Infomotions, Inc.The Women Who Came in the Mayflower / Marble, Annie Russell

Author: Marble, Annie Russell
Title: The Women Who Came in the Mayflower
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): plymouth; winslow; mayflower; standish; bradford; priscilla; alden; elizabeth tilley; edward winslow; mary chilton; plymouth plantation; hopkins; bradford's history; colony; plymouth colony; elizabeth; john alden; pilgrim; mayflower descendant; john; edwa
Contributor(s): Abbott, Thomas Kingsmill, 1829-1913 [Translator]
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Title: The Women Who Came in the Mayflower

Author: Annie Russell Marble

Release Date: January, 2005  [EBook #7252]
[This file was first posted on March 31, 2003]

Edition: 10

Language: English

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This little book is intended as a memorial to the women who came in
_The Mayflower_, and their comrades who came later in _The
Ann_ and _The Fortune_, who maintained the high standards of
home life in early Plymouth Colony. There is no attempt to make a
genealogical study of any family. The effort is to reveal glimpses of
the communal life during 1621-1623. This is supplemented by a few
silhouettes of individual matrons and maidens to whose influence we
may trace increased resources in domestic life and education.

One must regret the lack of proof regarding many facts, about which
are conflicting statements, both of the general conditions and the
individual men and women. In some instances, both points of view have
been given here; at other times, the more probable surmises have been

The author feels deep gratitude, and would here express it, to the
librarians of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the New England
Genealogic-Historical Register, the American Antiquarian Society, the
Register of Deeds, Pilgrim Hall, and the Russell Library of Plymouth,
private and public libraries of Duxbury and Marshfield, and to Mr.
Arthur Lord and all other individuals who have assisted in this
research. The publications of the Society of Mayflower Descendants,
and the remarkable researches of its editor, Mr. George E. Bowman,
call for special appreciation.

ANNIE RUSSELL MARBLE. _Worcester, Massachusetts._










    "So they left ye goodly and pleasante citie, which had been ther
    resting-place near 12 years; but they knew they were pilgrimes, &
    looked not much on those things, but lift up their eyes to ye
    heavens, their dearest cuntrie, and quieted their spirits."

    --_Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantations. Chap. VII._

December weather in New England, even at its best, is a test of
physical endurance. With warm clothes and sheltering homes today, we
find compensations for the cold winds and storms in the exhilarating
winter sports and the good cheer of the holiday season.

The passengers of _The Mayflower_ anchored in Plymouth harbor,
three hundred years ago, lacked compensations of sports or fireside
warmth. One hundred and two in number when they sailed,--of whom
twenty-nine were women,--they had been crowded for ten weeks into a
vessel that was intended to carry about half the number of
passengers. In low spaces between decks, with some fine weather when
the open hatchways allowed air to enter and more stormy days when they
were shut in amid discomforts of all kinds, they had come at last
within sight of the place where, contrary to their plans, they were
destined to make their settlement.

At Plymouth, England, their last port in September, they had "been
kindly entertained and courteously used by divers friends there
dwelling," [Footnote: Relation or Journal of a Plantation Settled at
Plymouth in New-England and Proceedings Thereof; London, 1622
(Bradford and Winslow) Abbreviated In Purchas' Pilgrim, X; iv; London,
1625.] but they were homeless now, facing a new country with frozen
shores, menaced by wild animals and yet more fearsome savages.
Whatever trials of their good sense and sturdy faith came later, those
days of waiting until shelter could be raised on shore, after the
weeks of confinement, must have challenged their physical and
spiritual fortitude.

There must have been exciting days for the women on shipboard and in
landing. There must have been hours of distress for the older and the
delight in adventure which is an unchanging trait of the young of
every race. Wild winds carried away some clothes and cooking-dishes
from the ship; there was a birth and a death, and occasional illness,
besides the dire seasickness. John Howland, "the lustie young man,"
fell overboard but he caught hold of the topsail halyard which hung
extended and so held on "though he was sundry fathoms under water,"
until he was pulled up by a rope and rescued by a boat-hook.
[Footnote: Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation; ch. 9.]

Recent research [Footnote: "The Mayflower," by H. G. Marsden;
Eng. Historical Review, Oct., 1904; The Mayflower Descendant, Jan.,
1916] has argued that the captain of _The Mayflower_ was probably
not _Thomas Jones_, with reputation for severity, but a Master
Christopher Jones of kindlier temper. The former captain was in
Virginia, in September, 1620, according to this account. With the most
generous treatment which the captain and crew could give to the women,
they must have been sorely tried. There were sick to be nursed,
children to be cared for, including some lively boys who played with
powder and nearly caused an explosion at Cape Cod; nourishment must be
found for all from a store of provisions that had been much reduced by
the delays and necessary sales to satisfy their "merchant adventurers"
before they left England. They slept on damp bedding and wore musty
clothes; they lacked exercise and water for drink or cleanliness.
Joyful for them must have been the day recorded by Winslow and
Bradford, [Footnote: Relation or Journal, etc. (1622).]--"On Monday
the thirteenth of November our people went on shore to refresh
themselves and our women to wash, as they had great need."

During the anxious days when the abler men were searching on land for
a site for the settlement, first on Cape Cod and later at Plymouth,
there were events of excitement on the ship left in the harbor.
Peregrine White was born and his father's servant, Edward Thompson,
died. Dorothy May Bradford, the girl-wife of the later Governor of the
colony, was drowned during his absence. There were murmurings and
threats against the leaders by some of the crew and others who were
impatient at the long voyage, scant comforts and uncertain future.
Possibly some of the complaints came from women, but in the hearts of
most of them, although no women signed their names, was the resolution
that inspired the men who signed that compact in the cabin of _The
Mayflower_,--"to promise all due submission and obedience." They
had pledged their "great hope and inward zeal of laying good
foundation for ye propagating and advancing ye gospell of ye kingdom
of Christ in those remote parts of ye world; yea, though they should
be but as stepping-stones unto others for ye performing of so great a
work"; with such spirit they had been impelled to leave Holland and
such faith sustained them on their long journey.

Many of the women who were pioneers at Plymouth had suffered severe
hardships in previous years. They could sustain their own hearts and
encourage the younger ones by remembrance of the passage from England
to Holland, twelve years before, when they were searched most cruelly,
even deprived of their clothes and belongings by the ship's master at
Boston. Later they were abandoned by the Dutchman at Hull, to wait
for fourteen days of frightful storm while their husbands and
protectors were carried far away in a ship towards the coast of
Norway, "their little ones hanging about them and quaking with cold."
[Footnote: Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation; ch. 2.]

There were women with frail bodies, like Rose Standish and Katherine
Carver, but there were strong physiques and dauntless hearts sustained
to great old age, matrons like Susanna White and Elizabeth Hopkins and
young women like Priscilla Mullins, Mary Chilton, Elizabeth Tilley and
Constance Hopkins. In our imaginations today, few women correspond to
the clinging, fainting figures portrayed by some of the painters of
"The Departure" or "The Landing of the Pilgrims." We may more readily
believe that most of the women were upright and alert, peering
anxiously but courageously into the future. Writing in 1910, John
Masefield said: [Footnote: Introduction to Chronicles of the Pilgrim
Fathers (Everyman's Library).] "A generation fond of pleasure,
disinclined towards serious thought, and shrinking from hardship, even
if it may be swiftly reached, will find it difficult to imagine the
temper, courage and manliness of the emigrants who made the first
Christian settlement of New England." Ten years ago it would have been
as difficult for women of our day to understand adequately the
womanliness of the Pilgrim matrons and girls. The anxieties and
self-denials experienced by women of all lands during the last five
years may help us to "imagine" better the dauntless spirit of these
women of New-Plymouth. During those critical months of 1621-1623 they
sustained their households and assisted the men in establishing an
orderly and religious colony. We may justly affirm that some of "the
wisdom, prudence and patience and just and equall carriage of things
by the better part" [Footnote: Bradford's History of Plymouth
Plantation; Bk. II.] was manifested among the women as well as the

In spite of the spiritual zeal which comes from devotion to a good
cause, and the inspiration of steady work, the women must have
suffered from homesickness, as well as from anxiety and illness. They
had left in Holland not alone their loved pastor, John Robinson, and
their valiant friend, Robert Cushman, but many fathers, mothers,
brothers and sisters besides their "dear gossips." Mistress Brewster
yearned for her elder son and her daughters, Fear and Patience;
Priscilla Mullins and Mary Chilton, soon to be left orphans, had been
separated from older brothers and sisters. Disease stalked among them
on land and on shipboard like a demon. Before the completion of more
than two or three of the one-room, thatched houses, the deaths were
multiplying. Possibly this disease was typhus fever; more probably it
was a form of infectious pneumonia, due to enervated conditions of the
body and to exposures at Cape Cod. Winslow declared, in his account of
the expedition on shore, "It blowed and did snow all that day and
night and froze withal. Some of our people that are dead took the
original of their death there." Had the disease been "galloping
consumption," as has been suggested sometimes, it is not probable that
many of those "sick unto death" would have recovered and have lived to
be octogenarians.

The toll of deaths increased and the illness spread until, at one
time, there were only "six or seven sound persons" to minister to the
sick and to bury the dead. Fifteen of the twenty-nine women who sailed
from England and Holland were buried on Plymouth hillside during the
winter and spring. They were: Rose Standish; Elizabeth, wife of Edward
Winslow; Mary, wife of Isaac Allerton; Sarah, wife of Francis Eaton;
Katherine, wife of Governor John Carver; Alice, wife of John Rigdale;
Ann, wife of Edward Fuller; Bridget and Ann Tilley, wives of John and
Edward; Alice, wife of John Mullins or Molines; Mrs. James Chilton;
Mrs. Christopher Martin; Mrs. Thomas Tinker; possibly Mrs. John
Turner, and Ellen More, the orphan ward of Edward Winslow. Nearly
twice as many men as women died during those fateful months of
1621. Can we "imagine" the courage required by the few women who
remained after this devastation, as the wolves were heard howling in
the night, the food supplies were fast disappearing, and the houses of
shelter were delayed in completion by "frost and much foul weather,"
and by the very few men in physical condition to rive timber or to
thatch roofs? The common house, twenty foot square, was crowded with
the sick, among them Carver and Bradford, who were obliged "to rise in
good speed" when the roof caught on fire, and their loaded muskets in
rows beside the beds threatened an explosion. [Footnote: Mourt's

Although the women's strength of body and soul must have been sapped
yet their fidelity stood well the test; when _The Mayflower_ was
to return to England in April and the captain offered free passage to
the women as well as to any men who wished to go, if the women "would
cook and nurse such of the crew as were ill," not a man or a woman
accepted the offer. Intrepid in bravery and faith, the women did their
part in making this lonely, impoverished settlement into a home. This
required adjustments of many kinds. Few in number, the women
represented distinctive classes of society in birth and education. In
Leyden, for seven years, they had chosen their friends and there they
formed a happy community, in spite of some poverty and more anxiety
about the education and morals of their children, because of "the
manifold temptations" [Footnote: Bradford's History of Plymouth
Plantation, ch. 3.] of the Dutch city.

Many of the men, on leaving England, had renounced their more
leisurely occupations and professions to practise trades in
Leyden,--Brewster and Winslow as printers, Allerton as tailor, Dr.
Samuel Fuller as say-weaver and others as carpenters, wool-combers,
masons, cobblers, pewterers and in other crafts. A few owned
residences near the famous University of Leyden, where Robinson and
Brewster taught. Some educational influences would thus fall upon
their families. [Footnote: The England and Holland of the Pilgrims,
Henry M. Dexter and Morton Dexter, Boston, 1905.] On the other hand,
others were recorded as "too poor to be taxed." Until July, 1620,
there were two hundred and ninety-eight known members of this church
in Leyden with nearly three hundred more associated with them. Such
economic and social conditions gave to the women certain privileges
and pleasures in addition to the interesting events in this
picturesque city.

In _The Mayflower_ and at Plymouth, on the other hand, the women
were thrust into a small company with widely differing tastes and
backgrounds. One of the first demands made upon them was for a
democratic spirit,--tolerance and patience, adaptability to varied
natures. The old joke that "the Pilgrim Mothers had to endure not
alone their hardships but the Pilgrim Fathers also" has been
overworked. These women would never have accepted pity as
martyrs. They came to this new country with devotion to the men of
their families and, in those days, such a call was supreme in a
woman's life. They sorrowed for the women friends who had been left
behind,--the wives of Dr. Fuller, Richard Warren, Francis Cooke and
Degory Priest, who were to come later after months of anxious waiting
for a message from New-Plymouth.

The family, not the individual, characterized the life of that
community. The father was always regarded as the "head" of the
family. Evidence of this is found when we try to trace the posterity
of some of the pioneer women from the Old Plymouth Colony Records. A
child is there recorded as "the son of Nicholas Snow," "the son of
John Winslow" or "the daughter of Thomas Cushman" with no hint that
the mothers of these children were, respectively, Constance Hopkins,
Mary Chilton and Mary Allerton, all of whom came in _The
Mayflower,_ although the fathers arrived at Plymouth later on
_The Fortune_ and _The Ann_.

It would be unjust to assume that these women were conscious heroines.
They wrought with courage and purpose equal to these traits in the
men, but probably none of the Pilgrims had a definite vision of the
future. With words of appreciation that are applicable to both sexes,
ex-President Charles W. Eliot has said: [Footnote: Eighteenth Annual
Dinner of Mayflower Society, Nov. 20, 1913.] "The Pilgrims did not
know the issue and they had no vision of it. They just loved liberty
and toleration and truth, and hoped for more of it, for more liberty,
for a more perfect toleration, for more truth, and they put their
lives, their labors, at the disposition of those loves without the
least vision of this republic, or of what was going to come out of
their industry, their devotion, their dangerous and exposed lives."



Spring and summer came to bless them for their endurance and
unconscious heroism. Then they could appreciate the verdict of their
leaders, who chose the site of Plymouth as a "hopeful place," with
running brooks, vines of sassafras and strawberry, fruit trees, fish
and wild fowl and "clay excellent for pots and will wash like soap."
[Footnote: Mourt's Relation] So early was the spring in 1621 that on
March the third there was a thunder storm and "the birds sang in the
woods most pleasantly." On March the sixteenth, Samoset came with
Indian greeting. This visit must have been one of mixed sentiments for
the women and we can read more than the mere words in the sentence,
"We lodged him that night at Stephen Hopkins' house and watched him."
[Footnote: Mourt's Relation.] Perhaps it was in deference to the women
that the men gave Samoset a hat, a pair of stockings, shoes, a shirt
and a piece of cloth to tie about his waist. Samoset returned soon
with Squanto or Tisquantum, the only survivor of the Patuxet tribe of
Indians which had perished of a pestilence Plymouth three years
before. He shared with Hobomok the friendship of the settlers for many
years and both Indians gave excellent service. Through the influence
of Squanto the treaty was made in the spring of 1621 with Massasoit,
the first League of Nations to preserve peace in the new world.

Squanto showed the men how to plant alewives or herring as fertilizer
for the Indian corn. He taught the boys and girls how to gather clams
and mussels on the shore and to "tread eels" in the water that is
still called Eel River. He gathered wild strawberries and sassafras
for the women and they prepared a "brew" which almost equalled their
ale of old England. The friendly Indians assisted the men, as the
seasons opened, in hunting wild turkeys, ducks and an occasional deer,
welcome additions to the store of fish, sea-biscuits and cheese. We
are told [Footnote: Mourt's Relation] that Squanto brought also a dog
from his Indian friends as a gift to the settlement. Already there
were, at least, two dogs, probably brought from Holland or England, a
mastiff and a spaniel [Footnote: Winslow's Narration] to give comfort
and companionship to the women and children, and to go with the men
into the woods for timber and game.

It seems paradoxical to speak of child-life in this hard-pressed,
serious-minded colony, but it was there and, doubtless, it was normal
in its joyous and adventuresome impulses. Under eighteen years of age
were the girls, Remember and Mary Allerton, Constance and Damaris
Hopkins, Elizabeth Tilley and, possibly, Desire Minter and Humility
Cooper. The boys were Bartholomew Allerton, who "learned to sound the
drum," John Crakston, William Latham, Giles Hopkins, John and Francis
Billington, Richard More, Henry Sampson, John Cooke, Resolved White,
Samuel Fuller, Love and Wrestling Brewster and the babies, Oceanus
Hopkins and Peregrine White. With the exception of Wrestling Brewster
and Oceanus Hopkins, all these children lived to ripe old age,--a
credit not alone to their hardy constitutions, but also to the care
which the Plymouth women bestowed upon their households.

The flowers that grew in abundance about the settlement must have
given them joy,--_arbutus_ or "mayflowers," wild roses, blue
chicory, Queen Anne's lace, purple asters, golden-rod and the
beautiful sabbatia or "sentry" which is still found on the banks of
the fresh ponds near the town and is called "the Plymouth rose."
Edward Winslow tells [Footnote: Relation of the Manners, Customs,
etc., of the Indians.] of the drastic use of this bitter plant in
developing hardihood among Indian boys. Early in the first year one of
these fresh-water ponds, known as Billington Sea, was discovered by
Francis Billington when he had climbed a high hill and had reported
from it "a smaller sea." Blackberries, blueberries, plums and cherries
must have been delights to the women and children. Medicinal herbs
were found and used by advice of the Indian friends; the bayberry's
virtues as salve, if not as candle-light, were early applied to the
comforts of the households. Robins, bluebirds, "Bob Whites" and other
birds sang for the pioneers as they sing for the tourist and resident
in Plymouth today. The mosquito had a sting,--for Bradford gave a
droll and pungent answer to the discontented colonists who had
reported, in 1624, that "the people are much annoyed with musquetoes."
He wrote: [Footnote: Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation,
Bk. II.] _"They_ are too delicate and unfitte to begin new
plantations and colonies that cannot enduer the biting of a
muskeet. We would wish such to keep at home till at least they be
muskeeto proof. Yet this place is as free as any and experience
teacheth that ye land is tild and ye woods cut downe, the fewer there
will be and in the end scarce any at all." The _end_ has not yet

Good harvests and some thrilling incidents varied the hard conditions
of life for the women during 1621-2. Indian corn and barley furnished
a new foundation for many "a savory dish" prepared by the housewives
in the mortar and pestles, kettles and skillets which they had brought
from Holland. Nuts were used for food, giving piquant flavor both to
"cakes" baked in the fire and to the stuffing of wild turkeys. The
fare was simple, but it must have seemed a feast to the Pilgrims after
the months of self-denials and extremity.

Before the winter of 1621-2 was ended, seven log houses had been built
and four "common buildings" for storage, meetings and workshops.
Already clapboards and furs were stored to be sent back to England to
the merchant adventurers in the first ship. The seven huts, with
thatched roofs and chimneys on the outside, probably in cob-house
style, were of hewn planks, not of round logs. [Footnote: The Pilgrim
Republic, John A. Goodwin, p. 582.] The fireplaces were of stones laid
in clay from the abundant sand. In 1628 thatched roofs were condemned
because of the danger of fire, [Footnote: Records of the Colony of New
Plymouth.] and boards or palings were substituted. During the first
two years or longer, light came into the houses through oiled paper in
the windows. From the plans left by Governor Bradford and the record
of the visit of De Rassieres to Plymouth, in 1627, one can visualize
this first street in New England, leading from Plymouth harbor up the
hill to the cannon and stockade where, later, was the fort. At the
intersection of the first street and a cross-highway stood the
Governor's house. It was fitting that the lot nearest to the fort hill
should be assigned to Miles Standish and John Alden. All had free
access to the brook where flagons were filled for drink and where the
clothes were washed.

A few events that have been recorded by Winslow, Bradford and Morton
were significant and must have relieved the monotony of life. On
January fourth an eagle was shot, cooked and proved "to be excellent
meat; it was hardly to be discerned from mutton." [Footnote: Mourt's
Relation.] Four days later three seals and a cod were caught; we may
assume that they furnished oil, meat and skins for the household.
About the same time, John Goodman and Peter Brown lost their way in
the woods, remained out all night, thinking they heard lions roar
(mistaking wolves for lions), and on their return the next day John
Goodman's feet were so badly frozen "that it was a long time before he
was able to go." [Footnote: _Ibid._] Wild geese were shot and
used for broth on the ninth of February; the same day the Common House
was set ablaze, but was saved from destruction. It is easy to imagine
the exciting effects of such incidents upon the band of thirteen boys
and seven girls, already enumerated. In July, the cry of "a lost
child" aroused the settlement to a search for that "unwhipt rascal,"
John Billington, who had run away to the Nauset Indians at Eastham,
but he was found unharmed by a posse of men led by Captain Standish.

To the women one of the most exciting events must have been the
marriage on May 22, 1621, of Edward Winslow and Mistress Susanna
White. Her husband and two men-servants had died since _The
Mayflower_ left England and she was alone to care for two young
boys, one a baby a few weeks old. Elizabeth Barker Winslow had died
seven weeks before the wedding day. Perhaps the Plymouth women
gossiped a little over the brief interval of mourning, but the
exigencies of the times easily explained the marriage, which was
performed by a magistrate, presumably the Governor.

Even more disturbing to the peaceful life was the first duel on June
18, between Edward Lister and Edward Dotey, both servants of Stephen
Hopkins. Tradition ascribed the cause to a quarrel over the attractive
elder daughter of their master, Constance Hopkins. The duel was fought
with swords and daggers; both youths were slightly wounded in hand and
thigh and both were sentenced, as punishment, to have their hands and
feet tied together and to fast for twenty-four hours but, says a
record, [Footnote: A Chronological History of New England, by Thomas
Prence.] "within an hour, because of their great pains, at their own
and their master's humble request, upon promise of better carriage,
they were released by the Governor." It is easy to imagine this scene:
Stephen Hopkins and his wife appealing to the Governor and Captain
Standish for leniency, although the settlement was seriously troubled
over the occurrence; Elder Brewster and his wife deploring the lack of
Christian affection which caused the duel; Edward Winslow and his
wife, dignified yet tolerant; Goodwife Helen Billington scolding as
usual; Priscilla Mullins, Mary Chilton and Elizabeth Tilley condoling
with the tearful and frightened Constance Hopkins, while the children
stand about, excited and somewhat awed by the punishment and the
distress of the offenders.

Another day of unusual interest and industry for the householders was
the Thanksgiving Day when peace with the Indians and assured
prosperity seemed to follow the ample harvests. To this feast, which
lasted for three days or more, came ninety-one Indians bringing five
deer which they had killed and dressed. These were a great boon to the
women who must prepare meals for one hundred and forty people. Wild
turkeys, ducks, fish and clams were procured by the colonists and
cooked, perhaps with some marchpanes also, by the more expert
cooks. The serious prayers and psalms of the Pilgrims were as amazing
to the Indians as were the strange whoops, dances, beads and feathers
of the savages marvellous to the women and children of Plymouth

In spite of these peaceable incidents there were occasional threats of
Indian treachery, like the theft of tools from two woodsmen and the
later bold challenge in the form of a headless arrow wrapped in a
snake's skin; the latter was returned promptly and decisively with the
skin filled with bullets, and the danger was over for a time. The
stockade was strengthened and, soon after, a palisade was built about
the houses with gates that were locked at night. After the fort of
heavy timber was completed, this was used also as a meeting-house and
"was fitted accordingly for that use." It is to be hoped that
warming-pans and foot-stoves were a part of the "fittings" so that the
women might not be benumbed as, with dread of possible Indian attacks,
they limned from the old Ainsworth's Psalm Book:

    "In the Lord do I trust, how then to my soule doe ye say,
    As doth a little bird unto your mountaine fly away?
    For loe, the wicked bend their bow, their arrows they prepare
    On string; to shoot at dark at them
    In heart that upright are."
    (Psalm xi.)

Even more exciting than the days already mentioned was the great event
of surprise and rejoicing, November 19, 1621, when _The Fortune_
arrived with thirty-five more Pilgrims. Some of these were soon to wed
_Mayflower_ passengers. Widow Martha Ford, recently bereft,
giving birth on the night of her arrival to a fourth child, was wed to
Peter Brown; Mary Becket (sometimes written Bucket) became the wife of
George Soule; John Winslow; later married Mary Chilton, and Thomas
Cushman, then a lad of fourteen, became the husband, in manhood, of
Mary Allerton. His father, Robert Cushman, remained in the settlement
while _The Fortune_ was at anchor and left his son as ward for
Governor Bradford. The notable sermon which was preached at Plymouth
by Robert Cushman at this time (preserved in Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth)
was from the text, "Let no man seek his own; but every man another's
wealth." Some of the admonitions against swelling pride and
fleshly-minded hypocrites seem to us rather paradoxical when we
consider the poverty and self-sacrificing spirit of these pioneers;
perhaps, there were selfish and slothful malcontents even in that
company of devoted, industrious men and women, for human nature was
the same three hundred years ago, in large and small communities, as
it is today, with some relative changes.

Among the passengers brought by _The Fortune_ were some of great
helpfulness. William Wright, with his wife Priscilla (the sister of
Governor Bradford's second wife), was an expert carpenter, and Stephen
Dean, who came with his wife, was able to erect a small mill and grind
corn. Robert Hicks (or Heeks) was another addition to the colony,
whose wife was later the teacher of some of the children. Philip De La
Noye, progenitor of the Delano family in America, John and Kenelm
Winslow and Jonathan Brewster were eligible men to join the group of
younger men,--John Alden, John Howland and others.

The great joy in the arrival of these friends was succeeded by an
agitating fear regarding the food supply, for _The Fortune_ had
suffered from bad weather and its colonists had scarcely any extra
food or clothing. By careful allotments the winter was endured and
when spring came there were hopes of a large harvest from more
abundant sowing, but the hopes were killed by the fearful drought
which lasted from May to the middle of July. Some lawless and selfish
youths frequently stole corn before it was ripe and, although public
whipping was the punishment, the evil persisted. These conditions were
met with the same courage and determination which ever characterized
the leaders; a rationing of the colony was made which would have done
credit to a "Hoover." They escaped famine, but the worn, thin faces
and "the low condition, both in respect of food and clothing" was a
shock to the sixty more colonists who arrived in _The Ann_ and
_The James_ in 1623.

The friends who came in these later ships included some women from
Leyden, "dear gossips" of _Mayflower_ colonists, women whose
resources and characters gave them prominence in the later history of
Plymouth. Notable among them was Mrs. Alice Southworth soon to wed
Governor Bradford. With her came Barbara, whose surname is surmised to
have been Standish, soon to become the wife of Captain Standish.
Bridget Fuller joined her husband, the noble doctor of Plymouth;
Elizabeth Warren, with her five daughters, came to make a home for her
husband, Richard; Mistress Hester Cooke came with three children, and
Fear and Patience Brewster, despite their names, brought joy and cheer
to their mother and girlhood friends; they were later wed to Isaac
Allerton and Thomas Prence, the Governor.

Fortunately, _The Ann_ and _The James_ brought supplies in
liberal measure and also carpenters, weavers and cobblers, for their
need was great. _The James_ was to remain for the use of the
colony. Rations had been as low as one-quarter pound of bread a day
and sometimes their fare was only "a bit of fish or lobster without
any bread or relish but a cup of fair spring water." [Footnote:
Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation; Bk. II.] It is not strange
that Bradford added: "ye long continuance of this diete and their
labors abroad had somewhat abated ye freshness of their former

An important change in the policy of the colony, which affected the
women as well as men, was made at this time. Formerly the
administration of affairs had been upon the communal basis. All the
men and grown boys were expected to plant and harvest, fish and hunt
for the common use of all the households. The women also did their
tasks in common. The results had been unsatisfactory and, in 1623, a
new division of land was made, allotting to member householder an acre
for each member of his family. This arrangement, which was called
"every man for his owne particuler," was told by Bradford with a
comment which shows that the women were human beings, not saints nor
martyrs. He wrote: "The women now went willingly into ye field, and
tooke their little-ones with them to set corne, which before would
aledge weaknes and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene
thought great tiranie and oppression." After further comment upon the
failure of communism as "breeding confusion and discontent" he added
this significant comment: "For ye yong-men that were most able and
fitte for labour and service did repine that they should spend their
time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without
any recompense.... And for men's wives to be commanded to doe servise
for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloathes, etc.,
they deemed it a kind of slaverie, neither could many husbands well
brooke it."

If food was scarce, even a worse condition existed as to clothing in
the summer of 1623. Tradition has ascribed several spinning-wheels and
looms to the women who came in _The Mayflower_, but we can
scarcely believe that such comforts were generously bestowed. There
could have been little material or time for their use. Much skilful
weaving and spinning of linen, flax, and wool came in later Colonial
history. The women must have been taxed to keep the clothes mended for
their families as protection against the cold and storms. The quantity
on hand, after the stress of the two years, would vary according to
the supplies which each brought from Holland or England; in some
families there were sheets and "pillow-beeres" with "clothes of
substance and comeliness," but other households were scantily
supplied. A somewhat crude but interesting ballad, called "Our
Forefathers' Song," is given by tradition from the lips of an old lady
aged ninety-four years, in 1767. If the suggestion is accurate that
she learned this from her mother or grandmother, its date would
approximate the early days of Plymouth history. More probably it was
written much later, but it has a reminiscent flavor of those days of
poverty and brave spirit:

    "The place where we live is a wilderness wood,
    Where grass is much wanted that's fruitful and good;
    Our mountains and hills and our valleys below,
    Are commonly covered with frost and with snow.

    "Our clothes we brought with us are apt to be torn,
    They need to be clouted soon after they are worn,
    But clouting our garments they hinder us nothing,
    Clouts _double_ are warmer than _single_ whole clothing.

    "If fresh meate be wanted to fill up our dish,
    We have carrots and turnips whenever we wish,
    And if we've a mind for a delicate dish,
    We go to the clam-bank and there we catch fish.

    "For pottage and puddings and custards and pies,
    Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies!
    We have pumpkin at morning and pumpkin at noon,
    If it was not for pumpkin we should be undoon."

    [Footnote: The Pilgrim Fathers; W. H. Bartlett, London, 1852.]

What did these Pilgrim women wear? The manifest answer is,--what they
had in stock. No more absurd idea was ever invented than the picture
of these Pilgrims "in uniform," gray gowns with dainty white collars
and cuffs, with stiff caps and dark capes. They wore the typical
garments of the period for men and women in England. There is no
evidence that they adopted, to any extent, Dutch dress, for they were
proud of their English birth; they left Holland partly for fear that
their young people might be educated or enticed away from English
standards of conduct. [Footnote: Bradford's History of Plymouth
Plantation, ch. 4.] Mrs. Alice Morse Earle has emphasized wisely
[Footnote: Two Centuries of Costume in America; N. Y., 1903.] that the
"sad-colored" gowns and coats mentioned in wills were not "dismal";
the list of colors so described in England included (1638) "russet,
purple, green, tawny, deere colour, orange colour, buffs and scarlet."
The men wore doublets and jerkins of browns and greens, and cloaks
with red and purple linings. The women wore full skirts of say,
paduasoy or silk of varied colors, long, pointed stomachers,--often
with bright tone,--full, sometimes puffed or slashed sleeves, and lace
collars or "whisks" resting upon the shoulders. Sometimes the gowns
were plaited or silk-laced; they often opened in front showing
petticoats that were quilted or embroidered in brighter
colours. Broadcloth gowns of russet tones were worn by those who could
not afford silks and satins; sometimes women wore doublets and jerkins
of black and browns. For dress occasions the men wore black velvet
jerkins with white ruffs, like those in the authentic portrait of
Edward Winslow. Velvet and quilted hoods of all colors and sometimes
caps, flat on the head and meeting below the chin with fullness, are
shown in existent portraits of English women and early colonists.

Among relics that are dated back to this early period are the slipper
[Footnote: In Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth.] belonging to Mistress Susanna
White Winslow, narrow, pointed, with lace trimmings, and an
embroidered lace cap that has been assigned to Rose Standish.
[Footnote: Two Centuries of Costume In America; Earle.] Sometimes the
high ruffs were worn above the shoulders instead of "whisks." The
children were dressed like miniature men and women; often the girls
wore aprons, as did the women on occasions; these were narrow and
edged with lace. "Petty coats" are mentioned in wills among the
garments of the women. We would not assume that in 1621-2 _all_
the women in Plymouth colony wore silken or even homespun clothes of
prevailing English fashion. Many of these that are mentioned in
inventories and retained heirlooms, with rich laces and embroideries,
were brought later from England; probably Winslow, Allerton and even
Standish brought back such gifts to the women when they made their
trips to England in 1624 and later. If the pioneer women had laces and
embroideries of gold they probably hoarded them as precious heirlooms
during those early years of want, for they were too sensible to wear
and to waste them. As prosperity came, however, and new elements
entered the colony they were, doubtless, affected by the law of the
General Court, in 1634, which forbade further acquisition of laces,
threads of silver and gold, needle-work caps, bands and rails, and
silver girdles and belts. This law was enacted _not_ by the
Pilgrims of Plymouth, but by the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

When Edward Winslow returned in _The Charity_, in 1624, he
brought not alone a "goodly supply of clothing" [Footnote: Bradford's
History of Plymouth Plantation, Bk. 2.] but,--far more
important,--the first bull and heifers that were in Plymouth. The old
tradition of the white bull on which Priscilla Alden rode home from
her marriage, in 1622 or early 1623, must be rejected. This valuable
addition of "neat cattle" to the resources of the colony caused a
redistribution of land and shares in the "stock." By 1627 a
partnership or "purchas" had been, arranged, for assuming the debts
and maintenance of the Plymouth colony, freed from further
responsibility to "the adventurers" in London. The new division of
lots included also some of the cattle. It was specified, for instance,
that Captain Standish and Edward Winslow were to share jointly "the
Red Cow which belongeth to the poor of the colony to which they must
keep her Calfe of this yeare being a Bull for the Companie, Also two
shee goats." [Footnote: Records of the Colony of New Plymouth In New
England, edited by David Pulslfer, 1861.] Elder Brewster was granted
"one of the four Heifers came in _The Jacob_ called the Blind

Among interesting sidelights upon the economic and social results of
this extension of land and cattle is the remark of Bradford:
[Footnote: Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation, Bk. 2.] "Some
looked for building great houses, and such pleasant situations for
them as themselves had fancied, as if they would be great men and rich
all of a suddaine; but they proved castles in air." Within a short
time, however, with the rapid increase of children and the need of
more pasturage for the cattle, many of the leading men and women
drifted away from the original confines of Plymouth towards Duxbury,
Marshfield, Scituate, Bridgewater and Eastham. Agriculture became
their primal concern, with the allied pursuits of fishing, hunting and
trading with the Indians and white settlements that were made on Cape
Cod and along the Kennebec.

Soon after 1630 the families of Captain Standish, John Alden, and
Jonathan Brewster (who had married the sister of John Oldham), Thomas
Prence and Edward Winslow were settled on large farms in Duxbury and
Marshfield. This loss to the Plymouth settlement was deplored by
Bradford both for its social and religious results. April 2, 1632,
[Footnote: Records of the Colony of New Plymouth In New England,
edited by David Pulslfer, 1861.] a pledge was taken by Alden,
Standish, Prence, and Jonathan Brewster that they would "remove their
families to live in the towne in the winter-time that they may the
better repair to the service of God." Such arrangement did not long
continue, however, for in 1633 a church was established at Duxbury and
the Plymouth members who lived there "were dismiste though very
unwillingly." [Footnote: Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation,
Bk. 2.] Later the families of Francis Eaton, Peter Brown and George
Soule joined the Duxbury colony. Hobomok, ever faithful to Captain
Standish had a wigwam near his master's home until, in his old age, he
was removed to the Standish house, where he died in 1642.

The women who had come in the earlier ships and had lived close to
neighbors at Plymouth must have had lonely hours on their farms in
spite of large families and many tasks. Wolves and other wild animals
were sometimes near, for traps for them were decreed and
allotted. Chance Indians prowled about and the stoutest hearts must
have quailed when some of the recorded hurricanes and storms of 1635
and 1638 uncovered houses, felled trees and corn. In the main,
however, there was peace and many of the families became prosperous;
we find evidence in their wills, several of which have been deciphered
from the original records by George Ernest Bowman, editor of the
"Mayflower Descendants," [Footnote: Editorial rooms at 53 Mt. Vernon
St., Boston.] issued quarterly. By the aid of such records and a few
family heirlooms of unquestioned genuineness, it is possible to
suggest some individual silhouettes of the women of early Plymouth, in
addition to the glimpses of their communal life.



It has been said, with some justice, that the Pilgrims were not
remarkable men, that they lacked genius or distinctive personalities.
The same statement may be made about the women. They did possess, as
men and women, fine qualities for the work which they were destined to
accomplish,--remarkable energy, faith, purpose, courage and
patience. These traits were prominent in the leaders, Carver and
Bradford, Standish and Winslow, Brewster and Dr. Fuller. As assistants
to the men in the civic life of the colony, there were a few women who
influenced the domestic and social affairs of their own and later
generations. From chance records, wills, inventories and traditions
their individual traits must be discerned, for there is scarcely any
sequential, historic record.

Death claimed some of these brave-hearted women before the life at
Plymouth really began. Dorothy May Bradford, the daughter of Deacon
May of the Leyden church, came from Wisbeach, Cambridge; she was
married to William Bradford when she was about sixteen years old and
was only twenty when she was drowned at Cape Cod. Her only child, a
son, John, was left with her father and mother in Holland and there
was long a tradition that she mourned grievously at the separation.
This son came later to Plymouth, about 1627, and lived in Marshfield
and Norwich, Connecticut.

The tiny pieces of a padded quilt with faded threads of silver and
gold, which belonged to Rose Standish, [Footnote: Now in Pilgrim Hall,
Plymouth.] are fitting relics of this mystical, delicate wife of "the
doughty Captain." She died January 29, 1621. She is portrayed in
fiction and poetry as proud of her husband's bravery and his record as
a Lieutenant of Queen Elizabeth's forces in aid of the Dutch. She was
also proud of his reputed, and disputed, inheritance among the titled
families of Standish of Standish and Standish of Duxbury
Hall. [Footnote: For discussion of the ancestry of Standish, see "Some
Recent Investigations of the Ancestry of Capt. Myles Standish," by
Thomas Cruddas Porteus of Coppell, Lancashire; N. E. Gen. Hist.
Register, 68; 339-370; also in edition, Boston, 1914.] There has been
a persistent tradition that Rose was born or lived on the Isle of Man
and was married there, but no records have been found as proofs.

In the painting of "The Embarkation," by Robert Weir, Elizabeth
Barker, the young wife of Edward Winslow, is attired in gay colors and
extreme fashion, while beside her stands a boy of about eight years
with a canteen strapped over his shoulders. It has been stated that
this is the silver canteen, marked "E. W.," now in the cabinet of the
Massachusetts Historical Society. The only record _there_ is
[Footnote: Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, iv, 322.]
"presentation, June, 1870, by James Warren, Senr., of a silver canteen
and pewter plate which once belonged to Gov. Edward Winslow with his
arms and initials." As Elizabeth Barker, who came from Chatsun or
Chester, England, to Holland, was married April 3, 1618, to Winslow,
[Footnote: England and Holland of the Pilgrims, Dexter.] and as she
was his first wife, the son must have been a baby when _The
Mayflower_ sailed. Moreover, there is no record by Bradford of any
child that came with the Winslows, except the orphan, Ellen More. It
has been suggested that the latter was of noble lineage. [Footnote:
The Mayflower Descendant, v. 256.]

Mary Norris, of Newbury in England, wife of one of the wealthiest and
most prominent of the Pilgrims in early years, Isaac Allerton, died in
February of the first winter, leaving two young girls, Remember and
Mary, and a son, Bartholomew or "Bart." The daughters married well,
Remember to Moses Maverick of Salem, and Mary to Thomas
Cushman. Mrs. Allerton gave birth to a child that was still-born while
on _The Mayflower_ and thus she had less strength to endure the
hardships which followed. [Footnote: History of the Allerton Family;
W. S. Allerton, N. Y., 1888.]

When Bradford, recording the death of Katherine Carver, called her a
"weak woman," he referred to her health which was delicate while she
lived at Plymouth and could not withstand the grief and shock of her
husband's death in April. She died the next month. She has been
called "a gracious woman" in another record of her death. [Footnote:
New England Memorial; Morton.] She was the sister or sister-in-law of
John Robinson, their pastor in England and Holland. Recent
investigation has claimed that she was first married to George Legatt
and later to Carver. [Footnote: The Colonial, I, 46; also
Gen. Hist. Reg., 67; 382, note.] Two children died and were buried in
Holland in 1609 and 1617 and, apparently, these were the only children
born to the Carvers. The maid Lois, who came with them on _The
Mayflower_, is supposed to have married Francis Eaton, but she did
not live after 1622. Desire Minter, who was also of the Carver
household, has been the victim of much speculation. Mrs. Jane
G. Austin, in her novel, "Standish of Standish," makes her the female
scapegrace of the colony, jealous, discontented and quarrelsome. On
the other hand, and still speculatively, she is portrayed as the elder
sister and house keeper for John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley, after
the death of Mistress Carver; this is assumed because the first girl
born to the Howlands was named Desire. [Footnote: Life of Pilgrim
Alden; Augustus E. Alden; Boston, 1902.] The only known facts about
Desire Minter are those given by Bradford, "she returned to friends
and proved not well, and dyed in England." [Footnote: Bradford's
History of Plymouth Plantation; Appendix.] By research among the
Leyden records, collated by H. M. Dexter, [Footnote: The England and
Holland of the Pilgrims.] the name, Minter, occurs a few
times. William Minter, the husband of Sarah, was associated with the
Carvers and Chiltons in marriage betrothals. William Minter was
purchaser of a house from William Jeppson, in Leyden, in 1614. Another
record is of a student at the University of Leyden who lived at the
house of John Minter. Another reference to Thomas Minter of Sandwich,
Kent, may furnish a clue. [Footnote: N. E. Gen. Hist. Reg., 45, 56.]
Evidently, to some of these relatives, with property, near or distant
of kin, Desire Minter returned before 1626.

Another unmarried woman, who survived the hardships of the first
winter, but returned to England and died there, was Humility
Cooper. We know almost nothing about her except that she and Henry
Sampson were cousins of Edward Tilley and his wife. She is also
mentioned as a relative of Richard Clopton, one of the early religious
leaders in England. [Footnote: N. E. Gen. Hist.; iv, 108.]

The "mother" of this group of matrons and maidens, who survived the
winters of 1621-2, was undoubtedly Mistress Mary Brewster. Wife of the
Elder, she shared his religious faith and zeal, and exercised a strong
moral influence upon the women and children. Pastor John Robinson, in
a letter to Governor Bradford, in 1623, refers to "her weake and
decayed state of body," but she lived until April 17, 1627, according
to records in "the Brewster Book." She was only fifty-seven years at
her death but, as Bradford said with tender appreciation, "her great
and continuall labours, with other crosses and sorrows, hastened it
before y'e time." As Elder Brewster "could fight as well as he could
pray," could build his own house and till his own land, [Footnote: The
Pilgrim Republic; John A. Goodwin.] so, we may believe, his wife was
efficient in all domestic ways. When her strength failed, it is
pleasant to think that she accepted graciously the loving assistance
of the younger women to whom she must have seemed, in her presence,
like a benediction. Her married life was fruitful; five children lived
to maturity and two or more had died in Holland. The Elder was "wise
and discreet and well-spoken--of a cheerful spirit, sociable and
pleasant among his friends, undervaluing himself and his abilities and
sometimes overvaluing others." [Footnote: Bradford's History of
Plymouth Plantation.] Such a person is sure to be a delightful
companion. To these attractive qualities the Elder added another proof
of tact and wisdom: "He always thought it were better for ministers to
pray oftener and divide their prayers, than be long and tedious in the

While Mistress Brewster did not excel the women of her day, probably,
in education, for to read easily and to write were not considered
necessary graces for even the better-bred classes,--she could
appreciate the thirty-eight copies of the Scriptures which were found
among her husband's four hundred volumes; _these_ would be
familiar to her, but the sixty-four books in Latin would not be read
by the women of her day. Fortunately, she did not survive, as did her
husband, to endure grief from the deaths of the daughters, Fear and
Patience, both of whom died before 1635; nor yet did she realize the
bitterness of feeling between the sons, Jonathan and Love, and their
differences of opinion in the settlement of the Elder's
estate. [Footnote: Records of the Colony of New Plymouth.]

A traditional picture has been given [Footnote: The Pilgrim Republic;
John A. Goodwin; foot-note, p.181.] of Captain Peregrine White of
Marshfield, "riding a black horse and wearing a coat with buttons the
size of a silver dollar, vigorous and of a comely aspect to the last,"
[Footnote: Account of his death in _Boston News Letter_, July 31,
1704.] paying daily visits to his mother, Mistress Susanna White
Winslow. We may imagine this elderly matron, sitting in the Winslow
arm-chair, with its mark, "Cheapside, 1614," [Footnote: This chair and
the cape are now In Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth; here also are portraits of
Edward Winslow and Josiah Winslow and the latter's wife, Penelope.]
perhaps wearing the white silk shoulder-cape with its trimmings of
embossed velvet which has been preserved, proud that she was
privileged to be the mother of this son, the first child born of white
parents in New England, proud that she had been the wife of a Governor
and Commissioner of eminence, and also the mother of Josiah Winslow,
the first native-born Governor of any North American commonwealth.
Hers was a record of which any woman of any century might well be
proud! [Footnote: More material may be found in Winslow Memorial;
Family Record, Holton, N. Y., 1877, and in Ancestral Chronological
Record of the William White Family, 1607-1895, Concord, 1895.]

In social position and worldly comforts her life was pre-eminent among
the colonists. Although Edward Winslow had renounced some of his
English wealth, possibly, when he went to Holland and adopted the
trade of printer, he "came into his own" again and was in high favor
with English courts and statesmen. His services as agent and
commissioner, both for the Plymouth colony and later for Cromwell,
must have necessitated long absences from home, while his wife
remained at Careswell, the estate at Green Harbor, Marshfield, caring
for her younger children, Elizabeth and Josiah Winslow. By family
tradition, Mistress Susanna was a woman of graceful, aristocratic
bearing and of strong character. Sometimes called Anna, as in her
marriage record to William White at Leyden, February 11, 1612,
[Footnote: The Mayflower Descendant, vii, 193.] she was the sister of
Dr. Samuel Fuller. Two children by her first marriage died in 1615 and
1616; with her boy, Resolved, about five or six years old, she came
with her husband on _The Mayflower_ and, at the end of the
voyage, bore her son, Peregrine White.

The tact, courtesy and practical sagacity of Edward Winslow fitted him
for the many demands that were made upon his diplomacy. One of the
most amusing stories of his experiences as agent for Plymouth colony
has been related by himself [Footnote: Winslow's Relation.] when, at
the request of the Indians, he visited Massasoit, who was ill, and
brought about the recovery of this chief by common sense methods of
treatment and by a "savory broth" made from Indian corn, sassafras and
strawberry leaves, "strained through his handkerchief." The skill with
which Winslow cooked the broth and the "relish" of ducks reflected
credit upon the household methods of Mistress Winslow.

After 1646, Edward Winslow did not return to Plymouth for any long
sojourn, for Cromwell and his advisers had recognized the worth of
such a man as commissioner. [Footnote: State Papers, Colonial
Service, 1574-1660. Winthrop Papers, ii, 283.] In 1655 he was sent as
one of three commissioners against the Spaniards in the West Indies to
attack St. Domingo. Because of lack of supplies and harmony among the
troops, the attack was a failure. To atone for this the fleet started
towards Jamaica, but on the way, near Hispaniola, Winslow was taken
ill of fever and died, May 8, 1655; he was buried at sea with a
military salute from forty-two guns. The salary paid to Winslow during
these years was L1000, which was large for those times. On April 18,
1656, a "representation" from his widow, Susanna, and son was
presented to the Lord Protector and council, asking that, although
Winslow's death occurred the previous May, the remaining L500 of his
year's salary might be paid to satisfy his creditors.

To his wife and family Winslow, doubtless, wrote letters as graceful
and interesting as are the few business epistles that are preserved in
the Winthrop Papers. [Footnote: Hutchinson Collections, 110, 153,
etc.] That he was anxious, to return to his family is evident from a
letter by President Steele of the Society for Propagating the Gospel
in New England (in 1650), which Winslow was also serving; [Footnote:
The Pilgrim Republic; Goodwin, 444.] "Winslow was unwilling to be
longer kept from his family, but his great acquaintance and influence
were of service to the cause so great that it was hoped he would
remain for a time longer." In his will, which is now in Somerset
House, London, dated 1654, he left his estate at Marshfield to his
son, Josiah, with the stipulation that his wife, Susanna, should be
allowed a full third part thereof through her life. [Footnote: The
Mayflower Descendant, iv. i.] She lived twenty-five years longer,
dying in October, 1680, at the estate, Careswell. It is supposed that
she was buried on the hillside cemetery of the Daniel Webster estate
in Marshfield, where, amid tangles and flowers, may be located the
grave-stones of her children and grandchildren. Sharing with Mistress
Susanna White Winslow the distinction of being mother of a child born
on _The Mayflower_ was Mistress Elizabeth Hopkins, whose son,
Oceanus, was named for his birthplace. She was the second wife of
Stephen Hopkins, who was one of the leaders with Winslow and Standish
on early expeditions. With her stepchildren, Constance and Giles, and
her little daughter, Damaris, she bore the rigors of those first
years, bore other children,--Caleb, Ruth, Deborah and Elizabeth,--and
cared for a large estate, including servants and many cattle. The
inventory of the Hopkins estate revealed an abundance of beds and
bedding, yellow and green rugs, curtains and spinning-wheels, and much
wearing apparel. The home-life surely had incidents of excitement, as
is shown by the accusations and fines against Stephen Hopkins for
"suffering excessive drinking at his house, 1637, when William
Reynolds was drunk and lay under the table," and again for "suffering
men to drink in his house on the Lord's Day, both before and after the
meeting--and allowing his servant and others to drink more than for
ordinary refreshing and to play shovell board and such like
misdemeanors." [Footnote: Records of the Colony of New
Plymouth.] Such lapses in conduct at the Hopkins house were atoned
for by the services which Stephen Hopkins rendered to the colony as
explorer, assistant to the governor and other offices which suited his
reliable and fearless disposition.

These occasional "misdemeanors" in the Hopkins household were slight
compared with the records against "the black sheep" of the colony, the
family of Billingtons from London. The mother, Helen or Ellen, did not
seem to redeem the reputation of husband and sons; traditionally she
was called "the scold." After her husband had been executed in 1630,
for the first murder in the colony, for he had waylaid and killed John
Newcomen, she married Gregory Armstrong. She had various controversies
in court with her son and others. In 1636, she was accused of slander
by "Deacon" John Doane,--she had charged him with unfairness in mowing
her pasture lot,--and she was sentenced to a fine of five pounds and
"to sit in the stocks and be publickly whipt." [Footnote: Records of
the Colony of New Plymouth.] Her second husband died in 1650 and she
lived several years longer, occupying a "tenement" granted to her in
her son's house at North Plymouth. Apparently her son, John, after
his fractious youth, died; Francis married Christian Penn, the widow
of Francis Eaton.

Their children seem to have "been bound out" for service while the
parents were convicted of trying to entice the children away from
their work and, consequently, they were punished by sitting in the
stocks on "lecture days." [Footnote: The Pilgrim Republic; Goodwin.]
In his later life, Francis Billington became more stable in character
and served on committees. His last offense was the mild one "of
drinking tobacco on the high-way." Apparently, Helen Billington had
many troubles and little sympathy in the Plymouth colony.

As companions to these matrons of the pioneer days were four maidens
who must have been valuable as assistants in housework and care of the
children,--Priscilla Mullins, Mary Chilton, Elizabeth Tilley and
Constance Hopkins. The first three had been orphaned during that
first winter; probably, they became members of the households of Elder
Brewster and Governor Carver. All have left names that are most
honorably cherished by their many descendants. Priscilla Mullins has
been celebrated in romance and poetry. Very little real knowledge
exists about her and many of the surmises would be more interesting if
they could be proved. She was well-born, for her father, at his
death, was mentioned with regret [Footnote: New England Memorial;
Morton.] as "a man pious and well-deserving, endowed also with
considerable outward estate; and had it been the will of God, that he
had survived, might have proved an useful instrument in his place."
There was a family tradition of a castle, Molyneux or Molines, in
Normandy. The title of _Mr._ indicated that he was a man of
standing and he was a counsellor in state and church. Perhaps he died
on shipboard at Plymouth, because his, will, dated April 2, 1621, was
witnessed by John Carver, Christopher Jones and Giles Heald,
probably the captain and surgeon of the ship, _Mayflower_.

This will, which has been recently found in Dorking, Surrey, England,
has had important influence upon research. We learn that an older
sister, Sarah Blunden, living in Surrey, was named as administratrix,
and that a son, William (who came to Plymouth before 1637) was to have
money, bonds and stocks in England. Goods in Virginia and more
money,--ten pounds each,--were bequeathed equally to his wife Alice,
his daughter Priscilla and the younger son, Joseph. Interesting also
is the item of "xxj dozen shoes and thirteene paire of boots wch I
give unto the Companie's hands for forty pounds at seaven yeares." If
the Company would not accept the rate, these shoes and boots were to
be for the equal benefit of his wife and son, William. To his friend,
John Carver, he commits his wife and children and also asks for a
"special eye to my man Robert wch hath not so approved himself as I
would he should have done." [Footnote: Pilgrim Alden, by Augustus
E. Alden, Boston, 1902.] Before this will was probated, July 23, 1621,
John Carver, Mistress Alice Mullins, the son, Joseph, and the man,
Robert Carter (or Cartier) were all dead, leaving Priscilla to carry
on the work to which they had pledged their lives. Perhaps, the
brother and sister in England were children of an earlier marriage,
[Footnote: Gen. Hist. Register, 40; 62-3.] as Alice Mullins has been
spoken of as a second wife.

Priscilla was about twenty years old when she came to Plymouth. By
tradition she was handsome, witty, deft and skilful as spinner and
cook. Into her life came John Alden, a cooper of unknown family, who
joined the Pilgrims at Southampton, under promise to stay a
year. Probably he was not the first suitor for Priscilla's hand, for
tradition affirmed that she had been sought in Leyden. The single
sentence by Bradford tells the story of their romance: "being a
hop[e]full yong man was much desired, but left to his owne liking to
go or stay when he came here; but he stayed, and maryed here." With
him he brought a Bible, printed 1620, [Footnote: Now in Pilgrim Hall,
Plymouth.] probably a farewell gift or purchase as he left
England. When the grant of land and cattle was made in 1627, he was
twenty-eight years old, and had in his family, Priscilla, his wife, a
daughter, Elizabeth, aged three, and a son, John, aged one. [Footnote:
Records of the Colony of New Plymouth.]

The poet, Longfellow, was a descendant of Priscilla Alden, and he had
often heard the story of the courtship of Priscilla by Miles Standish,
through John Alden as his proxy. It was said to date back to a poem,
"Courtship," by Moses Mullins, 1672. In detail it was given by Timothy
Alden in "American Epitaphs," 1814, [Footnote: American Epitaphs,
1814; iii, 139.] but there are here some deflections from facts as
later research has revealed them. The magic words of romance, "Why
don't you speak for yourself, John?" are found in this early

There was more than romance in the lives of John and Priscilla Alden
as the "vital facts" indicate. Their first home was at Town Square,
Plymouth, on the site of the first school-house but, by 1633, they
lived upon a farm of one hundred and sixty-nine acres in
Duxbury. Their first house here was about three hundred feet from the
present Alden house, which was built by the son, Jonathan, and is now
occupied by the eighth John Alden. It must have been a lonely
farmstead for Priscilla, although she made rare visits, doubtless on
an ox or a mare, or in an ox-cart with her children, to see Barbara
Standish at Captain's Hill, or to the home of Jonathan Brewster, a few
miles distant. As farmer, John Alden was not so successful as he would
have been at his trade of cooper. Moreover, he gave much of his time
to the service of the colony throughout his manhood, acting as
assistant to the Governor, treasurer, surveyor, agent and military
recruit. Like many another public servant of his day and later, he
"became low in his estate" and was allowed a small gratuity of ten
pounds because "he hath been occationed to spend time at the Courts on
the Countryes occasion and soe hath done this many yeares."
[Footnote: Records of the Colony of New Plymouth.] He had also been
one of the eight "undertakers" who, in 1627, assumed the debts and
financial support of the Plymouth colony.

Eleven children had been born to John and Priscilla Alden, five sons
and six daughters. Sarah married Alexander Standish and so cemented
the two families in blood as well as in friendship. Ruth, who married
John Bass, became the ancestress of John Adams and John Quincy
Adams. Elizabeth, who married William Pabodie, had thirteen children,
eleven of them girls, and lived to be ninety-three years; at her death
the _Boston News Letter_ [Footnote: June 17, 1717.] extolled her
as "exemplary, virtuous and pious and her memory is blessed." Possibly
with all her piety she had a good share of the independence of spirit
which was accredited to her mother; in her husband's will [Footnote:
The Mayflower Descendant, vi, 129.] she is given her "third at Little
Compton" and an abundance of household stuff, but with this
reservation,--"If she will not be contented with her thirds at Little
Compton, but shall claim her thirds in both Compton and Duxbury or
marry again, I do hereby make voyde all my bequest unto her and she
shall share only the parte as if her husband died intestate." A
portrait of her shows dress of rich materials.

Captain John Alden seems to have been more adventuresome than the
other boys in Priscilla's family. He was master of a merchantman in
Boston and commander of armed vessels which supplied marine posts with
provisions. Like his sister, Elizabeth, he had thirteen children. He
was once accused of witchcraft, when he was present at a trial, and
was imprisoned fifteen weeks without being allowed bail.
[Footnote: History of Witchcraft; Upham.] He escaped and hurried to
Duxbury, where he must have astonished his mother by the recital of
his adventures. He left an estate of L2059, in his will, two houses,
one of wood worth four hundred pounds, and another of brick worth two
hundred and seventy pounds, besides much plate, brass and money and
debts amounting to L1259, "the most of which are desperite." A tablet
in the wall of the Old South Church at Copley Square, Boston, records
his death at the age of seventy-five, March, 1701. He was an original
member of this church. Perhaps Priscilla varied her peaceful life by
visits to this affluent son in Boston. There is no evidence of the
date of Priscilla Alden's death or the place of her burial. She was
living and present, with her husband, at Josiah Winslow's funeral in
1680. She must have died before her husband, for in his Inventory,
1686, he makes no mention of her. He left a small estate of only a
little over forty pounds, although he had given to his sons land in
Duxbury, Taunton, Middleboro and Bridgewater. [Footnote: The
Mayflower Descendant, iii, 10. The Story of a Pilgrim Family;
Rev. John Alden; Boston, 1890.] Probably Priscilla also bestowed some
of her treasures upon her children before she died. Some of her
spoons, pewter and candle-sticks have been traced by inheritance. It
is not likely that she was "rich in this world's goods" through her
marriage, but she had a husband whose fidelity to state and religion
have ever been respected. To his memory Rev. John Cotton wrote some
elegiac verses; Justin Winsor has emphasized the honor which is still
paid to the name of John Alden in Duxbury and Plymouth: [Footnote:
History of Duxbury; Winsor.] "He was possessed of a sound judgment
and of talents which, though not brilliant, were by no means
ordinary--decided, ardent, resolute, and persevering, indifferent to
danger, a bold and hardy man, stern, austere and unyielding and of
incorruptible integrity." The name of Mary Chilton is pleasant to the
ear and imagination. Chilton Street and Chiltonville in Plymouth, and
the Chilton Club in Boston, keep alive memories of this girl who was,
by persistent tradition, the first woman who stepped upon the rock of
landing at Plymouth harbor. This tradition was given in writing, in
1773, by Ann Taylor, the grandchild of Mary Chilton and John Winslow.
[Footnote: History of Plymouth; James Thatcher.] Her father, James
Chilton, sometimes with the Dutch spelling, Tgiltron, was a man of
influence among the early leaders, but he died at Cape Cod, December
8, 1620. He came from Canterbury, England, to Holland. By the records
on the Roll of Freemen of the City of Canterbury, [Footnote: Probably
this freedom was given, by the city or some board therein, as mark of
respect. N. E. Gen. Hist. Reg., 63, 201.] he is named as James
Chylton, tailor, "Freeman by Gift, 1583." Earlier Chiltons,--William,
spicer, and Nicholas, clerk,--are classified as "Freemen by
Redemption." Three children were baptized in St. Paul's Church,
Canterbury,--Isabella, 1586; Jane, 1589; and Ingle, 1599. Isabella
was married in Leyden to Roger Chandler five years before _The
Mayflower_ sailed. Evidently, Mary bore the same name as an older
sister whose burial is recorded at St. Martin's, Canterbury, in
1593. Isaac Chilton, a glass-maker, may have been brother or cousin of
James. Of Mary's mother almost nothing has been found except mention
of her death during the infection of 1621. [Footnote: Bradford's
History of Plymouth Plantation; Appendix.]

When _The Fortune _arrived in November, 1621, it brought Mary
Chilton's future husband among the passengers,--John Winslow, younger
brother of Edward. Not later than 1627 they were married and lived at
first in the central settlement, and later in Plain Dealing, North
Plymouth. They had ten children. The son, John, was Brigadier-General
in the Army. John Winslow, Sr., seemed to show a spirit of enterprise
by the exchange and sale of his "lots" in Plymouth and afterwards in
Boston where he moved his family, and became a successful owner and
master of merchant ships. Here he acquired land on Devonshire Street
and Spring Lane and also on Marshall Lane and Hanover Street. From
Plans and Deeds, prepared by Annie Haven Thwing, [Footnote:
Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston. Also dimensions in Bowditch
Title Books: 26: 315.] one may locate a home of Mary Chilton Winslow
in Boston, a lot 72 and 85, 55 and 88, in the rear of the first Old
South Church, at the southwest corner of Joyliffe's Lane, now
Devonshire Street, and Spring Lane. It was adjacent to land owned by
John Winthrop and Richard Parker. By John Winslow's will, probated May
21, 1674, he bequeathed this house, land, gardens and a goodly sum of
money and shares of stock to his wife and children. The house and
stable, with land, was inventoried for L490 and the entire estate for
L2946-14-10. He had a Katch _Speedwell_, with cargoes of pork,
sugar and tobacco, and a Barke _Mary_, whose produce was worth
L209; these were to be divided among his children. His money was also
to be divided, including 133 "peeces of eight." [Footnote: The
Mayflower Descendant, 111, 129 (1901).]

Interesting as are the items of this will, which afford proofs that
Mary Chilton as matron had luxuries undreamed of in the days of 1621,
_her_ will is even more important for us. It is one of the three
_original_ known wills of _Mayflower_ passengers, the others
being those of Edward Winslow and Peregrine White. Mary Chilton's will
is in the Suffolk Registry of Probate, [Footnote: This will Is
reprinted In The Mayflower Descendant, I: 85.] Boston, in good
condition, on paper 18 by 14 inches. The will was made July 31,
1676. Among other interesting bequests are: to my daughter Sarah
(Middlecot) "my Best gowne and Pettecoat and my silver beare bowl" and
to each of her children "a silver cup with a handle." To her
grandchild, William Payne, was left her "great silver Tankard" and to
her granddaughter, Ann Gray, "a trunk of Linning" (linen) with bed,
bolsters and ten pounds in money. Many silver spoons and "ruggs" were
to be divided. To her grandchild, Susanna Latham, was definite
allotment of "Petty coate with silke Lace." In the inventory one may
find commentary upon the valuation of these goods--"silk gowns and
pettecoats" for L6-10, twenty-two napkins at seven shillings, and
three "great pewter dishes" and twenty small pieces of pewter for two
pounds, six shillings. She had gowns, mantles, head bands, fourteen in
number, seventeen linen caps, six white aprons, pocket-handkerchiefs
and all other articles of dress. Mary Chilton Winslow could not write
her name, but she made a very neat mark, M. She was buried beneath the
Winslow coat of arms at the front of King's Chapel Burial-ground in
Boston. She closely rivalled, if she did not surpass in wealth and
social position, her sister-in-law, Susanna White Winslow.

Elizabeth Tilley had a more quiet life, but she excelled her
associates among these girls of Plymouth in one way,--she could write
her name very well. Possibly she was taught by her husband, John
Howland who left, in his inventory, an ink-horn, and who wrote records
and letters often for the colonists. For many years, until the
discovery and printing of Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation in
1856, it was assumed that Elizabeth Tilley was either the daughter or
granddaughter of Governor Carver; such misstatement even appears upon
the Howland tombstone in the old burying-ground at Plymouth. Efforts
to explain by assuming a second marriage of Carver or a first marriage
of Howland fail to convince, for, surely, such relationships would
have been mentioned by Bradford, Winslow, Morton or Prence. After the
death of her parents, during the first winter, Elizabeth remained with
the Carver household until that was broken by death; afterwards she
was included in the family over which John Howland was considered
"head"; according to the grant of 1624 he was given an acre each for
himself, Elizabeth Tilley, Desire Minter, and the boy, William Latham.

The step-mother of Elizabeth Tilley bore a Dutch name, Bridget Van De
Veldt. [Footnote: N. E. Gen. Hist. Reg., i, 34.] Elizabeth was ten or
twelve years younger than her husband, at least, for he was
twenty-eight years old in 1620. They were married, probably, by
1623-4, for the second child, John, was born in 1626. It is not known
how long Howland had been with the Pilgrims at Leyden; he may have
come there with Cushman in 1620 or, possibly, he joined the company at
Southampton. His ancestry is still in some doubt in spite of the
efforts to trace it to one John Howland, "gentleman and citizen and
salter" of London. [Footnote: Recollections of John Howland,
etc. E. H. Stone, Providence, 1857.] Probably the outfit necessary for
the voyage was furnished to him by Carver, and the debt was to be paid
in some service, clerical or other; in no other sense was he a
"servant." He signed the compact of _The Mayflower_ and was one
of the "ten principal men" chosen to select a site for the colony. For
many years he was prominent in civic affairs of the state and
church. He was among the liberals towards Quakers as were his brothers
who came later to Marshfield,--Arthur and Henry. At Rocky Neck, near
the Jones River in Kingston, as it is now called, the Howland
household was prosperous, with nine children to keep Elizabeth
Tilley's hands occupied. She lived until past eighty years, and died
at the home of her daughter, Lydia Howland Brown, in Swanzey, in 1687.
Among the articles mentioned in her will are many books of religious
type. Her husband's estate as inventoried was not large, but
mentioned such useful articles as silk neckcloths, four dozen buttons
and many skeins of silk. [Footnote: The Mayflower Descendant, ii, 70.]

Constance or Constanta Hopkins was probably about the same age as
Elizabeth Tilley, for she was married before 1627 to Nicholas Snow,
who came in _The Ann_. They had twelve children, and among the
names one recognizes such familiar patronymics of the two families as
Mark, Stephen, Ruth and Elizabeth. Family tradition has ascribed
beauty and patience to this maiden who, doubtless, served well both in
her father's large family and in the community. Her step-sister,
Damaris, married Jacob Cooke, son of the Pilgrim, Francis Cooke.



After the arrival of _The Ann_, in the summer of 1623, the women
who came in _The Mayflower_ had more companions of good breeding
and efficiency. Elizabeth Warren, wife of Richard, came with her five
daughters; it is safe to assume the latter were attractive for, in a
few years, all were well married. Two sons were born after Elizabeth
arrived at Plymouth, Nathaniel and Joseph. For forty-five years she
survived her husband, who had been a man of strength of character and
usefulness as well as some wealth. When she died at the age of
ninety-three leaving seventy-five great grandchildren, the old
Plymouth Colony Records paid her tribute,--"Mistress Elizabeth Warren,
haveing lived a Godly life came to her Grave as a Shock of corn full
Ripe. She was honourably buried on the 24th of October (1673)."

Evidently, Mistress Warren was a woman of independent means and
efficiency,--else she would have remarried, as was the custom of the
times. She became one of the "purchasers" of the colony and conveyed
land, at different times, near Eel River and what is now Warren's
Cove, in Plymouth, to her sons-in-law. An interesting sidelight upon
her character and home is found in the Court Records; [Footnote: I,
35, July 5, 1635.] her servant, Thomas Williams, was prosecuted for
"speaking profane and blasphemous speeches against ye majestie of God.
There being some dissension between him and his dame she, after other
things, exhorted him to fear God and doe his duty."

Bridget Fuller followed her husband, Dr. Samuel, and came in _The
Ann_. She also long survived her husband and did not remarry. She
carried on his household and probably also his teaching for many years
after he fell victim to the epidemic of infectious fever in 1633. She
was his third wife, but only two children are known to have used the
Fuller cradle, now preserved in Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth. It has been
stated that, in addition to these two, Samuel and Mercy, another young
child came with its mother in _The Ann_, but did not live
long. [Footnote: Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth; W. T. Davis] The son,
Samuel, born about 1625, was minister for many years at Middleboro; he
married Elizabeth Brewster, thus preserving two friendly families in

Evidently, Bridget Fuller was very ill and not expected to recover
when her husband was dying, for in his will, made at that time, he
arranged for the education of his children by his brother-in-law,
William Wright, unless it "shall please God to recover my wife out of
her weake estate of sickness." It is interesting also that, in this
will, provision was made for the education of his daughter, Mercy, as
well as his son, Samuel, by Mrs. Heeks or Hicks, the wife of Robert
Hicks who came in _The Ann_. [Footnote: Plymouth Colony Wills and
Inventories; also in The Mayflower Descendant, 1, 245.] Not alone for
his own children did this good physician provide education, but also
for others "put to him for schooling,"--with special mention of Sarah
Converse "left to me by her sick father." This kind, generous doctor
left a considerable estate, in spite of the many "debts for physicke,"
including that of "Mr. Roger Williams which was freely given." One
specific gift was for the good of the church and this forms the
nucleus of a fund which is still known as the Fuller Ministerial Fund
of the Plymouth Congregational Church. Its source was "the first cow
calfe that his Brown Cow should have." [Footnote: Genealogy of Some
Descendants of Dr. Samuel Fuller of _The Mayflower_, compiled by
William Hyslop Fuller, Palmer.]

Mrs. Alice Morse Earle says that gloves were gifts of sentiment;
[Footnote: Two Centuries of Costume in America; Alice Morse Earle;
N. Y., 1903.] they were generously bestowed by this physician of old
Plymouth. Money to buy gloves, or gloves, were bequeathed to Mistress
Alice Bradford and Governor Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony;
also to John Winslow, John Jenny and Rebecca Prence. The price allowed
for a pair of gloves was from two to five shillings. Probably these
may have been the fringed leather gloves or the knit gloves described
by Mrs. Earle. Another bequest was his "best hat and band never worn
to old Mr. William Brewster." To his wife was left not alone two
houses, "one at Smeltriver and another in town," but also a fine
supply of furnishings and clothes, including stuffe gown, red
pettecoate, stomachers, aprons, shoes and kerchiefs. Mistress Fuller
lived until after 1667, and exerted a strong influence upon the
educational life of Plymouth.

Is it heresy to question whether the sampler, [Footnote: In Pilgrim
Hall, Plymouth.] accredited to Lora or Lorea Standish, the daughter
of Captain Miles and Barbara Standish, was not more probably the work
of the granddaughter, Lorea, the child of Alexander Standish and Sarah
Alden? The style and motto are more in accord with the work of the
later generation and, surely, the necessary time and materials for
such work would be more probable after the pioneer days. This later
Lora married Abraham Sampson, son of the Henry who came as a boy in
_The Mayflower_. [Footnote: Notes to Bradford's History, edition
1912.] The embroidered cap [Footnote: In Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth.] and
bib, supposed to have been made by Mistress Barbara for her daughter,
would prove that she had

    "hands with such convenient skill
    As to conduce to vertu void of shame"

which were the aspiration of the girl who embroidered, or "wrought,"
the sampler. It is a pleasant commentary upon the tastes and industry
of Mistress Barbara Standish that, amid the cares of a large family
and farm, she found time for such dainty embroideries as we find in
the cap and bib.

Probably two young sons of Captain and Barbara Standish, Charles and
John, died in the infectious fever epidemic of 1633. A second Charles
with his brothers, Alexander, Miles and Josiah, and his sister, Lorea,
gladdened the hearth of the Standish home on Captain's Hill,
Duxbury. A goodly estate was left at the death of Captain Miles,
including a well-equipped house, cattle, mault mill, swords (as one
would expect), sixteen pewter pieces and several books of classic
literature,--Homer, Caesar's Commentaries, histories of Queen
Elizabeth's reign, military histories, and three Bibles with
commentaries upon religious matters. There were also medical books,
for Standish was reputed to have been a student and practitioner in
times of emergency in Duxbury. He suffered a painful illness at the
close of his vigorous, adventuresome life. Perhaps Barbara needed, at
times, grace to endure that "warm temper" which Pastor Robinson
deplored in Miles Standish, a comment which the intrepid Captain
forgave and answered by a bequest to the granddaughter of this loved
pastor. We may be sure Barbara was proud of the mighty share which her
husband had in saving Plymouth Colony from severe disaster, if not
from extinction. It is surmised that Barbara Standish was buried in
Connecticut where she lived during the last of her life with her son,
Josiah. Possibly, however, she may have been buried beside her
husband, sons, daughter and daughter-in-law, Mary Dingley, in
Duxbury. [Footnote: Interesting facts on this subject may be found in
"The Grave of Miles Standish and other Pilgrims," by E. V. J.
Huiginn; Beverly, 1914.]

The Colonial Governor and his Lady ever held priority of rank. Such
came to Mrs. Alice Southworth when she married Governor William
Bradford a few days after her arrival on _The Ann_. Tradition
has said persistently that this was the consummation of an earlier
romance which was broken off by the marriage of Alice Carpenter to
Edward Southworth in Leyden. The death of her first husband left her
with two sons, Thomas and Constant Southworth, who came to Plymouth
before 1628. She had sisters in the Colony: Priscilla, the wife of
William Wright, came in _The Fortune_; Dr. Fuller's first wife
had been another sister; Juliana, wife of George Morton, was a third
who came also in _The Ann_. Still another sister, Mary Carpenter,
came later and lived in the Governor's family for many years. At her
death in her ninety-first year, she was mourned as "a Godly old maid,
never married." [Footnote: Hunter's Collections, 1854.]

The first home of the Bradfords in Plymouth was at Town Square where
now stands the Bradford block. About 1627-8 they moved, for a part of
the year, to the banks of the Jones River, now Kingston, a place which
had strongly appealed to Bradford as a good site for the original
settlement when the men were making their explorations in December,
1620. William, Joseph and Mercy were born to inherit from their
parents the fine characters of both Governor and Alice Bradford, and
also to pass on to their children the carved chests, wrought and
carved chairs, case and knives, desk, silver spoons, fifty-one pewter
dishes, five dozen napkins, three striped carpets, four Venice
glasses, besides cattle and cooking utensils and many books. That the
Governor had a proper "dress suit" was proved by the inventory of
"stuffe suit with silver buttons and cloaks of violet, light colour
and faced with taffety and linen throw."

As Mistress Bradford could only "make her mark," she probably did not
appreciate the remarkable collection, for the times, of Latin, Greek,
Hebrew, Dutch and French books as well as the studies in philosophy
and theology which were in her husband's library. There is no doubt
that the first and second generations of girls and boys in Plymouth
Colony had elementary instruction, at least, under Dr. Fuller and
Mrs. Hicks as well as by other teachers. Bradford, probably, would
also attend to the education of his own family. The Governor's wife
has been accredited with "labouring diligently for the improvement of
the young women of Plymouth and to have been eminently worthy of her
high position." [Footnote: The Pilgrim Republic; John A. Goodwin,
p. 460.] She was the sole executrix of her husband's estate of
L1005,--a proof of her ability.

Sometimes her cheerfulness must have been taxed to comfort her
husband, as old age came upon him and he fell into the gloomy mood
reflected in such lines as these: [Footnote: New England Memorial;

    "In fears and wants, through weal and woe,
    A pilgrim passed I to and fro;
    Oft left of them whom I did trust,
    How vain it is to rest in dust!
    A man of sorrows I have been,
    And many changes I have seen,
    Wars, wants, peace, plenty I have known,
    And some advanc'd, others thrown down."

When Mistress Alice Bradford died she was "mourned, though aged" by
many. To her memory, Nathaniel Morton, her nephew, wrote some lines
which were more biographic than poetical, recalling her early life as
an exile with her father from England for the truth's sake, her first

    "To one whose grace and virtue did surpasse,
    I mean good Edward Southworth whoe not long
    Continued in this world the saints amonge."

With extravagant words he extols the name of Bradford,--"fresh in
memory Which smeles with odoriferous fragrancye." This elegist records
also that, after her second widowhood, she lived a

    "life of holynes and faith,
    In reading of God's word and contemplation
    Which healped her to assurance of salvation."

This is not a very lively, graphic description of the woman most
honored, perhaps, of all the pioneer women of Plymouth, but we may
add, by imagination, a few sure traits of human kindliness and
grace. She was typical of those women who came in _The Mayflower_
and her sister ships. Although she escaped the tragic struggles and
illness of that first winter, yet she revealed the same qualities of
courage, good sense, fidelity and vision which were the watchwords of
that group of women in Plymouth colony. Yes,--they had vision to see
their part in the sincere purpose to establish a new standard of
liberty in state and church, to serve God and mankind with all their
integrity and resources.

As the leaders among the men were self-sacrificing and honorable in
their dealings with their financiers, with the Indians and with each
other, so the women were faithful and true in their homes and communal
life. They took scarcely any part in the civic administration, for
such responsibility did not come into the lives of seventeenth century
women. They were actively interested in the educational and religious
life of the colony. Their moral standards were high and inflexible;
they extolled, and practised, the virtues of thrift and industry. It
may be well for women in America today, who were querulous at the
restrictions upon sugar and electric lights, to consider the good
sense, and good cheer, with which these women of Plymouth Colony
directed their thrifty households.

We would not assume that they were free from the whims and foibles of
womankind,--and sometimes of man-kind,--of all ages. They were,
doubtless, contradictory and impulsive at times; they could scold and
they could gossip. We believe that they laughed sometimes, in the
midst of dire want and anxiety, and we know that they prayed with
sincerity and trust. They bore children gladly and they trained them
"in the fear and admonition of the Lord." They were the progenitors of
thousands of fine men and women in all parts of America today who
honor the _women_ as well as the _men_ of the old Plymouth
Colony,--the women who faithfully performed, without any serious

          "that whole sweet round
    Of littles that large life compound."


Alden, Augustus E.
  Captain John
Allerton, Bartholomew
  Mary Norton
Armstrong, Gregory
Austin, Jane G.

Bartlett, W. H.
Bass, Ruth Alden
Beckeet, Mary
Billington, Francis
  John, Jr.
Bowman, George Ernest
Bradford, Alice
  Dorothy May
  Gov. William
  William, Jr.
Brewster, Fear
  William, Elder
Brown, Lydia Howland

Carpenter, Juliana
Carter, Robert
Carver, Catherine
  Gov. John
Chandler, Isabella Chilton
Chilton, Ingle
Chilton, James
  Mrs. James
Converse, Sarah
Cooke, Francis
Cooper, Humility
Crakston, John
Cushman, Robert

Davis, W. T.
De La Noye, Philip
De Rassieres
Dean, Stephen
Dexter, Henry M.
Doane, Deacon John
Dotey, Edward

Earle, Alice Morse
Eaton, Francis
Eliot, Charles W.

Ford, Widow Martha
Fuller, Ann
  Samuel, Dr.
  William Hyslop

Goodman, John
Goodwin, John A.

Heald, Giles
Hicks, Robert
  Mrs. Robert
Hopkins, Caleb
  Constance, or Constanta
Hopkins, Elizabeth
Howland, Elizabeth Tilley
  Lydia (Brown)
Huiginn, E. V. J.

Jenny, John
Jeppson, William
Jones, Christopher, Capt.
  Thomas, Capt.

Latham, William
Lister, Edward
Longfellow, Henry W.
Lord, Arthur, VI

Martin, Mrs. Christopher
Masefield, John
Minter, Desire
More, Ellen
Morton, George
  Juliana Carpenter
Mullins, Alice, Mrs.
  Sarah (Blunden)
  William, Jr.

Newcomen, John

Oldham, John

Pabodie, Elizabeth Alden
Parker, Richard
Penn, Christian
Prence, Thomas
Priest, Degory

Reynolds, William
Rigdale, Alice
Robinson, Pastor John

Sampson, Alexander
Snow, Nicholas
Soule, George
Southworth, Alice
Standish, Alexander
  Lora or Lorea
  Mary Dingley
  Miles, Jr.

Taylor, Ann
Thompson, Edward
Thwing, Annie M.
Tilley, Ann
Tinker, Mrs. Thomas
Turner, John

Warren, Elizabeth
White, Peregrine
Williams, Roger
Winslow, Edward
  Elizabeth Barker
  John, Brig. Gen.
  Mary Chilton
Winthrop, John
Wright, Priscilla Carpenter


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