History Moment By William “Doc” Halliday

Land Ho!

Mayflower III have visited Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrims allegedly landed in the New World to establish a colony.  Who were the Pilgrims?  Both Pilgrims and Puritans were Protestants who differed in degree.  Both groups followed the teaching of John Calvin.  Pilgrims were Puritans who had abandoned local parishes and formed small congregations of their own.  The Pilgrims did this  because the Church of England was not holy enough to meet their standards. Thus, they became labeled as Separatists.  Puritans stayed with the Church of England and remained at home during the 1620s.  Through participation in Parliament the Puritans attempted to prod the Stuart kings to purify the church.

During 1607 and 1608 about a hundred Pilgrims left England to seek religious freedom.  Their first stop was the Netherlands, and this is where we start the story of the Pilgrims landing in Massachusetts.

In 1620 most of the Pilgrims were living in Leiden in the Netherlands when the decision was made to immigrate to America.  Two ships were actually contracted for the voyage, the Speedwell and the Mayflower.  The Pilgrims left Delfthaven in the Netherlands aboard the Speedwell in July of 1620, bound for Southampton, England.  The Mayflower was already in Southampton after sailing to that port from London.  The Mayflower was already loaded with supplies by the time the Speedwell arrived.  Unfortunately, the Speedwell was leaking during the voyage from the Netherlands to Southampton.  A leaking ship is not good on a small pond.  A leaking ship is a pending disaster on the ocean.  It took a week to repair the Speedwell.

The plan was to sail to Northern Virginia…

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