The “Pilgrim Society of Plymouth” was introduced to the public during a Forefathers’ Day celebration in 1820; 200 years after the Pilgrims completed their perilous journey, wrote the Mayflower Compact and established Plymouth Plantation. The society was the forerunner of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants we know today.
William Bradford wrote the only record our country has of early New England Colonies and the events in the lives of those brave first colonists who arrived in Cape Cod in 1620. “Of Plimouth Plantation” is a 270 page history, written between 1630 and1657. It was kept in the library of the Reverend Thomas Prince in Boston’s Old South Church until it mysteriously vanished in 1774. It was discovered in Fulham Palace in London, England in 1855. Thanks to the work of Sen. George F. Hoar and other prominent officials, the original history was returned from the Consistory Court of the Diocese of London in 1896. Copies were circulated and interest about the character and accomplishments of the Pilgrims grew. The society’s commitment to keeping Pilgrim history alive led eventually to the formation of state societies. The Ohio Society was formed March 22, 1898 and currently has colonies in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo and Western Reserve.
As Mayflower descendants, may we be worthy of our heritage and further honor the Pilgrims’ efforts by striving to maintain that which they achieved through great sacrifice.