What Did the Pilgrims Bring on the Mayflower?
The Pilgrims brought arms and armor, household goods, tools, seeds, bedding, clothing and food that kept well. A few brought a limited amount of furniture, such as chairs and cradles, and at least two dogs were also on board. The overcrowded Mayflower did not have room for livestock or large items.
Although the Pilgrims knew their new home would provide for their needs given time, there were certain items they considered critical for the early days. The most important items were food and farming implements. Iron kitchenware and tools to cut wood and build houses were also considered important for survival. They brought along clothing and bedding to keep them warm during the upcoming winter, and guns and knives to provide protection from hostile natives and wild beasts. Although it would be too late in the farming season to plant, they brought seeds to plant during the next year.
The Pilgrims did not anticipate landing hundreds of miles north of their original aim, which was Virginia. The Mayflower set sail in the fall, arriving in the New World just before winter. It was already too cold around Cape Cod where they landed for the trip south to be safe. The leaders of the expedition decided to stay where they were, but they did not anticipate the severity of the winter ahead. More than half of the Pilgrims died that first year of starvation or cold. The things they brought with them proved inadequate for the entire group’s survival.