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Mayflower, Day by Day - Wednesday, 17 February [1620]/21

17 Feb 2021 3:10 AM | Soule (Administrator)

At anchor in harbour

Much colder.  As noted before, there was as much puzzlement about those who did not get sick as there was about those who did get sick.  William Brewster and Myles Standish both were identified by Mourt’s Relation as passengers who did not get sick during the first winter, and spent their time ministering to those who had succumbed.  I have never seen an explanation for why these two were spared any contagion, despite their sharing the common life of the passengers and crew, while everyone else got sick or died.  Also, there were no deaths in the Billington family, which caused a certain wonderment among the more religious passengers, since almost every other family lost at least one member to the General Sickness -- and it absolutely wasn’t their piety that kept them from the illness.


  • 18 Feb 2021 7:48 AM | Louise Throop
    As I recall, Brewster had been sick in the Fall of 1619, so maybe he was immune to the contagion in 1621. In the pre-vaccination era, it was not uncommon for one-third of the working ppulation to be sick, thus unable to work.
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