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Miles Standish

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  • His name was actually spelled "Myles" but somewhere along the way it took on the more familiar spelling of "Miles".
  • Miles Standish was born sometime in 1584, and died on October 3, 1656.  It's assumed he was born in Lancashire, England.
  • Contrary to what some think, Miles Standish was NOT a Pilgrim.  He was an English military officer hired by the Pilgrims to be a military advisor for Plymouth Colony.  Miles Standish was a leading figure in the defense and administration of Plymouth from the very beginning.
  • There is no evidence to support that Miles Standish was ever a Pilgrim or that he followed their religious beliefs.
  • On February 17, 1621 Standish was elected "First Commander" by the Plymouth Colony militia, and he was re-elected to that position for the rest of his life.
  • Besides being First Commander, Standish also served as Assistant Governor and Treasurer of Plymouth Colony.
  • Standish was also one of the founders and first settlers of the town of Duxbury, Massachusetts.
  • Standish could be a very brutal soldier, which some Pilgrims found unsettling.  However, Standish proved he was an effective leader.

  • In 1858, author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned a book called "The Courtship of Miles Standish".  Told in the form of a narrative poem, the story is believed to be greatly fictionalized.  Longfellow himself claimed the story was true, but no evidence has been found to prove his claims.  Many people then and now are still under the impression that this story is solid fact.  Whether it's true or false, the story itself was extremely popular in the 19th century and really established Pilgrims in American culture.
  • The story of "The Courtship of Miles Standish" was about the love triangle between Miles Standish, Priscilla Mullens, and John Alden.  In the story, Standish was represented as a rather timid romantic.  He used Alden to pass along his messages of affection to Priscilla, but Priscilla ultimately fell for and married John Alden.
  • Miles Standish, Priscilla Mullens, and John Alden were all actual people.  Alden and Mullens did marry, and had ten children.