New Pilgrims and Old

by Lowell M. Durham, Jr.

Associate Editor

Print Share

    Rising in the west behind Plymouth Rock is Cole’s Hill where during that first terrible winter in 1620–21 the Pilgrims buried nearly half their number. In the spring those graves were leveled and sowed to grain, “lest the Indians know how many were the graves.” Plymouth Rock was identified as such in 1741 and became a symbol of freedom in 1774 during pre-Revolutionary agitation in the colonies. The city of Plymouth was founded by those we now call the Pilgrims, who in the early days left England for Holland and then came to the New World to find religious freedom and new opportunity in a new land.

    The hearty pioneering spirit of these first settlers in the new world is reflected in the lives of the people who live in the Cape Cod area of New England and especially in the lives of young Latter-day Saints who share in common with these early fathers a love of freedom and a firm conviction and belief in God. Today this area of North America is rich with history of the “old comers” who helped build the traditions of freedom and religious conviction that prepared the way for the restoration of the gospel in this the land of promise.

    As those early Pilgrims were pioneers in a new, strange, and wonderful land, so in a sense are the young people of the Church pioneers for the gospel in this grand part of New England. Young members of the Cape Cod Branch are seen here visiting some of the famous historical sites that are next door, and in their own backyards—sites that include much of the history that was instrumental to the founding of this land—the land of the restoration of the gospel.

    The young people of the Cape Cod Branch enjoy the same things that young people all over the Church enjoy. The Aaronic Priesthood young men like to fish and spend time exploring their seashore but are also intent on improving their basketball skills. The young women are going to dances, riding horses, planning activities like the upcoming youth conference to be held in Boston and the special service project designed to bring some joy and happiness into the lives of older members of the Cape Cod community.

    And so a worldwide church comes to the streets of Plymouth town through these young pilgrims who are meeting new friends and exploring new ideas in the midst of the past.

    Photos by Lowell M. Durham

    Becky Setler, and Margaret Diaz, along with Loren Johnson, Michael Johnson, and Alan Setler are members of the Cape Cod Branch. They live in the shadows of early American history

    These new “Pilgrims” from the Cape Cod Branch look at old Plymouth Rock. The rock was split in 1774 when it was being dragged to Liberty Pole Square to serve as a symbol of freedom during pre-Revolutionary agitation. Today the rock lies very near its original waterfront site under a protective granite portico

    Mayflower II is permanently berthed at State Pier in Plymouth. Exhibits aboard the ship show what life would have been like during that 66-day voyage on a vessel crowded with 102 passengers, about 25 crewmen, and all the supplies needed for the voyage and the beginning of a colony in the New World

    Beautiful old buildings like this millhouse are common in the Cape Cod area and the area surrounding Plymouth, Massachusetts. Most communities have laws and ordinances protecting these historical sites

    Young members of the Cape Cod Branch often visit the Plymouth Plantation. This reconstruction of the original colony shows how the Pilgrims lived. The town was fortified, and it protected the 50 families along with their livestock population of 22 goats, 15 cattle, over 50 pigs, chickens, a few sheep, and possibly some horses. Outside the palisade were the crop fields—an acre of ground for each person in the colony

    Because of the importance of shipping and fishing, the Cape Cod area of New England is dotted with beautiful old lighthouses. Many of these lighthouses are decorative additions to Cape Cod estates, while others still function as beacons of safety for sailors

    Cranberry bogs are a common sight in the Cape Cod area. The bogs are flooded and frozen in the winter for two reasons. First, it protects the cranberry plants, and second, it provides a great place for ice skating

    Carol Knight, Becky Setler, Margaret Diaz, and Kristen Falck sit on the dock in front of Mayflower II. The ship is 104 feet long, with a beam (or width) of 25.5 feet. She is a gift from the English people and crossed the Atlantic in 1957. The crossing took 53 days