In July of 1936 the Pilgrim John Howland Society began to publish our quarterly newsletter the Howland Quarterly. Now over 76 volumes of the Quarterly exist.

The main objects of this publication are (1) to bring our members closer together, for, after all, we are one large family; (2) to present to you the many interesting items relating to the Howlands—past and present—and (3) notices of our meetings, the work we are doing and our plans for developing the PJHS.

Below are articles from past issues of the Howland Quarterly that should be of interest to you. In addition, much of the material of this web site is culled from the past issues of the Howland Quarterly and are written by our members to help celebrate and to educate about our ancestors' achievements and lives.

Pilgrim Life Questions & Answers

As a matter of historic as well as “Family” interest, we are giving you some data regarding our Pilgrim ancestors.

Who were our Pilgrim ancestors who came to America on the Mayflower in 1620?
John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley.

About how old was John Howland at that time?
John Howland was born in 1592 or 1593 and was therefore about 28 years old.

What was the age of Elizabeth Tilley?
She was 14 years old (Born in 1606.)

Who were her parents?
John Tilley and Joan Hurst who came over on the Mayflower in 1620.

Who was the father of John Howland?
Henry Howland of Fen Stanton, Huntingdonshire, England.

Was Elizabeth related to Governor Carver?
No. Until 1895 it had been supposed that John Howland had married a daughter of Governor Carver, such having been a family tradition, but the discovery in that year of the long lost manuscript of Bradford’s History showed that Governor Carver left no children.

On the voyage of the Mayflower across the Atlantic Ocean, what was the nature of the trip?
At times very rough, there being severe gales and storms.

During one of this storms which Mayflower passenger was washed overboard?
The Pilgrim John Howland.

How was John Howland saved from drowning?
“In sundrie of these storms the winds were so fierce and ye seas so high as they could not baree a knote of saile, but were forced to hull for diverce days together. And in one of them, as they thus lay at hull in a mighty storm, a lustie yonge man, called John Howland, coming upon some occasion above ye grattings, was, with a seale of ye shippe, throwne into ye sea; but it pleased God yt he caught hold of ye tope-saile hallards which hunge overboard and rane out at length; yet he held his hould (though he was sundrie fadomes under water) till he was hould up by ye same rope to ye brime of ye water, and then with a boat-hooke & other means got into ye shippe again & his life was saved; and though he was something ill with it, yet he lived many years after, and became a profitable member both in church and commonwealthe.”
(From Bradford’s History of Plymouth)

When was land first sighted by the Mayflower passengers?
On November 21st, 1620, the low sandy peninsula of Cape Cod was sighted, and all gave thanks to God.

On arriving at Provincetown Harbor, Cape Cod, what did the far-seeing leaders of the expedition do?
They drew up a Compact.

What was this compact?
It was the first charter of self-government and as someone has described it “One of the most important documents in American History.” This famous “Compact” has been called the “Corner-stone of the civil and religious liberties of the United States.”

When and where was it signed?
On November 21st, 1620, in the cabin of the Mayflower.

How many signed the compact?
Forty-one of the adult males. Our ancestor, John Howland, was the thirteenth member of that little band of Pilgrims to affix his signature to the compact.

Did the Pilgrims land at once?
No; for more than a month a party of men made several exploring trips in a shallop (a sloop-rigged craft) which they brought over with them in the Mayflower.

Was it an easy task for the exploring party to find a suitable place for a settlement?
It was very difficult, for they experienced hard weather, severe exposure from the terrible cold, great danger when beset by wolves, terrified by the Indians, and from a frightful storm that disabled their rudder and carried away their mast and sail.

Who were the men selected to search for a suitable place for the settlement?
According to Bradford, the third exploring party set out December 6thm with ten principal men and some of the sailors. They were: Miles Standish, John Howland, Master Carver, John Tilley, William Bradford, Edward Tilley, Edward Winslow, Richard Warren, Steven Hopkins and Edward Dotte.

What was the date of the landing of the Pilgrims?
December 11th, 1620 (old style)/December 21st, 1620 (new style)


Reprinted from the January 1937 issue of The Howland Quarterly