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#ThrowBackThursday: Man Overboard the Mayflower

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Plymouth 400
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#ThrowBackThursday: Man Overboard the Mayflower
On September 16, 1620 the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England with 102 passengers and about 30 crewmembers. Many have heard of the only birth that took place while the Mayflower sailed across the Atlantic (Oceanus, born to Stephen and Mary Hopkins), but few have learned about the man who accidentally fell overboard.
John Howland, a twenty-something-year-old indentured servant to John Carver, climbed to the deck because he wanted some fresh air. Unfortunately, Howland wasn’t a seaman and the incredible gusts of wind he met on the deck carried him to the ship’s rail, and he fell into the ocean. He was able to grab hold of a rope and held on for dear life as he was pulled ten feet underwater, according to Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower, before several sailors were able to reel him back in.
Howland survived the rest of the Mayflower’s journey, and became a person of great responsibility in Plymouth Colony, even serving as assistant to the Governor. The town of Howland, Maine was even named after him. He went on to marry Elizabeth Tilley and together they had ten children (and eighty-eight grandchildren!) and lived to be eighty years old.
 
Photo: “Handbook of Old Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts: Its History, Its Famous Dead, and Its Quaint Epitaphs” By Frank Herman Perkins, Alfred Stevens Burbank, Pilgrim Bookstore (Plymouth, Mass.) Published by A.S. Burbank, Pilgrim Bookstore, 1902