The Joseph of the American Nation

Forgive me dear readers who are also historians, but I just learned about the incredible life of Squanto and I have to write about him here just in case there is someone else out there who doesn’t know this. Where have I been?

My country, the United States of America, was 236 years old on July 4. The date recorded as the first landing of European settlers to form a settlement was November 1620. The Puritans came on the ship the Mayflower to escape religious persecution. What they endured was so horrendous under King James I and escalated when King Charles II followed, that they were willing to endure the hardships of crossing an ocean and forging life in a new world rather than stay in England.

Six years before the Mayflower arrived, in 1614, Captatin Thomas Hunt lured 24 Nauset and Patuxet Indians onboard his ship telling them he wanted to trade beaver skins. Instead he took them captive, shoved them below the hatches of his ship and set sail for the Strait of Gilbralter landing at Malaga, Spain. There the Indians were to be sold into slavery. A band of monks seeing the Natives were from America, took custody of the remaining Indians, and instructed them in the Christian faith. One of those was Tisquantum.

Tisquantum had somehow found himself passage from Malaga, Spain into England, where he began living with John Slaney in Cornhill, London, and began picking up the English language.  John Slaney was the treasurer of the Newfoundland Company which had managed to place a colony at Cupper’s Cove (Cupids), Newfoundland in 1610; he employed Tisquantum, presumably as an interpreter and as an expert on North American natural resources.  He was sent to Newfoundland, and worked there with Captain John Mason, governor of the Newfoundland Colony.

From the Newfoundland Colony Tisquantum returned to the land of the Patuxet, his people, but he found no one alive. They had contracted disease from the white settlers and had all died. In the absence of his own people, he took up residence with the heads of the Wampanoag Confederation, and served as interpreter between the settlers and the Indians. Indeed, the Pilgrims would have died had not Tisquanum, known as Squanto, served as a guide, a trading negotiator and a teacher to show the Pilgrims how to better utilize the natural resources: how to catch eels, and how to plant corn using fish caught from the town brook as fertilizer.

The reconstruction of the Squanto story was summarized from

Without Squanto, the Puritans would not have survived in the New World. Had they not survived perhaps we would not have the United States of America. Without Joseph, the family of Jacob, father of the Hebrews, would not have survived. Sometimes when situations look so unfair and so dismal, we can look at these true stories for encouragement. We really do not see the big picture, but we know we have a good God. May we trust Him.

Learning to trust,



4 comments on “The Joseph of the American Nation

  1. This is great! I have heard most of this story (homeschooling — you learn more there than in teaching school!) But the perspective you give it, the way the hand of God begins to show itself as the story evolves, just makes it glow! Thanks for this wonderful “bedtime story” for me, as now I go off, a bit late, to bed. Blessings on your morrow! (You never know just what God may be up to! …smile…)

    • That is so true! Much of life is a puzzle, a looking at the underside of the weaving–the key is trust!

      Did you homeschool or were you homeschooled?

  2. This is all fresh knowledge to me, Dawn, and so very interesting. I am currently reading Robinson Crusoe set in the same century and am very much enjoying it. Can’t believe I never read it before.

    Thanks for sharing this story . . . it just goes to show the impact one life can have on hundreds, thousands of others and often those key figures come out of obscurity, imprisonment and a trail of trials and tribulations. Happy Independence Day, friend.

  3. I am so happy to hear you had never read Robinson Crusoe. Somehow that makes me feel a little better. The mention of its being in the same century and how intrigued you are. I am intrigued by this time period, as well. I want to go back to study England and James I, Oliver Cromwell, Charles II and his Catholic bride which made the Puritans lives so miserable, etc etc.

    I can’t help but always wonder what was going on in Africa, China, Australia during these days, too. We are so European based…Ah, my husband wants me to get to breakfast…My life is not totally my own. Hugs today, My Friend.


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