I finally got all of my documents copied and mailed to the Kansas Historian of the Mayflower Society. My Mayflower ancestor was John Howland.
John Howland of Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England was an adventurous young man who left his home before 1620 to seek fame and fortune in London. There he met a wealthy Londoner, Mr. John Carver, who was about to sail on the famous ship Mayflower, which left Plymouth, England in the autumn of 1620 bound for far away North America. Mr. Carver, who would be the first governor of New Plimoth Colony, hired John Howland as his indentured manservant.
John Howland of the Mayflower was called by Governor William Bradford “a lusty younge man.” He was one of the hired hands among the Mayflower company, being neither a “Saint”, as the Pilgrims were called, nor a “Stranger”, engaged for a specific duty, as was the soldier Captain Myles Standish. During the voyage across the North Atlantic, the Mayflower was buffeted by severe autumn storms during which she was forced to drop her sails and head into the wind, wallowing in the mountainous waves. John Howland ventured on deck and was washed overboard into the boiling sea. In Governor Bradford’s words “It pleased God that he caught hould of ye halliards which hunge over board, and rane out at length; yet he was held up. . .and then with a boat hooke and other means got into ye ship again.” It was this tenacity of purpose, perseverance, and the ability to deal with unexpected emergencies that helped John Howland to become a successful leader in the Plymouth community.