Mayflower Society House

The Mayflower Society House in Plymouth, Mass., was built in 1754 by Edward Winslow, great-grandson of Pilgrim Edward Winslow.

The younger Winslow served as the Clerk of the Court, Registrar of Probate and Collector of the Port. He was a loyalist, however, and after evacuation day in Boston in 1776, he moved his family to New York before fleeing to Halifax.

The house was then sold by creditors to Thomas Jackson, who lived there until 1813. It stayed in the family, eventually belonging to Dr. Charles Jackson, who it is believed first discovered the anesthetic effects of ether inhalation through personal experiments at this house in 1841-1842.

Fun fact: Famed American essayist, poet, abolitionist and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson married his second wife, Lydia, here on Sept. 14, 1835.

Jackson’s heirs sold the house to Lucia and Rev. George Briggs in 1872, who used it as a summer residence for 26 years.

After that, Charles L. Willoughby of Chicago took it up as his summer residence and was responsible for the gardens and major renovations to the house. In the early 1900s, Willoughby hired famous architect Joseph Everett Chandler, an expert on restoring New England houses.

It remained in the Willoughby family until it was sold by Grace W. Martin in 1941 to the General Society of Mayflower descendants.

It is now the Mayflower Society House, which serves as a museum with a library for genealogical research.

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