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Andrew Cameron Bailey

A Cameron/Baxter Book

Here under cover of darkness the fast dwindling company laid their dead, leveling the earth
above them lest the Indians should learn how many were the graves…

―MOURT’S RELATION, London, 1622

ilgrims and Indians on the island of Barbados in the year 2020. What on Earth? Why
P Barbados? Because that is where boatloads of New England Indians were shipped as
slaves in 1676, at the end of the disastrous bloodbath known to history as Metacom’s
Rebellion or King Philip’s War. It makes sense that an Indian ghost might make an
appearance on the island three and a half centuries later, especially if she had some vital
information to impart. Barbados was the site of the earliest slave rebellions in the British
Empire in the 1760s, the beginning of the end for the worldwide slave trade. As unlikely as
it might sound, those rebel slaves very likely carried New England Indian blood.
Why 2020? Because November 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the
Mayflower "Pilgrims" in the New World. It is also the 399th anniversary of the first
A little background is in order. Mayflower passenger Priscilla Mullins (c.1602 – c.1685)
is the mysterious ‘PM’ - the author of a long-lost diary. The blank journal was a 12th birthday
gift from her wealthy merchant father. William Mullins was a contrarian well ahead of his
time. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Mullins believed that in the future, women would
be taught to read and write, and decided that his daughter was going to be one of the first to
do so. The idea was controversial, so he had the gift fabricated to look exactly like a leather-
bound Geneva bible, the first bible ever translated into the English language. When the girl
was seventeen, Priscilla and her family, although they were not religious separatists, joined
the Mayflower passengers and sailed to the New World. Priscilla lost her father, mother,
brother and manservant to the "general sicknesse" - probably scurvy compounded by the
unfamiliar New England micro-organisms - the first bitter, disastrous winter, then went on
to marry the ship’s cooper, John Alden. Their marriage was immortalized in Henry
Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem The Courtship of Myles Standish. Longfellow was a
direct descendant of John and Priscilla, who produced ten or eleven children. Today there
are literally millions of Americans who are Alden/Mullins descendants. The 21st Century
Alden family depicted in this novel, however, is entirely fictitious. The characters you are
about to meet are products of the author’s fertile imagination - any resemblance to persons
living or deceased is entirely accidental. The contents of the fictional ‘PM Diary,’ on the
other hand, are drawn directly from primary source material actually written and published
in the 1600s by eyewitnesses to the events described. It is not fiction. Any student of early
New England history will recognize the passages.
As one of the wealthiest and best-educated ‘first comers’ to Plimoth Colony, ‘PM’ may
have served as a letter-writer for her less literate fellow-colonists, and may have assisted
Winslow, Bradford and other Plymouth journal-keepers with their publications, such as
Mourt’s Relation and Good Newes From New England. As the mystery deepens, we learn
that, along with her more personal notes, Priscilla Mullins kept a written record of virtually
everything that happened to the Pilgrims, from Old England in mid-1620 until the outbreak
of King Philip’s War in New England in 1675, at which point the journal abruptly ends. The
hasty final entry was penned on June 19th, 1675, when Priscilla was a 73-year-old great-
grandmother, and it reproduced a brief letter from a neighboring settler - a dire warning of
the bloody disaster that was about to overwhelm all of New England. A half-century of
friendship was over. The Indians were on the warpath.
Despite the foregoing, this is a story of inter-cultural amity. In 1624, our Priscilla
develops a life-long friendship with a young native woman, one of Hobomok’s five wives, a
Patuxet cousin of the famous Squanto, and one of the very few surviving members of that
individual’s once-powerful tribe. The girl, whose native name was unpronounceable to the
Englishwoman, adopts the name "Alice," after Priscilla’s deceased mother. In June 1675,
after more than half a century of peace and friendship, the Indians launch all-out war on the
English settlers, committing a series of gory atrocities that give the English no alternative
but to organize and fight back. Alice’s grand-daughter, who had grown up in and around
Plymouth Colony, tries to warn her English friends. It is too late. The family is slaughtered
and the house burned to the ground. The distraught girl runs into the flames and emerges
clutching a treasure – the family's bible. After the war, the Indian girl and her young son are
exiled to a Barbados tobacco plantation aboard a slave ship. The only possession she is
allowed to take with her is her bible. Her bible, however, is not a bible. It is the ‘PM Diary.’
More than three centuries later, a 93-year-old descendant of Alice’s friends John and
Priscilla Alden lies dying in the family’s 17th Century Barbados plantation manor. The dying
man begins to ‘see through the veil.’ Apparently, he is talking to someone from the ‘other
side.’ That someone turns out to be a ghost, the spirit of the Indian girl who had run into the
flames centuries earlier and rescued the bible. She has an urgent message for Alden’s
granddaughter, who has flown down from Maine to sit with the old man during his dying
The Mayflower Revelations is a work of 21st Century fiction, but it is based upon
carefully-researched historical fact. The novel accomplishes things that no Mayflower-
related book, fiction or non-fiction, has thus far attempted. Firstly, it shines a light on the
positive nature of the Pilgrim/Pokanoket relationship between 1621 and 1675. Secondly, it
addresses widely-held contemporary misbeliefs, the inflammatory historical absurdities
that Plymouth scholar James Baker kindly calls ‘gratuitous nonsense.’ Leyden-based
Mayflower expert Jeremy Bangs prefers the more evocative term ‘roast bull with cranberry
sauce.’ Finally, the novel not only revises revisionist history and restores the historical
record, but it provides a credible explanation for one of the great unsolved mysteries of
early American history, to wit, the nature and mode of transmission of the disease pandemic
that devastated the native population of coastal New England between the years 1616 and
1618, a few years before the arrival of the Mayflower.
Had it not been for the forgotten, decade-long Tarratines War and the devastating
plague which accompanied it, the Mayflower would have arrived in Plymouth to find a
fiercely-defended place fully occupied by the Patuxet tribe, estimated by John Smith to
number about 2,000 warriors as recently as 1614. Instead, six years later, the Pilgrim
Fathers and their families found the area abandoned, and the rest is history. The famous
Squanto was one of the very few surviving Patuxets. He had been kidnapped in 1614 by
Smith’s devious associate Thomas Hunt, and sold as a slave in Spain. He did not return to
New England until late 1619, the year the brutal Tarratines War ended with the execution
of Massachuset sachem Nanapashimet by his implacable seafaring enemies from the north.
Paradoxically, Hunt’s treachery saved Squanto’s life. Without Squanto’s friendly attitude
toward the English, his grasp of their language, and his pivotal role in the treaty with
Massasoit, could the Mayflower Pilgrims have survived at all? It is unlikely.
The Mayflower Revelations is set on the Caribbean island of Barbados in the weeks
leading up to Thanksgiving Day in the year 2020. It is the story of a wealthy but highly
dysfunctional family of Mayflower descendants, some of whom are riddled with shame and
guilt at things they erroneously believe their ancestors did to the Indians. Things like
bringing them gifts of smallpox-infested blankets. Things like perpetrating massacres on the
harmless and innocent locals before sitting down to a three-day Thanksgiving celebration
with the survivors. Things that a remarkable percentage of Americans, native and non-
native alike, believe to be historical fact. Things that are utterly, absurdly untrue. The
widespread guilt and shame accompanying these misbeliefs has fragmented the fictional
Alden family to the point where the current generation has repudiated its early American
heritage and legally changed its name from Alden to Alten, claiming to be of German
ancestry instead. Our principal character has no idea she is a Mayflower descendant, until
the ghost intervenes, courtesy of the dying patriarch, and the missing ‘bible’ comes to light.
Even then, it takes a long time for the penny to drop. Once the family learns the truth about
the Pilgrim/Indian relationship, an enormous burden drops from them, and a profound
psychological healing occurs.
This is America’s most important origin story. It is a wildly dramatic and much-
misunderstood adventure. What has been entirely forgotten - and in fact supplanted by
negative misinformation - is the historical certainty that the so-called Pilgrims and the
neighboring Pokanokets lived together in peace and harmony for more than half a century,
as did the English settlers and their native neighbors to the north in Sagadahoc, also known
as Norumbega or Mawooshen, the area today known as Maine. This was remarkable in light
of the Jamestown settlers’ ghastly experience with their treacherous Indian neighbors in
1622. The Jamestown Massacre took place exactly one year after the Pilgrims and the
Pokanokets met for the first time and crafted their mutually-beneficial agreement. As in
Jamestown, the Plimoth colonists and the Indians were frequently in and out of one
another’s homes. Their children played together. Their womenfolk became friends. They
exchanged everything from recipes and farming techniques to ideas about the nature of the
universe and the shared concept of a supreme deity.
A major difference between the two colonies was that the inter-cultural ‘Plimoth
paradigm’ held sway for more than half a century, while Jamestown, ultimately, had to be
abandoned. The Pilgrims established a long-lasting peace, whereas Jamestown inexorably
devolved into war with the Indians. Here is a fragment from the old diary, which our
heroine transcribes to her utter bewilderment. She has no idea what it means.

Yea, an Isle at sea, which we never saw, hath also, together with the former, yielded
willingly to be under the protection, and subjects to our sovereign lord King James,
so that there is now great peace amongst the Indians themselves, which was not
formerly, neither would have been but for us; and we for our parts walk as
peaceably and safely in the wood as in the highways in England. We entertain them
familiarly in our houses, and they as friendly bestowing their venison on us. They
are a people without any religion or knowledge of God, yet very trusty, quick of
apprehension, ripe-witted, just. The men and women go naked, only a skin about
their middles. (from Mourt’s Relation, London, 1622)

The lamentable fact that Plymouth Plantation’s fifty-four years of peace and inter-
cultural exchange ended in bloody war, when the next generation of Pokanokets undertook,
too late, to drive the English settlers back into the sea, does not change the reality that the
two cultures found much in common. Out of that commonality emerged what Mayflower
descendant and independent scholar Connie Baxter Marlow calls the ‘American mind and
spirit.’ It was a combination of the Mayflower Compact, written on board the Mayflower in
November 1620 before the Pilgrims set foot on American soil, and the Iroquois
Confederacy’s Great Law, combined with some of the most progressive ideas in Western
history, that resulted in the 1787 United States Constitution.
It all started with the English Separatist movement, a late 16th Century religious
rebellion with its roots at Cambridge University during the waning years of Queen
Elizabeth’s reign, and which signaled the beginning of the end for absolute monarchy. The
Mayflower Pilgrims were the first group of Separatists to plant a colony in the New World.
It is no exaggeration to say that the Mayflower carried the seeds of American democracy
across the Atlantic, where they found fertile soil. And here we are, four hundred years down
the road… Are we there yet?


Copyright © 2017 Andrew Cameron Bailey