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Copyright © 2000-2008 by Richard Clark for non-commercial educational use.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
(Hebrews 11:8,9,11,13 - Author's Version 1611AV)
The Pilgrims who came to America in 1620, were mainly a group of Christians called Separatists. Because of the persecution of Separatists by the Church-State system of government in England, one group of Separatists had moved to the United States of the Netherlands in 1608, but became dissatisfied with conditions there and decided their hope lay in the new land of America.
In 1620, on July 12th (O.S. = Old Style), they left the Netherlands with 35 members of their congregation and their leaders William Bradford and William Brewster aboard the ship Speedwell, and at Southhampton, joined up with other Englishmen who had hopes of bettering their lives in the new world. The London Company granted them the right to establish a settlement in Virginia.
A total of about 120 passengers boarded both the Speedwell and the chartered vessel Mayflower, and left Southampton on August 5th (O.S.), but had to return to England twice because of dangerous leaks on the Speedwell.
Finally, at the English port of Plymouth, late in the sailing season, after much disputing about what they should do, some of the passengers from the Speedwell were transferred to the Mayflower, and on September 6th (O.S.), the Pilgrims, 102 men, women, and children, (only 37 [or 45] of whom were from the original Separatist congregation,) left England on their historic voyage across the turbulent ocean.
During the voyage, the Mayflower was badly rattled by storms with many leaks in the upper parts of the ship. One of the main beams in mid ship bowed and cracked, causing great distress, until a screw jack brought by the passengers was used to raise the beam and the carpenter supported it with a post and other timber. John Howland, ancestor of former President George Bush, [and later President George W. Bush] was nearly lost in one of the storms.
The exhausting voyage took 66 days and claimed 2 lives. However, they still arrived with 102 souls, since a boy, "Oceanus Hopkins", was born at sea in route, and another, "Peregrine White", was born as the ship anchored at Cape Cod.
The Pilgrims had planned to settle somewhere near the Hudson River, in the area of their grant from the Virginia Company of London (aka. London Company), but the LORD in his providence sent winds that urged the Mayflower north, where they sighted Cape Cod, November 9th (O.S.).
"Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element."
After anchoring inside the tip of Cape Cod (in Provincetown harbor) The Mayflower Compact, "the first plan for a self-determining government in America", was drawn up and signed by 41 men aboard the Mayflower on November 11th, 1620 (O.S.).
This agreement was thought necessary because there were rumors that some of the non-Separatists, called "Strangers," among the passengers would defy the Pilgrims if they landed in a place other than that specified in the land grant they had received from the London Company. The compact became the basis of a Body Politick (temporary government) in the Plymouth Colony. After it was signed, the Pilgrims elected John Carver as their first governor. They were to meet in a yearly "General Court to elect the governor and assistants, enact laws, and levy taxes."
Being weary of life aboard ship, the Pilgrims were anxious to explore the country for a place to settle down. During the weeks that followed, one exploring party working its way around Cape Cod Bay had to take refuge on an island in Plymouth harbor during a blinding snow storm.
On December 11th (O.S.), they landed at Plymouth where there was some cleared land, a stream with clear pure water, and a high hill that could be fortified. There had previously been a (Native American) Indian village there, but a plague in 1617 had wiped them out.
Several days later, on December 16th (O.S.), the Mayflower sailed across to the rocky western shore of Cape Cod Bay in southeastern Massachusetts, and dropped anchor in Plymouth Harbor.
Although Christopher Jones, the captain of the Mayflower had previously threatened to leave the Pilgrims unless they quickly found a place to land, he remained, with his ship, at Plymouth during that devasting first winter of 1620-21, during which about half of the colonists died. (After the winter was past in 1621, the Mayflower finally departed from Plymouth on April 5th (O.S.), and returned to England.)
"Plymouth Colony and the Pilgrims have become for all Americans a lesson of how a people with little more than courage, perseverance, and hard work could build themselves a home in a hostile world. The Pilgrims laid the basis for the town meeting form of government, and for the Congregational Church."
Life in the New World was not easy. Lack of proper food, exhausting work, and extreme weather lowered their resistance to sickness, and there was much suffering and death. They lost 52 members, including their governor John Carver. Thirteen of the twenty-four heads of families died, as well as fourteen of the eighteen mothers. By spring only a few able-bodied men and boys were left to plant crops.
Even these men, who had been town laborers in Holland for years, might have been lost if it had not been for the help (by the providence of God) of two Indians, Samoset and Squanto, who had been a captive on an English vessel and had learned English. As the story goes, "One spring morning, an Indian walked into the little village, and introduced himself to the startled people as Samoset. Two weeks later he returned with Squanto. The two Indians introduced the Pilgrims to Massasoit, the sachem, or chief, of the Wampanoag tribe that controlled all southeastern Massachusetts. An exchange of gifts and hospitality resulted in a peace that lasted over 50 years. The Pilgrims, under Squanto's direction, caught "alewives" (a fish in the herring family) and used them as fertilizer in planting corn, pumpkins, and beans. They hunted and fished for food."
Another factor in the survival of the Plymouth Colony was the leadership of William Bradford, who served as governor for 30 years (yearly elections,) and combined firmness with both tact and common sense. (He and several other leaders later assumed the total debt of the colonists to the London backers, and then divided the land and goods equally among the inhabitants.)
The LORD Jesus Christ so wonderfully blessed their first harvest, that Governor Bradford declared a special celebration. The Pilgrims invited their Indian friends to join them in a three-day festival in the Autumn of 1621 in what we now call the first Thanksgiving.
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." (Colossians 2:6,7)
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1Thessalonians 5:18)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with us all. Amen. --Richard Clark
|The original document has not survived, but this version of the Compact is found in William Bradford's history Of Plimoth Plantation:||This second version of the Compact is a modernized version with spelling and grammar updates:|
In ye name of god Amen· We whofe names are vnderwriten,
the Loyall subjecTs of our dread fouraigne Lord King James
by ye grace of god, of great britaine, franc, & Ireland king,
defender of ye faith, &c
Haueing vndertaken, for ye glorie of god, and aduancemente
of ye chrisTian ^faith and honour of our king & countrie, a uoyage to
plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia· Doe
by thefe prefents solemnly & mutualy in ye prefence of god, and
one of another, couenant, & combine our felues togeather into a
ciuill body politick, for our
In witnes whereof we haue herevnder subfcribed our names at cap= codd ye ·11· of Nouember, in ye year of ye raigne of our soueraigne Lord king James of England, france, & Ireland ye eighteenth and of Scotland ye fiftie fourth. Ano: Dom ·1620· |
In the name of God, Amen:
We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc.
Having undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and the honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia:
Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and of one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the aforesaid ends;
And by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620.
[Children "put to" households were adopted or Foster children.]
[Underlined names were signers of the Mayflower Compact.]
[Blue Italic names were from the Leiden Separatist contingent.]
[People in Bold type died before the First Thanksgiving.]
[[Square bracket] number of names per line.]
 Mr. John Carver; Kathrine, his wife; Desire Minter; & 2. man-servants, John Howland, Roger Wilder; William Latham, a boy; & a maid servant, & a child yt [that] was put to him, called Jasper More.
 Mr. William Brewster; Mary, his wife; with 2. sons, whose names were Love & Wrasling; and a boy was put to him called Richard More; and another of his brothers. The rest of his children were left behind, & came over afterwards.
 Mr. Edward Winslow; Elizabeth, his wife; & 2 men servants, caled Georg Sowle and Elias Story; also a little girle was put to him caled Ellen, the sister of Richard More.
 William Bradford, and Dorothy, his wife; having but one child, a sone, left behind, who came afterward.
 Mr. Isaack Allerton, and Mary, his wife; with 3. children, Bartholmew, Remember, & Mary; and a servant boy, John Hooke.
 Mr. Samuell Fuller, and a servant, caled William Butten. His wife was left behind, & a child, which came afterwards.
 John Crakston, and his sone, John Crakston.
 Captin Myles Standish, and Rose, his wife.
 Mr. Christopher Martin, and his wife, and 2. servants, who were Salomon Prower [Martin] and John Langemore.
 Mr. William Mullines, and his wife, and 2. children, Joseph & Priscila; and a servant, Robart Carter.
 Mr. William White, and Susana, his wife, and one sone, caled Resolved, and one borne a shipbord, caled Peregriene; & 2. servants, named William Holbeck & Edward Thomson.
 Mr. Steven Hopkins, & Elizabeth, his wife, and 2. children, caled Giles, and Constanta, a doughter, both by a former wife; and 2. more by this wife, caled Damaris & Oceanus; the last was borne at sea; and 2. servants, caled Edward Doty and Edward Litster.
 Mr. Richard Warren; but his wife and children were lefte behind, and came afterwards.
 John Billinton, and Elen, his wife; and 2. sones, John & Francis.
 Edward Tillie, and Ann, his wife; and 2. children that were their cossens, Henery Samson and Humillity Coper.
 John Tillie, and his wife; and Elizabeth, their doughter.
 Francis Cooke, and his sone John. But his wife & other children came afterwards.
 Thomas Rogers, and Joseph, his sone. His other children came afterwards.
 Thomas Tinker, and his wife, and a sone.
 John Rigdale, and Alice, his wife.
 James Chilton, and his wife, and Mary, their doughter. They had an other doughter, yt [that] was married, came afterwards.
 Edward Fuller, and his wife, and Samuell, their sonne.
 John Turner, and 2. sones. He had a doughter came some years after to Salem, wher she is now living.
 Francis Eaton, and Sarah, his wife, and Samuell, their sone, a yong child.
 Moyses Fletcher, John Goodman, Thomas Williams, Digerie Preist, Edmond Margeson, Peter Browne, Richard Britterige, Richard Clarke, Richard Gardenar, Gilbart Winslow.
 John Alden was hired for a cooper, at South-Hampton, wher the ship victuled; and being a hopfull yong man, was much desired, but left to his owne liking to go or stay when he came here; but he stayed, and maryed here.
 John Allerton and Thomas Enlish were both hired, the later to goe mr of a shalop here, and ye [the] other was reputed as one of ye [the] company, but was to go back (being a seaman) for the help of others behind. But they both dyed here, before the shipe returned.
 There were allso other 2. seamen hired to stay a year here in the country, William Trevore, and one Ely. But when their time was out, they both returned.
These, being aboute a hundred sowls, came over in this first ship; and began this worke, which God of his goodnes hath hithertoo blesed; let his holy name have ye [the] praise.
[102 plus the 2 ship born would be 104.]
Not counting "William Trevore and one Ely", the two seamen who returned, we have "aboute a hundred sowls" initially in the first ship. Bradford elsewhere says: "Of these one hundred persons who came over in this first ship together, the greatest half died in the general mortality, and most of them in two or three months' time." The "greatest half" would then be 51 out of 100 that died the first season.
"And in Three Months past, Dies Half our Company; the greatest Part in the Depth of Winter, wanting Houses and other Comforts, being infected with the Scurvy & other Diseases, which their long Voyage and unaccommodate Condition brought upon them: so as there Die sometimes 2 or 3 a Day: of 100 Persons scarce 50 remain: the Living scarce able to Bury the Dead: The Well not sufficient to tend the Sick: there being in their time of greatest Distress but 6 or 7, who spare no Pains to help them: 2 of the 7 [helpers] were Mr. Brewster their Reverend Elder, and Mr. Standish their Captain... The like Disease fell also among the Sailors; so as almost Half their Company also Die before they sail."
51 Deaths: 27 Men, 14 Women, 8 Boys, 2 Girls.
For further info about presidential ancestry, (including the fact that George W. Bush is also descended from Mayflower pilgrim Francis Cooke! :) see LINK to Caleb Johnson's Mayflower web site at bottom of this page.
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