Laurie Lawlor:  Curriculum Connections

    Curriculum Connections:
    Voyage to a Free Land, 1630

    Over 16,000 Puritans came to Boston between 1630 and 1640. To put the account of this voyage into perspective one might read about other Atlantic crossings in the era around 1630.

  • This brief account (start at paragraph 4) of a crossing undertaken by the Knapp family provides another glimpse into the hardships involved in a crossing.

  • Another account tells of the Wolcott family ancestors who sailed on the Mary and John in 1630. The list of the cargo and human and animal passengers is interesting.

  • The Bidwell family also provides an account of the Mary and John voyage.


Bits of Information from the 1630s


  • In a family history that includes an inventory lists a great number of napkins and then mentions that "The English & those coming to America in the mid 1630's were in the habit of holding their food in a napkin in the left hand while with the right hand they cut it with a knife and carried to the mouth. We accordingly find in early inventories large numbers of napkins and an entire absence of forks." Was Laurie Lawlor able to incorporate this bit of information into her book or would this information support some incident in her book?

  • In a discussion of price controls in an article America' s First Wage and Price Controls by Clifford F. Thies the author says, "In 1630, the colony' s Court of Assistants capped wages for several categories of skilled workers and for common laborers at 16 pence and 12 pence per day." Discuss what happened because of the price controls. What were the price controls meant to accomplish? Did they accomplish what was expected? Was any of this wage control used as part of Lawlor's book? Cite examples of where it was used or where it might have been used if Lawlor would have chosen to do so.

  • Read a summary of the settling of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

  • Less than 25% of the emigrants to New England came as servants, indentured or otherwise. Read about indentured servants -- specifically read the section "Indentured Servants in New England " to better understand the view others might have had of Zach and why those views might have been held.

  • Answer/discuss this question: How did Zach measure up to the disapproval of Abigail, or who did he prove that view incorrect?

  • Answer/discuss this question: How do you think the relationships changed over the term of the voyage?


    Voyage to a Free Land, 1630. (1998) Ministrel® Pocket Books. ISBN: 0671015524; (2001) paperback ISBN: 0671775626. American Sisters Series. 178 pg. Historical Fiction.

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