Women on the Mayflower

By Maggie MacLean - Posted at History of American Women:

"Eighteen married adult women had crossed the stormy Atlantic with their husbands aboard the Mayflower. There were no single women on board. Three women - Susanna White, Mary Allerton and Elizabeth Hopkins - had boarded the Mayflower at least six months pregnant. Susanna gave birth to a son Peregrine; Elizabeth gave birth to a son Oceanus, who later died at the age of two; Mary gave birth to a stillborn son while the ship was anchored at Provincetown Harbor."
The passengers on the ship Mayflower were the earliest permanent European settlers in New England. They were referred to as the "First Comers" and they lived in perilous times. With their religion oppressed by the British government and the Church of England, the small party of Separatists who comprised almost half of the passengers on the ship sought a life where they could practice their religion freely.

Freedom We Seek
On September 6, 1620, the ship Mayflower set off from Plymouth, England on its journey to the New World. There were 102 passengers, which included 41 English Separatists (who would become known as the Pilgrims), who were seeking a new life of religious freedom in America. The Separatists had obtained a Patent from the London Company, which indentured them into service for the Company for seven years after they arrived.

The Mayflower was a merchant ship made for carrying cargo like barrels of food or cloth, large pieces of wood and casks of wine. This cargo was stored in the lower decks of the ship in one large, open area with very low ceilings and no windows. A little water always leaked in, making it cold, damp and dark. This is where the 102 passengers lived for 66 days.


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