An American Joseph Story
Published on November 22, 2023

Most of us are familiar with the Biblical story from the Book of Genesis about a young man named Joseph.  If you aren’t, then you are in for a treat!  Begin at about Genesis chapter 37, and you won’t be able to stop until the end of Genesis or so because the story is remarkable!  At the risk of spoiling the story, among other trials, Joseph is sold into slavery, and while he is in slavery God works in huge ways to bless Joseph and to provide for His people. Being sold into slavery is almost universally considered a really bad thing – and it is!  However, Joseph’s conclusion at the end (Genesis 50:20) is that his brothers who sold him thought evil against him, but God meant it for good.  Keep this story of Joseph in mind as we consider another story of someone sold into slavery and see how God used it for good as well!  As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we find this story in the setting of those trying, early days of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in what would become Massachusetts… 

The Pilgrims’ First Winter

As we discussed briefly in our article, A Tale of Two Men, the Pilgrims departed England in September 1620.  After a long and arduous passage, they found themselves in a deadly winter where they would eventually lose roughly half their number to sickness and disease.  At times, there were as few as 6 or 7 healthy Pilgrims who selflessly spent their time and effort caring for the many sick.  William Bradford, their governor, described their actions in his book, Of Plymouth Plantation, when he says

“spared no pains night or day, but with great toil and at the risk of their own health, fetched wood, made fires, prepared food for the sick, made their beds, washed their infected clothes, dressed and undressed them; in a word did all the homely and necessary services for them which dainty and queasy stomachs cannot endure to hear mentioned…”  

William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation

Bradford goes on to share the contrast between how the Pilgrims cared for each other, while the crew of the Mayflower (who was also affected by illness) did not.  Needless to say, this time of our history was a painful challenge to endure.  However, in the Spring, when the Mayflower departed, none of the surviving Pilgrims chose to return.   


Samoset and Squanto

Imagine, if you will, after this dreadfully difficult winter, and the loss of half their number to sickness and disease, that one day in the middle of March, 1621, one of the native men walks up to them and starts speaking to them in English!  To be fair, it was broken English, but who would you expect to find among the native people that knew ANY English?  What a miracle!  This was how they met Samoset.  They learned valuable things from him and treated him as a friend.  What was even more of a miracle is that Samoset told them there was another man they needed to meet – someone who spoke much better English than he did.  This man’s name was Squanto.  Squanto had been prepared by God to be exactly what the Pilgrims so desperately needed at that point in time.  It was Squanto who could communicate with them perfectly.  It was Squanto who knew the land and was able to teach them how to work the land and farm it.  It was Squanto that would make a world of difference for their group.  How did Squanto end up being at that place at the perfect time, and being perfectly prepared and available to help them?  It was something only God could put together.  Squanto’s story is remarkable. 

Squanto’s Story

In their exceptional work, The American Story, authors David and Tim Barton show how God’s hand has worked for good in our nation time and time again throughout our history.  In chapter 5, they relate to us how Squanto came to be there – right where he was most needed – at just the perfect time.  In the year 1614, there was a group of ships exploring New England.  One of the ship Captains, Thomas Hunt, separated himself from the group and kidnapped 27 Indian people as slaves – Squanto was among them.  Like the Biblical example of Joseph, Squanto was made a slave.  Captain Hunt took his human cargo to Spain to sell them into slavery.  Catholic friars bought some of the slaves including Squanto, introduced them to Christianity, and set them free.  Squanto made his way to England where he lived and worked for five years, becoming fluent in the language, and learning English culture.  In 1619, one year before the Pilgrim’s arrival, Squanto returned to his home, only to find that his tribe had tragically been destroyed by plague.  He joined a neighboring tribe, the Wampanoag, with whom the Pilgrims later enjoyed a remarkable treaty of peace which lasted many years. 

The First Thanksgiving Celebration

As a direct result of God supernaturally preparing Squanto for an amazing mentorship role to the Pilgrims, and sending him to them at the perfect time in the Spring of 1621, the harvest time in the fall of 1621 was far more promising than anything they saw the year prior.  They were not in a position of abundance or ease, but they were prepared to face another winter.  The Pilgrims invited their friends, the Wampanoag, to celebrate with them.  What resulted was three days of celebrations including a variety of foods, and sporting events including running, wrestling, and shooting.  Like Joseph we find in the Bible, Squanto did not dwell in bitterness about being sold into slavery.  He was prepared by God for a task so he set out to do it faithfully.  Squanto adopted the Pilgrims as his own people and showed them how to survive in the area.  God used Squanto to do big things at a critical time and to make a world of difference for the Pilgrims, and for what would become the United States of America. 

Happy Thanksgiving

In light of all God’s blessings He bestowed upon the Pilgrims, and which He has continued to bestow upon our great nation throughout our history, we want to wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We are over 400 years removed from the remarkable events that happened in the area we now refer to as Plymouth, Massachusetts, but I am confident God is still here and still works in the lives of His people.  As we work together to restore and preserve this great nation, may those of us who are called Christians humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, repent and turn from our wicked ways; may He hear us from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land.  All of us at Patriot’s Hope wish you the very best this Thanksgiving.  May God bless you and your families. 

P.S. To read more amazing stories from American History, make sure you check out the Barton’s Book, The American Story.


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Where Patriotism is Alive and Hope Abounds!  

Patriot’s Hope is a place to encourage each other as we strive to restore the American form of Constitutional government.

We speak the truth, point out the hope, do our duty, and leave the results to God.

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  1. Pat Dunnavant

    I pray that God brings to our remembrance ALL the blessings, corrections, wisdom, discernment, guidance and protections He has bestowed upon us and this great Nation, for which we are both grateful and thankful. May we humble ourselves, ask for forgiveness, and repent of the weights that tie us to the World or interfere in our relationship with God through Christ.

    Above all, I prat the Southerland family has the best THANKSGIVING DAY ever!!!

    • Jason Southerland

      Yes Maam, thank you! We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving as well! It is great to see you on here, praying you are doing great! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Cathy Spencer

    This article is well written, thank you Jason. I have a new appreciation for Thanksgiving, today, because of being part of Biblical Citizenship and then Constitution Alive.

    I am actively seeking ways the Lord wants me to be part of keeping our Constitutional Republic.

    I had not thought about the sickness and what that entailed. I intend to purchase the book by William Bradford.

    I had not thought about the fact the two young Native American’s being stolen from their homeland, this is so true.

    I was so excited to be able to share what I have learned from the Constitution classes today over Thanksgiving dinner. This opportunity showed me how apathetic my friends have become and how they don’t realize how they can help change the future. I’m praying about this; I have every reason to be hopeful because I know the truth of our history.

    • Jason Southerland

      Thank you so much for your kind words and again, for all the ways you are getting involved to help save our country. As for what to do when others don’t seem interested – there is little, or nothing, else to do, but keep asking God what His will is for you, and then keep doing it at full speed. Leave the results to Him! Thank you so much for your comment – it is always such an encouragement to hear what you are doing! Thank you!

  3. Tim Rennie

    Thank you for sharing this important story. Proof again that shows how God uses the most unlikely to do pivotal things in the history of our country.

    I spent time with a friend just a couple of days ago and of course the topic of the current state of affairs in our country came up. I shared with him the effort I have been making to contact elected officials and express my views on a variety of current issues, their voting record, and the impact that we can make if more of us would do these things – educate ourselves on the Constitution, open dialogue with elected representatives on the issues, and remind them of both their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and to reflect the views of their constituents who put them in office in how they approach their responsibilities.

    Just as Squanto was an outsized influence for good, we, too, can and must do whatever is possible to become an outsized influence for good, for the restoration of the original intent of the Founding Fathers, and to let our elected officials know that they will be held to account at the ballot box.

    Thank you for being such an outsized influence though your work at Patriot’s Hope!

    Lord, may we be used in ways to fulfill your will and to change the hearts of people back to you!

    • Jason Southerland

      Amen, and amen. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, and for being a voice to those around you for the restoration of our country and form of government. This story (as well as the Biblical story of Joseph) clearly show how God works through situations that seem hopeless to accomplish His remarkable and wonderful plans! How exciting we are living in a time when we can witness that first hand! Thank you again!

  4. Randy Parker

    Thank you Jason for sharing this story at Thanksgiving time. You and RaShell have a gift from God for sharing things that have been “lost” in history or simply not taught at all anymore. I also love the piece that Rush Limbaugh does at Thanksgiving as he explains how the Pilgrims originally started as a socialist society until they failed so bad that they would not survive. William Bradford eliminated the socialism and gave each family a piece of land to work and told them that their survival was in God’s Hands and their own hands, they work or they don’t eat. They survived! I remember a saying from my Mom and Dad and my Grandparents growing up, ‘God helps those who help themselves’. I am confident that God sent Samoset and Squanto to the Pilgrims, Praise Our Heavenly Father! We are often so busy that we don’t take a few seconds or a few minutes of time to simply slow down, listen with our hearts, see with our hearts, the blessings that God gives to us each and every second of each and every day. Jason and RaShell and their family are gifts that God is using to educate us about our God-given country and remind us that God’s blessings fall upon us each and every day.

    • Jason Southerland

      Yes sir – thank you for your comment! When you mentioned the story of the pilgrims using socialism – someone recently pointed out to me that was the last time there was famine in this country- directly attributable to socialist policies. When they switched to private ownership, it made all the difference. Amen, may we all be more thankful to God for His abundant blessings on us! Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words!


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