A Day to Remember Our Ancestors
In 1606 a group of London investors got permission from King James to set up two colonies on the east coast of north America – one in Jamestown, Virginia and one in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The venture was financed by selling shares of stock. A pretty good investment, as the company was given exclusive rights to control all the land and resources in both colonies.
The Virginia Company needed a labor force to build the colonies and in exchange for seven years of labor, the company provided passage, food, protection and land ownership. Recruiting workers wasn’t a problem.
The people who were to become the first colonist wanted to leave England for different reasons. Some were adventurers, some were looking to establish their own businesses, but most came for freedom from religious persecution.
in September of 1620, when the 102 passengers boarded the Mayflower in Plymouth, England, their destination was Jamestown, Virginia. Well, they weren’t prepared for the severe winter storms in the north Atlantic. After three months at sea, the small ship landed more than 600 miles off course in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Not exactly the warm Virginia climate they were expecting.
During the voyage two people died aboard ship, but the worst was yet to come. Because the pilgrims arrived at the beginning of the New England winter, there was little food and no shelter available. The harsh weather forced the pilgrims to live on the ship. More than half of the settlers died of malnutrition, illness and exposure.
I’m very thankful for that hardy bunch of pilgrims who first came to America. They paved the way for my great-grandparents who arrived here, 300 years later, from eastern Europe.
Enjoy Montgomery Gentry – Where I Come From: