MICHAEL PORTILLO’S popular BBC television series ‘Great British Railway Journeys’…
You will not have failed to notice that the fair city of Plymouth has already started its countdown to the 2020 Celebration of the Pilgrim Fathers epic voyage to America.
The tiny vessel, Mayflower sailed from Plymouth on Wednesday, September 6, 1620 with 102 passengers and about 30 crew on board. After an horrendous, stormy crossing during which they came near to foundering and two people died – and one child was born – they finally dropped anchor off Cape Cod on Saturday November 11, 1620.
Today there are an estimated 10 million living Americans and as many as 35 million people worldwide claiming descent from the Pilgrims, according to a report by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (13th June 2018). Hence Plymouth is promoting the celebrations as “the biggest family get-together of all time”.
Most famous ‘family’ members claiming descent perhaps are the late ex-Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. President Donald Trump is not a claimant but has been invited to grace the celebrations with his presence.
For interest, the late Bing Crosby ( born Harry Lillis Crosby) also claimed to be descended from a Pilgrim, one William Brewster: so too did Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson), descended from Pilgrim John Alden.