Mayflower passengers and descendants surprise: New film features rebuilding and launching of Mayflower II

January 31, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

STAFF REPORT – On Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 4 p.m. in the Boca Grande Community Center auditorium, the Boca Grande Historical Society will present the premiere of a recently produced film about the rebuilding and launching of the Mayflower II, which will sail from Mystic, Connecticut to Boston later this year in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the original voyage of the Mayflower in 1620.
The Mayflower set off on its voyage to the New World with 102 passengers, 74 males and 28 females. Only about half of them survived through the first year in the Plymouth colony. Centuries later there are many descendants, including some surprises.
John Alden was a 21-year-old crew member, a cooper, who decided to stay with the group rather than return to England. Among his descendants are Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and also Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dan Quayle, William Cullen Bryant and perhaps surprisingly, Marilyn Monroe, Dick Van Dyke and Orson Wells.
William Bradford, the governor of the Plymouth Colony for 30 years, counts among his descendants Noah Webster, General George McClellan, Christopher Reeve, Hugh Hefner and Clint Eastwood. Other descendants of Mayflower families include Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, as well as Bing Crosby, Humphrey Bogart, Alec Baldwin, Richard Gere, Sarah Palin, Grandma Moses, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Spock, Sally Field and many others.
In addition to the presentation of the documentary, Richard Pickering, deputy executive director of Plimoth Plantation, will comment on the importance of the Mayflower in American history and the impact of the Mayflower Compact on the U.S. Constitution. The presentation is a benefit for the History Center and the Society’s educational programs with The Island School and the general public. It is sponsored by Peter and Ginny Nicholas. The discussion will be followed by a public reception, as well as a private event for patrons.
Tickets are available at the History Center, 170 Park Avenue, by phone 964-1600 or on the Society’s website, bocagrandehistoricalsociety.com.