Did you know that today is celebrated as Forefathers’ Day in Plymouth, Massachusetts?
The Mayflower had first landed on Cape Cod in November 1620, but later moved to Plymouth in December.There is some question as to the exact date when the passengers of the Mayflower disembarked at Plymouth, but it is known that the Mayflower moved to Plymouth Harbor on December 16.
Whether they actually stepped on Plymouth Rock is also an interesting question.
The first Forefathers’ Day was held in 1769 and did not specifically honor the passengers of the Mayflower, but all of the early New England settlers. The day was observed by the newly founded Old Colony Club of Plymouth.
If you research your ancestors in Colonial days you know that the Julian calendar was in use until 1752. So, this is why even though they arrived in Plymouth Harbor on December 16 the day is observed almost a week later.
There was also some confusion in converting the Gregorian date to the Julian date and although today the accepted conversion is December 21 they initially thought that the date was December 22. It is not as simple as subtracting 11 days which was how many days were skipped when the Gregorian Calendar was implemented. The dates in the two calendar system had slowly drifted apart over time so they needed to know just how much over the 132 years from 1620 to 1752.
The Old Colony Club continues to observe the day on December 22 and the Pilgrim Society observes it on December 21.
I am hoping that a lot more research will be done in the next two years on the passengers of the Mayflower. There are some fascinating stories about some of the passengers that need more research.
Tonight in observance of Forefathers’ Day I am remembering my Mayflower ancestor George Soule.
See: Mayflower Ancestry