Happy birthday, Peregrine

Ron Patch is a Chester native, Chester Historical Society president, and a lifelong antiques dealer. He can be reached at 802-374-0119 or email knotz69@gmail.com

The Mayflower arrived off the Massachusetts coast 400 years ago this month. Much has been written about the Pilgrims. I am a descendant of Peregrine White, as is Jeff Holden. Lonnie Lisai is a descendant of Resolved White, Peregrine’s older brother. William White is our common ancestor.

U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle  greeting the Mayflower II. Photo by 104th Fighter Group, Massachusetts Air National Guard.
U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle greeting the Mayflower II. Photo by 104th Fighter Group, Massachusetts Air National Guard.
Ron's great-grandmother Jennie White.
Ron’s great-grandmother Jennie White. Photo provided

Onboard the Mayflower was William and Susanna White and their son Resolved. Susanna was pregnant on the voyage. She gave birth to a son, Peregrine, Nov. 19, 1620. Peregrine was born onboard the Mayflower, as it lay anchored in Cape Cod harbor. This week is Peregrine’s 400th birthday.

My source for this article is “Certain Comeoverers” by Henry Howland Crapo, 1912. Crapo was a Mayflower descendant. Below are a few excerpts from his book:

“The supreme patent of nobility for us Old Colony folk is to have ‘come over on the Mayflower.’ I am of the blood of them who crossed the ocean in the Mayflower and encountered the wilderness and the savage in the winter of 1620. If luxury and ease come with their seductive whisper, he will reply: ‘I am descended from the little company of whom more than half died before Spring, and of whom none went back to England.’

  “William White had a ‘Breeches Bible’ (printed in 1586-1588) given to him in Amsterdam where the Pilgrims tarried awhile, in 1608, and by memoranda on the fly leaves, still well preserved, it appears that he went to Leyden in 1609, and sailed from Delft Haven for Southampton in 1619, and ‘from Plymouth in ye ship Mayflower ye 6th day of September, Anno Domini 1620.’

  “‘Nov. ye 9th came to the harbour called Cape Cod Harbour in ye dauntless ship.’ Under date of November 19, 1620, is this entry: ‘Sonne born to Susanna White yt six o’clock in the morning.’ The date of Peregrine White’s birth as given by Bradford was December 10, ‘new style.’

Jennie White's father, John Everett White. Photo provided
Jennie White’s father, John Everett White. Photo provided

“During that first tragic winter when more than half of the Mayflower’s company perished, William White and his two servants died ‘soon after landing.’ The exact date of his death was March 12, 1621. His widow, Susanna, on May 12, 1621, married Mr. Edward Winslow, Jr., of Droitwich, England, whose wife also had died after landing.”

Jennie White of Belmont, Vt., married my great-grandfather Frank Patch of Weston. Jennie was a descendant of Peregrine White and my Mayflower lineage.

I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with Henry this year. To celebrate Peregrine’s 400th birthday I think I’ll make Yorkshire pudding for Thanksgiving supper. A cut of venison would be appropriate. Venison gravy from the drippings, Yorkshire pudding, winter squash, and boiled onions would be a fare Peregrine would approve. I ask you to raise your glass to these hearty Pilgrims. I drink gin.

I don’t hunt much anymore, but I do keep my rifle handy in case a buck comes out in my field. I haven’t shot a deer in years so the possibility of having any venison seems pretty slim. I paid Kim Kendall a visit last week and told him what my table fare would be and why. Kim says in his Vermont drawl, “I might be able to beg, borrow, shame, or steal a hunk of venison for you.”

Jennie White's mother Elmina Sawyer White
Jennie White’s mother Elmina Sawyer White. Photo provided

  Peregrine’s obituary

The Boston Newsletter of Monday July 31, 1704, gives the following obituary: “Marshfield, July, 22 Capt. Peregrine White of this town, Aged Eighty three years, and Eight Months; died the 20th Instant. He was vigorous and of a comly Aspect to the last; Was the Son of Mr. William White and Susanna his Wife;’ born on board the Mayflower.”

Of course I’m proud of my Mayflower ancestry. I’m equally proud of my Patch ancestors who arrived in the 1630s. But I’ve always believed whatever race or nationality you are, regardless how long you’ve been here, you should be equally proud of your ancestry. It’s what makes us Americans.

  The photo

“The two jets are Lockheed F-94B all-weather interceptors from the 104th Fighter Group at Westfield, Massachusetts. The smaller of the two sailing ships is the Mayflower II as it approaches Massachusetts from England in 1957. Mayflower II sailed from Devon, England on April 20, 1957 under the command of Alan Villiers, and arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts on June 22 of that year. The larger sailing vessel is likely the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle in the process of greeting the Mayflower II. Photo credit: 104th Fighter Group, Massachusetts Air National Guard.”

This history of Mayflower II and photo was provided by Tom Hildreth.

From my Mayflower family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

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