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  • 12 Sep 2020 2:39 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Final determinations

    As the transfer of cargo from the Speedwell to the Mayflower continued, passengers were reassigned.  Robert Cushman and Thomas Blossom, and their families, decided to stay in England.  While Elizabeth (Walker) Warren and her five daughters stayed in England, her husband Richard, a London merchant who had probably provided part of the financing for the voyage to New England, was included among the Mayflower passengers, with the hope that his wife and children would join him later.  (They came to him on the Anne in 1623, and Richard and Elizabeth subsequently had sons Nathaniel and Joseph at Plymouth.)  Philip Delano (Philippe de la Noye), part of the Leiden community and a passenger on the Speedwell, also stayed in England and took passage the following year on the Fortune.  In all, eleven people from the Speedwell boarded the Mayflower, leaving 20 people to return to London.  From what we can tell, most of those 20 eventually did reach the New World.

  • 11 Sep 2020 2:20 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Cargo transfers

    Cargo was transferred from the Speedwell to the Mayflower in Plymouth harbour, continuing for the next few days.  John A. Goodwin notes (Pilgrim Republic [Boston: Ticknor and Company, 1888] 57) that “it was fortunate for the overloaded Mayflower that she had fine weather while lying at anchor there ... for the port of Plymouth was then only a shallow, open bay, with no protection.  In southwesterly gales its waters rose into enormous waves, with such depressions between, that ships while anchored sometimes struck the bottom of the harbor and were dashed in pieces.”

  • 10 Sep 2020 2:53 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Why did they turn back?

    If the Speedwell had not been overmasted, both she and the Mayflower would have arrived early in the fall (probably by the middle of October) at the mouth of the Hudson River, and the whole course of New England history would have been entirely different.  It does appear, however, that most of the leaders of the community (Bradford, Brewster, Cushman, Winslow, and their families) were on the Speedwell when it started to leak; letting the Mayflower continue on its way by itself, to arrive in New Amsterdam before the weather turned bad, was not a good or viable option, since that would have deprived the emigrant community of its religious and commercial leaders (“the cheefe of them that came from Leyden,” in Bradford’s words).
  • 8 Sep 2020 3:49 PM | Russell Francis (Administrator)

    Mayflower Conspiracy Theories

    It is certain that the Speedwell sprung a leak in the Atlantic, causing it to return to Plymouth along with the Mayflower.  What caused the leak?  The most frequently mentioned possibility is that it was “over-rigged” and had on too much sail which caused a strain on the masts, and which then caused holes and leaks to develop.  Prior to the voyage, the Speedwell had been refitted in Delfshaven in Holland and had two masts.  Nathaniel Philbrick suggests that the crew used a mast that was too big for the ship, and that the added stress caused holes to form in the hull.  William Bradford wrote that “the leakiness of this ship was partly by her being overmasted and too much pressed with sails,” but attributes the main cause of her leaking to actions on the part of the crew.  Robert Cushman wrote from Dartmouth in August 1620 (as soon as the Speedwell returned) that the leaking was caused by a loose board or plank approximately two feet long.  There is a persistent rumour of sabotage, either by the captain or the crew, but there is no proof.  We shall revisit the question about sabotage in a few months when we look at the decision to drop everyone off in Massachusetts.

  • 7 Sep 2020 8:46 AM | Russell Francis (Administrator)

    Who was on which ship?

    While we know who the passengers on the Mayflower’s voyage to the New World were from William Bradford's list which he compiled about 1651 (over thirty years later), and we know that some of the passengers on the Speedwell stayed in England after the ships turned back, there is no full separate list of original passengers on the August sailings of the Speedwell or the Mayflower.  There was no passenger manifest for the two ships that has survived, or even for the Mayflower itself for its voyage: after all, who would check the manifest or passenger list once they reached Massachusetts?  The only list of passengers is the one compiled by Bradford in 1651 for Of Plimoth Plantation, for those who had made the 66 day voyage to Massachusetts.

    William Bradford and his wife were almost certainly on the Speedwell, as shown by his account of the embarkation; likewise, Edward Winslow’s full account of the embarkation (“Hypocrisie Unmasked”) also suggests that he and his family were also Speedwell passengers.  William Brewster and his family were likewise probably on the Speedwell.

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  • 6 Sep 2020 11:35 AM | Russell Francis (Administrator)

    In Plymouth Harbour

    From “the Speedwell’s Log” for August 28 [o.s.]/September 7 [n.s.]: “At anchor in Plymouth harbor. Conference of chief of Colonists and officers of MAY-FLOWER and SPEEDWELL.  No special leak could be found, but it was judged to be the general weakness of the ship, and that she would not prove sufficient for the voyage.  It was resolved to dismiss her the SPEEDWELL, and part of the company, and proceed with the other ship.”

  • 6 Sep 2020 11:33 AM | Russell Francis (Administrator)

    Speedwell and Mayflower arrive in Plymouth together.

    The Speedwell, the smaller of the two ships (according to William Bradford, a “smale ship of 60 tune”), had sprung a leak the day before when the ships were about 100 leagues (345 miles) out, and both ships decided to turn back.  They arrived back in Plymouth harbour together today.

  • 30 Apr 2020 6:15 AM | Allison Pence (Administrator)

    Soule Kindred is sorry to announce that, due to the Covid19 situation, this year's reunion scheduled for September 11-13 in Plymouth, has been canceled. However, a "Virtual Reunion" with lots of fun online activities is currently being planned for the same weekend this September at no cost to our members. 

    Stay tuned for more details on this as they evolve. For those folks who have already registered for the reunion in Plymouth, our treasurer, Russell Francis, is working on getting refunds out to you. They will come to the credit card you used to register. No contact by you is necessary at this time.

    Just a reminder: Don't forget to contact your lodging and travel providers to cancel your reservations with them. SKA is considering having an in-person reunion once it is safe for us all to travel, possibly in 2021 or 2022, so please reach out to your Board and let them know your preferences in this matter. We apologize for your inconvenience, but know that you understand.

    Be well, Cousins!


  • 20 Apr 2020 10:00 AM | Sara Soule-Chapman (Administrator)

    We are in the process of evaluating whether or not to hold the reunion in Sept. 2020 or to postpone it.  We expect to make a decision in the next month or so.  We will keep you updated.  Thanks

  • 12 Jan 2020 1:00 PM | Allison Pence (Administrator)

    The Soule Kindred Reunion Committee wishes to thank all those who participated in the logo contest for our 2020 SKA Reunion coming up this September in Plymouth. And the winner is…

    Steven Soule of Escondido, California! 

    Steven, a 14 th generation descendant of Pilgrim George, is a web designer in Southern California. He is honored that his design was chosen to represent Soule Kindred for this special 400th Mayflower Anniversary year.


    Reunion Registration will open on February 1st. Watch for an announcement on our Facebook page and on the SKA website. We’re hoping to make registration an easy process for our members, so you may register and pay with a credit card through the SKA website. Or, if you prefer, you may print off your registration form and send it with a check to the address on the form.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really excited to meet many new cousins and friends at our upcoming reunion!  So many meaningful and fun events are being planned and it promises to be a wonderful weekend to remember!

    - Lori Soule, Reunion Committee Chair (lorisoule3@gmail.com)


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