1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mayflower

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MAYFLOWER, the vessel which carried from Southampton, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Pilgrims who established the first permanent colony in New England. It was of about 180 tons burden, and in company with the “Speedwell” sailed from Southampton on the 5th of August 1620, the two having on board 120 Pilgrims. After two trials the “Speedwell” was pronounced unseaworthy, and the “Mayflower” sailed alone from Plymouth, England, on the 6th of September with the 100 (or 102) passengers, some 41 of whom on the 11th of November (O.S.) signed the famous “Mayflower Compact” in Provincetown Harbor, and a small party of whom, including William Bradford, sent to choose a place for settlement, landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, on the 11th of December (21st N.S.), an event which is celebrated, as Forefathers' Day, on the 22nd of December. A “General Society of Mayflower Descendants” was organized in 1894 by lineal descendants of passengers of the “Mayflower” to “preserve their memory, their records, their history, and all facts relating to them, their ancestors and their posterity.” Every lineal descendant, over eighteen years of age, of any passenger of the “Mayflower” is eligible to membership. Branch societies have since been organized in several of the states and in the District of Columbia, and a triennial congress is held in Plymouth.

See Azel Ames, The May-Flower and Her Log (Boston, 1901); Blanche McManus, The Voyage of the Mayflower (New York, 1897); The General Society of Mayflower: Meetings, Officers and Members, arranged in State Societies, Ancestors and their Descendants (New York, 1901). Also the articles Plymouth, Mass.; Massachusetts, § History; Pilgrim; and Provincetown, Mass.