Our Ancestry at the
In November of 1620, after two months at sea, the Mayflower arrived at Cape Cod, Mass. There were 102 passengers. Of this number only 41 were members of the Leiden church. The remainder of the passengers were hired men, paid servants, or "strangers" who wanted to make a new life in America. Of these, 53 died during the first hard winter. In the spring of 1621 the Indians taught them to plan corn. This and other crops they planted were harvested in the fall and they invited the Indians to a 3 day feast of thanksgiving.
Among these people were 8 of our ancestors:
The ship Anne arrived in Plymouth in July, 1623 accompanied by the Little James, bringing new settlers along with many of the wives and children that had been left behind in Leyden when the Mayflower departed in 1620.
Ancestors that came on the Anne:
John Alden and Priscilla Mullins
John Alden and Priscilla Mullins were established as legendary romantic characters in the poem, "The Courtship of Miles Standish," written by their 6th great grandson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Although the poem probably mixes fact and fiction, it has immortalized John and Priscilla. They are doubtless the most widely recognized of those stalwart people who landed at Plymouth in 1620.
John was born in about 1599 in England. In spite of various writings attempting to identify his English origin and parentage, nothing is known for certain about his English background other than William Bradford's words that Alden "was hired for a cooper, at South-Hampton, wher the ship victuled; and being a hopefull yong man, was much desired, but left to his own liking to go or stay when he came here; but he stayed and maryed here". Charles E. Banks, a noted Mayflower biographer, claimed that John Alden was from Harwich, Essex, because an Alden family there was related by marriage to the master of the Mayflower, Christopher Jones.
John Alden was hired as a cooper at Southampton shortly before the Mayflower sailed. He was the youngest signer of the Mayflower Compact. Reputedly the tallest man in the Colony, he founded Duxbury in 1627, and lived there the rest of his life. Alden became one of the most respected members of the Mayflower, holding many public offices, including deputy governor of Massachusetts for 43 years.
John Alden married Priscilla Mullins, daughter of William Mullins and Alice (_______), 12 May 1621 in Plymouth Colony. Priscilla had come with her parents and a brother, Joseph, on the Mayflower. Her parents and brother died during the first several months of a sickness that proved fatal to about half the Colony during the first winter and spring. Priscilla was described as a vivacious dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty who loved to cook, especially dainty desserts.
John Alden outlived all of the other Mayflower passengers and died at Duxbury 12 Sep 1687. Priscilla preceded him in death 05 Feb 1687/88. His eulogy read, in part: "in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people - and his sons burried him." He did not leave a will, having disposed of most of his estate during his lifetime. His children were: Elizabeth, John, Joseph, Rebecca, Ruth, Sarah, Jonathan, David, Mary, Priscilla, and an unnamed child that died young.
The Pilgrims and Democracy
the Separatist group decided that they must look for another homeland,
Pastor John Robinson sent with them a long letter in which he outlined a
plan for setting up a new government based on democratic principles. The
Mayflower Compact which was signed on board the Mayflower at Cape
Cod on November 21, 1620, was the direct outcome of Robinson's guidance.
This Compact, which was to be the official Constitution of Plymouth
Colony for over 70 years, is the first American State Paper. It is also
the first statement of the principles of democracy as we now know and
understand them. For the first time in the history of the world, a group
of men --of their own will--agreed to be governed by themselves
according to the will of the majority. The Mayflower Compact is the
first document of American Democracy.
More InformationThe Pilgrims and America's First Thanksgiving