Pilgrims & Spaniels


The romanticized version of the first Thanksgiving, includes a spaniel.
By Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (circa 1912-1915).

As we celebrate Thanksgiving as a time of giving thanks for our blessings, one footnote in history should also give us pause to give thanks, especially those of us who love our cocker spaniels. I’m referring to the Pilgrims of course that landed in the New World in 1620, but did you know that on board the Mayflower, the Pilgrims brought the first spaniel to America?

Now, I don’t know if this spaniel stepped onto dry land by way of the famous Plymouth Rock, or if he swam ashore as history doesn’t record the details, but I find it fascinating that Chloe's ancestors have such a long and rich history. 

Researching the issue further I came across a website, which goes into the story a little deeper, www.mayflowerhistory.com.

“The Pilgrims did not bring any large livestock animals with them on the Mayflower. In fact, the only animals known with certainty to have come on the Mayflower were two dogs, an English Mastiff and an English Spaniel, who are mentioned on a couple of occasions in the Pilgrims' journals.”

Additional research from www.petcentric.com, provides more interesting details.

“As recorded in Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow's journal Mourt's Relation, there were two dogs among the early human settlers who reached Plymouth Rock in 1620. One was an English Mastiff and the other an English Springer Spaniel. Though their names were never given, the Mayflower dogs clearly had an important role as they were mentioned several times in Winslow's history of the Plymouth Colony.  Brought to the settlement by John Goodman, the two dogs accompanied the men as they explored the new terrain and hunted for food and supplies. One account tells of how John, along with another man, Peter Browne, set out with the dogs one cold January day to gather thatching, …where they became lost in the woods, and were stranded overnight in the bitter cold, surrounded by what they thought were lions. The two men had to keep watch over the dogs all night to keep them from chasing after the lions. Huddling up with the dogs and staying awake most likely kept them alive. The men never discovered if there were, in fact, lions in the woods, but they all made it back safely to the settlement the following day.”

History doesn’t record if that spaniel was a participant at the first Thanksgiving, but if I know dogs, especially one related to Chloe, I’m sure it hung around that dinner table waiting for the leftovers.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2019 My Dog Chloe & Me
Web Savvy Designs. Out of the FlyBird's Box.