This week in History, we will be talking about the Mayflower and our first intersection with our family’s ancestors. Resolved White was a five-year-old boy when he sailed with his father and mother, William and Susannah White, to the New World to find religious freedom. We don’t know if he was born in Leiden, Holland, or in England, but we do know that he survived the journey to America. My children, as well as my brother and sister’s children, are the 11th great-grandchildren of Resolved White.
It is hard to imagine what that journey and first horrible winter must have been like for this five-year-old boy. The Mayflower had been blown off course and landed farther north of the land they had a charter for. Resolved’s brother Peregine (meaning “the wanderer”) was born on board the ship that winter. Because they had arrived too late to plant or even to build homes on land, they were still living on the ship. Along with hunger, they suffered from diseases common to people living in close quarters without modern hygiene. Resolved’s father William, along with almost half of the passengers, died on board. His mother Susannah soon married Edward Winslow, who had also lost his wife that winter.
I am proud to be related to such courageous ancestors, who stood apart for their beliefs and made great sacrifices. I hope that my students will feel a stronger connection to Resolved’s story knowing that he is their ancestor. He is the first among many ancestors that we will study in context of the time periods in which they lived as we travel along through American History this year.