Rose May, Flower
The Voyage of a Teenage Girl to the New World
This is the fictional story of the ocean passage of Rose May, a girl from England during the Seventeenth Century. She may be considered the typical teen, full of aspirations for her future with needs for the present. However, because of circumstances beyond her control, she becomes part of one of the most stupendous and perilous journeys in all of history. Join her now as she describes her experience for you.
A Journey that Changed Her Life Forever
A Sturdy and Seaworthy Vessel
My name is Rose May. Being fourteen is not all that special you might say, but in this year, 1620, and after taking a voyage that could have ended my life, fourteen is indeed something to cherish as a gift from the Almighty. You see, I am a Saint or Separatist, and along with thirty seven Strangers, skilled tradesmen not of our Belief, we set sail for Jamestown, Virginia on September 6, 1620. We are anchored off the coast of a different spot, having been turned back off course by dangerous shoals while heading toward the Hudson River. Thank Heaven for Master Christopher Jones who navigated safely here, with only the use of a magnetic compass and cross staff, just one degree of latitude north of his goal. Mother, Father, I am so frightened!
The Speedweell leaked as we set out for Virginia Colony. We had sailed it from Delftshaven, Holland to meet up with some others in England this past summer. We transferred most of our provisions onto ship number two, the Mayflower, and departed from Plymouth. Thirty sailors worked the sails. We had to leave, King James I did not like the Separatists because we refused to join the Church of England. Our leaders are John Carver and William Bradford. Another influential person is our Elder, William Brewster. The Saints had fled England in 1607 to Amsterdam, Holland, and then, in 1609, established a church in Leiden. I can speak Dutch, even though I was born in Scrooby, England in 1606! Elder Brewster gave us refuge at his home in Scrooby for our services before we fled. Danke U wel (DONK oo vill) - Thank you very much! Elder Brewster was second in authority to John Robinson, who chose to stay in Leiden to minister there. The Saints had to leave Holland as well, because war with Spain was about to begin again after a twelve year truce. If the Spanish win the war, they would never allow the Saints to stay there. They are not as tolerant as the Dutch , you see.
The Ship Stood Against the Mighty Atlantic
The Saints are a Grateful People
We entered into Cape Cod Harbour and anchored on November 11 after spotting land on November 9. We Saints fell to our knees and tearfully sang praises to God for allotting safe passage. It was the expert seamanship of the sailors, who referred to us as puke-stockings because we constantly vomited from the pitching and rolling of the ship, that really saved our lives. The forever storms and crashing of the waves terrified both the Saints and Strangers to the edge of death! The sailors coming below, 'tween decks, where all the passengers lived, telling tales of sea monsters did not help matters any, believe me! One seaman did mention that they were grateful for our prayers but that we sang too much. The Saints felt that they used foul language too often. Praise the Lord for seeing us through, regardless of our differences.
Our living quarters 'tween decks were cramped and stinking. We had to wear the same smelly clothes every day since storage for more was unavailable, room was needed for the chickens, pigs and goats down below in the hold. Besides that, they were always wet and stiff from seawater. When the winds blew and the rains came, which was almost always, the water streamed down upon us from the cracks in the main deck above. Our food was revolting! Would you like to eat moldy cheese or rotting cabbage? We concealed the taste with spices, such as, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. We could only drink beer, even the very young, stored water made us sick. We could not afford this extra sickness because there was only one bucket in the corner used for such needs, and it got emptied overboard only once daily. Who knows what this new land holds in store for us! That is why we brought muskets, ammunition, gunpowder, hammers, shovels and other necessities for survival, such as fishhooks.
We were not untouched by tragedy during our journey. William Butten, a servant of the Fuller family and only twenty three years of age, died at sea. This brought our numbers down to one hundred one aboard. However, Elizabeth Hopkins gave birth to a son along the way who she named Oceanus. This brought the total back up to one hundred two. My younger brother came down with the fever but was attended to by Surgeon Samuel Fuller, one of our deacons. Mother and Father had to leave my little infant sister with my gandparents in England fearing the waters too treacherous for her. John Howland was pitched overboard by the bounding ocean while enjoying a rare visit to the main deck for some fresh air one day. He was rescued by the mariners. Oh yes, how could I forget! The main deck beam bowed and cracked at one point. Some of the sailors and passengers screamed to turn back home. We shouted glories to His Name when it was quickly repaired by the ship's carpenter!
The Promise of Hope in a New Land
Rose May's Vow
Today is November 21. The sailors rowed some women to shore for the first time in a shallop. They needed to wash and air some of our wretched clothes. John Alden and Mary Chilton just came back on board from the shore laughing like children, saying that they were the first to step foot on land. Captain Miles Standish, a former soldier, has assigned his signature to an agreement, also signed by the rest of the men. It states that we must all get along, stay together and work together. This was done so that a strong community can be established. Will we survive? Will we be making history here? I do not know.
All that I can say is this: Against all who whipped, jailed, took property from, terrified and denied us the right to worship as we believed, and for my family, the fine people of this great boat and all the souls not yet born, I, Rose May must persevere. Mother, Father, I shall be brave!
Amazon Books for Further Reading - The Pilgrims and the Voyage on the Mayflower
The perilous and courageous passage on the Mayflower is a testament to the valor of a robust and devout people.
Rose May, Flower - The Girl Who Fought the Odds
Rose May lived in a time and was involved in a happenstance that demanded courage and tenacity.