These are free at the time of listing, and most of this will remain free because it’s largely public domain texts. One or two will probably change.
You don’t need a Kindle to enjoy them- you can download and read online or on your handheld device if you have one- there are apps for that at Amazon. So here we go:
The Pilgrims of New England A Tale of the Early American Settlers
From a review:
Excerpted from the preface: “…an attempt has been made to illustrate the manners and habits of the earliest Puritan settlers in New England, and the trials and difficulties to which they were subjected during the first years of their residence in their adopted country. All the principal incidents that are woven into the narrative are strictly historical, and are derived from authentic sources, which give an impartial picture both of the virtues and the failings of these remarkable emigrants.”
The tale begins with the words, “It was, indeed, a ‘stern and rock-bound coast’ beneath which the gallant little Mayflower furled her tattered sails, and dropped her anchor, on the evening of the eleventh of November, in the year 1620.” The story line initially follows the Maitlands, a fictional founding family as they become established in the New Plymouoth colony. Then the story shifts to their nearly-grown son, Henrich Maitland, who is kidnapped by the dreaded Nauset[t]s with many details of his life. Eventually, the tale is about Henrich’s sister who marries Roger Williams, the then-controversial founder of Rhode Island.
The reviewer also says there are several textual errors created from a machine reading without a human editing, but both reviewers at Amazon gave it a favorable rating.
No Better Thing Under The Sun: Making The First Thanksgiving by Helen Stringer. Here’s the blurb from Amazon:
In 1620 a small, leaky boat dropped anchor off the coast of New England. On board were just over one hundred settlers. Some were Puritans and some were not, but all were seeking a new home. By the end of the first winter, nearly half were dead, but by the following Fall they had taken in their first harvest, thanks to hard work and the help of their Wampanoag neighbors. They celebrated this achievement with a feast that we now know as Thanksgiving. But what did they actually eat at that First Thanksgiving? Using a selection of primary sources, including Pilgrim accounts, period cook books, and probate inventories, the author brings the world of the Mayflower settlers to life and creates a 17th century feast incorporating only the ingredients they would have had available (including the five deer that the Wampanoag contributed). An engaging, often humorous, but never dull account of the birth of America’s most beloved festival and the Pilgrim Fathers we thought we knew.
The Landing of the Pilgrims
This is a play to perform for Thanksgiving. Here’s the cast:
The Mayflower Compact
Everybody should read this, and understand its significance (it belongs in a list of must read documents which includes the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution).
Here’s one review:
One paragraph? You mean to say that basically all that has been said and needs to be said about the founding principles of our nation can and was said in only ONE paragraph?
Sixty thousand pages of IRS rules, a briefcase full of documents to buy a home, beverage labels of federally mandated information that crowds out enjoyable information, and 41 men can agree to be governed by one paragraph? What a concept.
Yes, it was quite a concept. The Mayflower Compact set upon the New World a new concept. No king or emperor was there to dictate. Men who sought to be free came freely together to basically delineate how they would live by the Golden Rule.
Want to catch the Brass Ring of the founding fathers’ wisdom as you are spun on the modern merry-go-round of political news? Take the two minutes needed to read this rule of law that simplifies the law of rules.
A Pilgrim Maid A Story of Plymouth Colony in 1620
Random excerpt: There was a gray sky the day after young madcap John Billington was laid to rest in the grave that had been hard to think of as meant for him, dug by the younger colonists. Long rifted clouds lay piled upon one another from the line of one horizon to the other, and the wind blew steadily, keeping close to the ground and whistling around chimneys and rafters in a way that portended a storm driven in from the sea.
“I think it’s lost-and-lone to-day, Constance,” said Damaris, coining her own term for the melancholy that seemed to envelop earth and sky. “I think it’s a good day for a story, and I’d like much to sit in your lap in the chimney corner and hear your nicest ones.”
“Would you, my Cosset? But you said a story at first, and now you say my nicest ones! Do you mean one story, or several stories, Damaris?” Constance asked.
“I mean one first, and many ones after that, if you could tell them, Constance,” said the child. “Mother says we have no time to idle in story-telling, but to-day is so empty and lonesome! I’d like to have a story.”
“And so you shall, my little sis!” cried Constance gathering Damaris into her arms and dropping into the high-backed chair which Dame Eliza preëmpted for herself, when she was there; but now she was not at home. “Come, at least the fire is gay! Hark how it snaps and sings! And how gaily red and golden are the flames, and how the great log glows! Shall we play it is a red-coated soldier, fighting the chill for us?”
Standish of Standish A story of the Pilgrims
random excerpt: An hour’s rest and the food they had been unable to swallow while athirst, so refreshed the Pilgrims that even Allerton resumed the march with fresh courage and pursued it steadily until Billington, suddenly pausing and pointing down at a narrow path intersecting their own, said in a low voice to Standish who came close behind him,—
“Men’s feet, not beasts. It will lead belike to a village.”
“Ay,” responded the captain briefly. “Look well to your weapons men, and light your matches, but let no man fire his piece without command.” And drawing his sword, Standish strode eagerly forward close to Billington, who with all his faults was no coward, and blithely blew his match to a fiery glow, while glancing with his ferret eyes behind every tree and into every covert he passed.
Nothing, however, was to be seen, and suddenly the path came to an end in a large clearing covered with the stubble of maize recently gathered, while at the farther side stood several huts formed by a circle of elastic poles, the butts thrust in the ground and the tops bound together leaving a hole through which the smoke[Pg 48] was invited to escape, and sometimes did so. The outside was protected by heavy mats of skins or braided of bark, while a more highly decorated one closed the doorway. All were evidently deserted, and after some cautious advances, the captain leaving three men on guard permitted the rest to extinguish their matches and explore the wigwams so curious to European eyes and so familiar to our own.
The Second Thanksgiving
This is a newer book, so it may or may not still be free by the time our readers see this. It has 72 reviews, and the average is a strong 4.5 stars, which is pretty good. 50 of them are 5 star, only 3 are 3 stars, and there are no lower ratings. Here’s the blurb:
Has Almighty God intervened in American history?
Many great Americans have thought so, including President Abraham Lincoln as he signs the proclamation creating Thanksgiving as a permanent national holiday for the United States of America. “You must know and remember this,” Lincoln puts the matter bluntly. “Our nation began with a miracle.”
The amazing facts are little remembered today. After their first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621, the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth Plantation experienced an unmitigated series of disasters that left almost nothing to celebrate. Their third year in the new land nearly ended in the complete destruction of Plymouth. Ultimately the colony managed to survive only as the result of what the Pilgrims saw as one of the most astounding instances of divine intervention in human history outside the pages of the Bible, an event so awe-inspiring that it turned the fortunes of Plymouth completely and permanently around.
This historically accurate novel tells the story of that terrible ordeal and its culminating miracle through the eyes of real people, Francis and Hester Cooke and their children, as they and the other people of Plymouth struggle against discord, danger, despair, hunger, exhaustion and outright terror—along with all the accompanying doubts assailing their strong Christian faith.
These various conflicts play out over 1623, one of the most dramatic years in American colonial history. The great Wampanoag chieftain Massasoit Ousamequin, who has kept the peace, falls ill to the point of death. The Pilgrims learn that two hostile braves of the local Massachusett Tribe are attempting to foment a war to exterminate all the white newcomers. Should these troublemakers be stopped, even if by a murderous preemptive strike?
What happens afterward, when nature itself seems to turn against all the inhabitants of the land, with the fingers of blame pointed squarely at the people of Plymouth by enraged Native Americans? What happens when the situation becomes so ominous, so deadly, so far beyond human solution, that the Pilgrims have nowhere to turn except to God and the power of prayer?
The Pilgrims of New England A Tale of the Early American Settlers
The Romantic Story of the Mayflower Pilgrims And Its Place in the Life of To-day
William Bradford of Plymouth
Bradford’s History of ‘Plimoth Plantation’ From the Original Manuscript. With a Report of the Proceedings Incident to the Return of the Manuscript to Massachusetts
A Dear Little Girl’s Thanksgiving Holidays
two reviews, both reviewers loved it:
This is a sweet, old-fashioned story. It brings back memories of past holidays with my family. It was written long ago, but I could still enjoy the story.
A Dear Little Girl’s Thanksgiving Holidays
“Dear me,” sighed Edna, “I am afraid I shall eat a great deal and be very uncomfortable. I was last year for a little while because I ate two Thanksgiving dinners. What did you do last year, Reliance?”
Reliance looked very sober. “We didn’t have much of a Thanksgiving last year, for it was just before my mother died and she was ill then, so us children just had to get along the best we could. Somebody sent us in a pie and some jelly for mother and that is about all we had to be thankful for. I suppose it was much better than nothing. We ate all the pie at one meal. Billy said we might as well for it wouldn’t last two days anyhow unless we had little bits of pieces, so each of us had a whole quarter. Billy tried to trap a rabbit or shoot a squirrel or something, but he hadn’t enough shot and the rabbits didn’t trap.”
Secretly Edna was rather glad to hear this, even though it meant that the Fairmans went without meat for dinner. She walked along pondering over these facts and wondering which were to be preferred. She could not tell whether to be glad the squirrels and rabbits had escaped or to be sorry that the Fairmans could not have had game for Thanksgiving. It was rather a hard matter to settle, so finally she dismissed the subject and gave her attention to the pigs whose pen they now had reached. Edna did not think them very cleanly or attractive creatures, however, and was very soon ready to leave them that she might see the chickens and ducks which she found much more interesting.
The short November day was already so near its end that the fowls were thinking of going to roost, though the hour was not late, and after watching them take their supper, which Edna helped Reliance to distribute, the two girls went on to the garden, now robbed of most of its vegetables. There were a few tomatoes to be found on the vines; though celery, turnips and cabbages made a brave showing. Edna felt that she was quite a discoverer when she came across some tiny yellow tomatoes which the frost had not yet touched, and which she gathered in triumph to carry back to her mother.
Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag VI An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, Etc.
by Louisa May Alcott
Chanticleer A Thanksgiving Story of the Peabody Family
I see old Sylvester Peabody—the head of the Peabody family—seated in the porch of his country dwelling, like an ancient patriarch, in the calm of the morning. His broad-brimmed hat lies on the bench at his side, and his venerable white locks flow down his shoulders, which time in one hundred seasons of battle and sorrow, of harvest and drouth, of toil and death, in all his hardy wrestlings with old Sylvester, has not been able to bend. The old man’s form is erect and tall, and lifting up his head to its height, he looks afar, down the country road which leads from his rural door, towards the city. He has kept his gaze in that direction for better than an hour, and a mist has gradually crept upon his vision; objects begin to lose their distinctness; they grow dim or soften away like ghosts or spirits; the whole landscape melts gently into a pictured dew before him. Is old Sylvester, who has kept it clear and bright so long, losing his sight at last, or is our common world, already changing under the old patriarch’s pure regard, into that better, heavenly land?
It seemed indeed, on this very calm morning in November, as if angels were busy about the Old Homestead, (which lies on the map, in the heart of one of the early states of our dear American Union,) transforming all the old familiar things into something better and purer, and touching them gently with a music and radiance caught from the very sky itself. As in the innocence of beauty, shrouded in sleep, dreams come to the eyelids which are the realities of the day, with a strange loveliness—the fair country lay as it were in a delicious dreamy slumber. The trees did not stand forth boldly with every branch and leaf, but rather seemed gentle pictures of trees; the sheep-bells from the hills tinkled softly and as if whispering a secret to the wind; the birds sailed slowly to and fro on the air; there was no harshness in the low of the herds, no anger in the heat of the sun, not a sight nor a sound, near by nor far off, which did not partake of the holy beauty of the morning, nor sing, nor be silent, nor stand still, nor move, with any other than a gliding sweetness and repose, or an under-tone which might have been the echo here on earth, of a better sphere. There was a tender sadness and wonder in the face of old Sylvester, when a voice came stealing in upon the silence. It did not in a single tone disturb the heavenly harmony of the hour, for it was the voice of the orphan dependent of the house, Miriam Haven, whose dark-bright eye and graceful form glimmered, as though she were the spirit of all the softened beauty of the scene, from amid the broom-corn, where she was busy in one of the duties of the season. Well might she sing the song of lament, for her people had gone down far away in the sea, and her lover—where was he?
Far away—far away are they,
And I in all the world alone—
Brightly, too brightly, shines the day—
Dark is the land where they are gone!
I have a friend that’s far away,
Unknown the clime that bears his tread;
Perchance he walks in light to-day,
He may be dead! he may be dead!
Like every other condition of the time, the voice of Miriam too, had a change in it.
“What wonder is this?” said old Sylvester, “I neither hear nor see as I used—are all my senses going?”
He turned, as he spoke, to a woman of small stature, in whose features dignity and tenderness mingled, as she now regarded him, with reverence for the ancient head of the house. She came forward as he addressed her, and laying her hand gently on his arm, said—
“You forget, father; this is the Indian summer, which is the first summer softened and soberer, and often comes at thanksgiving-time. It always changes the country, as you see it now.”
That’s all I have for now, friends. Enjoy!!