Friday, July 29, 2022

Day Five of the "Path of the Pilgrims" Tour by the GSMD

Day One:  

Day Two:  

Day Three:  

Day Four:  

Day Five, our last day of the tour, includes The Massachusetts State Library to view the original Bradford Journal, and the Boston Tea Party Museum: 

The Massachusetts State House, Boston, Massachusetts

This column marks where the
original Beacon stood on top
of Beacon Hill

The Massachusetts State Library

The reference desk inside the state library

Yours truly with a facsimile of Bradford's journal
open to the page where he lists the Mayflower passengers

The original journal (under glass) open to the same page listing families

In William Bradford's own handwriting,
he listed the Allerton family, my ancestors

Yours truly, examining
Bradford's journal under glass

Everyone had to wake up early for the last day of the tour, to beat the traffic into Boston.  But it was well worth it because we had a special appointment arranged just for us at the Massachusetts State Library, which is located inside the Statehouse on Beacon Hill in Boston.  I had never been inside the Massachusetts State Library.  However, the special treat was not just seeing the library, it was seeing the original journal written by William Bradford documenting the Pilgrim's voyage to the new world and their early days in the Plymouth colony!

The Bradford journal originally had been kept by his family, and later it was stored in the Old South Meetinghouse in Boston for safekeeping. During the British occupation of Boston during the Revolution, the English soldiers looted the Old South and used the building as a horse stable. This manuscript was considered lost. In the middle of the 19th century the journal was found in England and returned to Massachusetts.  

Bradford's journal had not been viewed by the public in over five years.  Originally it was set to be displayed for the 400th anniversary commemoration of the arrival of the Mayflower, but those plans were cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.  A fine display case was built, and we were able to see the journal in this case.  It was very thrilling to see his journal first hand.  The staff knew we were all descendants, and they kindly opened his journal to the pages near the end of the book where he listed the original families.  We all had fun pointing to our own ancestors names inscribed on the pages.  

There were also three exact duplicates of the Bradford journal on the table. We were allowed to handle these duplicate versions, and turn the pages.  Of course I flipped through the books looking for references to my own ancestors.  

This was a very exciting part of the tour!  What a great finale for a great trip this week!  I'm so glad we had the chance to participate in this special viewing of the Bradford manuscript. 

The Boston Tea Party Museum

Our last stop on the tour was to visit the Boston Tea Party Museum.  This is more of an educational "experience" than a museum, and we had never been to it before. Isn't that always the way when you live right near a historic site? This part of the tour had nothing to do with the Mayflower or the Pilgrims, but it was a lot of fun and I was glad it was part of the tour (or I'd still never have experienced it!)

Our "identities" as participants in the Tea Party

"Sam Adams" rallied the crowd with a speech

Audience participation in the debates over the tea

Throwing the tea overboard!

Vincent chose to be a "Son of Liberty"

Tea floating in Boston Harbor

The Boston Tea Party Museum is an interactive experience that starts with a meetinghouse where the audience listens to Sam Adams lecture on the problem at hand, taxation and the East India Tea Company.  Every audience member is given an identity as a citizen of Boston, some are loyal to the crown and some are patriots. After riling up the emotions, we stormed out of the meeting to board the ship Eleanor and throw the tea overboard. This was the fun part of the tour, and not just for the children - everyone who wanted to toss tea had a chance! 

After visiting the tea laden ship, there were several galleries to view with interactive exhibits.  One had actual artifacts from the Tea Party, including a tea chest that had washed ashore soon after the protest, and a vial of actual tea taken from one of the chests.  Other galleries showed citizens of Boston debating both sides of the conflict.  One gallery that Vincent especially enjoyed had the paintings on the wall come to life to argue both sides - a portrait of King George III included.  The last gallery showed how the tea protest finally led up to the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and thus the American Revolution. 

This museum also had a great gift shop, and a very nice tea room with a view of the harbor and two replica ships tied up to the museum. I'd love to go back soon and try the tearoom! Although it had nothing to do with the Pilgrims, I'm glad the Tea Party museum was included in our tour. 

For the truly curious: 

The Massachusetts State Library:  and this webpage has a digitized version of Bradford's journal:  

The Boston Tea Party Museum:  


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Day Five of the "Path of the Pilgrims" Tour by the GSMD", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 29, 2022, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Day Four "On the Path of the Pilgrims" Tour by the GSMD

 Click on these links to see the previous days of this tour:

Day One  

Day Two  

Day Three  

Day Four:  Alden House, Standish Burying Ground, Plymouth Rock, Pilgrim Mothers Monument, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Burial Hill, the Mayflower House, the Mayflower II, and back to Plimoth Patuxet to "Eat Like a Pilgrim"  (see below)

Day Five  

The Alden House, Duxbury, Massachusetts

One of the bedrooms inside the Alden House

On the fourth day of the tour we drove to Duxbury, Massachusetts to tour the Alden Homesite.  This historic home and archealogical dig site is operated by the Aden Kindred of America, a lineage society of Alden descendants.  After the Mayflower passengers John and Priscilla left Plymouth, they were granted land in what is now the town of Duxbury.  Their original homesite is about 750 feet from the Alden House.  It was excavated in 1960 by archaeologist Roland Wells Robbins, and the artifacts found are on display inside the house.  

The Alden House was built around 1700 by Jonathan Alden, son of John and Priscilla.  The Alden family occupied this structure for three centuries.  It is the only surviving house from the 1627 land division still owned by the same family.  It is currently a museum house, open to the public, with many family items.  There is also a barn with restrooms, a theater, more displays, and a gift shop. 

A docent led a tour from the Alden House to the
older Alden Homesite nearby

Bricks mark out the excavated basement of the
First Alden Homesite

The Myles Standish Burial Ground is the oldest maintained cemetery in the United States.  Myles Standish and his family, John and Priscilla Alden and their family, and Mayflower passenger George Soule are all buried here.  Originally the Duxbury meetinghouse was built here, but it was abandoned in 1789.  The Duxbury Rural Society bcame interested in restoring the burial place of Myles Standish in 1887, and they exhumed several bodies to find the exact spot. A very impressive and flamoyant monument featuring four cannons was built over the place were his remains were located.  The oldest gravestone in the cemetery is Captain Jonathan Alden, died 1697 (the youngest son of John and Priscilla Alden).  The other Mayflower passengers' gravesites are marked by monuments erected by descendants. 

The Myles Standish Burial Ground, Duxbury, Massachusetts

The Standish family tomb

Visiting my Standish ancestors

George Soule, died 1679, another ancestor

The monuments to John Alden and his wife Priscilla Mullins

We drove back to Plymouth for lunch and some free time to explore the waterfront of Plymouth Harbor.  Vincent and I walked along and viewed the Plymouth Rock, the fountain dedicated to the Pilgrim Mothers, and Mayflower II.  

Plymouth Rock

The Pilgrim Mothers Monument

We rejoined the group tour for a visit to the Pilgrim Hall Museum, operated by the Pilgrim Society.  The museum was dedicated in 1824, and is the oldest public museum in the United States.  This is the place to view Pilgrim possesions donated by the families of the Mayflower passengers, as well as other artifacts including from the native Wampanoags as well as the families from England. There is quite a gallery of art dedicated to the Mayflower story, and a small library and research center.  

Pilgrim Hall Museum

Rev. John Robinson's last sermon to his flock,
as they leave Delftshaven, Holland for the New World

This cup was passed down in the Allerton and Cuschman families

This chest was passed down in the Standish family

Some of the tour members chose to take on a walk up Burial Hill to the cemetery on top.  It is a very steep climb, and it was a hot day.  This is the location of the original fort built by the 1620 settlement, and graves of the earliest families.  Mayflower passengers are buried here including Governor William Bradford, William and Mary Brewster, and John and Elizabeth Howland.  Other notable burials here are Marcy Otis Warren, James Warren, and Governor Thomas Prence. It was a strenuous climb, but well worth it! 

The view from the top of Burial Hill

This monument honors the nearby grave
of John Howland, another ancestor

This monument on Burial Hill lists the Howland family

The Mayflower Society House

The Mayflower Society Rose Garden

The new statue to William Bradford

After climbing back down Burial Hill we walked to the Mayflower Society House on 4 Winslow Street. It is undergoing historical restoration, and is not open for tours this year.  And the Mayflower Society library is not open either.  But we were able to tour the lovely rose gardens behind the house, and see the new statue of William Bradford.  It was dedicated in 2021 for the 400th commemoration of the Mayflower voyage.  It depicts Bradford writing in his journal. 

The Mayflower II

The lower deck of the Mayflower II, where the passengers
endured a voyage of 66 days across the Atlantic Ocean

From the Mayflower Society House we walked down the hill to the Plymouth harbor to visit the Mayflower II.  This is a replica of the original Mayflower ship that arrived in 1620.  The Mayflower II was built in 1957 as a gift from England as a thank you for assistance during World War II.  It is always humbling, as a descendant, to visit this humble little ship.  Our group of 45 grew quiet when we went below decks to the hold where the Mayflower passengers were confined for 66 days during the voyage to the New World.  It's hard to imagine spending a few hours in this space, let alone being squished in there for over two months with 102 passengers, their cargo, and animals.  

After our visit to the Mayflower II we went back to Plimoth Patuxet again, not for a tour, but for a dining experience called "Eat like a Pilgrim".  We had a humble meal of cheate bread, butter, cheddar cheese, local grapes, pickles, roast turkey, onion sauce, apple cider, and Indian pudding. Salt was served in a salt cellar.  Our guide gave us a brief lecture on the table manners and recipes of the 17th century. We tried to eat with no forks, napkins over our shoulders, and using our hands.  It was fun, educational, and a bit messy!  

Stay tuned for Day Five of our tour - the last day!

Back to Plimoth Patuxet for dinner

Vincent enjoying his Pilgrim meal!

For the Truly Curious:

The Alden House Historic Site:  

The Myles Standish Burial Ground  

Pilgrim Memorial State Park (Plymouth Rock and the Forefathers Monument):  

The Pilgrim Mothers Fountain:   

Pilgrim Hall Museum:  

Burial Hill in Plymouth (including a burial record search and map to locate gravesites):   

The Mayflower II (operated by the Plimoth Patuxet Museums)  


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Day Four "On the Path of the Pilgrims" Tour by the GSMD", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 27, 2022, ( accessed [access date]).