Friday, November 15, 2013

Pilgrims and the Mayflower

Have you heard that Pilgrims wore buckles on their hats and wore black and white clothing?
Not true.
Have you heard they ate the same thing for Thanksgiving that we do?
Not true.
Have you heard ALL the people on the Mayflower were Puritans or Quakers and quite religious?
Not true, most but not all were.

I am the descendant of 11 Mayflower passengers from 6 distinct families. My husband descends from 1 Mayflower passenger (a different one than mine). I have studied some of my Mayflower ancestors and what they endured. I am thankful for their trials as it was not easy. So I am going to focus on one of the more famous, Myles Standish.

I have to say it was funny how I found out I was a descendant of Myles Standish. One Sunday afternoon, I was browsing the internet researching my family, and I came on this family tree that just kept going back. So I printed out some information and then it was time for my genealogy meeting. We all share what we had found, and I said I just found a lot of ancestors going back on this tree. My friend was looking and said "You descend from MYLES STANDISH!" I said "yes, so what?" I had NO CLUE who he was. She did know who he was. Later I found out he is in the DICTIONARY! That shocked me, as surely only famous people are in the dictionary.

Myles Standish was captain of the Mayflower. He and his wife Rose came over with the group, although Rose did not live long after the boat arrived. Rose died in the first winter after they arrived. A couple years later, when another ship was arriving, a woman named Barbara was on board and she married Captain Myles Standish.
Myles was in charge of the explorations for the colony. He often was in charge of getting supplies, hunting for food, and relations with the Indians. Captain Myles not only served the colony in the capacity of military captain; he also took an active role in the government itself. He served as assistant to the governor, treasurer and served in all the councils where war was involved.
I do not think Myles was involved in the religion of the Pilgrims, although he wasn't opposed to it either. Myles was close to their church and community, and he was hired as he was cheaper than John Smith and more sympathetic to their religious views than the experienced Captain Smith.
Myles and Barbara Standish had several children. His wife and 4 sons were left to mourn his death, and a daughter and daughter-in-law preceded him in death.

Thanks to Captain Myles and all the Pilgrims of the Mayflower for their hard life so that we may enjoy Thanksgiving each year!
If you wish to know more about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower, I recommend Caleb H. Johnson's work "The Mayflower and her Passengers" as well as his web site. Also The Mayflower Society prints books that list the descendants of each passenger through about 5 generations. I have the Myles Standish volume.
Hopefully I can focus on another passenger later this month.