Hitchcock Academy Invites You to Revisit the Mayflower
November 9 will mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower on Cape Cod. It wasn’t supposed to be there. On November 17, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, genealogist and historian Dave Robison will conduct an online class through Hitchcock Academy, which will revisit the journey, discuss the conditions faced by its participants and consider the important legacy of that long ago voyage. After four centuries there is still a great deal to learn about what transpired on that ship.
The Mayflower was not the 17th century version of a cruise liner. It was a cargo ship and originally it was only supposed to carry half of the 102 settlers who left Portsmouth England for the New World. Due to the leaky nature of its sister ship, the Speedwell, all the voyagers were crowded onto the Mayflower, a ship estimated to be 80 feet long and 24 feet wide. Robison’s class will examine the repercussions the leaky Speedwell had on the later departure of the Mayflower, which included traversing the Atlantic during hurricane season and arriving in the wrong place after 66 days at sea.
Amateur historians and Mayflower descendants may sign up for the class by visiting www.hitchcockacademy.org. Participants will be sent an online meeting invitation containing a secure link for the presentation. History labels the Mayflower voyagers as Puritans, Pilgrims or Separatists which may make the experience otherworldly rather than relatable. Yet COVID 19 has left too many of us with the experience of being limited by space for long stretches of time. Compound that with being seasick and cold and forced by circumstances to eat the same food every day for over two months. Food, which is not served hot or even cooked as rocky seas made it too risky for cooking fires.
Robison’s class will also take a new look at the Mayflower Compact. Landing in the wrong place meant the Mayflower passengers had to develop a whole new set of laws. The Compact they formulated and signed formed the basis for representative government in the New World. Representative government in an age when much of the world believed in the “divine right of kings,” a belief that held kings received their authority to govern from God. The settlers on the Mayflower were pledging to follow a government which received its authority from people, an idea beyond radical.
Find out if a Puritan can be a Pilgrim too. Learn how 102 people and crew lived, slept, ate, (and in one case even gave birth) in a space roughly the length between home plate and the pitcher’s mound and as wide as a typical two car garage. Visit www.hitchcockacademy.org to sign up for Mayflower 1620-2020 Four Centuries Later. Class fee is $25.