Nan and I explored her Huguenot roots in South Carolina; now we are in New England where we find my family roots. In Plymouth Harbor is the Mayflower II, a replica of the original vessel. Built in Brixton, England, in 1957 crew members sailed the course of the first Mayflower, bringing it to harbor here. In the course of that passage, much was learned about the conditions of the first voyage in 1620.
Yes there really was a Plymouth Rock located where the Pilgrims landed.The original rock was at least twice the size of what remains, now protected from would-be souvenir takers. However, nowhere in the account of the landing was it mentioned that the Pilgrims used this rock to step ashore. It was however, no doubt a landmark standing out on the sandy shore.
The Mayflower II is open for tours and lends to ones' imagination what conditions were like for the more than 100 passengers plus crew.
The Captain's quarters on the top deck.
Only crew members were allowed on this deck. Passengers were kept below deck so they would not interfere with the work of the crew.
Crew members' quarters.
What little cooking done aboard ship was done here. Most food was consumed cold.
Below deck where the 102 passengers rode, along with livestock and personal belongings such as furniture. Some cargo and ballast was kept in the hold below this deck.
Some families were able to partition off a section for their family and belongings, but most were lucky to find an empty spot on the floor to sleep.
Chests holding some of the passengers' belongings.
Once a suitable site was chosen to build their settlement, and before the passengers disembarked, an agreement was written as to how the group would govern themselves, known as the Mayflower Compact.
It was signed by every man who was healthy enough to write his name, a total of 41. Among them was William Bradford…of whom I am a direct descendant. John Carver had been chosen as Governor of the colony, but within 5 months, he was dead, and so William Bradford became Governor of Plymouth Colony.
When they stepped ashore that November day in 1620, 3000 miles from home, Bradford described the low and sandy place a "hideous and desolate wilderness."
Years later, Bradford recalled that day:" They had no friends to welcome them nor inns to entertain or refresh their weatherbeaten bodies; no houses or much less towns to repair to, to seek for succor." In the next four months, half of them would be dead, but what astonished Bradford was that half of them would somehow survive.
The Indians shared their provisions with the starving Pilgrims.
They taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn in mounds…dead herring first, corn seed, and when the corn was 6 inches high, to plant beans that would climb the corn stalks.
The Pilgrims began to build houses on a hill above the harbor.
Two rows of houses were built along a street that ran from the top of the hill down to the sea. A small fortlike structure was built at the top of the hill.
Repairing the palisade.
I didn't mention that Governor Bradford's wife had died just a week before the settlers put ashore. She fell overboard and drowned…some say it may have been a suicide after the difficult ocean crossing and the horrible conditions they were in at the time.
Furnishing in the houses are what the Pilgrims carried with them from England.
Costumed historians were "in character" and could only answer questions about their life in the 1620s. This women was cooking mussels which she had gathered from the sea that morning.
Each house had an herb garden.
A crude hearth with only a hole in the ceiling for the smoke to escape.
The women we encountered were preparing a meal, and most of the men were reportedly "in the fields."
The house was made of wattle-and-daub construction…hewn tree trunks cemented together with clay. Later the outside walls were covered with shingles to prevent erosion. The roof was thatched with cattails and reeds. Tiny windows were made of linseed-coated parchment.
This was the replicated house of my ancestor, William Bradford. This would be his second wife, the widow Alice Southworth, who arrived with 60 other passengers on a supply ship the summer of 1623. They were married on August 14, 1623. In character as a newlywed, she looked confused when I asked her about her son William Bradford IV, from whose line I descended.
Bedding airing out on the fences.
Herbs hanging, and the clay pot with holes was used for watering plants in the garden.
This historian (not in character) was demonstrating the separation on curds and whey in cheese making.
Me standing beside a statue of William Bradford beside the harbor.
One of my cousins painted a rendering of the Mayflower similar to this one and inscribed our lineage on it. I am 12th generation, which goes like this:
William Bradford III, Wm Bradford IV, Thomas Bradford, Jerusha Bradford Newcomb, Jemima Newcomb Kinne, David Kinney, Joseph Kinney, Lorenzo Child Kinney, Joseph Child Kinney, Linda Mabel Kinney Harding (my grandmother), Dorothy Harding Lamphere (my mother), Lizabeth Lamphere Crussell….me!
Born in Connecticut, 6th generation David Kinne first settled in Hanover, NH. He then located to Vermont; and the spelling of the name changed from Kinne to Kinney. His grave is in a cemetery in East Thetford, Vermont