Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mayflower Ancestor James Chilton and Daughter Mary Chilton

Yesterday, I shared a story about an ancestor who arrived on the Mayflower: John Howland is a paternal ancestor of mine. I also have maternal ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower.

My 12th great-grandfather, James Chilton, was the oldest passenger on the Mayflower, having been born about 1556, likely in Kent, England, making him about 64 during the voyage. There are records showing baptisms for ten children of James Chilton between 1586 and 1607 in Kent, however historians don't agree on his wife's name. Their youngest child was Mary Chilton, baptized at St. Peter's, Sandwich, Kent, on May 30, 1607, making her 13 years old during the trip.

Courtesy: Wikipedia
The family were Separatists and lived in Leiden, Holland, for a few years. Yet only James, his wife, and his youngest daughter, Mary, sailed on the Mayflower to the New World.

James was a signer of the "Mayflower Compact," the first governing document of the colony, which was signed aboard the ship on November 11, 1620.

It is said that Mary Chilton was the first European woman to step ashore at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Mary Chilton's Title to Celebrity: investigated in behalf of a descendant of John Haward, minimus, by Charles Thornton Libby, published in 1926, can be found at Ancestry.com and at FamilySearch.org. The author explored various sources for the Mary Chilton story. On page 6, the author notes that the earliest form of the story was written down in 1769 by a second great-grandson of Mary Chilton:
"Mary Chilton was the first European Female that landed on the North American shore; she came over with her father and mother and other adventurers to this new settlement. One thing worthy of notice is that her curiosity of being first on the American Strand prompted her, like a young Heroine, to leap out of the Boat and wade ashore."
The author suggests (in an historic fictional way) that Mary was an adventurous girl and eager to get off the boat that she had been on for many weeks. The men had been on and off the boat several times already, making preparations for the women and children and I would think all of them would have been eager to escape that small and uncomfortable space.

Sadly, both her parents died soon after the Mayflower's arrival, her father, James, in December 1620, and her mother about a month later. It is not known which family Mary lived with after the death of her parents, but it was only for a few years, as by 1627, she had married John Winslow, who arrived in America in 1621 on the Fortune. They had ten children, born between about 1628 and 1653, the second one, Susanna, born about 1630, is my ancestor.

John and Mary (Chilton) Winslow ultimately settled in Boston, where John was a successful merchant. John died about 1674 and Mary died a few years later.

I descend from James and Mary Chilton as follows:

James Chilton
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Mary Chilton
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Susanna Winslow
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Mercy Latham
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Desire Harris
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Mary Kingman
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Samuel Copeland
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Abraham Copeland
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Nathaniel Copeland
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Thomas Jefferson Copeland
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Henry Clay Copeland
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Lowell Copeland
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Lowell Townsend Copeland
|
My mother
|
Me

6 comments:

  1. I descend from another of James' daughters, Isabel.

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    1. Hello Cousin!

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  2. Your research is so much fun! Thank you!! Harriet

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    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed this story! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Delete