Myles Standish was an English military officer hired by the Pilgrims as military adviser for Plymouth Colony. His place of birth has been subject to debate among historians for more than 150 years. One of the best known depictions of him in popular culture was the 1858 poem The Courtship of Miles Standish by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He supported and defended the Pilgrim colony for much of his life.
About Myles Standish in brief
Myles Standish was an English military officer hired by the Pilgrims as military adviser for Plymouth Colony. He accompanied them on the Mayflower journey and played a leading role in the administration and defense of Plymouth Colony from its inception. A defining characteristic of Standish’s military leadership was his proclivity for preemptive action which resulted in at least two attacks or small skirmishes against Native Americans in the Nemasket raid and the conflict at Wessagusset Colony. His place of birth has been subject to debate among historians for more than 150 years. One of the best known depictions of him in popular culture was the 1858 poem The Courtship of Miles Standish by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He died in his home in Duxbury in 1656 at age 72. Several towns and military installations have been named for Standish, and monuments have been built in his memory. He supported and defended the Pilgrim colony for much of his life, though there is no evidence to suggest that he ever joined their church. There is no definitive documentation in either location to provide clear evidence of his birthplace. Historians are divided on his role on his military career in the Eighty Years’ War with Spain with Queen Elizabeth I choosing to support the Dutch Republic and send troops to fight the Spanish in Holland. The places named by Standish are all in Lancashire, England, with the exception of the Isle of Man, leading some to conclude that he was born in the vicinity of Chorley, where a branch of the Standish family owned a manor known asDuxbury Hall.
A competing theory focuses on his mention of the Island of Man and argues that he belonged to a Manx branch of his family. In 1656, Standish wrote: I give unto my son & heire apparent Alexander Standish all my lands as heire obvious in Ormskirke Borscouge Wrightington Maudsley Newburrow Crowston and in the Isleof man, and given to mee as Right heire by lawfull decent but Surruptuously detained from mee My great Grandfather being a 2cond or younger brother from the house of Standishes of StandISH. He was still nominally the commander of the Pilgrim military forces in the growing Colony, although he seems to have preferred to act in an advisory capacity. He was also one of the first settlers and founders of the town of Duxburys. He is buried in Doxbury, Massachusetts. He also served as an agent of Plymouth colony in England, as assistant governor, and as treasurer of the Colony. The earliest source describing Standish’s family and early life is a short passage recorded by Nathaniel Morton, secretary of Plymouth colonies in 1669. He wrote in his New England’s Memorial, published in1669, that Standish: was a gentleman, born in Lancoshire, and was heir apparent unto a great estate of lands and livings, surreptitiously detained from him.