The Story of the Pilgrims' Mayflower

By Stacy B. C. Wood, Jr.

Mayflower has been a well used name for ships over the centuries in the English-speaking world. In fact there was another ship Mayflower that arrived in Plymouth in August 1629 with settlers on their way to Puritan settlements in Salem and Charlestown. On our Website we feature a "Mayflower" namesake page that lists 8 water craft of that name. Besides the 1957 Mayflower II replica built as a gift to the American people by the English people, the first "modern" Mayflower was a screw tug built for the Navy in 1866 at Chelsea, Massachusetts.

The yacht Mayflower successfully defended the America's Cup in 1886.

A luxurious steam yacht built in Scotland in 1896 was purchased by the US Navy in 1898 and fitted out for the impending war with Spain and named Mayflower! In 1902 it served twice as Admiral Dewey's flagship. In 1904 it carried Secretary of War William Howard Taft on tour of the West Indies. In November 1904, it was decommissioned for a conversion to a presidential yacht. President Theodore Roosevelt used it in 1905 as the site of the bringing together of the Russian and Japanese delegations in preparation for the Russo-Japanese peace conference. In 1921 it brought President Warren Harding and his Vice President Calvin Coolidge to the Plymouth Tercentenary (300th) Celebration. It transferred to the Coast Guard in October 1943 and patrolled the Atlantic coast against German U-boats. It was decommissioned in 1946 and sold in 1947, refitted in 1948, and renamed the Malla to sail under the Panamanian flag. In September 1948, she secretly sailed from Marseilles, arriving in Haifa, Palestine, with Jewish refugees of the ill-fated ship Exodus.


Another Mayflower was one of the Flower Class of Corvettes built during 1939-1940 for the Canadian Navy. There have been two blimps so named.

Plymouth Colony historical and genealogical researcher Caleb H. Johnson in his 2006 book, The Mayflower and Her Passengers, devoted a very informative chapter to the ship itself, telling how it was ship master Christopher Jones and three others who, around 1608, obtained the 180-ton (i.e. hold capacity of 180 barrels, each holding 252 gallons) merchant ship Mayflower. Its cargo was often wine. He names some of the crew: master mates and pilots John Clarke and Robert Coppin; Giles Heale, ship's surgeon; and John Alden, cooper (barrel maker). Among the unidentified were a master gunner, carpenter, boatswain, four quartermasters, a cook and swabber.

Upon her return to England, she went back to trade between London and France. The Mayflower's master, Christopher Jones, died in early 1622. On May 26, 1624, an application was received by the High Court of Admiralty from the ship's owners, Robert Child, John Moore and the widow of Christopher Jones declaring the ship to be "in ruinis" and requesting an appraisement. She was valued at £128 8s. 4d. No images of the ship survive.

Caleb Johnson transcribed and lists the entire final inventory of the 1624 Mayflower on the "Primary Source" page of his Website.