Mayflower Facts and Trivia

  • Two ships were originally scheduled to bring the group to America: the Speedwell and the Mayflower. But the Speedwell developed leaks, and the group had to turn back twice, so it was decided to put all the passengers on the Mayflower. The ship finally left England on Sept. 6, 1620.
  • There were 102 passengers aboard (three of whom were pregnant women) and a crew of 30. A son, named Oceanus, was born to Elizabeth Hopkins during the voyage.
  • The first half of the journey had good winds and weather, but fierce storms developed about mid-voyage. One swept a passenger named John Howland overboard, but he was able to grab on to some ropes and hang on until the crew could rescue him. Howland went on to live a long life and was ancestor to many people, including Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and George Bush, actor Humphrey Bogart and Mormon prophet Joseph Smith.
  • Only one person died during the voyage: William Button, a young boy who had come on the ship in the custody of doctor Samuel Fuller.
  • After traveling 2,750 miles, at an average speed of 2 mph, and after more than two months at sea, the Mayflower anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor on Nov. 11, 1620.
  • The original intent of the group was to settle further south, but the first land they spotted turned out to be Cape Cod. When attempts to go further south proved too dangerous, they opted to stay in the Cape Cod area.
  • They technically did not have permission from the King of England to settle in what would be the Massachusetts Colony, so they drew up the “Mayflower Compact” to give themselves authority to establish a government until an official patent could be obtained. The compact is considered the first written declaration of self-government in the New World and a precursor to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Of the 102 passengers, only 29 are currently known to have descendants.

Source: Carma Wadley – Deseret News, Nov. 14, 2010

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