Staff Report

Local Brandon resident and Mayflower Descendant, James Preston, was elected in November to serve the Florida State Society of Mayflower Descendants as Governor for the three year term (2017–2020).

James Preston was a Sergeant for 30 years with the Tampa Police Department, and retired in September of 2003.

He is also the Governor of his own colony, Edward Fuller (named after Pilgrim Edward Fuller), that meets in Polk County. He has been a member since 2007.

The Florida Mayflower Society is comprised of 1,411 members in 17 local colonies across Florida. All have all traced their lineage through proven genealogy back to one of the brave Pilgrim passengers on the historic Mayflower, which landed at Plymouth after a long and challenging voyage across the Atlantic in search of religious liberty. The General Society in Plymouth, Mass. represents over 19,000 members from all 50 U.S. States and internationally.

According to Preston, finding the roots, researching and learning the vibrant history that comes to life of the many generations of family that came from a Pilgrim has been very interesting. “In my case, I found two Pilgrim families, Francis Eaton and John Billington, who survived the Mayflower voyage. John Billington has the distinction of being the Pilgrim hanged for murder at the Plymouth Colony.  Luckily he had a son who married Francis Eaton’s daughter.”

Preston had a great great grandfather (7th generation), William Canedy, who was a Captain in the British Army and fought in the French and Indian Wars.  His son, also William Canedy (6th generation) fought with the American Militia during the American Revolution. 

“We found a great grandfather who was Captain of a steamship carrying passengers all along the New England coast, and a grandfather who died while training pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corp after fighting in WWI.”
The mission of the Mayflower Society is to perpetuate the ideals and principles of the Pilgrim forefathers. It is estimated that six million people today may have links to a Pilgrim. The year 2020 will mark a significant anniversary of 400 years since that voyage.

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