Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Vacations and Family History

Vacations are a good time to research the history of an area pertaining to your family.  Last summer my son, his wife and my two grandchildren went to Boston and Plymouth during their vacation.

A few years ago I had told my grandchildren about their connection to John Howell and his wife Elizabeth Tilly and her parents.  They all arrived in Plymouth on the Mayflower.  In the book "Mayflower" by Nathaniel Philbrick, there is an account of John Howland that showed how much courage and fortitude he had.

 "In the fall of 1620, the Mayflower's ability to steady herself in a gal produced almost deceptive tranquillity for a young indentured servant named John Howland.  As the Mayflower lay ahull, Howland apparently grew restless down below.  He saw no reason why he could not venture out of the fetid depths of the 'tween decks for just a moment.  After more than a month as a passenger ship, the Mayflower was no longer a sweet ship, and Howland wanted some air.  So he climbed a ladder to one of the hatches and stepped onto the deck. Howland quickly discovered that the deck of a tempest-tossed ship was no place for a landsman.  Even if the ship had found her own still point, the gale continued to rage with astonishing violence around her.  The shriek of the wind through the rope rigging was terrifying, as was the sight of all those towering, spume-flecked waves.  The Mayflower lurched suddenly to leeward.  Howland staggered to ship's rail and tumbled into the sea." 

He held onto a rope that was hanging along side the ship until some sailors pulled him back in.

While my grandchildren were in Plymouth they visited the ship and could image John Howland on the ship.

My granddaughter also found Howland St. in Plymouth and had her picture taken under the street sign.

My granddaughter was so intrigued by the account of John Howland that she bought her own copy of "Mayflower".  She has read the book and done a couple of reports for school on the subject of the Howland's and the Mayflower.

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