At last year's New England Family History Conference, I went to a fantastic lecture about the Mayflower pilgrims entitled "How 51 Pilgrims Changed the World." It was given by a historian named Leo Martin who dressed in pilgrim clothes and he was so inspiring in what he taught about the lasting influence of the pilgrims on America. He also dispelled some of the popular myths that are taught in schools and believed by many Americans, such as that the pilgrims stole land from the Indians (the Indians didn't want the land that the Pilgrims settled on!).
This lecture and this man left a deep impression on me, and when I found out that he and his wife run a museum in Plymouth, The Jenney Museum, and do historical walking tours of the town, I knew I had to do that, and we finally did do that last month with my parents. Leo led the tour, which I was glad about, and I enjoyed getting to talk to him and his wife because I admire them so much. The tour was just as good as I expected it would be. I love how this man tells the history so well and in such an interesting and relevant way, and how he does it in a way that gives credence to God and the power of the pilgrims' faith and ideas and their highly respectable conduct. The pilgrims came here as families, they loved God and their neighbor, and they started capitalism. These aren't romanticized notions, they're wonderful facts that inform the start of our country! (This is one of the reasons that I detest the appalling 1619 Project.) Going on this tour was the perfect thing to do to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing, especially because so many of the special events planned for that were cancelled due to COVID.
Mayflower history is particularly special to me because I have four great-grandfathers who came over on the ship (including William Bradford, the governor) and the boys have another great-grandfather from Peter's side, the infamous John Howland (the guy who fell overboard during a storm and almost drowned, but was miraculously saved, and from him come many illustrious descendants like Joseph Smith, Winston Churchill, the Roosevelts, the Bushes...and of course my sons! 😁).