Monday, November 21, 2011

My Mayflower Ancestry - Pt 1


If you have New England ancestry and your family has been in this country for generations, you most likely have Mayflower ancestry.  The search is much easier for some because someone has gone through the process of researching and documenting those lines.  God Bless those someone’s…because I know it is hard work.  My friend Midge is one of those who has completed the documentation!

One of my favorite researchers and Gallup cousins is the fabulous Midge Frazel, her Granite in My Blood blog has been a great resource for information about cemeteries and gravestones…especially those in New England as well as many New England families.  Midge was kind enough to share many of her Gallup cemetery photos to post on my website and through the years we have shared many stories, laughs and information. Through our communication about the Gallup family - we discovered our shared Mayflower line…here is my line:
  • John Howland m. Elizabeth Tilley
  • Desire Howland m. John Gorham
  • Elizabeth Gorham m. Joseph Hallet
  • Lois Hallet m. Henry Cobb
  • Eunice Cobb m. Benadam Gallup, Jr.
  • Nathan Gallup m. Sarah Giddings
  • Sarah Gallup m. Silas Gallup (yes she married her 2nd  cousin)
  • Ebenezer Gallup m. Susan Harden
  • Silas Gallup m. Phebe Montanye
  • Edith Gallup m. Orlando Gage
  • Ora Silas Gage m. Florence Shawver
  • Helen Gage m. Frank Johnson
  • Eugene Johnson m. Betty Tannahill
  • Me…

So…I began in earnest studying a part of history that I had never had a great deal of interest in before.  During my years in school, I had been inundated with the story about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower that had been taught in a staid and boring way.  These people were stuck on a pedestal by many of my teachers…and they were therefore boring.  So, I began the process of learning about my Mayflower ancestry and learned that these Pilgrims were all too human and faced hardships that I have a difficult even comprehending.  I wish my teachers had taught me more about the reality of what they faced and that they were flawed people trying their best to make a new life.

Elizabeth Tilley was a 13 year old girl who traveled with her parents on the Mayflower in 1620.  She was one of 11 girls who ranged in age from 1 to 17.  When the Mayflower left on its historic voyage it was already near winter.  Most of the women and children stayed on the ship while the men began the process of constructing the colony.  By the time the Mayflower left for England in early April a third of the Mayflower passengers had died.   Elizabeth lost both of her parents and her aunt and uncle.  Almost all of the girls who came over with their families lost them during that first winter.  It must have been frightening for Elizabeth…13 years old and literally all alone with the only family she had an ocean away.  She was taken in by the Carver family but even they died during that first year in the colony. 

John Howland journeyed over on the Mayflower as a manservant for Governor John Carver.  During the voyage over, John Howland fell overboard but managed to grab ahold of the topsail rope and was fished out by the crew with a hook.  He was likely 21 years old – but his true age is unknown.  He was one of two bachelors who made the voyage. John Howland signed the Mayflower Compact and served as a Committeeman in the General court of Plymouth.  He became a freeman in Plymouth in 1633 and he and Elizabeth became major landholders in the area.  

John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley married about 1623 when Elizabeth was 16 and John was abt 24 years old.  They shared 10 children and a long life together.  John Howland died about 1672 at his son’s house in Plymouth.  Elizabeth went to live with her son, Jabez, in Plymouth and later lived her daughter Lydia, the wife of James Brown in Swansea (now East Providence, RI).  Elizabeth died on Dec 22, 1687 and is buried at the Little Neck Cemetery in East Providence, RI. 

According to the John Howland Society, there are over 10 million living descendants of the 52 surviving Mayflower Pilgrim.  There are certainly some notables among John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley’s descendants including three Presidents (Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Herbert Walker Bush, George W. Bush) notable actors such as Humphrey Bogart and poets such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 

If you are interested in more info – I encourage you to check out: