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Landing of the Pilgrims Mary ChiltonNovember 13, 2008 – Ever wonder what life was like for the first girls to sail to America?

Well we’re not historians by any stretch of the imagination but with Thanksgiving right around the corner, we got to thinking about the first females to arrive in the New World. With a little help from Google, old textbooks, and friendly teachers we cobbled together the following:

In 1620, nearly 100 passengers boarded the Mayflower for one of the most important journeys in history. As with all great adventures, the journey was fraught with hardship and danger. The ship carried about 51 men, 22 boys, 20 women, and 11 girls.

By any definition, the girls onboard the Mayflower were Pretty Tough. Some of the passengers included:

Mary Chilton
At the age of 13, Mary came with her parents on the Mayflower. Legend has it that Mary Chilton was the first female ashore at Plymouth. There is no contemporary recording of the event, but there are also no competing claims. Mary Chilton’s landing on Plymouth Rock is celebrated in Bacon’s The Landing of the Pilgrims, painted in 1877 on exhibit at Pilgrim Hall Museum.

Her father was one of the first who died after the ship had anchored off Provincetown Harbor. Her mother also died sometime later the first winter, orphaning her in the New World.

Mary Chilton went on to marry John Winslow around 1627 and they had 10 children.

Constance Hopkins
Constance, also 13, came with her father Stephen, step-mother Elizabeth, brother Giles, and step-sister Damaris on the Mayflower. Her younger brother, Oceanus, was born while the Mayflower was at sea, so she probably spent a lot of time taking care of her mother’s needs. Oceanus did not survive long, however, and apparently died by 1623. Constance’s future husband, Nicholas Snow, arrived on the ship Anne in 1623.

Elizabeth Tilley
Elizabeth Tilley was born in Henlow, Bedfordshire, the daughter of John and Joan (Hurst)(Rogers) Tilley. She came with her parents on the Mayflower. Both her parents died the first winter at Plymouth, leaving her orphaned at the age of 13 in the New World. She married fellow Mayflower passenger John Howland around 1625 at Plymouth.

Desire Minter
Desire was somewhere between the age of 15 – 17 when she sailed on the Mayflower. On board the ship Desire caught the eye of a young man named John Howland.  She didn’t like America and went back to England within a few years but John Howland went on to marry Elizabeth Tilley and name his first daughter Desire.

Priscilla Mullins 
At around 17, Priscilla was the only girl approaching marriageable age on the Mayflower with well over fifty young and single men. She came on the ship with her parents and brother Joseph who all died the first winter. A short time later, she married John Alden, the Mayflower’s cooper, who had decided to remain at Plymouth rather than return to England with the ship.

John and Priscilla would go on to have ten or eleven children, and have an enormous number of descendants, including poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (who wrote “The Courtship of Myles Standish”), Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and Vice President Dan Quayle.

Anyone else know any Mayflower trivia?

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