The fragments of wool were recovered from the grave of Myles Standish who was buried in Duxbury’s Old Burying Ground in 1656.
Rev. Huiginn, who organized the 1891 exhumation, wrote in his book The Grave of Myles Standish and Other Pilgrims,
“Parts of the winding-sheet were found, and, as it were, of a veil or
lighter fabric about the head, while some thought they observed lines of color
running through the remnants of the winding-sheet.”
The account of the donor was that the fragments were part of the winding cloth or shroud, which would have been used to prepare the body for burial. In 2012, the fragments were treated and rehoused by a professional Textiles Conservator, who concluded that while the cloth dates to the period of 1656, likely it was part of some wool clothing, and not a burial linen.
Myles Standish, born circa 1584, was an English military officer hired to accompany the Pilgrims in 1620 as their military adviser. He played a leading role in the administration and defense of Plymouth Colony. He was one of the first settlers and founders of the town of Duxbury. He is buried at the Myles Standish Burying Ground.
Related Object: The Grave of Myles Standish and other Pilgrims by Rev. Eugene J. V. Huiginn, 1914, DRHS Collection.
Rev. Eugene J. V. Huiginn (1860-1927) was the minister of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Duxbury from 1890-1892. He was fascinated with Pilgrim history and led the second dig at the grave of Myles Standish on April 25, 1891. This book describes his research and conclusions before and after locating the grave.
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