Most people know the story of the Mayflower which set sail from England in 1620 for the northeast coast of America. It carried 102 passengers of English origin. Some of the passengers came from Holland where they had been living to escape the religious persecution they had experienced in England. They were now leaving Holland for economic reasons and for the welfare of their children who would otherwise lose their identity in this foreign country. They sought a place where they could continue to have the same religious freedom they had enjoyed in Holland. The remainder of the passengers, who had still been living in England, were simply seeking a new home for the betterment of their personal situations. Together, these two groups were later to be known as Pilgrims.
The Arizona Society of Mayflower Descendants was organized with 37 Charter Members by Georgia Perle Wilson Schmidt (Mrs. Louis Bernard, Sr.) on June 6, 1955. The current membership is 383 adult members, 105 junior members, and 3 junior friends.
In remembrance of those early settlers and founders of democracy, descendants formed a Society in 1897 for the purposed of (1) perpetuating the memory of the Pilgrim Fathers, (2) maintaining the democratic principles of civil and religious liberty as set forth in the Mayflower Compact, and (3) fostering the ideals and institutions of American freedom. The General Society of Mayflower Descendants is a federation of 52 regional societies, consisting of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada.