In 1620, the small sailing vessel Mayflower set out across the uncharted waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth, England with a patent for the northern part of the Colony of Virginia. Blown off course, it finally dropped anchor off Provincetown on Cape Cod early in November. Most of the 102 Passengers were of English origin seeking a new home free from religious persecution where they might retain their English identity and customs. Some, however, had been hired to supply much needed expertise essential for founding a new community in a new land.
In remembrance of those God-fearing and dauntless Pilgrims, the first English settlers of New England, their descendants founded the General Society of Mayflower Descendants on January 12, 1897. The original Societies were New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
The General Society is a federation of 53 Member Societies, consisting of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and new European Society.
The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of North Carolina was chartered in 1924. To see a list of the Charter Members, click here.
Annual Meetings of the North Carolina Society are held in November, the anniversary of the signing of the Mayflower Compact. Each year the Annual Meeting is hosted by one of the colonies.
The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of North Carolina is divided into six colonies (listed east to west) - Northeast Colony, Southeast Colony, Central Colony, Piedmont Colony, Charlotte Colony, and Western Colony.
Names of new members coming into the State Society, residing within the State, are passed along to the officers in the Colony area in which they reside for addition to the Colony rolls. Each Colony generally holds one or two meetings a year, one in the spring and the other in the autumn prior to the Annual Meeting of the State Society.
From time to time one or more of the Colonies undertakes a worthwhile special project, a principal one of which has been the widespread distribution of copies of the Mayflower Compact to the school children in their areas. Currently each Colony is working on a project to make lineage sheets and instructional materials available to help interested individuals and prospective members in tracing their ancestry.
Each colony places Mayflower Families genealogy books in local libraries. These volumes are 5 generations of a Mayflower Family published by the National Society in Lynn, MA. These books are used when proving Mayflower lineage, a necessary step in joining the society.
Members receive the Mayflower Quarterly published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and the twice yearly NC Mayflower newsletter, the Tar Heel Pilgrim, sponsored by the State Society.
A separate booklet of the Constitution and Bylaws is published periodically as changes dictate.
NC STATE OFFICERS
Governor Stephen Earle Pike
Deputy Governor Jill Chapman
Recording Secretary Sallie Bardelas
Corresponding Secretary Franklin Horton
Historian Cheryl Vislay
Co-Historian Franklin Horton
Elder Bishop Graham Rights
Counsellor Wade Alley
Captain Ray Maxson
Co-Librarian Susie Rights Gatland
Co-Librarian Carolyn Crist-Schwab
GENERAL SOCIETY OFFICERS OF NORTH CAROLINA
Deputy Governor General Michael Cassat Keleher
Assistant General Martha Ellen Ward
Northeast Colony (open)
Southeast Colony Paul Tompkins
Central Colony Meg Averett and
Piedmont Colony Sallie Bardelas
Charlotte Colony Courtney Lane
Western Colony Jill Chapman
APPOINTED OFFICERS & STANDING COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Archivist Frances Emory
Constitution / By-Laws Franklin Horton
Editor, Tar Heel Pilgrim Jennifer P. Keleher
Education / Jr. Membership Carolyn Crist-Schwab
Lapel Pins Martha Ellen Ward
Membership Ray Maxson
Nominating Stephen Earle Pike
Parliamentarian Paul Tompkins
Scholarship Lorie Koontz Maness
More than one hundred years ago, a group of descendants of the Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620, saw the need for a national society to honor their memory. The intention was to remember these Pilgrims who established Plymouth Colony.
Today there are tens-of-millions of individuals descended from these brave souls. It is the goal of The Mayflower Society to join together people who share this heritage and to carry on the memory of our Pilgrim ancestors.
Each state society is an autonomous organization. If you live in North Carolina, you can apply to us for membership in the NC Mayflower Society. If you live elsewhere and wish to join locally, follow the link to the General Mayflower Society web site, where you will find contact information for other state societies.
However, if your roots are in North Carolina (or, even if they aren't) and you want to join our state society, you are certainly welcome to join us