Mayflower descendant writes book about Pilgrims
By Jason Harris - Staff Writer
Marlborough - posted Tue., Nov. 13, 2012
How sharp is your knowledge about the Pilgrims? Can you separate the facts from the myths? If not, author William P. Muttart’s book, "One Hundred & Eleven Questions & Answers Concerning the Pilgrims," may enlighten you.
“I thought I was a Mayflower descendant, so I started paying attention to some of the material about the Pilgrims, and I noticed a lot of stuff seemed to be biased or incorrect,” Muttart said of his motivation for writing the book. Muttart, who resides in Montville, found out during his research that he definitely is a Mayflower descendant, so he joined the Mayflower Society, he said. He also gave a membership to his children and grandchildren, since he “thought it would be something to be proud of.”
“When I started to see some of the negative stuff, I wondered, ‘My gosh, should I be proud of being a Mayflower descendant?' So I decided to find out what the truth was.” During his research, Muttart discovered that the Pilgrims didn't land at Plymouth Rock, and they didn't call themselves Pilgrims.
The first question answered by Muttart’s book is “Who were the Pilgrims?” According to the book, it all depends on what you read or who you ask. The "Webster’s Universal College Dictionary" identifies the Pilgrims as “the Puritan band that founded the Plymouth Colony in 1620.” The Pilgrim Hall Museum considers all 230 people who arrived at Plymouth through 1623 to be Pilgrims, and some accounts identify as Pilgrims anyone who resided in Plymouth Colony during its 71 years of existence, from 1621 through the year 1692, said Muttart.
Muttart said he was determined to set the record straight. The original plan for his book was to answer 20 basic questions. "I thought it was going to be a little booklet," he said, and he intended to print about 20 copies of it for his children, grandchildren and a few friends. The booklet ended up being 78 pages, and the initial printing was 5,000 copies.
Even now, Muttart doesn’t consider himself an expert on Pilgrims, but he has learned quite a bit, he said, and he is sharing that knowledge. “The thing is, I would find something that was controversial and I would dig into that particular point, so it’s not like I read everything on the subject,” Muttart said. “I would delve into all that stuff that was controversial and try to get the truth.”
Muttart’s book can be found at the Shoppes at Marlborough Barn in Marlborough, Goodspeed Station in Haddam, and the Colonial Country Store in Hebron. For a list other retailers selling his book, e-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.