Who is John Howland and how is he related to Franklin D. Roosevelt?

Who is John Howland and how is he related to Franklin D. Roosevelt?

Answer: Mayflower Pilgrim

Without John Howland there might not have been a Franklin D. Roosevelt, and without FDR, there might not have been a new deal, and without a new deal, our country may not have gotten through the Great Depression. And for a second, there really was almost no John Howland. Allow us to explain.

According to Mayflower History, “John Howland was born about 1599, [in England]. He came on the Mayflower in 1620 as a manservant of Governor John Carver. During the Mayflower’s voyage, Howland fell overboard during a storm, and was almost lost at sea–but luckily for his descendants living today he managed to grab hold of the topsail halyards, giving the crew enough time to rescue him with a boat-hook.”

After miraculously arriving safely in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Howland went on to live his life as an executive assistant and personal secretary to Governor John Carver. He signed the Mayflower Compact, which was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It was written by the male passengers of the Mayflower, consisting of separatist Puritans, adventurers, and tradesmen. The Puritans were fleeing from religious persecution by King James of England. He even helped broker a treaty with the Native American Sachem Massasoit of the Wampanoag.

Howland went on to have ten children. Further down the bloodline, this massive family gave birth to millions of descendants living today including Presidents George Bush and George W. Bush, and Mr. Theodore Roosevelt. Thank goodness he held on to that topsail!