Pass the gravy… PilgrimNov 22nd, 2009 | By Rick@Leonard Family Legends & Legacies | Category: Legends & Legacies
I am nothing if not irreverent, but what kind of Mayflower descendant would I be if I let this Thanksgiving holiday pass without a few notes on our Pilgrim progenitors?
First off, let me reiterate that I’m not an official Mayflower descendant until the General Society of Mayflower Descendants says I am. And, given the fact that I haven’t actually filed the paperwork, it doesn’t seem likely to happen before Thursday. However, I am as confident as ever that it’s only a matter of time. My. Time.
So here’s the bullet-point version of how we Leonards became a national treasure… (And many thanks to our good friend and fellow researcher Allan for providing me a nice, fat package of Pilgrimage this week.)
* 1609 – English dissenters moved to Amsterdam, Holland, and formed a new Congregation. A few months later, they moved to Leyden. Our Solomon Leonard and his father, Samuel, would join them a few years later.
* 1620 – An agent in London, Robert Cushman, acting for the Dissenter Congregation at Leyden, organized a migration to the New World. The name “Pilgrim” was reportedly coined by William Bradford some time later.
* September 6th, 1620 – The Mayflower set sail for America with one-hundred-two people on board. One of them, the oldest passenger aboard, was James Chilton. His daughter, 13-year-old Mary, was the youngest.
* Dec 21st, 1620 – The Mayflower dropped anchor, after wandering the coast a bit, at Plymouth Rock, in the future state of Massachusetts. Contrary to popular myth and famous paintings, Mary Chilton was not the first passenger to set foot in the New World.
* 1629 – Isabella Chilton-Chandler, Mary’s sister, who did not hyphenate her name at the time, arrived in America with her husband, Roger Chandler, and family. Our Solomon Leonard arrived at about the same time and may have even been on the same boat.
* 1629-30 – Solomon Leonard starts his five-to-seven year indenture to the Plymouth Company for his passage and future property.
* 1640 – Fully vested and now an official landowner, Solomon marries Isabella Chilton-Chandler’s daughter Sarah Chandler, officially making him a Mayflower descendant. The rest, as they say, is us.
Notice anything missing? Like the first Thanksgiving? Yeah, well, that’s a little hard to pin down. First off, it wouldn’t have happened until the year after the Mayflower landed… and by then nearly half of the passengers had died. Including James Chilton. And his wife. Daughter Mary was left an orphan and most likely raised by Miles Standish or John Alden. Now what kind of Thanksgiving story is that?
My sincerest apologies for leaving out so many details (and playing fast-and-lose with the rest), but I feel I’ve wasted enough of your time for today and all this writing has made me hungery, so… Pass the gravy… Pilgrim.