The Block Island Times

Mayflower in drydock, Fairhaven, MA

By J. V. Houlihan, Jr. | Apr 27, 2013
Courtesy of: Greg Provost Mayflower, 2013 refit

In my Block Island Times' article, The fate of John Howland,  island genealogist Peter Greenman, his wife Sandy, and myself came to the simple conclusion, that if "Lusty" John Howland, our mutual ancestor, hadn't grabbed the topsail halyard when he got cleaned off the deck of Mayflower in a gale of wind, and muscled himself back aboard the ship, then we three, along with one million other descendants would not be here. Our fate was not negotiated; it just is what it is. But, it could've also gone: no topsail halyard; no way, no how, no dice, nada, ain't happening, fagettaboutit, no go, fini.

Mayflower and her Pilgrims finally made Plymouth, their main landfall, after a brief stay in P-Town to steal the native american's corn stashs; they were hungry and without scruples. So began the journey of the great Yankee migration westward.  Arriving in North America hale and strong, "Lusty" John Howland was sitting pretty, albeit,  just an indentured servent.  However, upon surviving the falling overboard ordeal, that little bit of luck raised him to a vaulted spiritual status in the eyes of his peers(ya know, the Devine Intervention thing). Also, our very lucky ancestor became a hit with the ladies in Plymouth, and helped swell the population of the region. Whatta guy! Whattacountry!!!

Block Island Ferry Engineer Greg Provost took the picture of the Mayflower, so you have a sense of Howland's ordeal. Note the draft of the ship; it took muscle and determination to get back aboard. Then, it was spoils to the victor. Old "Lusty" John Howland had a good run, loved the ladies, and had a legion of grandchildren. Furtheremore, he was a well respected man about town. Pretty good for a simple man of indenture, who pulled himself up by his own boot straps, and obviously had amourous intentions with several women of Plymouth Colony. He was most assuredly, a swell, lucky guy.


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