Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Wives of the Pilgrims

 

Katherine Carver
Mrs. Katherine Carver, it has been supposed by some, was a sister of Pastor Robinson. This supposition rests, apparently, upon the expression in his parting letter to Carver, where he says: "What shall I say unto you and your good wife, my loving sister?" Neither the place of Mrs. Carver's nativity nor her age is known.

Desire Minter
Desire Minter was evidently a young girl of the Leyden congregation, between the ages of fourteen and seventeen, who, in some way (perhaps through kinship), had been taken into Carver's family. She returned to England early.

"Mrs. Carver's Maid."
"Mrs. Carver's maid," it is fair to presume, from her position as lady's maid and its requirements in those days, was a young woman of eighteen or twenty years, and this is confirmed by her early marriage. Nothing is known of her before the embarkation. She died early.

Mary Brewster
The wife of Elder Brewster, the "Chief of the Pilgrims," was about fifty-one years of age at the time of the landing of the Mayflower. She was the mother of three sons; the two younger. Love and Wrestling Brewster, accompanied their parents to the new land.

Elizabeth (Barker) Winslow
Mrs. Elizabeth (Barker) Winslow, the first wife of the Governor, appears by the data supplied by the record of her marriage in Holland, May 27, 1618 to have been a maiden of comporting years to her husband's, he being then twenty-three. Tradition makes her slightly younger than her husband.

Ellen More
Ellen More, "a little girl that was put to him" (Winslow), died early. She was a sister of the other. More children, "bound out" to Carver and Brewster.

Mrs. Dorothy (May) Bradford
Mrs. Dorothy (May) Bradford's age (the first wife of the Governor) is fixed at twenty-three by collateral data, but she may have been older. She was probably from Wisbeach, England. The manner of her tragic death (by drowning, having fallen overboard from the ship in Cape Cod harbor), the first violent death in the colony, was especially sad, her husband being absent for a week afterward. It is not known that her body was recovered.

Mary (Norris) Allerton
Mary (Norris) Allerton is called a "maid of Newberry in England," in the Leyden record of her marriage, in October, 161 1, and it is the only hint as to her age we have. She was presumably a young woman. Her death followed (a month later) the birth of her still-born son, on board the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor, February 25, 1621.

Remember Allerton
Remember Allerton, apparently Allerton's second child, was, no doubt, born in Holland about 1614. She married Moses Maverick by 1635, and Thomas Weston's only child, Elizabeth, was married from her house at Marblehead, to Roger (Sonant, the first ''governor" of a "plantation" on the Massachusetts Bay territory.

Mary Allerton
Mary Allerton, apparently the third child, could hardly have been much more than four years old in 1620. She was probably born in Holland about 1616. She was the last survivor of the passengers of the Mayflower, dying at Plymouth, New England, 1699.

Susanna (Fuller) White
Susanna (Fuller) White, wife of William, and sister of Dr. Fuller (?), was apparently somewhat younger than her first husband and perhaps older than her second. She must, in all probability (having been married in Leyden in 1612), have been at least twenty-five at the embarkation eight years later. Her second husband, Governor Winslow, was but twenty-five in 1620 and the presumption is that she was slightly his senior. There appears no good reason for ascribing to her the austere and rather unlovable characteristics which the pen of Mrs. Austin hat given her.

Alice Mullens
Mrs. Alice Mullens, whose given name we know only from her husband's will, filed in London, we know little about Her age was (if she was his first wife) presumably about that of her husband, whom she survived but a short time.

Priscilla Mullens
Priscilla Mullens, whom the glamour of unfounded romance and the pen of the poet Longfellow have made one of the best known and best beloved of the Pilgrim band, was either a little older or younger than her brother Joseph, it is not certain which. But that she was over sixteen is probable.

Elizabeth Hopkins
Nothing is known concerning Mrs. Elizabeth Hopkins, except that she was not her husband's first wife. Sometime apparently elapsed between her husband's marriages.

Constance (Or Constantia) Hopkins
Constance (or Constantia) Hopkins was apparently about eleven years old in 1620, as she married in 1627, and probably was then not far from eighteen years old.

Damaris Hopkins
Damaris Hopkins, the younger daughter of Master Hopkins, was probably a very young child when she came in the Mayflower, but her exact age has not been ascertained. Davis, as elsewhere noted, makes the singular mistake of saying she was born after her parents arrived in New England. She married Jacob Cooke, and the ante-nuptial agreement of his parents is believed to be the earliest of record in America, except that between Gregory Armstrong and the widow Billington.

Humility Cooper
Humility Cooper is said by Bradford to have been a "cosen'' of the Tilleys, but no light is given as to her age or antecedents. She was but a child apparently. She returned to England very soon after the death of Mr. and Mrs. Tilley, and "died young."

Bridget (Van Der Velde) Tilley
Mrs. Bridget (Van der Velde) Tilley was her husband's second wife, concerning whom nothing is known, except that she was of Holland, and that she had, apparently, no child.

Elizabeth Tilley
Elizabeth Tilley is said, by Goodwin and others, to have been fourteen years old at her parents' death in 1621, soon after the arrival in New England. She was the child of her father's first wife. She married John Howland before 1624. Historians for many years called her the "daughter of Governor Carver," but the recovery of Bradford's MS. "historic" corrected this, with many other mis-conceptions, though to some the error had become apparent before.

Mrs. Chilton
Mrs. Chilton's given name is declared by one writer to have been Susanna, but it is not clearly proven. Whence she came, her ancestry, and her age, are alike unknown.

Mary Chilton
Mary Chilton was but a young girl in 1620. She married, before 1627, John Winslow, and was probably not over fourteen when she came with her parents in the Mayflower.

Sarah Eaton
Mrs. Sarah Eaton, wife of Francis, was evidently a young woman, with an infant, at the date of embarkation. Nothing more is known of her, except that she died in the spring following the arrival at Plymouth.

Ellen (Or "Elen") Billington
Mrs. Ellen (or "Elen") Billington, as Bradford spells the name, was evidently of comporting age to her husband's, perhaps a little younger. Their two sons, John and Francia, were lively urchins who frequently made matters interesting for the colonists, afloat and ashore. The family was radically bad throughout, but they have had not a few worthy descendants. Mrs. Billington married Gregory Armstrong; and their ante-nuptial agreement is the first such record known in America.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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