2020 Compact Meeting
This is the Drop Box link to the Compact Meeting recording.
2021 Spring Meeting
This is the Drop Box link to the recording of the Spring Mayflower Meeting. There is about a minute lag time. This is an unedited copy of the actual meeting
This is a new feature of our website- a newsletter. This is a way for the Board of Assistants to pass on important happenings in the Georgia Society as well as our members' life events. We need the members to share their adventures, trips, discoveries, or stories.
Our past governor Rose Bell's husband John died recently. He was a fixture at all of our meetings. He graciously hosted us when our governor general paid his triennial visit. We will continue to remember Governor Bell in our prayers and thoughts.
Please remember that this time in the life of our Pilgrim forebears was a time of great loss. over half of the passengers and crew died. So pause and reflect on their sacrifices to make our nation a success. The second half of last stanza of Katherine Bates' hymn never fails to move me. America! America! God mend thy every flaw, confirm thy soul in self control, thy liberty in law. May these words be our prayer during this time of challenge in our Nation's story.
Our latest Financial Report from our Treasurer as of 3/23/2021
Money Market account as of 3/23/2021 balance: $15,024.89
Savings account as of 3/23/2021 balance: $15,974.82
0479 Life Member Business 18 month CD $17,300.00
1532 Education Business 24 month CD $6,652.47
1541 Life Member Business 18 month CD $25,000.00
Interest from 18 month CD - $17.30
Interest from 24 month CD - $6.65
Interest from 18
Transcription of Spring Meeting 2021 Program presented by Col. Allen Burton (ret)
It is a pleasure for me to be here with you today. As Alan just said, my name is Allen Burton and I teach American History at Augusta University.
My courses at AU include the colonization of what was to become the United States, and as such, those courses include the settlement of New England and, specifically, the voyage of the Mayflower and the establishment of the Plymouth Colony.
Obviously, when Alan offered me the opportunity to be with you today, I saw this as an excellent chance for me to do some reading and research to deepen my knowledge of the materials I present in my classes.
The topic of this presentation is Edward Winslow. You will find a reproduction of the original portrait of Winslow here. This is believed to be the only known contemporary portrait of any of the Pilgrims who were passengers on the Mayflower. The original portrait is hanging in Pilgrim Hall at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Edward Winslow was born at Droitwich in Worcester, England on October 18th, 1595. That would have made him 25 when he first came to America on the Mayflower. His parents were Edward, Senior and Magdalene Oliver. Besides Edward, there were four younger brothers: Gilbert, John, Josiah, and Kenelm. Gilbert traveled to America onboard Mayflower with Edward, and the other brothers eventually followed them here.
Edward attended King’s School at Worcester Cathedral for five years and later entered into an apprenticeship in London as a stationer. Apparently, that was not satisfactory, for he withdrew from that arrangement after about two years and in 1617 (the year he became 22 years old) he moved to Leiden, in the Netherlands, to join the Separatist Church there.
The Protestant Reformation had begun with Martin Luther in 1517, but in England it was initiated by Henry VIII in about 1529 and was completed by 1537 when Henry declared himself to be the head of the state Church of England.
Certainly, this audience will remember that an important part of Henry’s initiative to withdraw from Catholicism was his desire to divorce his wife, seek a new wife, and hopefully through the new wife to gain a male heir to his throne. In leading England out of the Catholic Church, he took with him the title “Defender of the Faith” that had been bestowed on him by Pope Leo X when Henry was still a Catholic. Henceforth, he would make that title a part of his leadership in establishing himself as the head of the new state church.
As one would expect, such a degree of change would not be totally accepted by everyone in England. Even with a state church, there were believers in England who did not think that the withdrawal from Catholicism was enough of a reformation. Over time, those who declined to follow the lead of their sovereign came under pressure to either conform or leave the kingdom. The movement toward separation from the Church of England resulted in the label of Separatists, a movement that was initially illegal in England. This situation caused some to leave their home country to worship in more tolerant lands. The Netherlands was relatively close to England and it became a place of refuge for some of the Separatists. One of these Separatists was Edward Winslow.
From 1978 until 1981, Patricia and I, along with our two children, lived in the Netherlands where I was on a military assignment. Those were very happy years for our family, and we look back on our relationships in the civilian community with a great deal of affection. However, living there gave us a realization that the Netherlands could most likely be called, even today, a very liberal country in western Europe. This experience gave us some insight into why some Separatists who left England in the 1600s went to that country. The Netherlands is predominately a Protestant country and, in our view, is quite accommodating of differences in religion.
By the time that Edward Winslow was in his early 20s, the monarch in England was James I (the sponsor of the King James Version of the Bible). James was a strong advocate of royal absolutism that placed him at cross purposes with some in England (including, at times, the Parliament and the Separatists). When Edward Winslow went to live in Leiden, he associated with the Separatist Church there and he worked as a printer with William Brewster. Together, from the Netherlands, they ran illicit printing activities which published religious tracts that were critical of King James and the leaders of the Church of England.
Winslow eventually became a leading member of the English exiles who met at the Leiden church. In June of 1620, he was one of four men (William Bradford, Isaac Allerton, Samuel Fuller) who wrote a letter on behalf of the Leiden congregation to their London agents (John Carver and Robert Cushman) regarding terms for travel to America.
Their motivation for leaving the Netherlands appears to be mixed. I assure you that the Dutch language is definitely difficult, especially for adults, and possibly the liberal nature of Dutch society might have been a factor leading to the decision to leave. However, there was also the possibility of a war with Spain (the Netherlands had previously been Spanish territory), so a longing for safer surroundings was possibly also a factor. Whatever the case, by the fact that the Separatists had maintained contact with England through their agents, we can conclude that they still wanted to be Englishmen rather than to be totally absorbed by Dutch society. Thirteen years prior to the letter to the agents in London, Jamestown, in Virginia had been settled by Englishmen. By 1620, the Virginia colony was progressing from its critical stage and was becoming economically productive through production of tobacco. It had even established what would come to be called the House of Burgesses, an early form of representative government. Now, with the situation in the Netherlands becoming less favorable, the Separatists began to consider leaving from there. Since King James I was still on the throne in England, a return to their home country would have been a poor choice. With news of success in the English colony in Virginia, that colony became their new destination.
By this time, Edward Winslow had married Elizabeth Barker. She, and Edward’s brother, Gilbert, and a family servant, George Soule, were part of the Separatists who returned to England to start the journey across the Atlantic to America. Also, under the care of Edward and Elizabeth were a youth, Elias Story, and an eight year old girl, Ellen More.
That first shipment of pilgrim colonists departed from London in two ships on July 15th, made intermediate stops at Southampton and Dartmouth, and then at Plymouth. At Plymouth, the second ship, Speedwell, was declared unseaworthy and all of its passengers consolidated on Mayflower and sailed into the Atlantic from Plymouth, England on September 6, 1620 (on the old Julian calendar/September 16, 1620 on the new Gregorian calendar).
An exact description of Mayflower is not known, but onboard what was probably a 100 foot long vessel were 102 passengers and approximately 30 crew members. One can only imagine the cramped conditions in which some 130 persons lived and stored all of their belongings, their food for the voyage, and food and supplies to establish themselves in America. The unsanitary conditions must have been extreme and together with limited food for about three months, was a factor in two deaths in the crossing and the subsequent deaths of almost half the party when they reached the unfamiliar surroundings at their destination in the cold New England winter.
Sixty-six days after leaving Plymouth, on November 11th, they made land fall at what at what would come to be called Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod. While in harbor there, one of the Pilgrims, Susanna White, delivered a child, the first English child to be born in the colony. Her husband, William, died the following March and almost a month later, Elizabeth Winslow, Edward’s wife also died.
We can simplify the story by saying that in the wilderness of America, Edward Winslow needed a wife, and Susanna White needed a husband. Subsequently, about a month and a half after Elizabeth died, Edward and Susanna were married in a civil ceremony performed by William Bradford, the governor of the colony. Theirs was the first marriage in the Plymouth Colony.
The Mayflower had originally been headed for the Virginia, but storms had forced them off course. Thus, with provisions running short, the travelers concluded that they would not attempt further travel to reach Virginia but would settle where they were. The Pilgrims then decided to establish their own government and at the same time to affirm their allegiance to the King of England, King James. This they did in spite of the circumstances under James’ rule that had led to their earlier departure to the Netherlands and their subsequent departure to America. Their written agreement, signed onboard Mayflower, was essentially a social contract in which the Pilgrims consented to follow the rules and regulations of the colony in order to survive. This compact was the first commitment to written laws by American colonists.
In the next picture you can see a copy of an artist’s depiction of the signing of the Mayflower Compact. Honestly, I have some trouble with this picture and others that were intended to record the signing of the Mayflower Compact. The compartment on the ship is depicted as rather large. Recall that Mayflower was only about 100 feet long. I have difficulty imagining that any compartment on the ship would have been as spacious as is shown here.
From the point of view of our story about Edward Winslow, note the man standing in the center of the picture and compare his features to those shown in the from-life portrait of Winslow. I suspect that the artist may possibly have used the Edward Winslow portrait as his model. Captain Myles Standish is likely the inspiration for one of the helmeted men in the depiction.
The list of signers of the Mayflower Compact is believed to have included 41 male passengers. Edward Winslow is one of the signers, as is his brother, Gilbert, and also George Soule, the Winslow family servant, and William White, Susanna’s first husband.
All accounts I have read lead me to conclude that Edward Winslow must have been an agreeable and accommodating man. Not only had he taken a new wife from among the few available women who were still alive after the dreadful first winter in America, but he now developed a vital relationship with the native Americans which enhanced opportunities for trading. His personality obviously was a factor which figured into his serving as governor of the Plymouth colony on three occasions, and he was active in establishing good laws for the Plymouth Colony. He was a prominent participant in the exploration of Cape Cod and led expeditions to meet with and trade with the native Americans in New England. Winslow wrote first-hand accounts of life in the early years of the Plymouth Colony. These include parts of “A Relation or Journal of the Proceedings of the Plantation Settled at Plymouth” (in 1622), and he wrote all of “Good News from New England” (in 1624) among others.
Most of what we know about the first Thanksgiving is found in a letter written by Edward Winslow in December 1621. He penned:
“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
As time progressed, Edward Winslow became acknowledged as a capable diplomat who was part of the effort to maintain ties between the Plymouth Colony and England. As such he made trips back to England (1623, 1630, 1634). He went there again in 1646 during the Civil War (1642-1651) between forces of King Charles I (son of James I) and forces in Parliament led by Oliver Cromwell. He never returned to Plymouth.
Winslow, as we know, was a Separatist, and the same was true of Cromwell, the leader of the Parliamentarian forces in the Civil War. With the end of the war and execution of Charles II, the Separatists had political power in England as Cromwell established a Commonwealth (1649-1660). Winslow gained favor with Cromwell who had overthrown the monarchy which had been the original cause for the Pilgrims to abandon England. Eventually, the Lord Protector, Cromwell, appointed Winslow to committees in Parliament. One of these committees sought to manage the confiscation of royal properties, a clear indication of Winslow’s status with Oliver Cromwell.
Winslow had plans to eventually return to America, but these were overtaken by his involvements in England in service to Cromwell. In 1654, he was appointed as a commissioner of an English military mission to confront the Spanish in the West Indies. (Remember that Spain was still Catholic, and England, since Henry VIII, was Protestant.) The military mission was eventually successful in that Jamaica was captured, but Winslow became ill with yellow fever and died on May 7, 1655 (age 59). He was buried at sea near Jamaica.
Eventually, his will was probated in London through the efforts of his son, Josiah, who, like his father, would also eventually be a governor of the Plymouth Colony.
The Winslow cemetery in Marshfield, Massachusetts (on the coast north of Plymouth) has a stone monument which includes the names of Edward Winslow and also Susanna.
Edward Winslow was a God-fearing Pilgrim. He possessed the diplomacy to build relationships among the colonists, with the native Americans, and with Oliver Cromwell. He used his unique skills to foster the establishment of a new way of life in America. Certainly, he was a beneficial leader in the Plymouth colony.