Maylower, Fortune, Anne, Zouch Phenix, Abigail, Lyon, Mary & John, Hopewell, Planter, Truelove, William & Francis, Elizabeth & Bonneventure, Elizabeth, Francis, Susan & Ellen, James, Elizabeth & Ann, Pied Cow, Hercules, Mary Anne


One cold morning in 1620, the English ship Mayflower passed Cape Cod and entered the history books forever. That very vessel carried not one, but two of our ancestor. Richard Warren and Stephen Hopkins (see related story) both arrived on that ship that day.

Little is known about the ship the Mayflower other than it had been built as a Mediterranean wine ship. It was a freighter, built to carry European wines from the Mediterranean back to England. It had done this task for many years and was quite an old vessel when the famous Plymouth voyage was accomplished. The end of the Mayflower and its final resting-place is unfortunately not known, and it is generally felt it may have fallen prey to the proverbial scrap yard. When ships became too old or fragile to be profitable to sail any longer, they were routinely stripped of any useful parts and the rest of the ship was demolished and could be used as fuel. They were made of wood. I was able to find that at least one other voyage of a ship called The Mayflower. This was about 1609 to Maine, where a failed colony had been attempted. I found records to indicate others had found this information earlier and somehow determined this was not the Mayflower of Plymouth fame. I however, feel it may very well have been. The Mayflower was a very old vessel in 1620, when it carried the pilgrims to Plymouth and certainly would have been in the English fleet in 1609 when this other voyage was made. Since it was not the customer then or now to name two ships with the same name, it only makes sense that the two Mayflower voyages were accomplished by the same vessel.


In 1621, another vessel arrived at Plymouth. This was a much smaller ship indeed and was called the Fortune. It was a ship of only some 55 tons, while the Mayflower was more near 350 tons. The company in England, the Dorchester Company that is, sent the Fortune as a relief ship for the pilgrims. They actually sent it as more of a joke. You see the Mayflower had been expected to return to England filled with valuables from the New World. The company was to have sent another large vessel with supplies the Pilgrims were sure to be in need of. The Fortune however, was too small to carry anything more than what was needed for the journey. As a result, the Pilgrims had to wait to receive any relief.

The Mayflower had set the pilgrims off at Plymouth rather than taking them to the planned destination of Virginia. Once at sea, her captain got to know the peaceful pilgrims and found that they were unsuitable for life in Virginia. It was his own plan to drop them at Plymouth instead, which of course he did. He also kept the ship tied up there all winter to provide needed shelter. Even then, many of the hardy pilgrims died during that first winter of exposure and starvation. Once the cold had gone, the Mayflower set sail for England with her holds empty. This did not make the company happy at all and produced the small relief effort on the Fortune.

Did you realize the Mayflower journey to Plymouth had been a commercial venture? It was actually the only way the pilgrims could secure passage. They had to agree to work for the company once there, for several years. This they did. They regularly sent portions of their crops back to England. Actually, the entire colonial period was one big commercial venture. Rich fat cats back in London, England were making themselves quite wealthy at the expense of many brave soles.

The Fortune carried only twenty-one passengers. These were not pilgrims themselves. In fact, the company had hired them specifically because they were adventurers. They had agreed to locate treasure and this they would share with the company. The company sent with them, instructions for the pilgrims to follow (which they did). The pilgrims were to house these men, and care for them. One of these men was another of our ancestors. His name was James Steward and remained at Plymouth for only a few years. It had been thought he had wondered off and was killed by Indians, but I found that he had actually left the Plymouth colony and traveled north to the newly formed Massachusetts Bay Colony. He settled in Salem, married and produced children who trace these nearly four hundred years to today and to us. This is all I know of James Steward.

A side note, about the Fortune you may find interesting. On the return voyage to England, it left Plymouth empty and traveled south to Jamestown, Va. where it took on cargo (such as it was) for England. On the crossing, the Fortune had been blown off course and found itself in French waters where the French navy captured the unarmed ship and held it and crew captive for several weeks. Once the French realized the English would never pay for their freedom, they took what cargo was aboard and allowed the ship and crew to continue the voyage to England.


In 1623, another vessel arrived in the New World. This time it was at Cape Anne in what later became Massachusetts. This vessel was called the Zouche Phenix and carried on its decks one more of our ancestors. His name was William Traske and had come as a military person to provide defense for the settlers who came with them. This was another venture performed by the Dorchester Company and led by one Roger Conant. The purpose of this venture had been to establish a safe port on Cape Anne for the English fishing fleets that fished the oceans along the upper New England coast.

Apparently the English fishing fleets had been fishing the waters east of New England for some time. This venture failed and those who remained moved inland to a place on the bay the Indians called Naum Kieg. The others either left for England or moved to Virginia.


In 1628 the Abigail arrived at a new community in Massachusetts by the name of Naum Kieg. She carried with her the first official governor of the Massachusetts Colony Jon Endecott and his wife. She also carried the charter for the colony. When they arrived, they found roughly 30 of the Cape Anne people living there, and essentially took over. The community was renamed to Salem and the Cape Anne folks were ignored. They complained to the king and eventually received their due. Our ancestor Capt. William Traske was amongst this Cape Anne group. The King obviously felt favorable toward them as they were granted permission to continue growing tobacco when the others could not. The Cape Anne folks were not puritans as were the Abigail people. There was friction.


In 1629 the Lyon arrived at Salem with Henry Herrick and family. Henry was the son of Sir William Herrick of Leicestershire, Royal Exchequer, and Ambassador to Turkey for the crown. Henry was named by Prince Henry, son of King James I and sponsored by the Prince and Lady Aster. The Lyon made additional trips to the New World, as did other ships, but in 1632 the Lyon sank off the Virginia coast on its way back to England.


The Anne arrived at Plymouth in 1623 and carried many of the family members of those passengers who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. Our ancestor who arrived on the Anne was the wife and children of Richard Warren (Mayflower passenger).


The Mary and John was the lead ship of the famous Winthrop Fleet, beginning in 1630. Thousands of immigrants arrived on this fleet and the Mary and John was the first to leave England and the first to arrive in the New World. She anchored on the island of Hull in the bay off of Dorchester (Boston). Some 14 of our ancestors arrived on this vessel. The family names include Phelps, Gaylord, Rockwell, Eggleston, Gillet, Holcomb, Capen and Ford. These folks were amongst the founders of Windsor, Connecticut in 1635 when they left the safety of the coast for the savage lands along the Connecticut River. The Pequot Indians were at war with everyone including other Indians. When the colonists bravely sent a small armed group against the overwhelming number of Pequots and won. It was a vicious war and there was much bloodshed, but the colonists helped the peaceful Indians to destroy the warlike Pequots and the colonists were rewarded with land given to them by the Indians who they helped. The Pequots had taken this land from the other Indians to begin with. The Pequots were actually from far up north but were driven out by the much stronger Huron tribe.

The Mary and John made many voyages to America. We had family on it's 1633 voyage as well. That was the Lunt and Marsh families. The Mary and John had also made an earlier voyage to Maine in 1609 to establish a colony, but it failed to survive.


The Hopewell was a ship that had been commanded by the famous Capt Henry Hudson on some earlier voyages, but on the voyage to America in 1632, it was not Capt Henry Hudson at the helm. This voyage produced a passenger list that was particularly interesting as the vast majority of the passengers were children. They were mostly young and our ancestor was amongst them. His name was Foster and he was only 14 years of age and was not accompanied by an adult. In fact most of these children where unaccompanied. At first I thought they must be children of earlier arrivals, but then I came across some interesting reading materials on old London town. It seems, the upper class in London was getting very frustrated with the many street children running loose in London. They began arresting them for almost anything and they stood trial. I read of one such child being hung for stealing a loaf of bread. Most were chosen to be shipped off to America to be adopted by colonists who had already lost their own children to the hardships of the frontier or who wanted nothing more than slaves. John Foster, our ancestor was on such a ship at the age of 14 and he was alone. I believe he was not adopted as he grew up with the foster name.


The Planter carried to these shores the family known as Maddocks or Maddox. They were ancestors of ours too. The Planter arrived in New England (Boston) in 1632.


This ship carried to America the Tompkins family and dropped anchor in Boston in 1632.


The Woodford family arrived on this good ship in 1632. It too anchored in Boston harbor.


The Chubbuck family arrived in Boston in 1633 on this ship.


Boston saw this ship come over the horizon one day in 1634. She carried with her the Firmin and Scott families.


The year 1634 also saw this ship arrive at Boston harbor with the Newell, Pease and Stebbins families on board. The Stebbins family produce the ill fated owners of the "Stebbins House" at Deerfield, Massachusetts. This house is family even till today for withstanding the vicious attack by the French and Indians on the peaceful community of Deerfield, Massachusetts in 1704. The Indians cut a hole in the front door to get to the innocent family who were all killed save one who ran through the snow for miles for help.


This ship arrived in 1635 at Boston and carried with her the Bird and North families.


1635 also saw the arrival of this ship which carried with her the French, Farnum, Bessey, Smith *George & Mary) families.


The same year (1635) the Elizabeth and Ann arrived in Boston with the Orvis family on board.


1635 was a busy year as the Pied Cow arrived too with the Baldwin's on board.


The Smiths (Mathew and Jane) arrived at Boston on the Hercules in the year 1637.


The Mary Anne arrived at Boston harbor carrying the Cutler family in 1637.


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