Traveling on Ships like the Mayflower Weren’t Entirely Dreary… But Death Brings Change

The GuildHestor's GoodwillI’ve been reading John Winthrop’s diary he wrote when he left England for America. He later became the governor of Massachusetts. I’ll probably blog a lot about this diary because it’s hundreds of pages and it will take me months to finish it. I read it a little bit at a time.

I’ve seen far too many movies about America’s founding “fathers” and our earliest beginnings that depict them as cruel, colorless, stern, oppressive people. The voice that I hear coming from Winthrop himself, feels like that of a rural homesteader of my own era. I look forward to reading more of the well written, easy to read narrative. Honestly, he sounds like a nice guy. He speaks kindly of the others and so far, sounds like a reasonable man. The journey that they take together, sounds a lot like the camaraderie that modern travelers experience when they are away from home, adventuring. They even have a little fun.

Kids that were seasick, below deck moaning and cold, were brought on deck to bounce on the ropes and that brought them back around. Ships traveled together and when the captains wanted to dine together they would drop their little top flags as a signal. The invitees would get into a schooner and make their way to the other ship for an evening of socializing. It all sounds so civilized. What a smart man Winthrop was, to document his historical emigration. He knew he was onto something big. He created a seventeenth-century documentary. Just think, they were riding the waves where they encountered foreign ships and mercenaries. Honest, I can almost feel the salty wind blowing my hair and my lungs inhaling the fresh sea air. I see him smiling, alive with the excitement a new era can bring and like any good book, it has me dying to know… what happens next.


After I wrote the above, I read more of the diary. Unfortunately, Winthrop’s son drowned. He only wrote one line about it in the diary. After that, they have their feet in the New World. Once on land, there is more focus on people who do things wrong and the punishment that is doled out.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:




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Suellen Ocean

With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University, Suellen Ocean does her writing from the hills of Northern California. She began writing professionally for print and radio broadcasting in the late 1980's. Her first self-published book led to her becoming "officially" published, when in 1998 she was asked to participate in the anthology, "The Simple Life" through Berkley Books, New York. She is the author of sixteen books on diverse subjects.

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