Pilgrim Fathers

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Pilgrim Fathers. The leaders of the Plymouth settlement on Cape Cod, made under a Virginia Company grant in late 1620. Religious dissidents from Scrooby (Notts.) had exiled themselves to Leiden in Holland, but decided their Englishness could better be preserved in English America. After a terrible early mortality and with Indian help, the colonists, not all of whom were associated with the Leiden group, survived and increased. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in November 1621. The Pilgrims' fortitude and their religious and communal values, rather than the chaotic individualism of early Virginia, have been traditionally commemorated by later generations.

Richard C. Simmons

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Pilgrim Fathers. English Christian Dissenters who set sail in 1620 to cross the Atlantic (in the Mayflower) and who established Plymouth Colony. They numbered 102, though a baby was born at sea. The name was based on Hebrews 11. 13.