January 01, 2010

My Mayflower ancestors

As noted in Pequot Massacre in After the Mayflower, my mother's father's family is descended from William Palmer, who lived in Connecticut in 1636. Palmer may have participated in the Mystic River massacre of Pequot Indians.

My mother's mother's family has always claimed it's descended from William Brewster, the Pilgrim who came to America on the Mayflower. Recently an enterprising cousin of mine began tracking down that branch of the family tree. Turns out we are descended from the Brewsters and many other Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower and subsequent ships.

Mayflower passengers

Leiden congregation and families

  • Allerton, IsaacMary (Norris) Allerton, wife (Newbury, Berkshire)
    Mary Allerton, daughter (Leiden, Netherlands), the last survivor of the Mayflower company


  • Accompanying Isaac and Mary on the Mayflower were their three children and a servant boy named John Hooke, who was 14. Allerton's wife and John Hooke died aboard the Mayflower while it was still anchored in Plymouth Harbor during the first winter, as noted in the death lists. Both were buried in Cole's Hill. Mary died from the effects of childbirth, after giving birth to a stillborn son on February 25, 1621. Because of this birth, Mary was the first woman to give birth in the New England Colonies.

    Allerton quickly rose to prominence among the Pilgrim leaders, serving as William Bradford's assistant governor during the early years of the colony. After the adoption of a more formalized governmental structure in 1624, he served again as one of five assistant governors. In 1627, he became one of the eight "undertakers" of the colony's debt and made several voyages to London to negotiate with the colony's creditors.
  • Brewster, William (Doncaster, Yorkshire)
  • Mary Brewster, wife

    He was accompanied by his wife, Mary Brewster, and his sons, Love Brewster and Wrestling Brewster. Son Jonathan joined the family in November 1621, arriving at Plymouth on the ship Fortune, and daughters Patience and Fear arrived in July 1623 aboard the Anne.

    When the colonists landed at Plymouth, Brewster became the senior elder of the colony, serving as its religious leader and as an adviser to Governor William Bradford.

    As the only university educated member of the colony, Brewster took the part of the colony's religious leader until a pastor, Ralph Smith, arrived in 1629. Thereafter, he continued to preach irregularly until his death in April 1644.
  • Fuller, Samuel (Redenhall, Norfolk), (brother to Edward)
  • Upon arrival in the New World, Samuel had been signer of the Mayflower Compact along with the other adult male settlers, and had also been elected Plymouth's physician. He is known to have been involved in the responses to epidemics in Salem (then Neumkeag) (1629), Charlestown, and, in 1633, Plymouth itself. The latter, perhaps smallpox, killed Fuller and at least twenty others.
  • Tilley, John (Henlow, Bedfordshire)Joan (Hurst) (Rogers) Tilley, wife (Henlow, Bedfordshire)
    Elizabeth Tilley, daughter (Henlow, Bedfordshire)


  • Unfortunately, the first winter after their arrival was extremely difficult and a number of the settlers died. Amongst these were John, wife Joan, brother Edward, and sister-in-law Ann. ... This left daughter Elizabeth the only surviving member of the Tilley family in America. The orphan was taken in by John Carver but he and his wife both died that spring. Elizabeth later married John Howland, Carver's former servant, and left many descendants.Planters recruited by London merchants

  • Billington, John (possibly Spalding, Lincolnshire)Eleanor Billington, wife
    Francis Billington, son


  • In September 1630, after a heated argument over hunting rights, Billington fatally shot fellow colonist John Newcomen in the shoulder with a blunderbuss. After counseling with Governor John Winthrop, Governor William Bradford concluded that capital punishment was the necessary penalty. Billington was convicted of murder and hanged at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

    He was the first Englishman to be convicted of murder in what would become the United States, and the first to be hanged for any crime in New England.
  • Eaton, Francis (Bristol, Avon (historic: Somerset)Sarah Eaton, wife
    Samuel Eaton, son


  • He traveled from England with his first wife, Sarah, and their "sucking" child, Samuel. Unlike many of the Mayflower voyagers, the Eatons were never involved with the strict Protestants from the Leiden church, and their precise motivations in emigrating to America are not known.

    Sarah Eaton died during the first, hard winter, and Francis remarried soon thereafter to a servant named “Dorothy.” Dorothy survived for perhaps only two or three years and Francis soon married his third and last wife, Christiana or Christian Penn.

    Existing records indicate that Francis Eaton was a carpenter, specifically a "house carpenter" in the Bristol apprenticeship record of 1626. This would have certainly been an occupation in great demand as the colonists built needed structures of all sorts. He died young, though, in his late thirties, leaving four children, varying from about 13 years of age (Samuel) to perhaps 8 for Benjamin.
  • Warren, Richard (Hertford, England)
  • Warren is among the less documented of the Mayflower pioneers. Clearly a man of rank, Warren was accorded by Governor William Bradford the prefix "Mr.," pronounced Master, used in those times to distinguish someone because of birth or achievement. From his widow's subsequent land transactions, we can assume that he was among the wealthier of the original Plymouth settlers. And yet, Bradford did not mention him in his History of the Plimouth Plantation except in the List of Passengers.Family servants

  • Howland, John (probably Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire), age about 21, manservant for Governor John Carver.
  • In 1633 Howland, then thirty-four, was admitted as a freeman of Plymouth. He and Elizabeth had by then acquired significant landholdings around Plymouth and after his being declared a freeman they diligently acquired more. Howland served at various times as Assistant Governor, Deputy to the Plymouth General Court, Selectman, Surveyor of Highways and member of the Fur Committee.Comment:  For more on the subject, see Tallying My Pilgrim Ancestors and My Fortune and Anne Ancestors. For more on the subject in general, see Ten Little Pilgrims and Indians.

    5 comments:

    Kim Murphy said...

    Do you mean the first English woman to give birth in the colonies? Eleanor Dare gave birth in 1587, and there were a few English births in Virginia before 1621.

    Also, one of the first, if not the first, English murder convictions was a man by the name of Collins in 1610, during what was called the Starving Time. He killed his wife, then ate her. He was burned at the stake.

    Rob said...

    That was a quote from Wikipedia, you know. I'm sure the original writer knew about Virginia Dare and had something particular in mind.

    Perhaps the person was referring to the Carolinas not becoming a "capital C" Colony until after Massachusetts did. The Province of Carolina was created in 1663, well after Virginia Dare's birth in 1587. Hers was the first English birth in America, but not in a Colony or the equivalent.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Province_of_North_Carolina

    King Charles II of England granted the Carolina charter in 1663 for lands south of Virginia Colony and north of Spanish Florida.

    Rob said...

    I don't know what the writer was thinking; I'm just guessing. But I changed the Wikipedia entry and my blog posting to say "New England Colonies." Okay?

    Kim Murphy said...

    That works!

    Steve Palmer said...

    Yay Palmers!