Last edited: December 06, 2004

Those Naughty Pilgrims

Excerpt From the History Book Club review of "The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love and Death in Plymouth Colony," by James Deetz and Patricia Scott Deetz in November 2000:

"The chapter that is likely to attract the most attention deals with sexual impropriety in Plymouth. There’s the case of Thomas Granger, a 16- or 17-year-old servant, who was hanged in 1642 for buggery, by which the Pilgrims meant sex with animals. Apparently, Granger had carnal knowledge of a mare, a cow, two goats, five sheep, two calves, and, believe it or not, a turkey. All of Granger’s barnyard beloveds were killed before his eyes before he himself was executed. [Where was PETA when we needed them?]

"On page after page, the Deetzes dispel the image of the Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers as models of godliness and self-control.

" *In 1637, John Alexander and Thomas Roberts were found guilty of ‘often spending their seed one upon another.’

" *In 1639, Mary Mendame was convicted of committing adultery with Tinsin, an Indian, and was condemned to wear a badge that read ‘AD’ (short for ‘adultery’) on her sleeve as long as she lived in the colony. [Nathaniel Hawthorne, call your agent.]

" *In 1652, Katheren Winter was found guilty of sleeping with her stepfather, James Turner.

" *In 1685, Hannah Bonny gave birth to a mixed race child; the father was a black man named Nimrod."

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