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Soule Kindred In America

Mayflower, Day by Day - Wednesday, 13 January [1620]/21

13 Jan 2021 3:31 AM | Soule (Administrator)

At anchor in harbour

“Some of our people being abroad to get and gather thatch, they saw great fires of the Indians, and were at their corn-fields, yet saw none of the savages, nor had seen any of them since we came to this bay.”  For centuries, the Indians had been burning the landscape on a seasonal basis as a form of land management; this created open forests, without significant underbrush.  Philbrick notes that (Mayflower, p. 87), “the constant burning created stands of huge white pine trees that commonly grew to over 100 feet tall, with some trees reaching 250 feet in height and as much as 5 feet in diameter.  … In swampy areas, where standing water protected the trees from fire, grew white oaks, alders, willows, and red maples.  But there were large portions of southern New England that were completely devoid of trees … Come summer, this … blackened ground would resemble, to a remarkable degree, the wide and rolling fields of their native England.”

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