Mayflower Descendants: Who’s Who, Part 15

Introduction: In this article, Melissa Davenport Berry writes about the excitement when the replica “Mayflower II” sailed into Plymouth Harbor on 22 June 1957. Melissa is a genealogist who has a blog, AnceStory Archives, and a Facebook group, New England Family Genealogy and History.

Today I continue with my “Mayflower Descendants: Who’s Who” series and cover the descendants who were part of the activities celebrating the arrival of the Mayflower II, a replica of the first ship that carried the Pilgrims to the Massachusetts shore in 1620. The Mayflower II sailed into Plymouth Harbor on 22 June 1957. GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives proved to be a great resource to learn more about this celebration.

Photo: Mayflower II, 1957. Courtesy of University Archives and Special Collections, University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Digital Commonwealth.
Photo: Mayflower II, 1957. Courtesy of University Archives and Special Collections, University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Digital Commonwealth.

In the above collections, this photo is recalled by Ann Connell Spadorcia:

“This is the day the Mayflower II came to Plymouth Harbor, followed by hundreds of boats. After everything quieted down, my fourteen-year-old sister and I (ten years old) took our boat over to the Mayflower II. We climbed up the rope ladder, and we were the first two people to board the ship. There was a young, handsome British sailor who greeted us by kissing my hand. A minute later, we were told to leave. It was one of the most memorable days of my life.”

As you can imagine, newspapers across the country covered the event and the skinny leading up to it. Below are some of the photos and features from the newspaper archives.

An article about Priscilla Kiefer, Union Leader newspaper article 26 May 1957
Union Leader (Manchester, New Hampshire), 26 May 1957, page 46

The photo caption reads:

“Priscilla Alden Kiefer, 22, of Montclair, N.J., has been selected to be hostess at reception ceremonies planned for the arrival of the Mayflower II, now enroute from England to the United States. She is shown in New York City with a model of the ship. Priscilla is the 11th descendant of the Priscilla Alden of historical fame.”

The marriage of Priscilla Mullens and John Alden was the first recorded in Plymouth Colony. The fame surrounding the couple was conjured up by poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in The Courtship of Miles Standish. According to lore, Mayflower passenger Miles Standish was too shy to reveal his warm affections to Priscilla and asked Alden to tell her on his behalf. Priscilla fancied the messenger more than the message.

Another Mayflower descendant, Ellis W. Brewster, son of Ellis Wetherell Brewster and Annie Barnes, was among the greeting committee for the arrival of the Mayflower II.

An article about Ellis Brewster, Boston American newspaper article 12 June 1957
Boston American (Boston, Massachusetts), 12 June 1957, page 3

Ellis W. Brewster’s lineage includes Mayflower passengers Elder William Brewster, Edward Tilden, Richard Warren, George Soule, and Samuel Fuller.

In the Boston American newspaper appeared photos of the locals dressing in Pilgrim garb and playing their Pilgrim parts.

An article about Glenn Bradford, Boston American newspaper article 13 June 1957
Boston American (Boston, Massachusetts), 13 June 1957, page 13

The photo caption reads:

“Plymouth’s Turn. Glen Bradford, an 11th generation descendant of Gov. William Bradford, stands duty guard at Plymouth Harbor’s edge as Mayflower II, the 190-ton symbol linking 337 years of America’s history, pulled into the shore area as a frantic welcome crowd of 100,000 cheered. The ship will stay there for 12 days.”

An article about Francis White, Boston American newspaper article 13 June 1957
Boston American (Boston, Massachusetts), 13 June 1957, page 50

The photo caption reads:

“Fourth grade pupils at the Center School in Mattapoisett with Mrs. Francis White, Mayflower descendant. They took part in ceremonies welcoming ship to Plymouth.”

The Mayflower II had a few modern modifications which made the passengers a bit more comfortable. And no warm welcome of a public display of affection occurred in 1620!

An article about Warwick Charlton, Boston American newspaper article 13 June 1957
Boston American (Boston, Massachusetts), 13 June 1957, page 1

The photo caption reads:

“Double Smasher. Warwick Charlton of London, promotor of the Mayflower II, gets something the original Pilgrims missed – a smack on each cheek – as he appears on TV in New York. Doing the ‘pecking’ are Lucille Ball (left) and Jean Meadows. Charlton flew in from Provincetown to appear on ‘I’ve Got a Secret.’ He was the first man off the little ship and still wore his Pilgrim costume when he went before the camera.”

Stay tuned for more tidbits from the Mayflower II archives!

Note on the header image: From the Boston American (Boston, Massachusetts), 11 June 1957, page 18. The photo caption reads: “Hear ye, Hear ye! The dramatic news that the Mayflower has been sighted off Provincetown will be shouted through the streets of the colorful Cape Cod town by its official Town Crier Thomas Hennessy, a high school teacher of social studies. He practices with bell and yell to make sure he’s letter-perfect for the big event.”

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