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Thanksgiving Day 2009 : Mayflower Ship


Mayflower - The Ship




The ship 'Mayflower' has played a very significant role in the history of Thanksgiving, because it was the historic ship that took the Pilgrims to America in 1620. The pilgrims were basically the fortune hunters, bound for the resourceful 'New World'. And the 'Mayflower' was a small ship crowded with men, women and children besides the sailors on board. The first record available about the ship 'Mayflower' is somewhere in 1609. At that time it was a merchant ship, which traveled to Baltic ports, most notably Norway.

At that time, that is around 1609, Christopher Nichols, Richard Child, Thomas Short, and Christopher Jones owned the Mayflower. The weight of this ship was about 180 tons and it rested in Harwich. Initially this ship was employed for the purpose of transportation of goods such as tar, lumber, fish and possibly some Greenland whaling. But later on this ship was employed in Mediterranean wine and spice trading.

In 1620 Thomas Weston, John Carver and Robert Cushman hired two ships. One of them was the 'Mayflower' and the other was the 'Speedwell'. They hired these two ships in order to undertake a voyage to plant a colony in Northern Virginia. But later it was found that the Speedwell was a leaky ship. Therefore the Speedwell could not be a part of the famous voyage with the Mayflower.

When the Mayflower took the Pilgrims to New England in 1620, the captain of this ship was Christopher Jones. The ship was anchored off the tip of Cape Cod on November 11, 1620. During that year winter season the Mayflower stayed in America. And the crew on this ship also suffered the harsh effects of the first winter just as the Pilgrims did, with almost half dying.

The Mayflower started sailing for home on April 5, 1621, and it arrived back on May 6, 1621. The ship Mayflower made a few more trading runs to the places such as Spain and Ireland and finally it traded to France. However the captain of this special ship, Christopher Jones, died shortly thereafter.

After the death of the captain the ship Mayflower lay inoperative for about next two years. And then it was appraised for probate and its value was determined to be around £128-08-04, which seems to be an extremely low value for this ship. However the fact is that had this ship been in sailing condition its value would have been around £700.

This probate inventory is the last record of the ship 'Mayflower'. As the ship was not in very good sailing condition, it was called 'in ruins' by the High Court of Admiralty record (HCA 3/30, folio 227) written in Latin in 1624. The ships in the 'in ruins' condition were considered more valuable as wood, which was in shortage in England at the time. Therefore the Mayflower was most likely to be broken apart and sold as scrap. Though there is no evidence that the Mayflower ended up as the Jordan's barn but it is believed that it has become a tourist trap.

There were many ships, which were known by the name of 'Mayflower' because it was a very common name for the ships. And another common thing was that other ships with this name also made trips to New England, as did this historic ship - Mayflower. But what makes this 'Mayflower' different from other 'Mayflowers' is the fact that the Pilgrims used this 'Mayflower' to complete their historic journey to America.