidnapped or traveled willingly vary. But in general his story is accepted as accurate. This story so reminded me of Jimmy's Christmas Miracle. I was touched by it especially because it is a fuller story of Thanksgiving.
God bless you today and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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