The Mayflower

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A band of English Calvinists fled when persecuted in their homeland. In 1609, after a brief stay in Amsterdam, about 100 of them settled in Leiden. A decade or so later, as Leiden’s political and economic climate changed, the refugees moved again. They boarded a ship called the Mayflower, sailed across the Atlantic; and in 1620, put down roots in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. Today we call them the Pilgrims. Read more at [1]

The Mayflower was a now famous ship that carried the Pilgrims, English separatists looking for freedom from religious prosecution, from Southampton, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620.

The ship departed England on September 6 and would sail for 66 days. The journey was hampered by disease, which would claim two lives, before dropping anchor inside the hooked tip of Cape Cod on November 11. The ship was originally set to make landfall at the mouth of the Hudson River, but had sailed off course as winter approached. The passengers all went ashore on March 21. The Mayflower, a privately commissioned vessel, left for a return trip to England on April 5. The Mayflower was likely dismantled for scrap lumber after the death of her captain, Christopher Jones, in 1622.

History of the ship

The Mayflower served as a cargo ship in Europe. From 1609 to 1622 the ship was captained by Christopher Jones, who would lead the ship on its famous journey to the New World.

While the exact size of The Mayflower is unknown, it is believed it was a standard 180-ton merchant ship. It would have been between 90 and 110 feet with a width of about 25 feet. A typical crew would have been roughly 25 or 30 men.

The voyage to the New World

The original plans for the voyage were to include two ships. The Mayflower as well as the Speedwell, a ship which had been previously hired to transport Pilgrims from Delfshaven in the Netherlands to the final departure point, Southampton. However, the Speedwell developed a leak and had to dock at Dartmouth to be refitted on August 17.

With the leak repaired, the two ships departed with their Pilgrims on board. However, the leak would again spring on the Speedwell, forcing the ships to return to dock. It was later revealed that there had not been a leak on the Speedwell. It was believed by the Pilgrims on board that the disaster was fabricated by the crew of the Speedwell so they could escape their contract.

The Pilgrims reorganized their plan and finally made their departure on the Mayflower alone on September 6. The ship was crammed full and space was limited and confined.

While the original destination, near what is present-day New York city, was the mouth of the Hudson River, the Mayflower was blown off-course by the onset of winter weather. The settlers intended to travel to their Virginia destination where they had received permission from the London Company to settle. But due to their setback, their untimely landing occurred in the middle of the harsh New England winter.

The settlers were experiencing strife and disenchantment within their ranks. In order to quell a potential uprising, they all wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact on November 11.

Upon their arrival, the winter snows had already settled in. The settlers discovered what they believed was an empty Native American village. Assuming the natives gone, they dug up many areas of the village. They discovered stores of food alongside burial mounds. The settlers stole the food and looted the graves, infuriating the Native Americans. The settlers continued down the coast and explored the Cape Cod area. They continued to raid the empty villages and desecrate the graves as they went. They had difficult confrontation with the angry Native Americans in December 1620 on the later aptly-named First Encounter Beach.

The passengers remained on board the Mayflower during the winter. There was an outbreak of a severe disease that, when all was said and done, left only 53 of the original 100 surviving passengers alive. In the spring, the passengers built houses on shore and on March 21, 1621, the surviving passengers all departed the Mayflower.

The Mayflower left the New World for England on April 5 and arrived back on on May 6.

There were 102 passengers on the Mayflower: 74 men and 28 women. Here is a complete list:

Pilgrim Families

Planters recruited by London merchants

Men hired to stay one year

  • Alden, John (Harwich, Essex) - considered a ship's crewman (he was the ship's cooper) but joined settlers
  • Allerton, John, was to return to England to help the rest of the group immigrate but died in the winter.
  • Ely, Mr., hired as seaman, returned to England after term was up.
  • English, Thomas, hired to master a shallop but died in the winter
  • Trevore, William, hired as seaman, returned to England after term was up

Family servants

Thirteen of the 18 people in this category were attached to Pilgrim families, the other five were attached to Non-Pilgrim families.

  • Butten, William, age "a youth", servant of Samuel Fuller, only person who died during the voyage
  • Carter, Robert, age unknown, servant or apprentice to William Mullins, shoemaker.
  • (?), Dorothy, maidservant of John Carver.
  • Doty, Edward, (possibly Lincolnshire) age probably about 21, servant to Stephen Hopkins
  • Holbeck, William, age likely under 21, servant to William White
  • Hooke, John, (probably Norwich, Norfolk) age 13, apprenticed to Isaac Allerton
  • Howland, John (probably Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire), age about 21, manservant for Governor John Carver
  • Lancemore, John (probably Shropshire or Worcestershire), age under 21, servant to the Christopher Martin
  • Latham, William, age 11, servant/apprentice to the John Carver family
  • Leister, Edward (Kensington), aged over 21, servant to Stephen Hopkins
  • More, Ellen, (Shipton, Shropshire), age 8, indentured to Edward Winslow
    • Jasper More, (Shipton, Shropshire), brother, age 7, indentured to John Carver
    • Richard, (Shipton, Shropshire), brother, age 6, indentured to William Brewster
    • Mary, (Shipton, Shropshire), sister, age 4, indentured to William Brewster
  • Soule, George, teacher of Edward Winslow's children
  • Story, Elias, age under 21, in the care of Edward Winslow
  • Thompson, Edward, age under 21, in the care of the William White family, first passenger to die after the Mayflower reached Cape Cod.
  • Wilder, Roger, age under 21, servant in the John Carver family


Comments: 19

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These links talk about the English barn in "East Jordans", North West of London, having been constructed from planks and beams of the Mayflower. ["An Historic Barn Find - Paul Harvey - The Rest of the Story"; the first 3:30 minutes is Paul Harvey; remainder shows the barn with anecdotes.] ["The mysterious old barn ‘built using wood from the Pilgrim Fathers’ ship the Mayflower’"; surroundings of the barn] ["What became of the Mayflower?"; scholarly treatment]

posted by Charles Smith
George Soule is my 9th Great-Grandfather, direct lineage. 11th Generation. Major tie-in is Charles Calvin Soles and his wife. Related to at least 4 other Passengers, including, Howland, Brewster, Billington and others.
posted by Johnny Piver Jr
I have been working on my husband's family tree and I am researching the Clark/Clarke line. I have noticed that one this site that they do not mention any of the crew that helped to sail the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower. I did happen to find on the site that a member of the crew was shown to be Ship's Pilot and Master Mate, John Clarke. In further researching my husbands Clarke/Clark family line John Clarke's son Thomas Clarke came over on the Anne in 1623. My question is about the accuracy of this statement. Thanks.

My e-mail is [email address removed]

The parents of the Thomas Clark who came over on the Anne are unknown:
posted by [Living Emmons]
In his latest book - Puritans, Plagues, and Promises, Cole, Clarke, & Collier in England to America, Author Bill Cole documents the parentage of Thomas Clarke through his mother Jane (Yates) Clarke Collier. After Thomas Clarke's father (Thomas Clarke) demise, his mother Jane married William Collier. This book is very well researched and wonderful to read.
posted by Jamie Moyer
Thanks for this info, Jamie. Does he cite sources to help prove the link between Thomas and his parents? Perhaps you could share any source information in the comments of the profile for Thomas Clarke where the possibility of John Clarke as his father is discussed in the Research notes.
posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
From the back cover of his book - Author Cole's meticulously-researched creative non-fiction narrative contains over 500 citations to early books, manuscripts, court records, and parish registers and other sources,. These records illuminate his characters lives and reveal long-lost details hidden in England's archives - underutilized genealogical gems! As a descendant of Jane (Yates) Clarke Collier, I couldn't agree more. The book follows the lives of the families mentioned in the title for more than 50 years in England, before they came to America.
posted by Jamie Moyer
Yes, I see now he was the author of the article in The Mayflower Descendant in 2021. I believe he's discussing this Thomas Clarke, husband of Jane (Yates) Collier in that article. I'll private message you for more info.
posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
Wow. Just found out today that I'm (in one way or another) related to just about everyone on the Mayflower. All the things I've learned from WikiTree!!! Now I wanna/gotta get that book! Sounds incredible! Have you been able to make any W.T. additions from sources in it? Thanks for letting us know.
posted by Day (Bredleau) Thomas
Updated the link for Susanna (Jackson) White, to reflect the recently updated information regarding her maiden name.
posted by R Prior
The Relationship Finder Quick Link for Mayflower Passenger John Carver needs to be changed to Carver-254.
posted by John Kingman
Changed Katherine (White-11597) Carver link, due to merge (wife of Carver-254).
posted by John Kingman
changed Carver-538 to Carver-254 because they've been merged together
posted by Dennis Wheeler
The profile linked for John Alden was incorrect. Changed from Alden-2 to Alden-63.
posted by John Kingman
In the process of tracing the Brooks line back thru the Mullender, Morgan, Par(r)ish, Bethiah to Wm Brewster line. Just discovered the possibility of this lineage.
posted by Mary Brooks
The Billington family was there, John, Ellen, Francis, John Jr.
posted by Marvin Barger
I'm researching John Simmons who married a daughter of John Alden and Pricilla Mullins Alden.

Also Richard Simmons who arrived in Massachusetts on the ship "The Fortune" . Anyone with knowledge of their descendants please leave me a message. I will gladly assist on any other members of the earliest settlers, Wade, Parrish, Warren, Gresham, Grisham or others if I can. Mike Simmons

posted by Mike Simmons
Changed Henry Sampson from Sampson-27 (which linked to Nancy Gertrude Sampson) to Henry Samson
posted by Bruce Veazie