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  • 5 Dec 2021 3:04 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Jonathan Brewster

    Two of the passengers on the Fortune were closely related to settlers already in Plymouth: John Winslow was the brother of Edward and Gilbert Winslow (more about him tomorrow), and Jonathan Brewster was the eldest son of William Brewster, elder of the Plymouth community.

    Jonathan was born 12 August 1593 in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, the son of William and Mary (_____) Brewster [MD 1:7, 32:2], making him 28 when he arrived in Plymouth.  Records documenting his education have not been found, but the proof that he had received study in reading and writing while he was living in England and Holland is well documented. He is noted as a “ribbon maker” in Leiden; once he arrived in New England he worked as a merchant and operated a ferry.  Jonathan's name was among the "Purchasers" named of fifty-three men from the plantation, who with five Englishmen, agreed to discharge the financial debts of Plymouth Colony. "Jona. Brewster" was also one of the colony subscribers or purchasers who signed the agreement or trade monopoly partnership arranged between James Sherley (goldsmith), John Beecham/Beauchamp (salter), and Richard Andrews of London, merchants, and William Bradford, Edward Winslow, Thomas Prence, Myles Standish, William Brewster, John Alden, John Howland, and Isaac Allerton of Plymouth. These partners were called "Undertakers" and their purpose was to assume responsibility for repaying Plymouth Colony's debt of £1800 that was owed to the Merchant Adventurers of London for supplies and transportation of the Pilgrims to Cape Cod in New England in 1620 [PCR 2:177].

    Jonathan married Lucretia Oldham “of Darby,” daughter of William and Phillipa (Sowter) Oldham [MD 1:8] on 10 April 1624 in Plymouth.  She was baptised at All Saints, Derby, Derbyshire, 14 January 1600/1, and thus must have been about 23 when she arrived on the Anne with her brother John and Jonathan Brewster’s sisters, Patience and Fear Brewster. Lucretia and her brother have not been documented to have been members of a Separatist congregation or to have lived in Leiden.  The settlement of Elder William Brewster's estate in 1645 mentioned the discharge of Jonathan's alleged debts "in regard of his greate charge of children..." and Bradford's History made reference to Jonathan's 9 or 10 children without naming them, so it is possible that all have not been identified at this time. Jonathan entered the names of his children twice in the Brewster Book in his own handwriting, each time, once with names only and then with places and dates of birth; he recorded only eight children who can be positively identified.

    In 1985 and 1986, Jeremy Bangs published a three part article presenting and discussing all known documents naming Jonathan Brewster in Leiden [MQ 51:161-67, 52:6-16, 57-63].  Bangs examined the claim made by the Dexters that Jonathan Brewster had an earlier wife and child while residing in Leiden and determined that the records cited by the Dexters did not pertain to Jonathan Brewster.  Bangs, Strangers and Pilgrims, 438-441 provides a discussion of the Brewster-Brewer Company, including Jonathan's occupation and trade business.

    Jonathan died on 7 August 1659 in New London, Connecticut. The record of Jonathan’s death was entered in “The Brewster Book” by his son Benjamin Brewster. Jonathan was buried in Brewster Cemetery on Brewster’s Neck (now Preston, Connecticut). The original headstone marking the Brewster burial plot broke into fragments many years ago, leaving only a small footstone of red sandstone with a harp engraved over the lettering bearing Jonathan’s name, In 1855, an obelisk with a plain granite shaft about eight feet high was erected to mark the family burial plot.

  • 4 Dec 2021 2:55 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Summary of 1621

    Thomas Prince summarised the events of 1621 from Bradford’s journals and letters in his A Chronological History of New England, in the Form of Annals: “We have built 7 Dwelling Houses; 4 the Use of the Plantation, and have made Provision for diverse others. Both Masassoit, the greatest King of the Natives and all the Princes and People round us have made Peace with us. Seven of them at once sent their Messengers to this End. And as we cannot but account it an extraordinary Blessing of GOD in Directing our Course for these Parts, we obtain'd the Honour to receive Allowance of our Passing and Enjoying thereof under the Authority of the PRESIDENT and COUNCIL for the Affairs of NEW ENGLAND.”  The last part is a reference to the second Pierce Patent (see my post for 18 September 1621), whereby the settlers were authorised to plant their colony in New England; they still lacked a charter to form a government: they never received one, which is probably the main reason for the failure of the colony.

  • 3 Dec 2021 3:10 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Return Trip Cargo

    To prove to the Adventurers that they were serious about repaying the debt owed to Weston, the colony spent two weeks in December 1621 loading the Fortune with hogsheads of beaver skins, otter skins, sassafras, and clapboards made from split oak to be used in the making of barrel staves. The value of the cargo was about £400-500, which would come close to reducing the colony's debt to the Adventurers by half.  If only it had arrived ...

  • 2 Dec 2021 3:53 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Planning for the Return

    The Fortune did not even carry food to sustain the crew on the return trip. The Adventurers also sent a letter castigating the Planters for the fact that the Mayflower had arrived in England with an empty hold and demanding that the Fortune return immediately filled with valuable goods.  The return trip, as it turned out, took a lot longer than anyone had anticipated.

  • 1 Dec 2021 3:31 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Premonitions of Starvation

     The problem that most concerned the colony was the continuing shortage of food made more severe by the arrival of the Fortune. Weston had not provided any provisions for the settlement on board the Fortune. And instead of making the colony situation stronger, the arrival of thirty-five more persons to feed, with the second severe winter for the colony coming on, had put things in what would be a disastrous situation. Bradford calculated that even if their daily rations were reduced to half, their store of corn would only last for six more months. And after having worked tirelessly this year and experiencing extreme hardships since their arrival one year earlier, they now would face another hard winter with a shortage of provisions. Bradford wrote, "They were presently put to half allowance, one as well as another, which begane to be hard, but they bore it patiently, under hope of (future) supply."

  • 30 Nov 2021 2:43 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Additions to the Colony

    On the ship were a large number of non-religious passengers having been given the sobriquet of "Strangers," many of them single men who would greatly out-number the single, marriageable females in the colony: the non-religious passengers probably outnumbered the godly passengers -- but the non-religious were probably the few who could be collected and shipped off on such short notice. With arrival of the Fortune the colony had a total of sixty-six men and just sixteen women. This situation regarding the shortage of women came about partly as a result of the many deaths in the winter of 1620/21. For every eligible female, there were six eligible men. Another problem that concerned the Fortune arrivals was that there were no accommodations for them in the little colony. Bradford was forced to divide the Fortune passengers among the pre-existing seven houses and four public buildings, some of which were converted into virtual male dormitories for the many young men.

  • 29 Nov 2021 3:03 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Searching for Plymouth

    Although the Fortune arrived in the Cape Cod area last Friday, the ship strangely remained at the tip of the Cape for some time which caused the natives to be alarmed, thinking it might be a hostile French vessel. Upon hearing reports of this strange vessel, Governor Bradford had Myles Standish arm his militia and load the cannon on Burial Hill in case of an attack by the French. It took the ship weeks to find Plymouth, and it is not recorded when, exactly, it arrived.

    And when they saw the depressing conditions within the colony (such as the limited provisions, the high mortality, and the threadbare clothing) being experienced by the settlers, they became quite panicked. The passengers were so disheartened and had such misgivings about this place they even advised the ship's master they wanted to reembark and leave if the colony did not meet their expectations, but were talked out of such action by the master and ship's crew, although they were promised that, if need be, they would be taken down the coast to Virginia.

  • 28 Nov 2021 3:45 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Fortune Passengers from Leiden: Delano, Bumpas, Morton, Simonson

    The Mayflower arrived back in England on 6 May 1621 (o.s.), and Thomas Weston wrote his scolding letter to the (now deceased) John Carver on 6 July 1621 (o.s.), and, presumably, put the letter on the boat and immediately sent it down the Thames.  That gave Weston less than 90 days to assemble as many people as he could to undertake a dangerous voyage across the Atlantic -- a voyage that lasted four months, with the first month having the Fortune stuck in the English Channel because of contrary winds.

    An obvious source of passengers would be those who had come from Leiden on the Speedwell, but were unable to continue the journey when the Speedwell was abandoned, since there was not enough room on the horribly overcrowded Mayflower.  A number of unmarried young men did go on the Mayflower, but these sailed for reasons such as family relationships with the other passengers, being hired because they had skills necessary to the new community, or being indentured to a passenger.  We know that 20 people disembarked at Plymouth (England), and did not get back on the Mayflower.  Six of these were Richard Warren’s wife and five daughters: they were on the ill-fated Paragon and then on the Anne.  Robert (and probably Thomas) Cushman were also in the group that stayed, and the Cushmans arrived a year later on the Fortune.  A very, very obscure passage in a 1625 letter from Thomas Blossom to William Bradford might mean that Thomas Blossom and his (unnamed) son were on the Speedwell, but did not continue the journey [as an aside, Thomas Blossom is an ancestor of Barak Obama, both President Bushes, and Mr. Rogers].  That leaves ten Speedwell-but-not-Mayflower passengers to be accounted for.

    We know of several members of the Leiden congregation who were on the Fortune: these were all unmarried young men, in their late teens or early twenties.  If they had originally been on the Speedwell, and had remained in England because they could easily get work there and could take the next boat to America (whenever that would sail), it is reasonable to think that they would have stayed in touch with Thomas Weston and would have been able to leave at a moment’s notice.   Four of these are as follows:

    1. Philip Delano (the anglicised form of Philippe de la Noye), whom Bradford notes as having French parents and who asked, on his own, to join the Leiden congregation.  Philip’s aunt was Hester (Mahieu) Cooke, wife of Mayflower passenger Francis Cooke (“the wife of Francis Cooke,” Edward Winslow wrote, “being a Walloon, [who] holds communion with the Church at Plymouth, as she came from the French, by virtue of communion of churches”).  Philip had been baptised in the Walloon Church in Leiden in December 1603, and so must have been about 18 when he boarded the Fortune.  He would have been about the same age as his cousin John Cooke, who had accompanied his father Francis on the Mayflower.

    2. In the land division of 1623, Moses Simonson was joined with Philip Delano in a grant of land, suggesting that they may both have come together from Leiden.  It is assumed that he was about Philip’s age (and several sources guess that he was born at about 1605).  In the 1623 Plymouth land division "Moyses Simonson & Philipe de la Noye" jointly received two acres [PCR 12:5]; in the 1627 Plymouth cattle division Moses Simonson was the eighth person in the first company (headed by Francis Cooke) [PCR 12:9].  In 2004 Jeremy Bangs published a number of intriguing records for the family of Simon Moseszon of Leiden and explored the possibility that he might be father of Moses Simonson. Although such a connection is possible, it is far from proven [New England Ancestors 5 n. 3:54-55].

    3. Also in the land division of 1623, and in the tax lists of 1633 and 1634, Edward Bumpas was adjacent to Philip Delano. The two men at a later date held adjacent land [PCR 1:59, 66, 67]. The last three sons of Bumpas were Philip, Thomas and Samuel, names also used by Delano. These items suggest that Eduard Bompasse (anglicised as Edward Bumpas) came from Leiden with Delano in 1620 or 1621, that the two may have had some association there before that date, and that Bumpas was also a member of the Walloon community there.  He was about the same age as Moses Simonson (based on his age at marriage).

    4. Thomas Morton was quite possibly the witness to the marriage of George Morton and Juliana Carpenter in Leiden on 6 July 1612 [n.s.] [MD 11:193].  Juliana Carpenter’s sister Alice was William Bradford’s second wife.  This identification, if true, shows another member of the Leiden congregation.  His age at first marriage would suggest that he was in his late twenties when he was a passenger on the Fortune.  There is a possibility that he was married, perhaps around 1617, but his wife’s name is unknown, and she appears in no New England record.  The (younger) Thomas Morton who came on the Anne might be this Thomas’ son, but it is just as possible that he was his nephew.

    If we add those related to Mayflower passengers (Jonathan Brewster, eldest son of William Brewster; John Winslow, younger brother of Edward Winslow), that leaves only four passengers of the Speedwell unaccounted for.  This is a long way from George Willison (and many commentators who follow him) in Saints and Strangers, who theorises that there was a veritable riot when large numbers of people demanded to be let off the Mayflower and Speedwell, abandoning the trip when the ships put in to Plymouth.  From what it appears, most of those that stayed in England because there was no room for them on the Mayflower were those most able to support themselves individually; they stayed in close touch with the Merchant Adventurers for news of the new colony, and they got on the first ship they could that would take them to New England.

  • 27 Nov 2021 3:28 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    The Adams Family [sorry, I couldn’t resist]

    John Adams’ English origins are unknown.  In the 1623 Plymouth land division John Adams was granted one acre, as a passenger on the Fortune [PCR 12:5]. Member of the 1626 Purchaser group [PCR 2:177], in the 1627 Plymouth cattle division John Adams, "Eliner Adams," and James Adams were the second, third and fourth persons in the sixth company [PCR 12:11].  Based on his estimated date of marriage, John was probably born around 1600.  About 1625, John Adams married Ellen Newton, a passenger on the Anne [Pilgrim Migration 344]: this identification, long in print, is based on the fact that she is the only Ellen in the 1623 land division, and there was no other known addition to the Plymouth population in the next few years.  This makes her one of several unattached females who came over on the Anne and the Little James, without any obvious connection to any other passenger.  Her English origins are unknown, although it is not impossible that John and Eleanor knew each other before coming to New England.  This is similar to the identification of Mary Becket: this Mary, who came on the Anne and was not obviously part of any other group, is identified as George Soule’s wife because there were only two Marys in Plymouth in 1623 (the other being Mary Chilton, and she is otherwise spoken for), so by pure process of elimination, she must be the “Mary Soule” who was George’s wife.   

    John and Eleanor Adams had three children: James Adams was born before 1627 (since he is included in the division of cattle); John Adams (who married Jane James in Marshfield in 1654) and Susan Adams (no further record), both of whom must have been born after the division of cattle, in which they are not mentioned.  The widow Ellen Adams was named adminstratrix of John Adams’ estate on 11 November 1633, the deceased having left no will; she was bound in the sum of £140, John Barnes surety, to provide £5 apiece to her three children by John Adams - James, John and Susan - when they came of age, if she should choose to remarry [PCR 1:19]. The payment to son James, made by Kenelm Winslow, was recorded on 26 December 1651 [PCR 2:176], when James was at least 25.

    John Adams died between July and October 1633: he is assigned ground to be mowed in the earlier date [PCR 1:14], and his estate is inventoried at the latter date [MD 1:157-58, citing PCPR 1:14].  “The widow Ellen Adams” married (2) Kenelm Winslow, brother of Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow, in June 1634 [PCR 1:30, Pilgrim Migration 518], and was buried at Marshfield 5 December 1681 "being 83 years old" (probably an inflated age) [Marshfield VR 13].

    The best treatment in print of John Adams and his two sons is Robert S. Wakefield, "Men of the Fortune: John Adams," TAG 55 (1979):212-14. (An earlier account is in NEHGR 33 [1879]:410-13.)

  • 26 Nov 2021 3:00 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Fortune Passengers: Cushmans

    One of the leading passengers on board the Fortune was Robert Cushman, accompanied by his son Thomas. Robert Cushman was baptized in Rolveden, Kent, 9 February 1577/8, son of Thomas and Elinor (Hubbard) Couchman [NEHGR 68:181]; he had been the London agent for the Leiden congregation and was involved in the Mayflower and Speedwell voyage preparations; by occupation he was a grocer in Canterbury and a woolcomber in Leiden. Cushman had planned to make the voyage across the Atlantic, but when the Speedwell had to be abandoned he was one of those who remained behind.  This original intention of Cushman's and his many other services on behalf of the Pilgrims are undoubtedly the justification for the assignment to Cushman in 1623 of land in Plymouth as if he had been a passenger on the Mayflower (even though he wasn’t).  In 1620 Cushman had negotiated a financial support contract with the Merchant Adventurers; Bradford and others of the Leiden contingent refused to approve this contract at Southampton, with the Leideners saying the contract was all in the Adventurers’ favour and to the settlers’ detriment.  One of Cushman's reasons for coming to Plymouth now, a year later, was to convince the Plymouth settlers finally to approve this agreement, which had been unsigned for over a year.  Bradford realised that, so far, the Adventurers had nothing to show for their investment, and after assurances from Cushman that Weston could be counted on, Bradford and the others signed the agreement that Cushman had brought from the Merchant Adventurers.  Lora Underhill has gathered together every record known to her of the life of Robert Cushman, and in the process has compiled the best biography available of the man. Her treatment also goes into great detail on the career of his son Thomas. Elizabeth French in 1914 published her research into the ancestry of Robert Cushman, including extensive transcripts of records of the family in Kent [NEHGR 68:181- 85].  Robert E. Cushman and Franklin P. Cole published Robert Cushman of Kent (1577-1625) Chief Agent of the Plymouth Pilgrims (1617-1625) (Plymouth: GSMD, 1995; reviewed in MD 45:173).  Robert Cushman died in 1625: Bradford wrote that Myles Standish, on his return from England early in 1626, "brought them notice of the death of their ancient friend Mr Cushman, whom the Lord took away also this year." His voyage on the Fortune was his only visit to Plymouth.

    Robert married Sarah Reder at St Alphege in Canterbury on 31 July 1606, and had three children with her, two of whom died young and are buried at the Pieterskerk in Leiden along with Sarah (who died in October 1616, probably in childbirth: Dexter, The England and Holland of the Pilgrims, 611; Bangs, Strangers and Pilgrims, 705).  In June 1617, Robert remarried “Mary Shingleton from Sandwich in England, widow of Thomas Shingleton” [MD 10:193; NEHGR 68:183].  She apparently died before 1621, as there is no evidence she came to Plymouth with her husband and stepson.  Thomas Cushman was on the Fortune with his father; he is the only surviving child of Thomas’ first marriage and the only child known to have come to America and thus the ancestor of all of Robert Cushman’s descendants in America.  He had been baptised at St. Andrew, Canterbury, Kent, 8 February 1607/8 [NEHGR 68:183]; "William Beale & Thomas Cushman" received two acres in partnership in the 1623 Plymouth land division, as passengers on the Fortune -- Thomas would have been about fifteen years old at the time, which may explain the partnership [PCR 12:5]; in the 1627 Plymouth division of cattle, he was the sixth person in the eleventh company [PCR 12:12]; admitted freeman 1 January 1633/4 [PCR 1:4, 21], he married by about 1636 Mary Allerton, daughter of Isaac Allerton, and herself a Mayflower passenger.  Thomas in later life would become the church Elder for the Colony.

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