Friday, October 9, 2009

Mayflower of London

Everyone knows the name of the ship that brought the Pilgrims from Southampton, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 - the Mayflower. The replica ship that sits in "commodious" Plymouth Harbor bears the name Mayflower II, having made a similar crossing in 1957. However, there are records of another vessel which bore the name Mayflower -- historians refer to it as "Mayflower of London" to distinguish it from the original Mayflower. Records show that a Mayflower sailed to Salem and Plymouth in 1629, and those records suggest it could not have been the same as of Christopher Jones, who served as master of the original Mayflower from 1609 to 1622. Then the 1629 Mayflower proceeded to sail on to Charleston, South Carolina, arriving on July 1, 1630. The "Mayflower of London" sailed again from England to America in 1633 only instead of transporting Pilgrims or Puritans, this one transported French Huguenot refugees. King Charles I, who was so hostile to Puritans, was more sympathetic with the French Protestant refugees who came to England, and agreeable to their wishes to help Sir Robert Heath settle colonial South Carolina. When the "Mayflower of London" sailed in 1633 its intended destination was Charleston; however, it actually landed in Virginia and its passengers were stranded there in October 1633 for some months until passage to South Carolina could be arranged. The "Mayflower of London" sailed again in 1639 from England to (presumably) Boston. Another crossing was attempted in 1641 and this time its planned destination was Virginia but it never arrived. The "Mayflower of London" was presumably lost somewhere in the north Atlantic. We do well to remember not only the Pilgrims' Mayflower, but also the "Mayflower of London," which carried Puritans and Huguenots to America as well.

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