Myles Standish

po_standish-mylesMyles Standish (c. 1584 – October 3, 1656) was an English military officer hired by the Pilgrims as military adviser for Plymouth Colony. He accompanied the Pilgrims on their journey on the Mayflower and subsequently Standish played a leading role in the administration and defense of Plymouth Colony from its inception. On February 17, 1621, the Plymouth Colony militia elected him as its first commander and continued to re-elect him to that position for the remainder of his life. Standish served as an agent of Plymouth Colony in England, as assistant governor, and as treasurer of Plymouth Colony. He was also one of the first settlers and founders of the town of Duxbury, Massachusetts.

Several towns and military installations have been named for Standish, and monuments have been built in his memory. One of the best known depictions of Standish in popular culture was the 1858 poem The Courtship of Miles Standish by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The highly fictionalized story presents Standish as a timid romantic. It was extremely popular in the 19th century and played a significant role in cementing the Pilgrim story in US culture.