Introduction: In this article, Melissa Davenport Berry writes about Henry Hornblower II, who was instrumental in establishing the living museum “Plimoth Plantation” and bringing the “Mayflower II” to America. 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 series “Mayflower Descendants: Who’s Who.” My last story covered the Mayflower II replica of 1957. One of the most instrumental persons to facilitate the bringing of the Mayflower II from England (where the ship was built using traditional materials and methods) to remain in Plymouth, Massachusetts, was Henry Hornblower II (1917–1985).
He was a direct descendant of Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins and founder of the Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, aka Plimoth Patuxet. Hornblower, a noted archaeologist, cranberry grower, and stockbroker, dedicated his life to conserve Pilgrim history, which has allowed millions to learn and explore.
Henry is on the far right of the photo below.
The Mayflower lineage of Hornblower was confirmed and documented by Senior Genealogist Chris Child of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society in 2014. Hornblower’s grandson Henry Hornblower published the findings in At Last: A Link to the Mayflower! and noted a deep appreciation for his grandfather:
“My family takes great pride in the work my grandfather accomplished to preserve the history and culture of the Pilgrims and the Native Wampanoag People. The story of their struggle to survive in a new world is fascinating and should be experienced more than once in a lifetime. I encourage everyone both young and old to visit Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth Rock, and the Mayflower II whenever they get a chance.”
Henry Hornblower II’s lineage:
- Stephen Hopkins = Mary (likely Kent alias Back)
- Giles Hopkins = Catherine Wheldon
- Caleb Hopkins = Mary Williams
- Thankful Hopkins = Ambrose Dyer, granddaughter of Quakeress Mary Dyer
- Thankful Dyer = James Lombard
- Elizabeth Lombard = (2) William Stratton
- Sally Stratton = Levi Darby
- Philander Darby = Viola Dunn, 8th descent from Roger Conant, first governor of Massachusetts
- Ella Viola Darby = George Wade Cann
- Mary Alberta Cann = Levi Heywood Greenwood
- Eleanor Greenwood = Ralph Hornblower
- Henry Hornblower II = Dorothy Mortimer Shapard
Hornblower was known as Henry 2nd, named after his grandfather Henry Hornblower (1863-1941), son of Edward Thomas Hornblower and Martha Boyd Whiting. Grandfather Henry married Harriet Francis Wood, shown in the below photo with 2 of her 44 great-grandchildren and Dorothy (Shapard) Hornblower, Henry II’s wife.
This photo caption reads:
“Mrs. Henry Hornblower [Harriet Francis Wood] of Plymouth and two of her forty-four great-grandchildren, Augusta and Harriet Hornblower, with their mother, Mrs. Henry Hornblower 2nd [Dorothy M. Shapard] of Chestnut Hill.”
In my searches in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I found an obituary for Henry Hornblower 2nd published in the Patriot Ledger on 22 October 1985. Here we learn more about his preservation achievements to recreate an actual space to show how the Pilgrims survived and what they accomplished in the early years.
This article reported:
“Mr. Hornblower was instrumental in bringing the replica Mayflower II to Plymouth.
“Hornblower built the first replica Pilgrim home on the waterfront near Plymouth Rock after returning from World War II in 1949.
“That home, funded with $20,000 from his father, would eventually lead to the “living museum” of Plimoth Plantation, and the fulfillment of a boyhood dream.
“As a child summering with his family in Plymouth, Mr. Hornblower became fascinated with the Pilgrims, their settlement, and their relations with the Indians.”
This article reported:
“Visitors to Plymouth, Mass., see an old and historic town. But, even though it has several restored 17th century buildings, the town as a whole gives no impression of what it was like in those famous 1620s. An organization called Plimoth Plantation (the name the Pilgrims themselves used for the settlement) is undertaking an ambitious project: the erection of a life-sized reproduction of that original village. Rather than destroy a section of the present-day Plymouth, the corporation has acquired a plot of land outside the town similar in form to that upon which the first settlers built. Trustworthy documents are available giving the number, type, location, and ownership of the original dwellings. Houses will bear the names of the families who lived in them, and in each a craft will be represented, such as dyeing and spinning flax, candle making, herb preparation, wrought iron work, and pottery making.”
More on this in my next story.
Recent Articles in This Series: