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Thanksgiving History The Teenagers of the Mayflower


I find that many high schools do not make history a priority. Many teenagers do not get the benefits of knowing history, let alone enjoying it. Sometimes these things are really left up to the parents.

You can easily get your teen involved in history by digging up facts that he/she would be interested in. Since the US Thanksgiving holiday is coming up, I'll use it as an example. Below I have listed some facts about some of the teenagers who crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower. You can arm yourself with them and have a good old fashioned conversation at dinner tonight.

On the Mayflower there were about 51 men, 22 boys, 20 women, and 11 girls. Some of the teenagers were:

Mary Chilton
Age: thirteen
Legend has it that she was the first female ashore at Plymouth.

Constance Hopkins
Age: thirteen
Her younger brother, Oceanus, was born while the Mayflower was at sea, so she probably spent a lot of time taking care of her mother's needs.

Giles Hopkins
Age: eleven or twelve
Younger brother to Constance.

Elizabeth Tilley
Age: thirteen
Her parents, John and Joan, died the first winter, and she married John Howland.

Francis Billington
Age: fourteen
Got hold of his father's gun and shot it off inside the Mayflower, sending sparks flying everywhere and starting a fire.

John Billington
Age: sixteen
Ran away into the woods and was captured by the Nauset Indians.

Desire Minter
Age: 15 - 17 (?)
She caught the eye of a young man named John Howland but didn't like America and went back to England within a few years. John Howland married Elizabeth Tilley but named his first daughter Desire.

Priscilla Mullins
Age: 15 - 17 (?)
The eldest girl on the Mayflower. She was the only girl approaching marriageable age on a ship with well over fifty young and single men. She married John Alden, a marriage which inspired the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, The Courtship of Myles Standish.

William Butten
Age: unknown
"In all this voyage there died but one of the passengers, which was William Butten, a youth, servant to Samuel Fuller [the doctor], when they drew near the coast." - passenger's diary

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