Tuesday, July 19, 2022

"On The Path Of The Pilgrims" Tour from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants - Day One

The Massachusetts, State House, Boston, Massachusetts
Undergoing an extensive exterior restoration project

 For the 400th Anniversary commemoration of the voyage of the ship Mayflower, the General Society of Mayflower Descendants planned several tours.  After rescheduling due to the COVID pandemic, these tours finally took place this summer.  Earlier, a tour took place in England and the Netherlands, and since Vincent and I had already taken that tour in 2017 we opted for the New England tour.  Although we live within two hours of Plymouth we know there are many historic sites we have not experienced.  What fun to do it with Mayflower cousins! 

Our tour started by meeting up with our 44 fellow travelers at a hotel at Boston's Logan airport.  We had a welcome dinner and meeting, which included playing an ice breaker game where we had to find someone who matched the Mayflower passengers on cards passed out before dinner.  The person I had to find shared Mayflower passenger George Soule in her family tree, just like me! In our group there were Society members from as far away as California, Montana, and Texas - and there were some from New England including Maine and also a pair from New Hampshire.  

We started our tour the next day by walking the Freedom Trail from the State House to the North End.  This was rather like herding cats!  Having 45 tourists following a guide through Boston's narrow streets and traffic crossing was not easy, but we didn't lose anyone! We were back at the State House on the last day of our tour for a special Mayflower Pilgrim surprise, so stay tuned for the blog post Day Five of this tour. 

The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on the Boston Common

Our group at the Granary Burying Ground

Our tour guide, Lisa,
with her ancestor's tombstone

We walked past the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, the memorial to William Blackstone (Boston's first English resident), the Park Street Church, the Tremont Temple and over to the Granary Burial Ground.  There are no Mayflower passengers buried here, but several members of our group had ancestors buried here.  Our tour guide found her ancestor's gravesite - a Captain Thomas Andrews buried in 1690 (he died of small pox returning from an expedition to Canada.  

A marker for the graves of John Winslow and his wife,
Mary Chilton, a Mayflower passenger

Not far from the Granary Burying Ground is the King's Chapel burying ground.  This is where Mary Chilton, a Mayflower passenger is buried.  Mary was about fourteen years old in 1620 when the Mayflower landed in Plymouth, and a common myth is that she was first European woman to step on Plymouth Rock.  She was orphaned the first winter in Plymouth.  She married John Winslow, who was the brother of another Mayflower passenger, Edward Winslow.  They lived on Spring Lane in Boston, where John Winslow was a prosperous merchant. The Chilton Club in Boston is named in her honor. 

Spring Lane, off Washington Street, 
the oldest street in Boston

This marker to Mary Chilton is located on Spring Lane,
near the Commonwealth Book Shop (a pedestrian street)

Next we walked past the Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre, and had a short stop at Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market.  Our tour continued past the Holocaust Memorial and we had a lunch break at the new Boston Public Market (new to me!).  We regrouped in front of the Union Oyster House and followed the guide across the Greenway to the North End.  We passed Paul Revere's House and followed the Paul Revere Mall up to the Old North Church.  

The state of Paul Revere in front
of the Old North Church

We had a tour of the Old North Church, and the docent knew we were all Mayflower descendants, so she made point of showing us two stone plaques in the entrance of the church. One is a gift from the Guildhall in Boston, England where the Pilgrims were thrown into prison for illegally attempting to leave England.  The other is a plaque from the Boston Stump parishoners to the city of Boston, commemorating the Winthrop fleet.  The picture of the plaque from the Guildhall was difficult to photograph since the bright summer sun from the front door was shining on the glass cover. 

After a brief tour of the Copp's Hill Burial Ground, we boarded our bus again and headed to Quincy, Massachusetts for the Adams National Historical Park.  Did you know that President John Adams was a descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins?  And so was his son, President John Quincy Adams.  

Church of the Presidents
United First Parish Church, Quincy

Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams
and their First Ladies lie in this crypt under the church

This plaque is in the church sanctuary.
There is a similar plaque for John Quincy Adams
and his wife, Louisa Catherine Johnson

John Quincy Adams was born in this modest house in 1767

John Adams was born in this little house in 1735

Our tour first went to the Church of the Presidents, where a docent gave a wonderful lecture on both Presidents Adams.  He then took us (in small groups of course) into the crypt where both presidents and their first ladies are interred.  The church was built in 1828 with granite donated by John Adams.  The bell in the steeple was cast by Paul Revere. 

Our next stop was at the farm where both John Adams and John Quincy Adams were born in side by side homes.  Then we went to see Peacefield, where John Adams lived in retirement, and his son John Quincy Adams built a library.  Generations of the Adams family lived here until it was donated to the United States in 1946.  The Stone Library houses the 14,000 volumes owned by John Quincy Adams.  Once a year, on John Quincy Adams' birthday (July 11th) the library is open to the public.  We were there on this special day to see inside the library, and to view the Mendi Bible on display on his library table.  The Mendi Bible was given to him in 1841 by the group of freed Mendi captives from the ship La Amistad.  This bible was stolen from the library in 1996, but the FBI recovered it in 1997 from a locker at a gym in Portsmouth, New Hampshire!  The first black governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, took his oath of office with the Mendi Bible in both 2007 and 2011.   

Next I will post on this blog about Day Two, in Plymouth, Massachusetts! 

The Stone Libary, next to Peacefield

The Mendi Bible on display inside the Stone Library

For the truly curious:

My 2017 blog posts of "Along the Pilgrim Trail" tour of England and the Netherlands start with this post in Babworth, Nottinghamshire, England:   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/10/along-pilgrim-trail-babworth.html  

The General Society of Mayflower Descendants   https://themayflowersociety.org/   

Boston Freedom Trail    https://www.thefreedomtrail.org/  

Old North Church  https://www.oldnorth.com/   

Wikipedia article on Mary Chilton   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Chilton  

The Adams National Historic Park   https://www.nps.gov/adam/index.htm   

Wikipedia article on The Mendi Bible https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendi_Bible   


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, ""On The Path Of The Pilgrims" Tour from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants - Day One", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 19, 2022, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2022/07/on-path-of-pilgrims-tour-from-general.html: accessed [access date]).  

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I am a direct descendant of Thomas and Joseph Rogers and I grew up in Merrymount/Quincy. As a child I played on Maypole Hill where Thomas Morton erected a Maypole. I had no idea what that meant as I was growing up. I also visited the Adams' houses.