Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor

Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor

The early 17th century was a time of religious persecution against anyone who dared participate in the Protestant Reformation, which History Central explains was the desire to “purify and simplify the church.”

The Puritans broke from the Church of England and established their own church. This resulted in the arrest of many
Puritans and accusations of treason levied against them.

Because of the religious persecution that Puritans and Separatists suffered, several groups of people left England and relocated in Holland. After emigrating, many people suffered the disappointment that their children started speaking Dutch and the fact that tolerance shown to them was the same tolerance shown to many different faiths. The dissatisfaction led to plans to establish a colony in the New World.

U.S. Postal Service Celebrates the Arrival of the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor Forever Stamp on Sept. 17

The U.S. Postal Service marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of 102 English passengers in 1620 on the Mayflower off the coast of Plymouth, MA, with the dedication of the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor Forever stamp.

News of the stamp is being shared with the hashtag #MayflowerStamp.

Kristin Seaver, chief retail and delivery officer and executive vice president, U.S. Postal Service

Thursday, Sept. 17, 11 a.m. EDT.

The virtual stamp event will be hosted on the U.S. Postal Service&rsquos Facebook and Twitter pages.

On Dec. 16, 1620, a ship that carried 102 English passengers completed a perilous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth, England, and anchored offshore of today&rsquos Plymouth, MA. The Mayflower&rsquos passengers would become known to us as Pilgrims, and the story of their settlement in America would inspire future generations and become part of the larger story of the nation&rsquos founding ideals.

The Pilgrims&rsquo story is intertwined with the story of the Wampanoag — People of the First Light — who made an alliance with the Pilgrims and forged a treaty with them that maintained relative peace for more than 50 years. The Pilgrims might not have survived their first year without the help and advice of the Wampanoag, with whom they celebrated their first harvest in the fall of 1621.

The Mayflower Compact, Plymouth Rock, Thanksgiving — all became part of the enduring legacy of this tiny band of settlers we honor on the 400th anniversary.

Artist Greg Harlin illustrated the stamp, using a combination of watercolor, gouache and acrylics, with some digital refining to convey a scene of desolate beauty at the end of the Pilgrims&rsquo harrowing journey to an unfamiliar world.

Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp and pane.

The Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp, which will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.

Postal Products

Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), by mail through USA Philatelic, or at Post Office locations nationwide.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Mayflower docks at Plymouth Harbor

The famous Mayflower story began in 1606, when a group of reform-minded Puritans in Nottinghamshire, England, founded their own church, separate from the state-sanctioned Church of England. Accused of treason, they were forced to leave the country and settle in the more tolerant Netherlands. After 12 years of struggling to adapt and make a decent living, the group sought financial backing from some London merchants to set up a colony in America. On September 6, 1620, 102 passengers–dubbed Pilgrims by William Bradford, a passenger who would become the first governor of Plymouth Colony–crowded on the Mayflower to begin the long, hard journey to a new life in the New World.

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower anchored at what is now Provincetown Harbor, Cape Cod. Before going ashore, 41 male passengers–heads of families, single men and three male servants–signed the famous Mayflower Compact, agreeing to submit to a government chosen by common consent and to obey all laws made for the good of the colony. Over the next month, several small scouting groups were sent ashore to collect firewood and scout out a good place to build a settlement. Around December 10, one of these groups found a harbor they liked on the western side of Cape Cod Bay. They returned to the Mayflower to tell the other passengers, but bad weather prevented them from docking until December 18. After exploring the region, the settlers chose a cleared area previously occupied by members of a local Native American tribe, the Wampanoag. The tribe had abandoned the village several years earlier, after an outbreak of European disease. That winter of 1620-1621 was brutal, as the Pilgrims struggled to build their settlement, find food and ward off sickness. By spring, 50 of the original 102 Mayflower passengers were dead. The remaining settlers made contact with returning members of the Wampanoag tribe and in March they signed a peace treaty with a tribal chief, Massasoit. Aided by the Wampanoag, especially the English-speaking Squanto, the Pilgrims were able to plant crops–especially corn and beans–that were vital to their survival. The Mayflower and its crew left Plymouth to return to England on April 5, 1621.

Over the next several decades, more and more settlers made the trek across the Atlantic to Plymouth, which gradually grew into a prosperous shipbuilding and fishing center. In 1691, Plymouth was incorporated into the new Massachusetts Bay Association, ending its history as an independent colony.

On Mayflower Landing's 400th Anniversary, A Greater Embrace Of Native American History 04:25

It’s been 400 years since the Mayflower arrived in Provincetown Harbor, and local and international organizations spent a decade planning months of quadricentennial commemorative events, many of which were upended by the coronavirus pandemic. But while our nation has a reckoning with racial injustice, colonialism and xenophobia amid a worsening pandemic, some say the more somber tone appropriately matches the evolving, more nuanced conversations emerging around United States history and colonialism.

“This 21st century commemoration could not be the same as past commemorations and needed to include native people and the native voice,” says Michele Pecoraro, the executive director of Plymouth 400, the nonprofit organization responsible for planning and executing the 1620-related celebrations.

In the past, these events have unilaterally celebrated the Pilgrims' arrival from England and Europe. Native American speakers weren’t given the space to tell their side of the story, and when they were included, they were often censored. Pecararo hopes that Plymouth 400 can set the stage for more inclusive programming for other towns as well.

“There are 37 cities and towns just in Massachusetts, never mind the rest of New England, that will turn 400 over the next 10 years, and Boston will be in 2030,” says Pecararo. “We've talked about how in the future or even now in the present we can't do things the way we've always done them. We can't have these commemorations and not include all of the cultures that were involved at the time.”

This circa 1869 engraving titled "Landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock, 1620," made available by the Library of Congress, depicts a woman being helped ashore from a small boat. At background right, other Pilgrims kneel in prayer. (Peter Frederick Rothermel, Joseph Andrews/Library of Congress via AP)

That includes the Wampanoag people, who have lived in this region for more than 10,000 years and who met the Pilgrims when they arrived. As an author, historian, and enrolled member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe, Linda Coombs has for decades been educating the public on what really happened after European contact. Now she’s on the board of directors at Plymouth 400, where she’s chair of the Wampanoag Advisory Committee.

“[The board] stated they want the whole Plymouth 400 experience to be historically accurate and culturally inclusive,” says Coombs. “I can tell they don't really know what that means, they're a little reticent about it.”

But she adds that no one has ever stepped up to say, "Oh, you shouldn't say that or anything like that."

“For us, this has been an opportunity to get the history out, not only here but in the U.K. and the Netherlands as well,” says Coombs, referring to sister organizations and programming with the other nations involved in the Mayflower voyage. She says it’s also important to her to highlight contemporary culture. “Not only is this our homeland, but we're still here. And we're still, you know, vibrant communities and still maintaining our culture, and just, you know, carrying on tradition, and all the rest of it.”

After the arrival of European settlers, the Wampanoag language was dormant for over 150 years due to genocide and forced assimilation. Jennifer Weston is the director of the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project, and an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. When she moved to the Northeast to attend Brown in the mid-'90s, she said she was surprised by the visibility of native language in the local place names.

"Here in the Northeast it’s obvious that Wampanoag and indigenous languages were very important in early settler colonial and indigenous relationships and those names have persisted on everything from water ways to borrowed words in the English Language."

Jennifer Weston

“Here in the Northeast it’s obvious that Wampanoag and indigenous languages were very important in early settler colonial and indigenous relationships and those names have persisted on everything from water ways to borrowed words in the English Language,” says Weston.

Today, more than 4,000 Wampanoag people live in the region we now call New England, but there are only about 15 to 20 speakers proficient enough to carry on a conversation. Alyssa Harris, 19, is one of them.

She says language is a huge part of Wampanoag culture.

Alyssa Harris, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, sits for a portrait in a park in Boston on Oct. 2, 2020. (David Goldman/AP)

“It's a beautiful thing to see people practicing their culture, but because they're not speaking the language, it feels like there's a piece that's missing,” says Harris, who started learning the language at 6 years old. “Once there's a community of Wampanoag speakers again, you would feel that piece of the culture that's missing.”

She says one thing she loves about her language is the way place and experience is reflected in the words and place names.

“It helps you understand this area. For example, Massachusetts, Massachusett, actually means big mountain place. It's referring to the Blue Hills,” says Harris. “I didn't even really know that the Blue Hills existed before I knew what Massachusetts meant.”

Last spring, Harris graduated from Mashpee High School, which now includes Wampanoag as part of its language offerings. 400 years after contact with the Pilgrims, Harris is part of a movement carrying her language into the future. There are currently more than 100 students taking lessons each week through Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project and its affiliated programs. Each of them brings her one step closer to realizing her dream of conversing regularly with others in her language.

This segment aired on November 11, 2020.

Plymouth County:

View Map

Plymouth to Wareham to Mattapoisett to New Bedford

Total distance one way is 45 miles. Plan to spend two days on this route to allow time for detailed visits to attractions. Learn more at See Plymouth.


Pilgrim Memorial State Park and Plymouth Rock. Thousands of people come every year to visit the town where, in 1620, English colonists first made a home in New England, and to see Plymouth Rock, where history claims the passengers of the Mayflower first set foot on North America. A waterfront park provides scenic views of Plymouth Harbor. Mayflower II, a replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims, is anchored at the park.
Pilgrim Hall Museum. This 100-year-old museum, at 75 Court Street, displays actual Pilgrim possessions, including William Bradford’s Bible and Myles Standish’s sword. Enjoy a film telling the dramatic story of the Mayflower Pilgrims, their voyage across the Atlantic, and their courageous early years in Plymouth.
Paddlewheel boat cruise. Cruise Plymouth Harbor in comfort aboard the Pilgrim Belle, an authentic paddle-wheeler. You will hear a narrated account of this historic town and seaport and get a mariner's-eye view of Plymouth Rock, Mayflower II, Plymouth Beach, and local lighthouses.
Docked in Plymouth Harbor, Mayflower II is replica of the ship that carried the Pilgrims to the New World. Visitors will meet guides who speak from a present-day perspective and also role players in period costume who will share their personal accounts of shipboard life, as they play the part of sailors or Mayflower passengers. Open daily in July and August.
Plimoth Plantation. Plimoth Plantation at 137 Warren Avenue is a hands-on, living history experience dedicated to the native Wampanoag and Pilgrim colonists of 17th-century Plymouth. History comes alive at this immersive museum featuring costumed interpreters and modern day artisans in four major exhibits, including the recreated Wampanoag Homesite, the 17th Century English Village, and the Crafts Center.
Whale watch cruises. Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours at the Town Wharf in Plymouth guarantees whale sightings as you cruise Cape Cod Bay in comfort. Climate-controlled main cabin and full galley service. Operate April 6 through fall.
Plymouth Grist Mill. Located next to Town Brook in downtown Plymouth, this is a functional mill built in 1636 by the Pilgrim John Jenney. Today, visitors can watch how a grist mill operates and delve into the work and life of a 17th-century New England miller. Also, Leo the Miller describes the challenges the Pilgrims faced in their journey to America. Discover little known facts and hear interesting stories of American history as you walk the same paths the Pilgrims traveled hundreds of years ago.
-- Take Route 3A to Sagamore and change to the Scenic Highway (Route 6) North of the Cape Cod Canal. Continue on Scenic Hwy (Route 6) to Cranberry Highway (Route 28) about 31 miles to ….


The A.D. Makepeace Company. The world’s largest cranberry grower offers cranberry bog tours from its headquarters at 158 Tihonet Road. While the most popular time of year to see the bogs is during the cranberry harvest in September and October, your group may visit at any time of the year. During the tour, your guide will show the group examples of bogs, in production. Tours are available of groups of six or more. Individuals can sign up for tours during the harvest season in 2012 on September 29, October 13, 17, 20, and 27.
-- Take Route 6 about 9 miles to …


Nasketucket Bay State Reservation in Mattapoisett. Acquired by the state in 1999, Nasketucket Bay State Reservation in Mattapoisett offers 209 acres of wooded trails, open field and rocky shoreline for the public to enjoy. Lots to wonderful walking trails if you need a break from the car to stretch your legs. 508-992-4524.
-- Take Route 6 about 7 miles to …

New Bedford

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. In Herman Melville's epic novel Moby-Dick, Melville describes New Bedford as "perhaps the dearest place to live in, in all New England." He would recognize many of the 19th century buildings in the park today. Start your visit at the national park visitor center to get a brief orientation from the file, "The City That Lit the World." Other parts of the park include a historic house and garden museum, the Seamen's Bethel, Waterfront Visitor Center, the Schooner Ernestina, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
New Bedford Whaling Museum. New Bedford was the mid-19th century’s preeminent whaling port and for a time the richest city in the world. At the New Bedford Whaling Park and Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, visitors can explore the world of whaling in the 18th and 19th centuries and the profound effect the industry had on New England and the world. The museum is part of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, a neighborhood filled with actual buildings and artifacts from that era.
Zeiterion Theatre. For lively, dynamic, creative entertainment of all stripes, stay tuned to the Zeiterion Theatre on Purchase Street in New Bedford. This historic performing arts center is located in a restored 1923 vaudeville house, and its programs include summer musicals, comedy, great American music, dance, special events, and family fun.

Mayflower stamp celebrates Plymouth arrival 400 years ago

A new United States forever stamp commemorates the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor. The nondenominated (55¢) stamp, designed by U.S. Postal Service art director Greg Breeding, reproduces original artwork by Greg Harlin that shows the English merchant ship in the harbor at sunset. It will be issued Sept. 17 in panes of 20.

The stamp design and its inscriptions are offset-printed by Ashton Potter, but the design also includes an intaglio-printed floral element that the Postal Service describes as representing a stylized hawthorn flower.

&ldquoIn England, the hawthorn &mdash a member of the rose family &mdash is sometimes called a mayflower, as it blooms in May,&rdquo according to the Postal Service.

Intaglio printing is often referred to as engraving by collectors, as the process reproduces images originally engraved or etched onto a plate. It was once the most common form of U.S. stamp printing, but it fell out of favor with the Postal Service, which today relies mostly on the less expensive multicolor offset printing method.

The hawthorn insignia is positioned on the new stamp below the inscriptions &ldquo1620,&rdquo &ldquoforever&rdquo and &ldquoUSA,&rdquo which are stacked in the upper right corner of the design.

The floral element was added sometime after the stamp design was first revealed in October 2019.

The Postal Service described Harlin&rsquos painting as a combination of watercolor, acrylic and gouache (a method of painting that uses opaque pigments ground in water and thickened to a gluelike consistency).

&ldquoThe painting was digitally refined to convey a scene of desolate beauty at the end of the Pilgrims&rsquo long journey to an unfamiliar world,&rdquo according to the Postal Service.

The 20-stamp pane has a somewhat unusual layout for a horizontal stamp, with five stamps across in four vertical rows, creating a somewhat wider and shorter pane than the typical four stamps across in five rows.

The issue title is lettered in white on the selvage across the top of the pane.

As Linn&rsquos reported previously, the Postal Service has also prepared a book about the Mayflower voyage that will be sold separately to coincide with the stamp issue. Packaged with the book is a set of five progressive stamp proof panes, the finished stamps in a pane of 20, and a numbered certificate of authenticity (Linn&rsquos, Aug. 10, page 8).

Although it was neither the first arrival in the Americas by Europeans nor the first European settlement in America, the 1620 pilgrim landing at Plymouth holds an iconic status in U.S. history. For many it represents the establishment of religious freedom in the New World, as the Pilgrims sought to escape the persecution they suffered in England because of their choice to separate from the Church of England.

It is also symbolic of the popular American Thanksgiving holiday, which recalls the 1621 harvest feast shared by the colonists and the Wampanoag people native to the region where the Pilgrims settled.

The Pilgrims left England in 1607 to establish their congregation in the Netherlands, but left there in 1620, dissatisfied with the society and culture in which they were immersed.

They returned to England as they made preparations for a voyage to establish a new colony in America.

The Mayflower was hired for the journey, along with the ship&rsquos master Christopher Jones and a crew numbering some 30 men or more. Thirty-seven Pilgrims were among the 102 passengers on the voyage, which also included servants, farmers and hired hands. Small farm animals were also brought on board, making for an unpleasant gathering in close, dark and cold quarters.

The ship departed the port of Plymouth in Devon, England, on Sept. 6, 1620, undertaking a perilous ocean voyage that would last 10 weeks.

The English colony in Virginia at Jamestown had been established some dozen years earlier, and the Mayflower Pilgrims intended to sail north of the Virginia colony, but they arrived near Cape Cod, hundreds of miles north of their intended destination.

The ship anchored at Provincetown Harbor on Nov. 11. The men on board worked out an agreement known today as the Mayflower Compact to keep peace and order in what would be a completely new and unfamiliar social environment. The agreement has since been compared to the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the nation&rsquos Constitution.

After multiple landing parties explored the area in search of a suitable place to establish the colony, the Mayflower sailed across the bay to Plymouth Harbor, arriving Dec. 16.

Though 50 settlers died during the harsh winter that followed, the new colony was successful&rsquo and the port of Plymouth, named by the Pilgrims for their departure point, prospered.

One hundred years ago, the U.S. Post Office Department celebrated the Pilgrims&rsquo journey on a set of three stamps known as the Pilgrim Tercentenary issue (Scott 548-550) designed by Clair Aubrey Huston (1857-1938). The 1¢ green stamp from that set depicts the Mayflower on calm waters, not in the treacherous seas that the colonists experienced for much of the journey.

In 1970 a single multicolor 6¢ commemorative marked the 350th anniversary of the Plymouth landing, with an illustration by Mark English (1933-2019) of the Pilgrims onshore and the Mayflower in the background (Scott 1420).

Both the 1920 and 1970 tributes have unusual characteristics that the new stamp seems to have avoided.

Writing about the 1920 set for the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Roger S. Brody pointed out: &ldquoSo well known was the story of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth that the stamps did not include the country of origin. These were the only [U.S.] stamps ever issued without the words &lsquoUnited States&rsquo or the U.S. initials.&rdquo

A tiny element of the 1970 stamp was identified by a 16-year-old in Rhode Island as a design error, and the story was reported by The New York Times in its Dec. 6, 1970, issue.

While closely examining the stamp, young Robert W. Turner noticed that the Union Jack flying on the Mayflower in the design of the 6¢ stamp was the same as today&rsquos Union Jack, the flag representing the United Kingdom. However, prior to 1801, that flag did not have the diagonal red Irish cross of St. Patrick, which the 6¢ stamp did include.

The artist and the Post Office Department both expressed regret for the flag error, but the issued stamp was not withdrawn or reprinted.

The new forever stamp shows the ship flying the Union Jack as it appeared in 1620, without the red Irish cross of St. Patrick.

The story of the Mayflower is so prominent in Colonial American history that it has been portrayed on stamps of other nations.

Great Britain&rsquos Royal Mail issued a stamp in 1970 denominated 1 shilling, 6 penny that shows the Mayflower (flying the Union Jack from the proper era) and a small number of Pilgrim colonists (Scott 615).

A more dramatic portrayal of the Mayflower at sea is found on a 47p stamp issued in 2003 as part of a set of five depicting pub signs (Scott 2151).

There has been no announcement of a British Mayflower commemoration in 2020, but the Isle of Man, a British crown dependency with its own postal system, issued a set of six stamps April 22 that includes a painting of the Mayflower sailing in rough seas, and commemorates other key events in the Pilgrims&rsquo story.

Denise McCarty reported on this new issue in her New Stamps of the World column (Linn&rsquos, May 4, page 12).

Other countries that have shown the Mayflower on stamps include Mali in 1971 (Scott C126), Bangladesh in 1976 (113), Bulgaria in 1980 (2703) and Hungary in 1988 (3132).

The Postal Service prepared two pictorial first-day cancels for the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor forever stamp. The black cancel, which is applied to most requests, features filigree style ornaments and text, including the full name of the stamp issue, the issue date and location.

The color cancel also consists mostly of text, but it includes a small image of the ship at the top of the postmark between the words &ldquoFIRST DAY&rdquo and &ldquoOF ISSUE.&rdquo

Up to 50 black postmarks can be requested on collector supplied envelopes at no cost. Digital color postmark requests require a fee of 50¢ per postmark with a minimum order of 10. Two test envelopes must be included as well.

The Militia and Fort

At the west end of the street, on the highest point overlooking the town and the bay, the Pilgrims built a two-story fort, from which they could defend the town. The Pilgrims feared that the French or Spanish (or pirates) might attempt to attack the colony. They also feared that unfriendly Indians could mount an attack on the colony. The Pilgrims had brought with them several different types of cannons, which they hauled up to the second story of the fort and mounted in a way that could command the whole harbor. The largest was a minion cannon, which was brass, weighed about 1200 pounds, and could shoot a 3.5 pound cannonball nearly a mile. They also had a saker cannon of about 800 pounds, and two base cannons that were much smaller, perhaps about 200 pounds and which shot a 3 to 5 ounce ball. Various other gun ports in the fort could be opened and closed for the smaller cannon to be moved and pointed in any direction necessary. Observation windows provided a clear view of the town, the harbor, and the nearby woods. By 1627, Plymouth's fort had six cannon, plus four small ones positioned near the governor's house at Plymouth's main intersection. The fort served not only for defense, however. It was also the Pilgrims meetinghouse, where church services, town meetings, and court sessions were held.

Captain Myles Standish was the Pilgrim's military leader, responsible for organizing the militia and defending the colony. He had been a lieutenant in Queen Elizabeth's army and was stationed in the Netherlands, where he made friends with the Pilgrims and their pastor, John Robinson. He is remembered as having been unusually short, with ruddy-red hair, very faithful and loyal, yet with a quick temper that often made his face turn red, earning him the nickname "Captain Shrimp" by some of those who did not like him. He was routinely elected and re-elected to the position of militia captain throughout the first few decades of the colony. He was responsible for training the men in the use of their armor, guns, and cannon he established and appointed the watch shifts, and organized and trained the men for various forms of attacks that could be made against the colony. Luckily for Captain Standish, there were never any direct attacks on Plymouth itself, though the town occasionally sent him and some of his militia to help other neighboring English colonists with their disputes with the Indians, and they occasionally used the militia to arrest trespassers or others that were violating the terms of their trading contracts or otherwise causing problems.

Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor - History


The persecution, hardships, suffering and discouragement that accompanied the Pilgrims before they even began their journey has caused many to wonder how their conviction to continue remained so constant. Consider first, not all of the congregation could depart in 1620, so a remnant had to volunteer. Second, the change in their contract was a huge setback of money and morale. Third, selling the Speedwell added to their financial loss and created another sad parting. Finally, the loss of precious time increased their chances of a stormy crossing and insured they would land in winter.

By the time the Mayflower and the leaky Speedwell returned to Plymouth Harbor in England, probably around August 26 (old style calendar), those traveling to the new world had already been at sea for six weeks! They would spend another two weeks discerning what to do with their leaky ship and also who might have to return and not attempt the voyage.

Plymouth’s history dates back to King Alfred’s Domes-day Code of Law Book which articulated the Common Law. It was referred to in that book in 1086 as Sudtone or “South Farm.” It became known as Sutton Harbour. In the 15 th century as ships began to use the river Plym’s tidal mouth the town took the name of the river Plym’s mouth or Plymouth. The Hoe (large open space), makes it one of the most picturesque harbors in the world.

An amazing providence was the connection the Pilgrim exiles made with a reformed group of believers already meeting in the town. When visiting Plymouth in 2016 we saw an amazing stained glass window inside the Sherwell United Church’s chapel building. It depicts the Plymouth congregation praying for our Pilgrim exiles before they departed. The famous steeple of St. Andrews can be seen in the background (and still stands). The Pilgrims would providentially settle in what had already been named “New Plimouth” by John Smith in 1614. At the base of the stained glass window the inscription reads “Happy is that people whose God is Lord. Aye, call it holy ground, the soil where they first trod. They left unstained what there they found, freedom to worship God.”

The Pilgrims would leave from the Barbican, “a maze of narrow streets and alley ways, adjacent to Sutton Harbour, the original seaport…” The “Mayflower steps” are made famous for the departure of the Pilgrims from Plymouth on Wednesday, September the 6 th , 1620. Here Richard Holland and I, in Pilgrim attire, pose on the modern steps of the Barbican in 2016. The famous painting of the Barbican Quay in Plymouth by William Gibbons (1841-1890), depicts the Pilgrims about to depart on their journey of faith to America. Some of the same buildings on the Barbican in 1620 can be seen today!

In some of those dwellings depicted on the Barbican in the above 19 th century painting, the pressure and discouragement had accumulated and taken its toll. Such pressure reveal an individual’s character and God uses this to bring impurities to the surface. Bradford writes about the time in Plymouth after it was decided to sell the Speedwell and for some to return and not make the voyage.

Bradford writes: “So after they had took out such provision as the other ship could well stow, and concluded both what number and what persons to send back, they made another sad parting the one ship going back for London and the other was to proceed on her voyage. Those that went back were for the most part such as were willing so to do, either out of some discontent or fear they conceived of the ill success of the voyage, seeing so many crosses befall, and the year time so far spent. But others, in regard of their own weakness and charge of many young children were thought least useful and most unfit to bear the brunt of this hard adventure, unto which work of God, and judgment of their brethren, they were contented to submit.”

Among those who did not continue were the crew of the Speedwell. The crew may have proven difficult to deal with for the entire year agreed upon). Robert Cushman (and his family) returned, and he was the leader who agreed to the change in their contract, producing friction among them. Christopher Martin (their Governor on the Speedwell) was dictatorial, offending everyone. Thomas Blossom also returned. He, along with his wife Anne, had lost two children by 1620, and another by 1625, persevered and came in 1629 on another ship called Mayflower! Could it be that God removed some and refined others like Blossom who would convince more to eventually come? A total of 20 returned, and 11 would cram on the crowded Mayflower. Winslow relates: “Wednesday, the sixth of September. The wind coming east-north-east, a fine small gale, we loosed from Plymouth, having been kindly entertained and courteously used by divers friends there dwelling…”

Bradford concluded: “And thus, like Gideon’s army, this small number was divided, as if the Lord by this work of His providence, thought these few too many for the great work He had to do.”

May we react with patience and perseverance when things do not go our way – hardship, financial loss, or other separation from people. God is in control and maybe He has a great work for us to do as well!

Mayflower II Returns To Plymouth Monday After 3-Year Renovation

PLYMOUTH (CBS/AP) &mdashThe Mayflower II returned home to Plymouth Monday. The ship docked in Plymouth Harbor, just down the road from the Plimoth Plantation living history museum around 4 p.m.

The replica of the original Mayflower ship that brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620 had been in Connecticut for three years to have $11.2 million worth of renovations. There were also several months of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It left Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay around 9 a.m. Monday.

The original plan had called for a celebratory departure in late April with several stops at southern New England ports before a May arrival. That was to include being led into Boston Harbor under sail with the USS Constitution for a maritime festival to mark the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower voyage.

But those plans were scrapped because of the pandemic.

Plimoth Plantation live-streamed the trip Monday with multiple cameras and vantage points.

“I just had to be here today,” said spectator Dianne Timpson. “I had to see her come in. There’s a lot of pride involved in that.”

She drove all the way up from Connecticut, in part because of her family’s original ties to the Mayflower. “To kind of realize the journey that they took, the size of the ship, the conditions that they lived under, and to see her sail in today to the harbor, to Plymouth, that’s wonderful. Reliving it again, feeling it, there’s a lot of pride, that’s my ancestors.”

If you want to see the ship in person, tours are scheduled to begin Wednesday. Masks will be required.

The Mayflower II has been a major tourist attraction and educational tool since it arrived in Plymouth as a gift from England in 1957.

&ldquoThe Mayflower represents an amazing story of American history and it connects us all together because it is really the first great American story,&rdquo said Brenton Simons, the vice chair of Plymouth 400.

Stabilization efforts began in 2014, with the ship spending part of the year in Mystic, Connecticut. Continuous restoration work began at the seaport museum in 2016, with shipwrights from the seaport museum and artisans from Plimoth Plantation engaged in the work.

The ship&rsquos keel was saved, but nearly 75% of the vessel is new, according to Plimoth Plantation.

“It really also reflected the traditional shipbuilding method that would have been used in the 17th century,” said Kate Sheehan of Plimouth Plantation. “This is the first time that the ship has been under sail this close to Plymouth since 2014.”

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Watch the video: Mayflower returns to Plymouth