"Mistris Elizabeth Warren, an aged widdow, aged above 90 yeares, deceased on the second of October, 1673, whoe, haveing lived a godly life, came to her grave as a shocke of corn fully ripe. Shee was honorably buried on the 24th of October aforsaid."
Richard Warren's English origins and ancestry have been subject to speculation, and many different ancestries have been published about him, without much evidence to support them. However, in December 2002, Edward Davies found the missing piece of the puzzle, in a personal will. Researchers had known of the marriage of Richard Warren to Elizabeth Walker on 14 April 1610 at Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, England. Since records show the Mayflower passenger had a wife named "Elizabeth" and a first child born about 1610, this was a promising record. Yet, no children were found for this couple in the parish registers, and no further evidence beyond the names and timing, until the will of Augustine Walker was discovered. In the will of Augustine Walker, dated April 1613, he mentions "my daughter Elizabeth Warren wife of Richard Warren," and "her three Children Marey, Ann and Sarey Warren". The record shows that the Mayflower passenger's first three children were named Mary, Ann, and Sarah (in that birth order). Also, the will of the father Augustine Walker states, "my daughter Elizabeth Warren wife..." hence, the maiden name "Walker" is confirmed for "Elizabeth (Walker) Warren" as the wife of Richard Warren.
Elizabeth Walker, was born in 1583. She was baptized September 1583 in Baldock, Hertfordshire, England.
She and his first five children, all daughters, came to America in the ship Anne in 1623. Once in America, they then had two sons before Richard's untimely death in 1628.
Richard Warren died in 1628. His wife Elizabeth outlived him by 45 years, dying at Plymouth in 1673. Her death was noted in the Records of Plymouth Colony (PCR 8:35) : "Mistris Elizabeth Warren, an aged widdow, aged above 90 yeares, deceased on the second of October, 1673, whoe, haveing lived a godly life, came to her grave as a shocke of corn fully ripe."
During the long period of her widowhood, Elizabeth Warren’s name appears in the records of Plymouth Colony. She appears first as executor of her husband’s estate, next paying taxes owed by a head of household, and finally as an independent agent in her own right.
An article by Edward J. Davies in the April 2003 issue of The American Genealogist gives evidence that Elizabeth Warren may have been the daughter of Augustine Walker. An Elizabeth Walker, daughter of Augustine Walker, married a Richard Warren in Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, on April 14, 1610. The will of Augustine Walker, dated April 19, 1613, refers not only to his daughter Elizabeth Warren but also her 3 daughters : Mary, Ann and Sarah. These three Warren daughters correspond to three of the Warren daughters who were passengers on the Anne in 1623.
"First I give & bequeath Unto my daughter Elizabeth Warren wife of Richard Warren Sixteene pounds of lawefull money of England, and unto her three Children Marcy, Ann and Sarey Warren Fower pounds of like Englishe money equally betwixt them three to be devyded and to be payde unto the saide Richard Warren to the use of the saide child[ren] and the survivour or survivours of them"
July 1623 : Arrived with 5 daughters in Plymouth on "The Ann".
1631 [a bequest in the will of Mary Ring] : "I give unto mrs Warren one woodden cupp with a foote as a token of my love."
1633 : "a misted [meerstead] that was granted formerly to Richard Warren, deceased, & forfeited by a late order, for want of building, the said misted was granted to Mr. Raph Fog & his heires forever, provided the said Raph w'thin twelve moneths build a dwelling howse upon the same, & allow the widow Warren so much for her fence remayning thereon ..."
1633 : "According to an order in Court held the 2d of January, in the seaventh yeare of the raigne of o'r soveraigne lord, Charles, by the grace of God King of Engl., Scotl., France, & Irel., defendr of the faith, &c, the psons heere under menconed were rated for publike use ... to be brought in by each pson as they are heere under written, rated in corne at vi [pence] bushell ... Widow Warren ... 12 s[hilling]s." In 1634, she was also "rated" : "Widow Warren .... 9 [shillings]."
1633 [inventory] : "John. Thorp debtor to ... To mrs Warren 01 10 08."
1635 : "At this Court, Thomas Williams, ye sarvant of widow Warren, was accused for speaking profane & blasphemous speeches against ye mauestie of God, which wer these : ther being some discention betweene him & his dame, shee, after other things, exhorted him to fear God & doe his duty ; he answered, he neither feared God, nor the divell ; this was proved by witneses, and confesed by himselfe. This, because ye Courte judged it to be spoken in passion & distemper, with reprove did let him pass, upon humble acknowledgmente of his offence ; though ye Gove'r would have had him punished wth bodly punishmente, as ye case seemed to require."
1635 : "Thomas Clarke was plaintive against widow Warren, for taking a boat of his, which was lost in ye Eele River, wher she left it, by an extraordinary storme, in ye same place ; for which he demanded 15 [pounds] damage ; but ye jury aquite ye defendante, finding ye boat to be borowed, & laid in an ordinary place of saftie ; yet, for other considerations, they gave ye said Thomas Clarke 30 [shillings]."
1636/37 : "It is agreed upon, by the consent of the whole Court, that Elizabeth Warren, widdow, the relict of Mr. Richard Warren, deceased, shalbe entred, and stand, and bee purchaser instead of her said husband, as well because that (hee dying before he had pformed the said bargaine) the said Elizabeth pformed the same after his decease, as also for the establishing of the lotts of land given formly by her unto her sonnes in law, Richard Church, Robert Bartlett, and Thomas Little, in marriage with their wives, her daughters."
1637 : "That Mrs Elizabeth Warren of the Eele River Widdow for and in consideracon of a Marriage already solempnized betwixt John Cooke the yeonger of the Rockey Noocke and Sarah her daughter doth acknowledge that shee hath given granted enfeoffed and confirmed unto the said John Cooke one lot of land lying at the Eele River containeing eighteene acrees or thereabouts and lying on the North side of Robert Bartletts lott formly also given the said Robert in Marriage w'th Mary another of the sd Mrs Warrens daughters ..."
1637 : "whereas John Cooke hath a lott of land at the Eele River lying next to Robert Barlet containeing by estimacon eighteene acrees or thereabout given him by Mrs. Elizabeth Warren in marriage w'th his wyfe and Robte Bartlett hath a lott of land of like quantitie lying on the Duxborrow side ... the said John Cooke & Robert Bartlett have exhcaunged the said lotts w'th eich other ..."
1639 : "M'ris Elizabeth Warren Widdow for and in consideracon of a marriage already consummate betwixt Anthony Snow & Abigall her daughter Hath freely & absolutely given granted assigned & made over unto the said Anthony Snow All that her house scituate nere the place called Wellingsly (alis) Hobs Hole ..."
1640 : "Richard Church, Robte Bartlett, Thomas Little, & Mrs Elizabeth Warren are graunted enlargement at the head of their lotts to the foote of the Pyne Hills, leaveing a way betwixt them and the Pyne Hills, for cattell & cart to passe by."
1644 [from the will of Stephen Hopkins] : "I do bequeath by this my will to my sonn Giles Hopkins my great Bull w'ch is now in the hands of m'ris Warren Also I do give to Stephen Hopkins my sonn Giles his sonne twenty shillings in m'ris Warrens hands for the hire of the said Bull"
1651 : "The Names of those that have Interest and proprieties in the Townes land att Punchkateesett over against Road Iland ... Mistris Elizabeth Warren."
1652 : "petition was prefered by Robert Bartlet unto the Court holden att Plymouth the 7th of October, 1652, therin requesting that wheras sundry speeches have pased from som who pretend themselves to bee the sole and right heires unto the lands on which the said Robert Barlet now liveth, at the Eelriver, in the townshipp of Plymouth, which hee, the said Robert, had bestowed on him by his mother in law, Mis Elizabeth Warren, in marriage with her daughter ... doe therby find that Mis Elizabeth Warren, who gave the said lands unto the said Robert and others in like condicion, had power soe to doe, as being by an order of Court bearing date March the 7th, 1637, and other actes of Court before, envested into the state and condicon of a purchaser, as in the said order is expressed ; the said Court doth by these presents, therefore, further ratify and confeirme the aforesaid actes of Court wherby the said Elizabeth Warren is declared to have right to despose of the aforsaid lands, approveing and allowing of the abovesaid gift of land unto the said Robert Barlet and others in like condicon with him, to bee called ..."
1653 : "An Obligation appointed to bee recorded ; "Wheras there hath been a Difference Depending betwixt Mis Elizabeth warren and her sonn Nathaniell Warren about certaine lands which the said Nathaniell conceiveth hee hath right unto as heire unto the lands of Mr Richard Warren Deceased ; These are therfore to Declare and certify unto the court by Mis Jane Collyare in the behalfe of her grandchild Sara the wife of the said Nathaniell Warren and an other petition formerly prefered to the court by Robert Bartlett sonn inlaw of the said Elizabeth wArren by each petitions the prties requesting Justice in the prmises ; the said Mis Elizabeth Warren and Mis Jane Collyare and Nathaniell Warren haveing agreed to refer the said Difference unto such of the bench as they have chosen ; viz Mis Elizabeth Warren hath chosen Mr William Bradford and captaine Willett and Mis Jane Collyare and Nathaniell Warren haveing Chosen Mr Thomas Prence and capt : Myles Standish and they the said Elizabeth Jane and Nathaniell Doe bind them selves heerby videlecett Elizabeth Warren in the summe of an hundred pounds and the said Jane Collyare and Nathaniell Warren in the summe of an hundred pounds to stand to whatsoever they shall Doe and finally Determine in the prmises or the Maior prte of them ; and incase they can not agree they are to chose a fift to bee Umpire in the case In Witnesse wherof they have heerunto sett theire hands The eleventh of June 1653."
1653 : "These are to signifye that upon a claime made by Nathaniell Warren as heire to the lands of Richard Warren late of Plymouth and by Reason alsoe of a petition prefered to the court held att Plymoth the seaventh of June 1653 by mis Jane Collyare in behalfe of her grandchild the wife of the said Nathaniell Warren conserning sundry passages and Discourses between her and mis Elizabeth Warren ye mother of the said Nathaniell Warren about the time of theire contract ; by which the said mis Collyare Did conceive her grandchild should by promise have been Invested and entersed in more lands then the said mis Warren Doth now acknowlidge By Reason wherof many great and sad Differences were like to arise between the prties abovsaid and the said mis Warren and her other children to whom shee had Desposed som prte of her lands to theire great Discontent if not undoeing ; The case was Refered by both prties ; videlecett the said Nathaniell Warren and mis Jane Collyare on the one prtie and mis Elizabeth Warren on the other prtie To Mr Willam Bradford Mr Thomas Prence captaine Myles Standish and captaine Thomas Willett as arbetrators chosen Indiffrently by them to end Deside Issue and finnally Determine all contraversies Differences and claimes about this matter that hath arisen or may for ever arise heerafter for which end the prties abovesaid were all and every of them bound in an assumsett of an hundred pounds apeece to stand to theire award which is as followeth "first That the said Nathaniell Warren shall enjoy to him and his heires for ever all that land which hee is now possess of ; and moreover shall have two thirds of those lands called purchase lands as yett unlayed out ; "2'condly And mis Warren shall enjoy that three acres of land bee it more or lesse lying neare to the lotts of Nathaniell Warren ; Dureing his life ; but after her Decease it shall come to Nathaniell Warren "3'dly shee and her children (viz mis Warren aforsaid) shall quietly enjoy all the Rest of her lands and all of them to whom shee hath alreddy att any time heer(to)fore Desposed any prte therof by gift sale or otherwise or shall heerafter Doe the same To them and theire heires for ever without any trouble or molestacon ; "4'ly Lastly the said Nathaniell Warren shall for ever cease all other or further claimes suites questions or any molestations or Disturbance att any time heerafter conserning the pr'mises ; but that his said mother and all her children or any other to whom shee hath any way Desposed any lands or shall heerafter Doe the same ; But that they may quietly and peacably posesse and enjoy the same they and theire heires for ever without any molestation from him and his att any time heerafter ; This Determination and award wee have signed under our hands The eleventh of June 1653. Willam Bradford, Thomas Prence, Myles Standish, Thomas Willett."
1660 re the Purchasers of Dartmouth : "Att a generall meeting of the Purchasers att Plymouth the seaventh of march 1652 It was ordered and fully agreed unto and Concluded by the whole that all that Tract and tracts of lands lying from the Purchassers bounds on the west side of Acoughcusse to a river called Accusshaneck and three miles to the Eastwards of the same ; with all Ilands meddows woods waters rivers Creekes and all appurtenances therunto belonging Should bee given to those whose names are heerunder written Containing thirty four shares and was then given alloted Assigned and sett over to them by the whole to have and to hold to them and their heires and Assignes for ever ; to Devide and Dispose of the same as they should see good ; and they are to Satisfy the Indians for the Purchase therof and to beare all other Due Charges that shall any way arise about the same According to their severall proportions... mistris Warren, [et al.]...Wheras these Purchasers whoe by agreement of the whole had theire proportions of Purchase land falling unto them in the places above mencioned whoe by agreement had theire severall names entered into a list (together with some other old Comers) under the hand of the honored Gov'r : late Deceased they Did Desire that the list of theire Names might bee recorded ; but the above written originall list of Names and the agreement Could not bee found in some yeares ; soe that it was Judged lost These purchasers notwithstanding still Desiring that what was theire right might bee recorded ; wherupon order was given by the aforsaid Gov'r that it might bee Done ... "The names of those whoe by order of the Purchasers mett att Plymouth the seaventh Day of march 1652 whoe by Joyne consent and agreement of the said purchasers are to have theire prtes shares or proportions att the place or places commonly called and knowne by the names of Acushena alias acquessent which entereth in att the western end of Neckatay and to Coaksett alisa acoakius and places adjacent ; the bounds of which Tract fully to extend... The said Tract or tract[s] of Land soe bounded as abovesaid which is purchased of the Indians which were the right propriators therof ; as appeers by a Deed under theire hands with all the mershes meddows rivers waters woods Timbers ; and all other profitts privilidges emunities comodities and appurtenances belonging to the said Tract or Tracts above expressed or any prte or prcell therof to belonge unto the prties whose names are underwritten (whoe are in number thirty four whole prtes or shares and noe more) to them and their heires and assignes for ever ...Mis Warren one whole share, [et al.]"
1673 : "Mistris Elizabeth Warren, an aged widdow, aged above 90 yeares, deceased on the second of October, 1673, whoe, haveing lived a godly life, came to her grave as a shocke of corn fully ripe. Shee was honorably buried on the 24th of October aforsaid."
Joseph (1627 - 4 May 1689) married Priscilla Faunce (1634- 15 May 1707).
All of Richard Warren's children survived to adulthood, married, and also had large families. It is claimed that Warren has the largest posterity of any pilgrim, numbering 14 million, the Mayflower passenger with more descendants than any other passenger.
Note: Richard Warren married Elizabeth Walker, daughter of Augustine Walker, 14 Apr 1610 in Great Amwell, Hartfordshire. She died at Plymouth on 2 October 1673, aged about 90. Elizabeth's maiden name previously had been given as "March" in many sources, without documentation. Their 7 children were: Mary Bartlett, Ann Little, Sarah Cooke, Elizabeth Church, Abigail Snow, Nathaniel, & Joseph.
"Richard & Elizabeth Warren", Pilgrim Hall Museum.
"Richard & Elizabeth Warren in the records of the 17th century" (with wife), Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, MA, 1998-07-14, PilgrimHall.org webpage: PilgrimHall-WarrenRecords-1998: 1628 death of Richard at middle (Morton book); 1673 death of Elizabeth at bottom.
"Richard Warren" (research since 2002), 2006, MayflowerHistory.com webpage: MayflowerHistory-RWarren 
Robert Charles Anderson, "Richard Warren, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633", Vol III, Boston, New England Historic Genelogical Society 1995 p. 1935-1937.
William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, ed. Samuel Morison (New York: Random House, 1952).
William Bradford, History of Plymouth plantation, 1620-1647. Attached.
Jones, Emma C. Brewster. The Brewster Genealogy, 1566-1907: a Record of the Descendants of William Brewster of the "Mayflower," ruling elder of the Pilgrim church which founded Plymouth Colony in 1620. New York: Grafton Press. 1908
Victoria B. Engstrom, "EEL RIVER VALLEY" (of 1627 land grants, 400 acres (1.6 km2) to Warren), Pilgrim Society Notes, Series One, Number 23, 1976, PilgrimHall.org webpage: PilgrimHall-EelRiverValley-RWarren-1976
Martin Green, The Mount Vernon Street Warrens, Simon & Schuster, 1989 ISBN 0684191091
Nathaniel Morton, New England's Memorial (Cambridge, 1669).
Avery, Samuel Putnam, "The Avery, Fairchild & Park families of Massachusetts, Connecticut & Rhode Island, with a short narration of facts concerning Mr. Richard Warren, Mayflower passenger, and his family connections with Thomas Little", Cambridge, U.S.A., Cambridge University Press, 1919 (Google Book)
Gary Boyd Roberts, "Ancestors of American Presidents", Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009.
Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony, Its History and Its People, 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestor Publishers, 1986).
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie: Issue 40 of Sesame booklets; BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2008. ISBN 0554476029.
Robert S. Wakefield, Mayflower Families in Progress: Richard Warren for Four Generations. (Plymouth: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1991).
Robert S. Wakefield, "Mayflower Families through Five Generations", Vol 18 Richard Warren, Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2004. Part 1 of 3, pp 1-4, 17, 74; Vol 18:2 see family #347.
Robert S. Wakefield, "Mayflower Families Through Five Generations" (Vol. 18, Pt. 2: Richard Warren—Fifth Generation Descendants of Mary2, Anna2 and Elizabeth2); edited by Robert S. Wakefield.
Robert S. Wakefield, "Mayflower Families Through Five Generations" (Vol. 18, Pt. 3 Richard Warren) Fifth Generation Descendants of Abigail 2, Nathaniel 2, and Joseph 2; edited by Robert S. Wakefield.
Ruth Berg Walsh, "The Search for Pilgrim Richard Warren's Parentage," Mayflower Quarterly, 51:109-112.
Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters, "Richard Warren of the Mayflower and some of his Descendents", The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1901, Vol. 55:70-78.
Henry Whittemore, Our New England Ancestors and Their Descendants, New England Ancestral Publishing Co., 1900. Attached.
U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900, Yates Publishing, Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004. Original data - This unique collection of records was extracted from a variety of sources including family group sheets and electronic databases. Originally, the information was derived.
External Source Credits
This person was created through the import of Morris_gedcom.ged on 11 June 2010.
ELIZABETH WARREN OF PLYMOUTH COLONY
by Peggy M. Baker
Director & Librarian, Pilgrim Society & Pilgrim Hall Museum
"A woman of valor, who can find? Far beyond pearls is her value…
Give her the fruit of her hands, and she will be praised at the gates by her very own deeds."
The "Pilgrim Mothers" are mysteries. These intrepid women of 17th century Plymouth Colony are known by their husbands and known by their children. Their own lives, however, are seen only in glimpses, pale images reflected off the activities of the families which revolved around them. The women themselves are almost invisible.
While the court records of Plymouth Colony reveal much about the daily activities of the law-abiding men of the Colony, they tell us little about the women (except for those few women who broke the law). There was, in fact, no officially recognized role for the law-abiding married woman. The activities and contributions of those women, although vital to the survival and success of the Colony, are nowhere registered or officially acknowledged.
According to the accepted legal convention of the times, all married women, even those conducting business independently, were regarded as representatives of their husbands. Only widows could be legally recognized as agents in their own right. Very few widows availed themselves of the privileges and the responsibilities that such independent status would entail.
One Pilgrim woman, however, breaks through the patriarchal conventions of 17th century society. By the longevity of her widowhood and by the independence of her actions, Elizabeth Warren emerges from the collective category of "Pilgrim Mother" as a highly individual woman.
Elizabeth Warren appears full-grown on the shores of American history. Nothing is known of her English background, apart from her marriage to Richard Warren. Richard was one of the 102 passengers on the Mayflower, that sailed into Plymouth Harbor in December 1620.
Many of the Mayflower passengers traveled as families. Some families, however, with many young children or other family responsibilities, or those thought (in Pilgrim William Bradford’s words) "most unfit to bear the brunt of this hard adventure," separated. The men sailed in 1620 and the women and children delayed their sailing, planning on joining their menfolk after the Colony was established. Richard Warren was among the men who sailed alone in 1620.
According to family tradition, Richard Warren brought with him on the Mayflower a particularly treasured (and very portable) family possession - a large linen damask napkin, woven in the Netherlands c.1600, now on display at Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The napkin’s woven design forms horizontal bands. One band shows a series of symbols – maces encircled by laurel branches and flanked by winged cherubs -- representing the city of Amsterdam, with the words "Amster Dam" appearing beneath each symbol. Another band shows the city with houses, churches and canal bridges. The harbor below has rows of small boats with festive figures that appear to be dancing among barrels and boxes on the near shore.
The Warren family was separated for three years. One small ship, the Fortune, arrived in Plymouth in 1621 carrying a number of "lusty young men, and many of them wild enough" to supplement the fledgling Colony’s manpower. It was not until 1623 that two ships, the Anne and the Little James, arrived in Plymouth carrying 80-some new immigrants to Plymouth Colony, including members of the separated families. Among them were Fear and Patience Brewster, the daughters of Mayflower passengers William and Mary Brewster, as well as Samuel Fuller’s wife Bridget. Francis Cooke, who had voyaged on the Mayflower with his teenage son John, was joined by his wife, Hester, and their three younger children Jane, Jacob and Hester. Richard Warren was reunited by his wife Elizabeth and the five Warren daughters, Mary, Anna, Sarah, Elizabeth and Abigail.
The Warrens joined in the life of the small but growing agricultural community : Richard would have played a role in public affairs and worked the fields. Elizabeth would have run the large household that included not only the immediate family but also their farm workers and hired help. On occasion, she would have joined Richard in the fields. The Warren home would have been small and modestly furnished.
Very little furniture survives from the early years of Plymouth Colony. Most pieces were simple and sturdy, suited to life in a frontier community. The Warren "joint stool," so-named for its joined mortise-and-tenon construction, would have been used both as seating furniture and as a table. The Warren stool is now in the collections of Pilgrim Hall Museum.
Two sons were born to the Warrens after Elizabeth’s 1623 arrival in Plymouth Colony. Their birth dates are not recorded but evidence of their presence can be found in the "1627 Division of Cattle."
In 1627, the Colony’s livestock, formerly held in common, was divided among the Colony’s residents. Every person living in Plymouth in 1627 was assigned to a "Lot," generally arranged by family group, and the name of every resident was individually recorded in Plymouth Colony Records Volume I. Listed there we find not only Richard and Elizabeth and their five daughters, but also the names of their two young sons, Nathaniel and Joseph Warren.
Richard Warren died in 1628. Elizabeth, left a widow with 7 children (five young women, ranging from early teens to probably early twenties, and two small boys under the age of 5), never remarried. Elizabeth outlived her husband Richard by 45 years.
Unlike the majority of Plymouth Colony women, Elizabeth Warren’s name appears regularly in the records of Plymouth Colony during the long period of her widowhood. She appears first as paying the taxes owed by all heads of household. She appears next as executor of her husband’s estate.
Elizabeth then appears as one of the Plymouth Colony "Purchasers." In 1626, 53 (male) citizens of Plymouth Colony agreed to underwrite some of the Colony’s debt in a complicated arrangement with its financial backers. Richard Warren was one of the original 1626 Purchasers. The list of the names of the Purchasers did not appear in the Plymouth Colony Records, however, until several years had passed. During that time, Richard Warren had died. In a startling break with tradition, the list of Purchasers does not contain the name of Richard Warren but, instead, "Elizabeth Warren, widow." The Court felt it necessary to explain this unprecedented move, noting that Elizabeth was listed in Richard’s stead because Richard, "dying before he had performed the bargain, the said Elizabeth performed the same after his decease."
In 1635, Elizabeth Warren appears in the Records of Plymouth Colony in a totally new role. No longer seen as acting to fulfill the obligations of her long-deceased husband Richard, Elizabeth now enters the recorded life of the Colony as a totally independent agent. We have not only a court case involving Elizabeth, we hear an echo of her actual words.
Elizabeth brought her servant Thomas Williams before the Court for "speaking profane & blasphemous speeches against the majesty of God." In a disagreement between mistress and servant, Elizabeth Warren had exhorted Thomas Williams "to fear God and do his duty. He answered, he neither feared God, nor the devil." Although Governor William Bradford advocated "bodily punishment," the judgment of the Court was that a reproof was sufficient, Williams having "spoken in passion and distemper," and making "humble acknowledgment of his offense."
Elizabeth’s activities continue to be documented to an unusual extent in the Records of Plymouth Colony. In the late 1630s, she appears in the Records deeding land from the Warren holdings in Plymouth’s Eel River Valley to her sons-in-law.
The Warren daughters had matured and married: Mary to Anne passenger Robert Bartlett, Anna to Thomas Little, Sarah to Mayflower passenger John Cooke, Elizabeth to Richard Church and Abigail to Anthony Snow. Relations within the large extended family seemed amicable.
In 1652, however, trouble suddenly loomed! Elizabeth’s deeds to her sons-in-law, deeds that had been executed 15 years previously, were challenged by persons unnamed. The Plymouth Colony Records report a petition brought by Elizabeth’s son-in-law Robert Bartlett asking for clarification of Elizabeth’s right to deed land because "sundry speeches have passed from some who pretend themselves to be the sole and right heirs unto the lands on which the said Robert Bartlett now liveth, at the Eel River, in the township of Plymouth, which he, the said Robert, had bestowed on him by his mother-in-law Mistress Elizabeth Warren."
The Court decided, unequivocally, in Elizabeth’s favor, finding that she had the power to give the land, since she had been "by an order of Court bearing date March the 7th, 1637, and other acts of the Court before, invested into the state and condition of a Purchaser." The Court once again ratified and confirmed her status as a Purchaser and specifically ruled that Elizabeth Warren had the right to dispose of her lands, including the gifts of land she had made to her sons-in-law.
Even this clear-cut Court ruling was insufficient to settle the quarrel. And as the dispute continued, the identity of those "who pretend themselves to be the sole and right heirs" was revealed to be Elizabeth’s own son Nathaniel Warren and his grandmother-in-law Jane Collier.
Nathaniel, now married and in his mid-to-late 20s, claimed that he "hath right unto as heir unto the lands of Mr. Richard Warren, deceased." The two sides in the quarrel agreed to submit the argument to arbitration, each choosing 2 members to sit on the 4-man arbitration panel. Elizabeth Warren chose William Bradford and Thomas Willett. Nathaniel Warren chose Thomas Prence and Myles Standish.
The arbitration panel came swiftly to its unanimous conclusion. Nathaniel Warren received an acknowledgment of his right to share in the Warren lands. The panel confirmed what had never seemed to be in doubt, namely that Nathaniel could continue to hold the land he currently possessed. Nathaniel was also granted 2/3 of the Warren "Purchase Lands" which had not as yet been assigned and possession, after Elizabeth’s death, of 3 acres of land near his current holdings.
The major finding of the arbitration panel, however, must have come as a severe shock to young Nathaniel! The expected outcome by law and by custom would certainly have favored Elizabeth’s son. But, far from vindicating his patriarchal claims, the panel issued a stunning and resounding confirmation of Elizabeth’s status as head of her household and of her authority to act as an independent agent. The panel not only found that she "shall enjoy all the rest of her lands and all of them to whom she hath already at any time heretofore disposed any part thereof by gift, sale or otherwise, or shall hereafter do the same, to them and their heirs for ever without any trouble or molestation" but severely rapped Nathaniel’s unfilial knuckles.
The Court concluded by bidding Nathaniel to forever cease all other or further claims, suits, questions, or any molestations or disturbance at any time hereafter concerning the premises, but that his said mother and all her children, or any other to whom she has any way disposed any lands or shall hereafter do the same, but that they may quietly and peaceably possess and enjoy the same.
Elizabeth Warren seems, indeed, to have quietly and peaceably enjoyed the remainder of her days. When she died in 1673, this remarkable woman received the unprecedented but well-earned tribute of a eulogy in the Records of Plymouth Colony Mistress Elizabeth Warren, an aged widow, aged above 90 years, deceased on the second of October, 1673. Who, having lived a godly life, came to her grave as a shock of corn fully ripe.