||This article needs to be wikified. (June 2013)|
This portrait, first published in 1885, was alleged to be a 1625 likeness of Standish, although its authenticity has never been proven
Possibly Lancashire, England
|Died||October 3, 1656 (aged 72)
|Commands held||Plymouth Colony militia|
|Battles/wars||Eighty Years War (Netherlands)
Myles Standish (about 1584 – October 3, 1656; sometimes spelled Miles Standish) was an English military officer who was hired to protect the Pilgrims who traveled to the New World on the Mayflower. On February 17, 1621 , the Plymouth Colony militia chose him as its first commander. Standish was also a signer of the Mayflower Compact, a assistant governor, and a treasurer of Plymouth Colony.
Early life and choice as leader[change]
Little is known of Myles Standish's early life. His place of birth has been debated for 150 years. In Standish's will Standish mentions mostly places in Lancashire, England, leading some to believe that Standish was born in Lancashire. In the area of Chorley there may have been some relatives of his who owned a manor known as Duxbury Hall.
Nathaniel Morton, secretary of Plymouth Colony, wrote that he was born in Lancashire from a very wealthy family. He wrote this in his book "New England's Memorial". It was published in 1669.
Standish first appears in the written record in 1620 when, living in Leiden, Holland, he was hired by the Pilgrims to act as their advisor on military matters. At that time, he was already using the title of "Captain." The Pilgrims had at first hoped to engage Captain John Smith. As one of the founders of the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, Smith had explored and mapped the North American coast. When the Pilgrims asked him to return to the New World, Smith was interest. Smith's experience would have made him an good choice. The Puritans decided against Smith because his price was too high and his character too bold and they feared he might try to rule over them.
Standish's military leadership was sometimes too harsh with the Native Americans. Standish showed great courage and skill as a soldier but sometimes was too strict in his dealings with the Indians. This would make both the Native Americans and some of the members of the Colony angry.
By the 1640s, Standish had given up much of his role as an active soldier. He led a quiet life on his farm in Duxbury. Although he was still named the commander of military forces he mostly just gave advice to the other men. He died in his home in Duxbury in 1656 at age 72.
Standish did not belong to the Church of England and was part of a Protestants known as Separatists in Europe. Separatists did not believe in the teachings of the Church of England. The Separatists wished form their own church. One group of Separatists was in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, and the leaders were ministers Richard Clyfton and John Robinson. William Brewster was also a member. This religion was not allowed in England. In 1608, some of the people moved to Holland where freedom of religion was permitted. The group eventually settled in Leiden, Holland, where it stayed for 12 years.
Although they could practice their religion in Holland, the members wished to raise their children as they would have been in England. In 1620 they traveled to the New World aboard the Mayflower to build a colony in North America.
Not all the Mayflower passengers were Separatists. There were other people who sought to make money in the New World. In what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, the passengers of the Mayflower built a colony referred to at the time as "New Plymouth"  Standish, had been hired by the Separatists specifically for his skill as a soldier.
On the Mayflower[change]
The Mayflower left Plymouth, England on 16 September 1620. There were 102 passengers and 30–40 crew. On 19 November 1620, the Mayflower reached land at Cape Cod hook. They landed on November 21. They wrote the Mayflower Compact, which made rules on how they would live and treat each other.  The Mayflower was supposed to land in the Colony of Virginia, but the ship was too damaged and they were forced to land at Cape Cod now called Provincetown Harbor.
While the Mayflower was anchored off Cape Cod, Standish went with the colony's leaders to allow him to take some men ashore to find a good place for all to live. On November 15, 1620, he led 16 men on foot to look over the northern portion of Cape Cod. On December 11, a group of 18 settlers, including Standish, explored the shore of Cape Cod by boat. At one point, they found Native Americans. This was known as the first encounter.
Myles Standish led one of the earliest exploration missions. Other men who also went were William Bradford, John Carver, Myles Standish, Edward Winslow, John Howland, Richard Warren, Stephen Hopkins and Edward Doty. Of this group Hopkins was the most experienced. He had seen Native Americans during his time at Jamestown. Bradford said they set off in below freezing weather. Many of the men were ill, and when the set sail the salt spray froze on their coats. During their trip they saw Indians who appeared to be cutting up a whale which was very large. When they saw the men approaching the Indians fled. At night they tried to protect themselves from the cold and the Indians.
After more trips in late December 1620 they picked a place for their settlement. Standish gave good advice and they built a small fort in which cannon were placed for a protection against any who might try to harm them. Only one house (consisting of a single room) had been built when illness struck the settlers. Of the roughly 100 who first arrived, less than half died the first winter. Standish's wife, Rose, died in January.
Standish did not fall ill and William Bradford wrote that Standish was a source of great comfort and strength to those who suffered. Standish took care of to Bradford during his illness and this was the beginning of a long friendship. Bradford held the position of governor for most of his life and worked closely with Standish. Standish was well known for his fiery temper.
Defense of Plymouth Colony[change]
Contact with the Native Americans came in March 1621 through Samoset, who spoke some English. Samoset brought the tribe leader to meet with the Pilgrims. His name was Massasoit. He was the leader of the nearby Pokanoket tribe. On March 22, the first governor of Plymouth Colony, John Carver, signed a treaty (agreement) with Massasoit, declaring a friendship. They also promised to defend each other in times of need. Governor Carver died the same year and the next governor was William Bradford. Bradford and Standish worked together to protect the people of the colony against the Massachusett and the Narragansett tribes who were unfriendly.
The first challenge to the treaty came in August 1621 when a leader named Corbitant began to work against chief Massasoit's leadership. In the village of Nemasket, Corbitant worked to turn the people of Nemasket against Massasoit. Bradford sent two trusted Indians (known to the English as Squanto and Hobomock), to find out what was happening in Nemasket. Tisquantum had been very important in providing advice to the Pilgrims. Hobbamock, another friend of the colony, was an Indian warrior who was trusted by Massasoit. When Tisquantum and Hobbamock arrived in Nemasket, Corbitant took Tisquantum captive and threatened to kill him. Hobbamock escaped to warn the people of Plymouth.
This was a dangerous threat to the English and they decided to act quickly. On August 14, 1621, Standish led a group of 10 men to Nemasket, determined to kill Corbitant. They were guided by Hobbamock who quickly became a friend of Standish. The two men would be close for the rest of their lives. In his old age, Hobbamock became part of Standish's household in Duxbury.
Reaching Nemasket, Standish planned a night attack where they thought Corbitant was sleeping. That night, Standish and Hobbamock burst into the shelter, shouting for Corbitant. Standish soon learned that Corbitant had already fled the village and Tisquantum was unharmed.
Although Standish had failed to capture Corbitant, the raid had shown them that they colonist were willing to fight, if necessary. On September 13, 1621, nine other tribal leaders, including Corbitant, came to Plymouth to sign a treaty.
In November 1621, a Narragansett messenger arrived in Plymouth and delivered a bundle of arrows wrapped in a snakeskin. The Pilgrims were told by Tisquantum and Hobbamock that this was a threat and an insult from the Narragansett leader who was called Canonicus. The Narragansettwere one of the more powerful tribes in the region. Bradford sent back the snakeskin filled with gunpowder to show them they were not afraid.
Standish told the colonists to prepare for a possible fight. The colony had more people that came of the ship Fortune but they were not very many men. Standish put one man to each wall and gave them orders on how to protect themselves and the people in case of an attack.
Bradford called a public meeting at which the Pilgrims decided to send Standish and a small group of eight, including Hobbamock, to Wessagusset to kill the leaders of the alleged plan to kill all of the people.
Standish was not afraid. The day after Pecksuot, a Massachusett warrior and leader of the group who threatened Wessagusset, came to the settlement with Wituwamat and other warriors. Pecksuot approached Standish and, looking down on him, said, "You are a great captain, yet you are but a little man. Though I not a chief, I am of great strength and courage." He said this to make Standish afraid of him.
Having succeeded in his mission, Standish returned to Plymouth. The leaders who wished them harm had been killed and there was no more threat. The attack also caused many of the Indians in the area to leave the area.
A monument to Miles Standish has four black cannon barrels mounted on a stone wall in the middle of a small cemetery. The ground is partly covered with snow. Many trees stand in the background. The sky is cloudy. Standish's grave site is in the Myles Standish Burial Ground in Duxbury. By 1635 Standish began to seek a quieter life, working in the fields of his farm. About 51 years old at that time, Standish began to let the younger men take on the defense of the colony. He put Lieutenant William Holmes in charge of training the men. In the Pequot War in 1637, it was Holmes who was the leader of the men.
Standish served as a surveyor of highways, as Treasurer of the Colony from 1644 to 1649. In 1642, his old friend Hobbamock, who had been part of his household, died and was buried on Standish's farm in Duxbury.
Marriages and family[change]
Myles Standish married:
- Rose Standish by about 1618. Rose Standish died on January 29, 1621. She was buried in an unmarked grave at Coles Hill Burial Ground in Plymouth as were many others who died the first winter. She is named on the Pilgrim Memorial Tomb on Coles Hill as "Rose, first wife of Myles Standish".
- Barbara _______ by about 1624. Per Banks, she had come to Plymouth in 1623 on either the 'Anne' or 'Little James', and they were married the following spring. They had seven children. Barbara Standish died after October 6, 1659 and her burial place is unknown. Children of Myles and Barbara Standish:
- Charles (1) was born in 1624. He died between May 22, 1627 and 1635.
- Alexander was born about 1626 and died July 6, 1702. He was buried in Myles Standish Burying Ground in Duxbury, Massachusetts.
- John was born about 1627. No further record.
- Myles was born about 1629 and died at sea after March 20, 1661. His body was lost at sea. Myles married Sarah Winslow in Boston on July 19, 1660.
- Loara (Lora) was born about 1631 and died by March 7, 1655/6. Unmarried.
- Josiah was born about 1633 and died in Preston CT on March 19, 1690. He was known as Capt. Josiah Standish. His burial place is unknown.** Charles (2) was born by about 1635. He was still living on March 7, 1655/6.
Miles Standish monument is a very tall stone tower with a statue of a man at the top. It stands on a steep, grassy hill. The first of these monuments was the largest At the top of the monument, which is 116 feet (35 m) overall, stands a 14-foot (4.3 m) statue of Standish.
The site of Myles Standish's house is now a small park owned and maintained by the town of Duxbury.
Standish, Maine, is named for the Captain, as well as the neighborhood of Standish, Minneapolis. At least two forts were named after Standish—a fort on Plymouth's Saquish Neck built during the American Civil War and a larger fort built on Lovells Island in Boston Harbor in 1895.
- Philbrick 2006, pp. 32-37.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 84.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 88.
- Bangs, Myles Standish, Born Where?
- Stratton, 19.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 59.
- Stratton, 406.
- Philbrick 2006, pp. 153–156.
- Jenks, 242.
- Winsor, History of the Town of Duxbury, 95.
- Stratton, 17.
- Stratton, 18.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 25.
- Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 413
- George Ernest Bowman, The Mayflower Compact and its signers, (Boston: Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1920). Photocopies of the 1622, 1646 and 1669 versions of the document pp. 7–19.
- Stratton, 20.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 61.
- Schmidt, 69.
- Stratton, 75
- Philbrick 2006, p. 70.
- Schmidt, 88.
- Schmidt, 86.
- Haxtun, 17
- Philbrick 2006, p. 114.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 99.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 162.
- Schmidt, 105.
- Winsor, History of the Town of Duxbury, 33.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 115.
- Jenks, 124.
- Schmidt, 114.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 127.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 129.
- Jenks, 174.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 149.
- Jenks, 175.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 151.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 152.
- Jenks, 178.
- Philbrick 2006, p. 154.
- Wentworth, 29.
- Winsor, History of the Town of Duxbury, 89.
- Winsor, History of the Town of Duxbury, 11.
- Leach, 46.
- Winsor, History of the Town of Duxbury, 44.
- Browne and Forgit, 40–41.
- Myles Standish
- John Stevens Cabot Abbott. Miles Standish, Captain of the Pilgrims. (Dodd, Mead and company 1898 Not in copyright) p. 94
- Robert Charles Anderson. Pilgrim Village Families Sketch: Myles Standish American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society 2012
- Jenks, 181.
- Death of Josiah Standish
- A genealogical profile of Myles Standish at plimouth.org
- Pillsbury, 25.
- Butler, 81–82.
- Bangs, Jeremy D. (2006). "Myles Standish, Born Where? The State of the Question". SAIL 1620. Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. http://www.sail1620.org/history/35-biographies/51-myles-standish.html. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
- Browne, Patrick T.J.; Forgit, Norman (2009). Duxbury...Past & Present. Duxbury, Massachusetts: The Duxbury Rural and Historical Society, Inc.. ISBN 0-941859-11-8.
- Butler, Gerald (2000). The Military History of Boston's Harbor Islands. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-0464-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=h0nwwK0inAQC&pg=PA65&dq=%22Fort+Standish%22&cd=13#v=onepage&q=&f=false0.
- Goodwin, John A. (1920) . The Pilgrim Republic: An Historical Review of the Colony of New Plymouth. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. OCLC 316126717. http://books.google.com/books?id=1h86ThQYxgEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+pilgrim+republic&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false.
- Haxtun, Annie A. (1899). Signers of the Mayflower Compact. Baltimore: The Mail and Express. OCLC 2812063.
- Jenks, Tudor (1905). Captain Myles Standish. New York: The Century Co. OCLC 3000476. http://books.google.com/books?id=rMVLAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Myles+Standish&cd=8#v=onepage&q=&f=false.
- Leach, Frances (1987). "Notes on the Name Duxbury". The Duxbury Book, 1637–1987 Duxbury Rural and Historical Society, Inc..
- Philbrick, Nathaniel. Mayflower: A Story of Community, Courage and War. Penguin Books; 2006. ISBN 978-0-14-311197-9.
- Pillsbury, Katherine H. (1999). Duxbury: A Guide. Duxbury, Massachusetts: The Duxbury Rural and Historical Society, Inc.. ISBN 0-941859-04-5.
- Porteus, Thomas C. (1920). Captain Myles Standish: His Lost Lands and Lancashire Connections. Manchester: The University of Manchester Press. OCLC 2134828. http://books.google.com/books?id=msRLAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Captain+Myles+Standish&cd=2#v=onepage&q=&f=false.
- Schmidt, Gary D. (1999). William Bradford: Plymouth's Faithful Pilgrim. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. ISBN 082851517. http://books.google.com/books?id=BijffNh7pLAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=William+Bradford&cd=5#v=onepage&q=&f=false.
- Stratton, Eugene A. (1986). Plymouth Colony: Its History & People, 1620–1691. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Incorporated. ISBN 0-916489-13-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=17zCU76ZtH0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22Plymouth+colony%22&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false.
- Wentworth, Dorothy (2000) . Settlement and Growth of Duxbury 1628–1870. Duxbury, Massachusetts: Duxbury Rural and Historical Society. ISBN 0-941859-05-3.
- Winsor, Justin (1849). History of the Town of Duxbury. Boston: Crosby & Nichols. OCLC 32063251. http://books.google.com/books?id=3koWAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=History+of+Duxbury&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false.
- Winsor, Justin (1885). The Memorial History of Boston vol. 1. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co. OCLC 978152. http://books.google.com/books?id=M6wTAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA65&dq=Myles+Standish+portrait&cd=12#v=onepage&q=&f=false.