The Wayfaring Pilgrim

A background of my ancesters who came to America on the Mayflower

Friday, March 03, 2006

Through my father's mother's side of the family, we descend directly from at least 3 different families that came to America on the Mayflower.

The Mayflower Compact

On November 11, 1620, of the 102 passengers, (37 of whom were Separatists fleeing religious persecution in Europe), 41 signed the Mayflower Compact. Among them were two of my direct ancestors, Francis Cooke and James Chilton. (James died on the ship about a month later.) This compact established the first basis in the new world for written laws and was the precurser to the Declaration of Independance.

In my research, I've found that many of the passengers married other passengers, as did their children, which means that almost anyone who has one Mayflower ancestor, is most likely related to most of the other Mayflower passengers, as well, either as a distant cousin or through marriage. For me, these include Myles Standish, Richard Warren and William Brewster.

This photo is of the Wilcox children, descendants of the Mayflower passengers. From left to right is Wilda, Ada, Dora (the baby), then Adelia and Jack. (Adelia is my grandmother on my father's side.)

Richard Warren (app. 1580 - 1628) was one of the passengers on the Mayflower in 1620, settling in Plymouth Colony, one of the signatories of the Mayflower Compact, and one of the 19 (of 41) signers that survived the first winter. His wife Elizabeth Walker, came to America from England with their first five children, Mary, Ann, Sarah, Abigail and Elizabeth, on the "Anne" in 1623. Once in America, they had two more children, Nathaniel and Joseph, before Richard died in 1628.

Richard Warren was accorded by Governor William Bradford the prefix "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.

In Mort's Relation, published in 1622, we learn that Warren was chosen, when the Mayflower stopped at Cape Cod before reaching Plymouth, to be a member of a ten-man exploring party. He was not of the Leyden, Holland, Pilgrims, but joined them in Southampton, England to sail on the Mayflower. he is said to have been from London.

He received his acres in the Division of Land in 1623, and his family shared in the 1627 Division of Cattle. But he died a year later in 1628, the only record of his death being found in Nathaniel Morton's 1669 book New England's Memorial, in which he writes: "This year died Mr. Richard Warren, who was an useful instrument and during his life bare a deep share in the difficulties and troubles of the first settlement of the Plantation of New Plymouth."

All of Richard Warren's children survived to adulthood, married, and had large families, making Richard Warren, quite possibly, the Mayflower passenger with more descendants than any other passenger. His daughter, Sarah, married John Cooke, son of Francis Cooke, who were both on the Mayflower.

Among his descendants are: Civil War general and U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Alan Shepard the first American in space and the fifth person to walk on the moon, author Laura Ingalls Wilder, actress Lucille Ball, actor Richard Gere, writer Henry David Thoreau, and many more. A detailed genealogy of just the first five generations takes up three volumes. (I'm still working on this one!)

Francis Cooke was born about 1583 most likely in England, in the Canterbury or Norwich areas. He married Hester le Mahieu on 20 July 1603 in Leiden, Holland. She was a French Walloon whose parents had initially fled to Canterbury, England.

In 1606, the Cookes left Leiden and went to Norwich, Norfolk for a time but returned to have their first son, John, baptized at the French church in Leiden, sometime between January and March, 1607. Francis, and his oldest son John, came on the Mayflower to Plymouth in 1620. His wife Hester and their other children Jane, Jacob, Elizabeth and Hester came to Plymouth in 1623 on the ship Anne after the Colony was founded and better established.

Francis lived out his life in Plymouth and was on a number of minor committees such as the committee to lay out the highways, and received some minor appointments by the Court to survey or lay out land. He was a juror on a number of occasions, and was on the coroner's jury that examined the body of Martha Bishop, the 4-year old daughter who was murdered by her mother Alice. He received some modest land grants at various times throughout his life. He lived to be about 80 years old, dying in 1663; his wife Hester survived him by at least three years and perhaps longer.
I've been looking for Francis Cooke's parents, and I already had Richard and Edward as possibilities for his father, which would have been another line, (also from Adelia Wilcox's line), back to Charlemagne, but have been told that the Mayflower Society has no documentation for his parents.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Anna Mary Robertson (i.e. "Grandma Moses") both descend from Francis Cooke through his son John Cooke, and Presidents George H. W. Bush and of course George W. Bush, descend from him through his daughter, Jane.

My line from my 10th Great Grandfather, Francis Cooke;
10th GG Francis Cooke + Hester le Mahieu:
9th GG Jane Cooke + Experience Mitchell
8th GG Elizabeth Mitchell + John Washburn Jr.
7th GG Jonathan Washburn + Mary Vaughn
6th GG Cornelius Washburn + Experience Richards
5th GG Joanna Washburn + Daniel Conant
4th GG Jeremiah Conant + Abigail Muncy
3rd GG Charlotte Conant + Benjamin F. Robinson
2nd GG Adelia F Robinson + James E. Wilcox
Great grandparents, John Weslie Wilcox + Amelia Ann Heiney
Grandparents, Adelia Ellen Wilcox + Merrel Frank Brownlee
Parents, Robert Wilcox Brownlee + Joyce Lorine Haren
and myself

James Chilton was born about 1556, probably at Canterbury, Kent, England, the son of Lyonell Chilton and his second wife. James married about 1585 or 1586, and had his first child baptized at St. Paul's, Canterbury, Kent, England on 15 January 1586/7. James and his wife had seven children born in Canterbury, Kent, before moving about 1600 to Sandwich, Kent, where he had his last three children baptized.

It was presumably not long before the family left for Holland. In 1619, James Chilton (aged 63) and his oldest daughter Isabella were caught in the middle of an anti-Arminian riot in Leiden, and he was hit in the head with a stone, requiring the services of the town surgeon Jacob Hey.

James, his wife, and his youngest daughter Mary came on the Mayflower in 1620. James, at the age of 64, was the oldest person to have made the Mayflower's voyage. James died on December 8, 1620 onboard the Mayflower, which was anchored off Provincetown Harbor--one of six passengers to die in the month of December.

My line from the Chiltons;
11th GG James Chilton + Susanna Furner
10th GG Mary Chilton + John Winslow
9th GG Susanna Winshow + Robert Latham
8th GG Mercy Latham + Isaac Harris
7th GG Mary Harris + Daniel Packard
6th GG Martha Packard + Jeremiah Conant
5th GG Daniel Conant + Joanna Washburn
4th GG Jeremiah Conant + Abigail Muncy
3rd GG Charlotte Conant + Benjamin Franklin Robinson
2nd GG Adelia Floretta Robinson + James Ephraim Wilcox
Great grandparents John Weslie Wilcox + Amelia Ann Heiney
Parents Robert Wilcox Brownlee + Joyce Lorine Haren

Mary Chilton was born in 1607 in Sandwich, Kent, England, and was the daughter of James Chilton and his wife (whose name has not been discovered). When Mary was just two years old, the Archdeaconry Court began excommunication proceedings against her mother, who had attended the secret burial of a child of Andrew Sharpe. The child was buried in secret because they opposed the "popish" burial ceremonies required by the Church of England. Mary and her family then came to Leiden, Holland, and joined with the Pilgrims' church there.

In 1620, at the age of 13, Mary came with her parents on the Mayflower. She is believed to be the first female to step ashore at Plymouth Rock, but there is no historical proof of this. Her father was one of the first who died after the ship had anchored off Provincetown Harbor. Her mother also died sometime later the first winter, leaving her orphaned in the New World. It is uncertain which family raised her, but in 1623, at the age of 16, Mary received her share in the Division of Land, and her property was apparently located between that of Myles Standish and John Alden, and was not too far from Edward and John Winslow. Edward Winslow's brother John had come to Plymouth on the ship Fortune in 1621. Sometime between 1623 and 1627, she married John Winslow.

Their first child John was born about 1627, and nine more children would follow. The family resided in Plymouth for many years, but eventually ended up in Boston, where her husband John died in 1674. Mary made out her will in 1676 and died about 1679.

William Brewster was born about 1566, the son of William Brewster and Mary Smythe (or Simkinson). He was educated in both Greek and Latin and spent some time at Cambridge University, although he never completed a full degree. He served William Davison, Secretary of State, and then worked himself into his father's postmaster duties and maintained Scrooby Manor. Brewster was instrumental in establishing the small Separatist church with Richard Clyfton, and they often held their meetings in the Manor house. Brewster and the others were eventually found and forced out, and fleeing prosecution and persecution, they headed to Amsterdam in 1608, then to Leiden, Holland in 1609 where Brewster became the church's Elder.

In Leiden, Brewster and Thomas Brewer began working a printing press and publishing religious books and pamphlets which were then illegally conveyed into England. Brewster also worked teaching University of Leiden students English. By 1618, the English and Dutch authorities were in pursuit of him. Thomas Brewer was arrested and held in the University of Leiden's prison, but William Brewster managed to evade the authorities and went into hiding for a couple years.

When the Leiden church congregation decided to send a small group to set up and establish a colony in the states that everyone could eventually move to, their pastor John Robinson decided to remain behind in Leiden with the majority of the congregation, intending to come later. The small group that went on the Mayflower asked that Elder Brewster, the next highest ranking church official, go with them. He agreed and brought his wife Mary and two youngest children, Love and Wrestling, on the Mayflower with him. Brewster continued his work as Church Elder throughout his life at Plymouth Colony. His wife Mary died in 1627, and he never remarried. He lived to be nearly 80 years old, dying in 1644. President Zachary Taylor, Cokie Roberts and Bing Crosby descend from him.

I am not a direct descendant of William Brewster, but a cousin. (I'm working on the exact relationship!) His descendants married a descendant of Francis Cooke's son-in-law by his 2nd wife.

William Brewster + Mary Love Wentworth
Jonathan Brewster + Lucretia Oldham
Benjamin Brewster + Ann Addis
Daniel Brewster + Hannah Gager
Jonathan Brewster I + Mary Parrish
Jonathan Brewster II + Zipporah Smith
Jonathan Brewster III + Lois Marsh
Lucinda Brewster + Elisha Mitchell
Clark Ward Mitchell
(the common ancester of the Brewster and Mitchell families)

Elisha Mitchell's parents were William Mitchell + Elizabeth Ward
William's parents were Edward Mitchell + Elizabeth Cushing
Edward's parents were Edward Mitchell (half brother to my ancestor, Elizabeth Mitchell) + Alice Bradford
Edward's parents were Experience Mitchell + Mary, his 2nd wife.
Experience Mitchell has a line to me through his daughter with his first wife, Jane Cooke; (below is simply the Cooke line again.)
9th GG Experience Mitchell + Jane Cooke
8th GG Elizabeth Mitchell + John Washburn Jr.
7th GG Jonathan Washburn + Mary Vaughn
6th GG Cornelius Washburn + Experience Richards
5th GG Joanna Washburn + Daniel Conant
4th GG Jeremiah Conant + Abigail Muncy
3rd GG Charlotte Conant + Benjamin F. Robinson
2nd GG Adelia F Robinson + James E. Wilcox
Great grandparents, John Weslie Wilcox + Amelia Ann Heiney
Grandparents, Adelia Ellen Wilcox + Merrel Frank Brownlee
Parents, Robert Wilcox Brownlee + Joyce Lorine Haren
and myself

Merrel and Adelia Wilcox-Brownlee

Evelyn, Richard, Merrel Jr.("Frank"), Geradline and Robert Brownlee. (Robert, the youngest is my father.)

Adelia with her sons, Richard and Robert.

Christmas 1963 with several cousins, grandchildren of Merrel and Adelia Wilcox-Brownlee.

If you are also a descendant of any of these people and would like to share any comments and photos, feel free to email them to me & I will put them in here.