BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON | NOV 25, 2021
English Pilgrims set sail for their New World in September of 1620. They must have been consumed by fear for their lives and trepidation about what lay ahead, yet they were propelled through their doubt by the promise of a better future and by their unbounded faith in God.
They started from the Dutch port city of Delfs-Haven on the good ship Speedwell, destined to write one of the opening and best known chapters of American history.
The trip didn’t go well.
The Speedwell only made it to England’s southern port of Southampton where it sprang a serious leak. It set sail again only to spring another leak. They made it to the port at Plymouth. There the passengers and freight were transferred to the sister ship Mayflower, bound for America (some accounts say the Speedwell was only intended to go as far as England to meet up with the Mayflower, while others indicate that both were headed across the Atlantic).
The 102 passengers and 37 crew members spent 66 days on the frigid seas of the North Atlantic, sick, hungry, cramped, and cold in the lower gun deck of a vessel designed to carry only lumber, fish, and French wine on short trips along the European coastline. The Mayflower was just 100 feet long and 24 feet wide. Of the 102, only 41 were considered true Pilgrims, seeking separation from the Church of England. The remainder were called “strangers”, merchants, craftsmen, indentured servants, and orphaned children. Continue reading