The Mayflower and Plymouth Colony
carried from England to America some of the earliest English
settlers in New England. However, there is no known connection
between any of the Mayflower passengers and the Culpepers of
England or of Colonial America. But no doubt, there are many modern
day Culpeppers, including Culpepper Connections co-publisher, Warren
Culpepper, whose non-Culpepper lineage can be traced back to the
Mayflower. This page has been included for the benefit of his
descendants and for any others with Mayflower ancestry.
In 1620, the Mayflower transported
the English Separatists, better known as the Pilgrims, from
Plymouth, England, to America. According to popular history, they
undertook the voyage to escape religious persecution in England. The
main record for the voyage of the Mayflower and the
disposition of the Plymouth Colony comes from William Bradford, who
was a guiding force and later the governor of the colony.
The vessel left England from a site near to
the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, England on September 16. With 102
passengers plus crew a crew of 25–30, each family was allotted a
very confined amount of space for personal belongings. After a
grueling 66-day journey marked by disease, which claimed two lives,
the ship dropped anchor inside the hook tip of Cape Cod
(Provincetown Harbor) on November 21. To establish legal order and
to quell increasing strife within the ranks, the settlers wrote and
signed the Mayflower Compact after the ship dropped anchor.
The Mayflower was originally destined for the mouth of the
Hudson River, near present-day New York City, at the northern edge
of England's Virginia colony, which itself was established with the
1607 Jamestown Settlement. However, the Mayflower went off
course as the winter approached, and remained in Cape Cod Bay.
During the winter the passengers remained on board the Mayflower,
suffering an outbreak of a contagious disease described as a mixture
of scurvy, pneumonia and tuberculosis. When it ended, there were
only 53 passengers, just more than half, still alive. Likewise, half
of the crew died as well.
In spring, they built huts ashore, and on
March 31, 1621, the surviving passengers left the Mayflower. Then,
on April 15, the Mayflower, a privately commissioned vessel,
returned to England.
The autumn celebration in late 1621 that has become known as "The
First Thanksgiving" was not known as such to the Pilgrims. The
Pilgrims did recognize a celebration known as a "Thanksgiving",
which was a solemn ceremony of praise and thanks to God for a
congregation's good fortune. The first such Thanksgiving as the
Pilgrims would have called it did not occur until 1623, in response
to the good news of the arrival of additional colonists and
supplies. That event probably occurred in July and consisted of a
full day of prayer and worship and probably very little revelry.
Plymouth Colony Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed December 19, 2011)
Within this website's family tree will be
found John Alden, a cooper by trade who was a member of the Mayflower
crew. He decided to stay in Plymouth with the passengers and did not
return to England.
Not long afterwards, John married one of the ship's passengers,
Priscilla Mullins. One of John and Priscilla's descendants,
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, popularized their romance through his
poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish, in which Standish asks
his friend John Alden to ask on his behalf for Priscilla's hand in
marriage. In the poem, Priscilla responds, "Why don't you ask for
yourself, John?" Apparently he did and the resulting marriage must
have been a good one, because John and Priscilla have more modern
day descendants than any others on the Mayflower.
Perhaps the most well-known descendant of John and Priscilla is
their great-grandson, John Adams, the
second president of the United States.
For the Culpepper connection, see Warren
Culpepper's Ancestral Chart and John
Alden's Descendant Chart.
02 Jan 2015