Tag Archives: Mayflower

Search For My Ticket On The Mayflower

In the past when I have talked about the Pilgrims of Plymouth, I focused on William Bassett. You can read here about my Pilgrim ancestor who missed the first Thanksgiving. While most of those early Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower, another group left their homes and extended families behind and boarded The Speedwell, sailing at the same time as the Mayflower and destined to land in America at the same time.

But might I be related to Pilgrim leader William Brewster? That would be lovely. He was the Pilgrim father who left an inventory of several hundred books when he died. Not exactly my reading taste, but, still, a lover of books.

The Speedwell/Fortune Passengers

To continue William Bassett’s story, on August 15, 1620, the Speedwell, packed with expectant, excited, and probably fearful passengers set sail from Holland. That ship met the Mayflower at Southampton. After a stop at Plymouth, England, however, it became obvious that the Speedwell would not make it across the ocean. If the captain of the Speedwell had possessed a public address system, he would have announced to his passengers, “Due to mechanical difficulties, we are returning to base.” The Mayflower sailed on to fame and glory. The famous settlers landed in the wrong place–but Virginia, Cape Cod…it is all the same continent, isn’t it?

The Mayflower
The Mayflower in Plymouth Harbour. Painting by William Halsall, public domain.

My 9x great-grandfather, William Bassett had boarded the Speedwell and stoically (or not so stoically, as we was a young man) waited until the financiers of the company substituted the ship The Fortune. Another notable passenger on the Fortune–Jonathan Brewster, son of the Pilgrim’s spiritual father in Plymouth, William Brewster. No doubt the Brewster family felt deep frustration that their eldest son got stranded in England for a year. The Fortune landed in Plymouth Colony in 1621. The survivors of the first terrible winter expressed great joy to see this healthy younger people arrive after so many of the Mayflower passengers had died.

Despite the fact that the passengers on the Fortune had been delayed through none of their own doing–they had meant to arrive in 1620, they are second citizens in the ranks of “American royalty.” The Mayflower Society, an organization open only to descendants of those who arrived on the Mayflower, does not recognize those whose misfortune it was to sail on the Speedwell and arrive on The Fortune.

So William Bassett, an ancestor my mother’s family has always been very proud to claim, does not get us a ticket to the Mayflower descendants. (Since estimates say that 35 million Mayflower descendants live today, you cannot really say it is an exclusive group, can you?)

Connections to William Brewster

William Brewster
William Brewster portrayed by an actor at Plymouth Plantation. Wikimedia Commons.

I hope this introduction shows you how excited I was to discover the name BREWSTER woven in with the Morgan family I have been exploring. Researching Samuel Morgan, my 5th great-grandfather, yielded at least three connections to Jonathan Brewster, and therefore Mayflower passenger and book-lover, William Brewster.

The connections came to my family tree came through Capt. Jonathan Morgan, brother of my 5th great-grandfather, Samuel Morgan.

The Puritans of Connecticut

The Morgans, as we have seen, were Connecticut dwellers for many generations. But weren’t the Pilgrims from Massachusetts? Ahhh, not all. And not forever. The leaders of the Pilgrims realized that they needed to spread out and start new towns to accommodate their expected growth. They had explored the coast of Connecticut as early as 1631 when Governor Winslow personally visited and encouraged the establishment of a trading post at Windsor Connecticut (named for the Indian name Quonehtacut River).

William Brewster’s son, Jonathan Brewster, arriving on the Fortune in 1621, became a leader and one of the first settlers of Connecticut when he established a trading house at Brewster’s Neck, Pequot (later Groton). Other early settlers of the area were James Avery and James Morgan, both founders of families in my descent.

The Connections

Ruth Morgan Brewster

I first noticed that the niece of my 5th Great grandfather, Samuel Morgan (1669) married a Brewster.

  • Ruth Morgan was the daughter of Capt. John Morgan (1667). Capt. John Morgan was the brother of Samuel Morgan (1669).
  • Ruth married Jonathan Brewster (1694), great-grandson of Jonathan Brewster, the eldest son of Pilgrim leader William Brewster.

Unfortunately, first cousin six times removed does not get me a ticket on the Mayflower.

Ruth Shapley Morgan

Not only did Capt. John Morgan (1667) have a Brewster son-in-law, he also was married to a descendant of William Brewster. I would not have discovered this except for the many and detailed books that trace the descendants of every single passenger from the Mayflower–some that go on for a dozen generations.

  • Ruth Shapley married Capt. John Morgan (1667).
  • Her mother was Mary Picket Shapley, married to Benjamin Shapley.
  • Mary Pickett’s mother was Ruth Brewster Pickett, married first to Jon Pickett, who “dyed at sea on a voyage to Bermuda.”
  • Ruth Brewster was the daughter of Jonathan Brewster (1593), and
  • Ruth Brewster (Pickett) was Grand daughter to William Brewster, which means Ruth Shapley (Morgan) was 2 x great-grand daughter to Jonathan Brewster.

Ruth Shapley does not get me a ticket on the Mayflower, either, although she is a 3rd great-grand-daughter to William Brewster. Despite the fact that she is a s wife of my 6th great-uncle, our relationship is marital, not blood.

Hannah Brewster Morgan

Then I moved on to another Morgan tied to a Brewster.

Hannah Brewster (1641) married Capt. James Morgan (1643) the brother of my 6th great-grandfather, Capt. John Morgan (1645).

But Who is Hannah _______??

Most of the standard sources, like The Descendants of James Morgan of Groton, and the Brewster Genealogy 1566-1907, as well as all the various Mayflower descendant books, list only Hannah _________ as Capt. James Morgan’s second wife. James and his first wife, Mary Vine, had six children. When Mary died and he remarried, both James and Hannah_____ would have been fifty years old. James and Hannah had no children. They died within days of each other when they were in their mid 60s. The details proving that the Hannah_____referred to in most books is actually Hannah Brewster Starr (Morgan) comes in a painstakingly researched piece published in The Genealogist, 14 (2000): 118-28. We have David L. Greene to thank for digging out the truth.

  • Hannah Brewster Starr (1641) married Capt. James Morgan (1643) after her first husband, Samuel Starr, and James’ first wife, Mary Vine, died.
  • Hannah Brewster Starr Morgan was the daughter of Jonathan Brewster (1593) and
  • Hannah was the Grand daughter to William Brewster.
  • Notice that she was a sister to Ruth Brewster Pickett mentioned in the line of Ruth Shapley.

Obviously, if Ruth Shapley Morgan did not get me a ticket on the Mayflower, Hannah Brewster Starr Morgan also did not get me a ticket.

Peregrine White

I would be remiss not to at least mention my previously discovered tie to a Mayflower ancestor. Peregrine White, first child born to the Pilgrims after they reached America, married a daughter of William Bassett. But there we have it again–a marital relationship rather than a direct descent. No ticket.

Conclusion

I am not going to prove eligibility for the Mayflower Society by tracing a connection to the William Brewster family.

But in the process of searching, I greatly expanded my understanding of the Morgan line and their various branches. I also learned a great deal about the early history of Connecticut, as well as about the history of one of the most important Pilgrim settlers, William Brewster.

Some Sources for Pilgrim Research:

The Brewster Genealogy 1566-1907, Vol. I, and Vol II Pts 1 & 2, Emma C. Brewster Jones, New York: Grafton Press, 1854. Available at http://archives.org.

Mayflower Descendents and Their Marriages for Two Generations After the Landing, Including a Short History of the Church of the Pilgrim Founders of New England, Washington D.C.: Bureau of Military and Civic Achievement. John D. Landis, 1922. Available on line through the Hathi Trust.

History and Genealogy of the Mayflower planters and first Comers to ye old Colonies, Vol II, Leon Clark Hills, Washington D.C.: Hills Publishing Co. 1936-1941. Ancestry.com (membership). Also available free on line if your local library card admits you to the website Open Library. Also available for purchase in print or e-copies.

New London County Connecticut with Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneer and Prominent Men, Compiled by Hamilton Hurd, Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co. 1882. Available on line at archive.org

Mayflower Births and Deaths from the files of George Ernest Bowman, ed. by Susan E. Roser. 2 Volumes, Baltimore MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Available at Ancestry.com (membership) and by search only (not entire text) at Hathi Trust.

A catalogue of the Names of First Puritan Settlement of the Colony of Connecticut, Royal R. Hineman, Hartford: Tiffany & Co.1846 Available on line at Hathi Trust.https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.l0072881345;view=1up;seq=11

Peregrine White: American Royalty

Sarah Bassett 1630-1711

 Peregrine White 1620-1704

Many people seem to think that the purpose of genealogy is to find out how your family is related to royalty. I have not extended my family history to Europe in search of titled ancestors, but among that bevy of misbehaving children sired by our pilgrim ancestor, William Bassett, Sarah, born in 1630, made the choice of mate that ties us firmly to American “royalty.” (Although my early American ancestors–not a Tory in the bunch–would have been horrified by the term.)

Our family has always been proud of being descendants of the Pilgrim William Bassett, even though his ship the Fortune didn’t get here with the Mayflower as scheduled. But my mother, who loved family history, never learned that one of the Bassett girls married so well. She would have loved this story.

Whose names do we hear in 6th grade when we are studying the Pilgrims?  Well there is William Bradford, Governor of the colony, the other main leader Edward Winslow, and surely Miles Standish, the military leader. William Brewster was the religious leader, and you have probably heard of him. And there is the 3-way romance of Priscilla Alden, John and Miles Standish, made famous (or embroidered) by Longfellow.

Peregrine White cradle

The actual Peregrine White cradle, kept at the Pilgrim Museum by the Pilgrim Society.

But the name that struck an emotional chord with me as a child was Peregrine White.  Besides the fact that I wondered why his parents would give him such a silly name, I was fascinated that he was born ON the Mayflower–the first child born in the Pilgrim colony.

As to the name, what do I know? I have since read that Peregrine comes from a Latin word that means pilgrim (or traveler).

Peregrine had an older brother, Resolve, who had traveled with their parents on the Mayflower. (Read more about his mother Susannah, sturdy pioneer, in the following short bio.)   Baby Peregrine waited until the ship had safely docked in Cape Cod harbor to make his appearance, becoming the first child born in the Plymouth Colony.

Unfortunately, Peregrine’s father William White, a signer of the Mayflower compact, was one of the casualties of the first dreadful winter in New England. He died in February 1621, and Susannah quickly married Edward Winslow, who was one of the close-knit community who came from Holland.

Peregrine would have been a toddler when the colony celebrated the first Thanksgiving.  Speculation is that it took place some time in October. Edward Winslow, Peregrine’s step-father, by the way, is not only important as a leader, but also because he left one of only two surviving documents that mention that first Thanksgiving.

Some time in his early twenties, young Peregrine caught the eye of Sarah Bassett, who was ten years younger than he was.  His obituary says, “He was vigorous and of a comly (sic) Aspect to the last.”  He must have been an attractive youth. According to church records, although they married–perhaps when she was as young as sixteen–they had been fooling around beforehand. The church charged them with “fornication before marriage.” It seems you just could not get away with anything in Plymouth Colony.

Peregrine White Homestead

Peregrine White homestead marker

But Sarah and Peregrine were destined to have a long marriage. They lived in Marshfield, Massachusetts on land that William Bassett gave to them when they married.  Peregrine, besides his soldiering, was a farmer and he did well, expanding his land. He and Sarah had seven children (one dying in infancy) and lived their entire lives on the land in Marshfield.

Imagine my surprise to discover that the land of the homestead is for sale.  If anyone would like to build a true Thanksgiving home,near the Atlantic with a view of a river, and a claim to history, check out this listing on Peregrine Drive in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

Peregrine White property

Peregrine White property in Marshfield MA

But wait, there’s more.  Sarah and Peregrine’s home, built in 1648, still stands. No doubt it has been altered considerably, since it is not protected by historic status. But it was for sale a few years ago, so there are pictures of it all over the Internet. (It is not for sale now despite misleading information on the Web.)

Peregrine and Sarah's home

Peregrine and Sarah Bassett White’s home 178 Peregrine White Dr, Marshfield, MA

 How I am Related

  • My maternal grandmother, Vera Stout Anderson, was the daughter of
  • Hattie Stout Morgan, the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett Platt Morgan, the daughter of
  • William Bassett the son of
  • Samuel Bassett, the son of
  • William Bassett, Jr., the son of
  • William L. Bassett, the son of
  • William Bassett, the son of
  • Joseph Bassett, the son of, and Mary Lapham Bassett, the step-daughter of
  • William Bassett, the Pilgrim, also father of
  • Sarah Bassett,8th Great Grand Aunt married to
  • Peregrine White

 

Research Notes

The Boston Newsletter, Monday, July 31, 1704

The Sun Journal (Lewiston Maine), November 23, 1994, found in Google News

(Other sources are linked above).

There is no end of information about Peregrine White on the Internet, and most of those sources mention Sarah Bassett as well.  I started, as usual, with birth,death and marriage records at Ancestry.com