Follow

By Stacy B. C. Wood, Jr.

Over the years, the historic ship Mayflower that brought the Pilgrims to New England in 1620 has been honored by various namesakes. Of course there was another 17th- century ship of that name that brought Separatists to settle in Salem, Plymouth Colony in 1629, but she was probably just one of many of that name back then for we are told that “Mayflower” was a common ship name.

Trailing Arbutus
Trailing Arbutus

More recently there have been other ships and an endless number of boats including an America’s cup Defender/Winner, a US presidential yacht, a large houseboat in Sausalito, California, lighter than air craft (blimps), locomotives, a car, farm equipment, a naval communicati ons system, hotels, theatres, songs, and probably many more objects. Some may not have been actual namesakes. Don’t forget that the 1620 Mayflower was herself a namesake of the flower known as Trailing Arbutus.

Our SMDPA Website has an extensive list of these namesakes that we have discovered. The earliest that we have found is a propellor [sic], a type of tug boat, that was built in Buffalo, New York, in 1852. We have found no image of it to date. This is not to say that there weren’t numerous namesakes in New England and elsewhere prior to 1852: we just haven’t found them. In 1820 there was a ship Elizabeth with 88 free blacks aboard that sailed from the U.S. to Liberia, West Africa, and nicknamed Mayflower of Liberia. The most recent one is the Chinese six-legged ship Mayflower Resolution built to act as a platform from which off-shore windmill farms can be constructed.

You are invited to not only visit our site but also, in the last pages of this issue, The JR PA Mayflower, you may read about “Plymouth” namesakes. Aside from 28 American towns being so named, there are not too many examples. How many can you think of? You will find an original “Plymouth” Sudoku below.

PLYMOUTH NAMESAKES

This article is about items that are named for the ship that brought the Pilgrims to New England. They are known as Mayflower namesakes. Do you know of any namesakes for the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts. There are at least 28 towns named Plymouth in the United States and probably most, if not all, are named to honor the village started by the Pilgrims.” The last Federal Census found that Plymouth, Minnesota, had the largest population of all, exceeding Plymouth, Massachusetts, by about 8,400. If any reader lives in one of these namesakes, the editor would be interested in hearing from you.

The arrow marks Plymouth, Devonshire.
The arrow marks Plymouth, Devonshire.

Before going any further, as you may know, Plymouth is the port in Devonshire, England, at which the Pilgrims abandoned the leaky Speedwell and finally departed for the New World. Plymouth is an original namesake that gives a location: Plym is a river and mouth is where entry is made to the river from the sea. This Plymouth was given its name in 1459 and has been a major port of England ever since. A second river, the Tamar, also meets the sea there. London is about 230 miles to the east. Lands End, the closest point of England to the US, is about 90 miles to the west.

Now moving to the New World, the question becomes not what is Plymouth, Massachusetts named for, but who named it? The Pilgrims are said to have brought with them on the Mayflower a 1614 map drawn by Capt. John Smith, of Pocahontas fame, when he charted the area from Cape Cod and to the north. This map shows a Plimouth at about the same spot where today’s town of Plymouth sits. Of course there was no settlement there of that English name or any other English name in 1614. Apparently he and the then Prince Charles had sprinkled it and other villages on his map. When the Pilgrims arrived they soon discovered that the cleared site they had decided on had been the Native People’s Patuxet. It isn’t until the summer of 1621 that one finds use of the word Plymouth and then it is used sparingly until well into the 1630s. In Governor William Bradford’s history Of Plimoth Plantation the settlement is generally referred to as the “Colony “or the “Plantation.”

1928 Plymouth Model Q
1928 Plymouth Model Q

Getting back to the subject of Plymouth namesakes, in addition to American towns named for the Pilgrims’ original settlement, what items can you think of that might be a namesake? From 1928 until 2001 there had been a Plymouth car made by Chrysler as the lowest priced car it produced. Apparently, even though it carried a logo of the Pilgrims’ ship, it was really named by Joseph Washington Frazer of the Chrysler Company for Plymouth Binder Twine that was popular with farmers. That twine was made by the Plymouth Cordage Co., in Plymouth, MA. This is an example of “three degrees of separation.” Eventually, in 1945, Frazer founded the short lived Kaiser-Frazer car company.

Another namesake is the Plymouth Rock chicken developed in this country. It is a cold-hardy chicken that might have been appropriate for the Pilgrims during that first winter – if it had existed then.

Plymouth Gentian
Plymouth Gentian

A recently published novel by Katherine Howe titled The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane has 17th century “spells” in its end papers. One is a “Method for the Redress of Fitts.” Among the herbs listed is Plymouth gentian. Just what is Plymouth Gentian? On the website of the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (www.nhesp.org) it is described as a globally rare, showy perennial herb of the gentian family (Gentianaceae), with striking pink and yellow flowers and opposite lance-shaped leaves. It inhabits the sandy and peaty shorelines of coastal plain ponds.” It needs a shore line that rises and lowers during the year that prevents other stronger plants and bushes from squeezing it out. It is further described as reaching 12 to 20 inches in height with leaves growing up to 5 inches in length. The flowers are pink with a yellow center bordered by red. There are 9 to 11 petals, each up to slightly over 1 inch in length. It blooms between early July and mid-September depending on the adequacy of the shoreline. It has a two-valve capsule fruit. Besides being found throughout Plymouth County, Massachusetts, this herb grows in Nova Scotia, Rhode Island, North and South Carolina, and Virginia. Unfortunately it is very fragile and is rare in all but Virginia where it was not native but introduced. You may see it in some botanical gardens. If you see it in the wild, don’t touch, pick, dig it up, step on it or endanger it in anyway. It is protected by endangered species acts in at least Nova Scotia and Massachusetts. A search of the Internet has not turned up a medicinal or culinary use of this herb.

The Internet reveals the existence of a company founded in 1924 that manufactures stainless steel tubing. It, however, took the name of the town where it is located, Plymouth, Michigan. Two degrees of separation!

 

Steering Wheel Sudoku

This puzzle uses nine non-repeating letters instead of numbers. Print this page and see if you can complete the puzzle.

    P
  S  
U    
H S T
     
     
Y    
  T  
    S
P    
S    
T    
  T  
Y   U
M P O
    O
    T
    H
L   T
  P  
    S
     
     
P H L
P   Y
  O  
T    

Steering Wheel Sudoku Clues: One column spells namesake. Something to keep them shiny is spelled out on one row.
Solve.