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Richard Warren, Mayflower Passenger, Ancestor

October 5, 2016 7 Comments


The original painting hangs at the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Mayflower Compact, Image from painting by Edward Percy Moran (1862-1935), showing Myles Standish, William Bradford, William Brewster and John Carver signing the Mayflower Compact in a cabin aboard the Mayflower while other Pilgrims look on, ca. 1900.

My eleventh great-grandfather sailed on the Mayflower as a paying customer, not part of the Leiden religious Pilgrims.  He was a merchant who sailed from England without his wife and daughters, sending for them to join him after he was established in Plymouth.  As we travel in time toward Thanksgiving I like to deconstruct some of the misconceptions we have about these Mayflower pioneers. They were not all religious and they did not all survive very well in the new world. Things were not as rose as they were presented to us back in elementary school.  It was not all turkey and dressing.  The Plymouth story is a complicated tale of cultural clashes that continue to this day.

Richard Warren (1580 – 1628)
11th great-grandfather
Anna Warren (1612 – 1675)
daughter of Richard Warren
William Little (1640 – 1731)
son of Anna Warren
William Little (1660 – 1740)
son of William Little
William Little Jr (1685 – 1756)
son of William Little
Jeanette Little (1713 – 1764)
daughter of William Little Jr
Andrew Armour (1740 – 1801)
son of Jeanette Little
William Armor (1775 – 1852)
son of Andrew Armour
William Armer (1790 – 1837)
son of William Armor
Thomas Armer (1825 – 1900)
son of William Armer
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Thomas Armer
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor

Richard Warren (c.1580 1628) a passenger on the Mayflower, old “May Floure,” in 1620, settled in Plymouth Colony and was among 10 passengers of the Mayflower landing party with Myles Standish at Cape Cod on November 11, 1620. Richard Warren co-signed the Mayflower Compact and was one of 19 among 41 signers who survived the first winter. His wife Elizabeth, nee Walker, baptised 1583 in Baldock, Hertfordshire, England, died October 2, 1673. She and his first five children, all daughters, came to America in the ship “Anne” in 1623. Once in America, they then had two sons before Richard’s untimely death in 1628. Clearly a man of rank, Richard Warren was accorded by Governor William Bradford the prefix “Mr.”, pronounced Master, used in those times to distinguish someone because of birth or achievement. From his widow’s subsequent land transactions, we can assume that he was among the wealthier of the original Plymouth Settlers.” In Mourt’s Relation, published in 1622, we learn that Warren was chosen, when the Mayflower stopped at Cape Cod before reaching Plymouth, to be a member of the exploring party among 10 passengers, and 8 crew, and he was described as being “of London” among 3 men. Charles Edward Banks, in Ancestry and Homes of the Pilgrim Fathers writes: “Richard Warren came from London and was called a merchand of that city, by Mourt.” He was not of the Leyden, Holland, Pilgrims, but joined them in Southampton, England to sail on the Mayflower. Richard Warren received his acres in the Division of Land in 1623. In the 1627 Division of Lands and Cattle, in May of 1627, “RICHARD WARREN of the Mayflower” was given “one of the black heifers, 2 she-goats, and a grant of 400 acres of land” at the Eel River in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Warren house built in that year, 1627, stood at the same location as the present house; it was re-built about 1700, at the head of Clifford Road, with its back to the sea, and later owned by Charles Strickland, in 1976. However, Richard Warren died a year after the division, in 1628, the only record of his death being found as a brief note in Nathaniel Morton’s 1669 book New England’s Memorial, in which Morton writes: “This year [1628] died Mr. Richard Warren, who hath been mentioned before in this book, and was an useful instrument ; and during his life bore a deep share in the difficulties and troubles of the first settlement of the plantation of New Plimouth.” -Nathaniel Morton, New England’s Memorial (Boston : John Usher, 1669) Source: The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It was drafted by the “Pilgrims” who crossed the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower, seeking religious freedom. It was signed on November 11, 1620 in what is now Provincetown Harbor near Cape Cod. The Pilgrims used the Julian Calendar which, at that time, was ten days behind the Gregorian Calendar, signing the covenant “ye .11. of November.” Having landed at Plymouth, so named by Captain John Smith earlier, many of the Pilgrims aboard realized that they were in land uncharted by the London Company. For this reason the Mayflower Compact was written and adopted, based simultaneously upon a majoritarian model and the settlers’ allegiance to the king. Many of the passengers knew that earlier settlements in the New World had failed due to a lack of government, and the Mayflower Compact was in essence a social contract in which the settlers consented to follow the rules and regulations of the government for the sake of survival. The government, in return, would derive its power from the consent of the governed. The compact is often referred to as the foundation of the Constitution of the United States, in a figurative, not literal, way. The list of 41 male passengers who signed was supplied by Bradford’s nephew Nathaniel Morton in his 1669 New England’s Memorial include: Richard Warren Source: Mayflower Compact, Image from painting by Edward Percy Moran (1862-1935), showing Myles Standish, William Bradford, William Brewster and John Carver signing the Mayflower Compact in a cabin aboard the Mayflower while other Pilgrims look on, ca. 1900.  Source:

My 11th great-grandfather was probably born in Hertford, England.  He married Elizabeth Walker, 14 April 1610, Great Amwell, Hertford, England, daughter of Augustine Walker. He died in  1628, in Plymouth. Children: Mary, Ann, Sarah, Elizabeth, Abigail, Nathaniel, and Joseph.
Richard Warren’s English origins and ancestry have been the subject of much speculation, and countless different ancestries have been published for him, without a shred of evidence to support them. Luckily in December 2002, Edward Davies discovered the missing piece of the puzzle. Researchers had long known of the marriage of Richard Warren to Elizabeth Walker on 14 April 1610 at Great Amwell, Hertford. Since we know the Mayflower passenger had a wife named Elizabeth, and a first child born about 1610, this was a promising record. But no children were found for this couple in the parish registers, and no further evidence beyond the names and timing, until the will of Augustine Walker was discovered. In the will of Augustine Walker, dated April 1613, he mentions “my daughter Elizabeth Warren wife of Richard Warren”, and “her three children Mary, Ann and Sarah.” We know that the Mayflower passenger’s first three children were named Mary, Ann, and Sarah (in that birth order).
Very little is known about Richard Warren’s life in America. He came alone on the Mayflower in 1620, leaving behind his wife and five daughters. They came to him on the ship Anne in 1623, and Richard and Elizabeth subsequently had sons Nathaniel and Joseph at Plymouth. He received his acres in the Division of Land in 1623, and his family shared in the 1627 Division of Cattle. But he died a year later in 1628, the only record of his death being found in Nathaniel Morton’s 1669 book New England’s Memorial, in which he writes: “This year [1628] died Mr. Richard Warren, who was an useful instrument and during his life bare a deep share in the difficulties and troubles of the first settlement of the Plantation of New Plymouth.”
All of Richard Warren’s children survived to adulthood, married, and had large families: making Richard Warren one of the most common Mayflower passengers to be descended from. Richard Warren’s descendants include such notables as Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Alan B. Shepard, Jr. the first American in space and the fifth person to walk on the moon.

6 September 1620 Richard was one of the 102 passengers that embarked on the Mayflower, leaving Plymouth, England on this day. Many people are aware that the passengers of the Mayflower were fleeing religious persecution. What most people don’t realize is that over half the passengers were “strangers” picked up from London, whose passage to America on the Mayflower helped the religious separatists pay the excessive expenses involved with sending a ship to the New World. Those in the Leyden contingent are the “religious separatists” and those of the London contingent are the “strangers”.
9 November 1620 The passengers and crew aboard the Mayflower sighted land.
11 November 1620 The passengers and crew of the Mayflower made landfall in America. The group of 102 passengers who crowded aboard the Mayflower for the crossing was not homogenous. Many of the passengers were members of the Leiden congregation, but they were joined by a number of English families or individuals who were hoping to better their life situations, or were seeking financial gain. These two general groups have sometimes been referred to as the “saints” and “strangers.” Although the Leiden congregation had sent its strongest members with various skills for establishing the new colony, nearly half of the passengers died the first winter of the “great sickness.” Anyone who arrived in Plymouth on Mayflower and survived the initial hardships is now considered a Pilgrim with no distinction being made on the basis of their original purposes for making the voyage.

Ancestry Fans on Facebook

May 1, 2015 9 Comments

During the exciting and educational April #NaPoWriMo I managed to kick out 30 poems in 30 days.   I will follow the poets I met because they make my days richer with only short bursts of time invested. I can read a poem for a minute or two and ponder it forever.  I love the community that develops around the special poetry writing month and plan to keep my connection to it.  I have learned that the process of writing poems is therapeutic .  While engaged in poetic efforts I happened to digitally meet new people who are as interesting to me as the poets.  Much to my surprise, my niche geek group, family history freaks, is alive and meeting regularly to share data and support.

This new group found me, or I found it on Facebook. New England Family Genealogy and History is a special interest group for those of us who study these subjects. I am delighted to find people as obsessed with history as I am.  Some of them still carry the Mayflower pilgrim family names.  There have been wonderful pictures and stories posted in which I have identified members as having common ancestors.  This is a full time party of like minded genealogy freaks I can join on line any time.  Be still my heart!  People who have much more direct information and verification are there to help anyone with inquiries.  The first ancestor I found  I had in common with other members was my famous poet, Ann Dudley Bradstreet, who may be my favorite ancestor of all.  In a few weeks I have met others with whom I share different progenitors.  A recent discussion revealed that others share perhaps Native ancestry.  Like me, few can definitively prove a connection to a tribe.

Some of the active participants are professional genealogists or family archivists of large collections.  Plenty are DAR and Mayflower Society members.  Many live in New England now and are connected to local societies for the preservation of everything under the sun.  I enjoy learning about some of the old buildings that have stayed in family hands for hundreds of years.  I feel a tinge of jealousy when they go off to Providence to a genealogy convention for the weekend.  Then I remember that to live in New England one must endure snow and other unpleasantries.  I may return to Cape Cod and Rhode Island on a history hunt one day.  For now I am very pleased to be in touch with history fans who share interest, passion, and loads of information about New England and the people who have lived there.  I can digitally visit every day.  You can too if New England History is an interest of yours.

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