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The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told100 Tales from History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy
By Rick Beyer
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Rick Beyer
All right reserved.
A rescue at sea with a profound impact on three future presidents.
A powerful storm battered the Mayflower as it carried the Pilgrims across the Atlantic. The wind and waves were nothing short of ferocious. When a young passenger named John Howland came up on deck, the force of the storm swept him into the sea, where he seemed sure to perish beneath the boiling waves.
Fate was kind to John Howland. He just managed to grab a rope trailing from the ship and hold on for dear life. His head disappeared below the surface, but men on deck hauled up the rope until he was alongside the ship, and then fished him out with a boat hook. "Though he was something ill with it," reported another passenger, "he lived many years after."
By that slender thread hang three presidencies.
Watching from the deck of the Mayflower that day was a twelve-year-old girl named Elizabeth Tilley. She and John Howland eventually married. They populated the New World with ten children, eighty-two grandchildren, and descendants too numerous to count.
Among them were threepresidents of the United States: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the two George Bushes. All of whom might never have been born if their ancestor hadn't been plucked from the death grip of a vengeful ocean.
Excerpted from The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told by Rick Beyer Copyright © 2007 by Rick Beyer. Excerpted by permission.
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