Puritans

Puritans

1620 – New England Area to more Southern areas until decline and non existence in the Chuckatuck area

The Puritans were a group people within the Church of England who were not happy with ways the church was going at that time.[7]  They first arrived in the New England area in 1620 with other English Protestants on the Mayflower who established the Plymouth settlement. They had come across the Atlantic Ocean seeking religious freedom. Before their landing, they developed the Mayflower Compact, an agreement of rules they would use govern the colony.  Many died during the harsh winter but the settlement survived.   More Puritans came with ships that came after the Mayflower. With them came rules that were even stricter. The settlers began to branch out and form new settlements in the north-east as the disagreements continued.[8]

Puritans believed the Bible was God’s true law. They thought they should purify the church and their own lives, form tight colonies, practice religious exclusion and felt the community was strengthened by unity. They had strong spiritual beliefs. They felt the individuals, as well as the churches, should be responsible directly to God. If all members did not agree with these laws and practice them, they required conversion or were asked to leave. They believed worldliness was against the Bible’s principles, that actions spoke louder than words and that the devil was behind every evil deed. Drama, religious music and erotic poetry were banned in their settlements.[9]

They believed strongly in education. In 1635, they formed the first school, probably in order to teach their children the Puritan principles.  They also started the first American College; Harvard in Cambridge. They were the first to write books for children and discuss their behavior.  While other settlers were physically making their ways thru the forest in order for physical progress to take place, they were advancing the country intellectually. [10]

The Puritans definitely played an important part in the settling of the America. Those who came to Virginia at the time of Governor Berkeley were forbidden to preach even though the churches were in need of ministers. One minister came from the North, took it upon himself to cross the Nansemond. He became a pastor who proved to be of great help to a local church.  That church may have been St. John’s, as some ministers were sent from the north to help with the parishes. Some accepted invitations to go to Maryland. It was not long before they moved to an area where they were more welcome. Today, there are no Puritans locally and only few remain in the United States.[11]