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The Mayflower and Plymouth Colony

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The Mayflower 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.

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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 2530, 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.

Source: Wikipedia contributors, Mayflower and Plymouth Colony Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed December 19, 2011)

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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.

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Last Revised: 02 Jan 2015

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