Friday, May 10, 2013

Ancestors & Oak Trees

When I visited Plimouth Village (near Plymouth, Massachusetts) in April I learned something interesting about trees....... the trees that were there when the Pilgrims arrived.  

Plimouth Village is the re-created village home of the Pilgrims as it would have been in 1627 and the biggest reason to visit is that employees are costumed actors portraying the Pilgrim band in that year and talking with you as if in that year and no later. 

I interrupted the work of  John Alden. He was a young man standing on a huge log chopping notches with a long-handled axe "for a new roof beam," he said. He put down his axe, wiped his brow, and explained "that when we first came the land was infested with huge trees.... five grown men with arms out finger-to-finger barely fit around!" (It is not that way today.)

He also explained that "here the oaks grow wild "as God moves" but in England they were well tended to grown tall and straight." Oaks and alder trees are planted together. When the alder trees area bout 16 feet high they are cut off leaving all the sun and room to the oak. By this protection the first 16 feet of the tree are tall and straight and "it only takes 15 or so years, "if God wills." 

I really smiled to hear his use of the word "infested" as pertaining to thick groves of trees in their new world. I would not thought have using that word in that fashion. 

You can drive through the Massachusetts countryside and the towns where your ancestors might have lived, but you cannot really see it as it was 300 years ago. Only in the voice and words of somebody living there then. I recommend a visit to Plimouth Planation to learn about how our ancestors really lived. 

Check out their website, , or look for the U-Tube videos of that place. 

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