Saturday, January 27, 2018

My Mayflower Ancestors

Two evenings ago my wife and I attended an original play, That First Winter, written and performed by the Drama IV Class 2018 of Mountain View High School (Orem, Utah). My across-the-street neighbor—a senior and member of that class—helped write and performed in the play.

We arrived early, so I searched the Whipple Genweb (on my mobile phone) for some names mentioned on the program notes.

I immediately found John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley, my 10th-great grandparents. According to the program notes, John Howland, age 18 in that first winter (1621),

was hired as indentured servant for the Carvers [Governor John Carver and Katherine Carver]. They asked him to care for Elizabeth Tilley, whom they had taken in after all her relatives died. Mrs. Carver released him from his indenture after [Governor Carver] passed away. [John Howland] cared for [Katherine Carver] until she died a month after. The Carvers willed their land to [John Howland], and he and Elizabeth married a year later."

 (My sources indicate that the marriage was two years later, on August 4, 1623.) Elizabeth's parents, John Tilley and his wife, are my 11th-great parents. They both died in 1621. The Mayflower History website's passenger list gives John Tilley's wife's maiden name Joan Hurst. I need to correct her name at

The play was very moving. I felt the chemistry between 18-year-old John Howland and 15-year-old Elizabeth Tilley. Thanks to both of you for your sacrifices for your 10th great grandson! I love you!

Thanks also to John Tilley and his wife (my 11th-great grandparents) for giving the ultimate sacrifice on the Mayflower!