Mayflower Passenger May Have Committed Suicide

William Bradford, who served as Plymouth’s Governor for thiry years, wrote a manuscript, “Plimmoth Plantation” about his time in the colony from 1620 to 1647. Some of the following stories came from Bradford’s manuscript. Other facts are taken from the manuscript, “Mourt’s Relation”, written by Edward Winslow and published in 1622.

Ellen More age 8, Jasper More, age 7, Richard More age 6 and Mary More, age 4, were shipped off to America by their father, Samuel More because his wife, Katherine, had an extramarital affair and the children’s paternity was questionable. These children were not part of the religious Separatist group which started the voyage in Holland. The children were given to two of the religious families when they boarded the Mayflower in England. Only one of the More children, six year old Richard, survived the first winter in Plymouth Colony. Richard married Christian Hunter in 1636 and they moved to Salem. They were witness to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

William Bradford married 16 year old Dorothy May in Amsterdam on 10 December 1613. When the Mayflower docked in the harbor near Plymouth, Dorothy remained on board and William went scouting for a settlement site. Left to herself and the sadness of leaving her three year old son behind, Dorothy Bradford slipped over the side of the boat into the cold December waters and drowned. William made no mention of the incident in his manuscript. When the ship “Anne” arrived in 1623, Governor Bradford married passenger, Alice Southworth, whom he had known back in Holland.

Miles Standish was chosen by the investors to handle the colony’s military matters. The colonist didn’t want to drill every day so they would make fun of Standish. Standish was small in stature but powerful in strength. He had to shorten his sword by six inches so it didn’t drag the ground from his waist. He had red hair and a quick temper. Some of the colonist said he looked like “a silly boy”.

John Goodman brought his two favorite dogs on board with him but their names are not recorded. One of the dogs was an English Springer Spaniel, a breed known for its desire to hunt. The other dog was an English Mastiff which stood 30 inches at the shoulder. This giant breed of dog was used as a watchdog and hunting dog. The dog in the Harry Potter movies known as Fang is an English Mastiff. At the end of WWII, Mastiffs were almost extinct in England and were imported from America.

Priscilla Mullins was the only survivor of her family after the first winter in Plymouth Colony. Her father, William Mullins, was a shoemaker from Surry, England. The Mullins family was not part of the Separatists group and had boarded the ship in England. Her father, William, his wife Alice, and their six year old son, Joseph, all perished and left Priscilla to be taken in by another family in the colony. Priscilla married John Alden, the Mayflower’s cooper or barrel carpenter. Their descendants were American Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, twenty five year old John Howland, a signer of the Mayflower Compact, was thrown into the sea during a storm. One of the halyards or ship rigging ropes was trailing along behind the ship and Howland grabbed it. He went under the water the length of the rope but the crew pulled him back to the ship and used a boat hook to pull him in. There is a famous painting of this incident. Howland survived to marry Elisabeth Tilley in 1625 and have ten children. He is also the ancestor of American Presidents George Bush and George W. Bush.

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