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Mayflower, Day by Day - Wednesday, 24 November 1621

24 Nov 2021 3:38 AM | Soule (Administrator)

The Thirty Five Passengers

Both Bradford in his journal and Edward Winslow in Mourt’s Relation state that there were thirty-five passengers on the Fortune when it landed in November 1621.  As stated numerous times, there was no passenger list or manifest for this ship, or for any other ship that landed in Plymouth in the 1620s.  Attempts to list the passengers of the Fortune and come up with thirty-five have thus far been singularly unsuccessful.  Some commentators state that the number thirty-five does not include women or children, or is just an estimate, or was not remembered correctly; Stratton lists Edward Bumpas twice (with two different spellings), and still only comes up with 34.  Winslow wrote his recollection a matter of days after they arrived, and while Bradford may have copied Winslow’s number when writing his Of Plimmoth Plantation twenty years later, he was certainly there when the passengers landed and must have had a first-hand personal recollection with which to compare Winslow’s number.  Although Banks records that there was only one woman on the ship (Martha Ford), he notes that several of the passengers were married by 1623, although where they would have found brides is unknown -- all of the unmarried women in Plymouth are otherwise accounted for.

Tomorrow I will put together the list of thirty five, and this is the only way I can see that the records and the recollection of Winslow and Bradford can match.  For the next few days I will go through those passengers about which we know anything: I have written genealogical sketches of all of the passengers in The Passengers of the Fortune (1621), which I prepared for the Delano Kindred reunion last September.

There appear to be several families, or parts of families, which I list here to help expand the number:

(2) William Bassett and his wife Elizabeth Bassett

(1) Jonathan Brewster, eldest son of William Brewster (who was already in Plymouth)

(2) Robert Cushman and his son Thomas Cushman (more about them on Friday)

(2) Thomas Flavell and his son (name unknown).  His wife arrived on the Anne, but they are not in the 1627 cattle division, and so they may have died or, more likely, returned to England.

(5) Mrs. Martha Ford (maiden name unknown), her husband (name unknown), John Ford (b. 1617), Martha Ford (b. 1619), son born when the Fortune arrived in Cape Cod (died soon afterward).

(2) William Palmer and his son William Palmer

(1) John Winslow, brother of Edward Winslow (who was already in Plymouth).

This accounts for fifteen persons (and three women), or 43% of the passengers.  The following passengers appear in the 1623 Plymouth land division, but not in the 1627 cattle division or any other record, and thus they must have died or returned to England in the meantime: (8) William Beale, John Cannon, William Conner, Augustin Nicolas, William Pitt, Hugh Stacy, James Steward, William Tench, Each received a single acre in the 1623 land division, which would suggest that they were all unmarried men; some might have been servants for other investors who had not yet come to New England.  That brings the total to 23 (66% of the total number of passengers).

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