Mary and John

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Mary and John was a 400-ton ship that is known to have sailed between England and the American colonies four times from 1607 to 1633. She was during the later voyages captained by Robert Davies and owned by Roger Ludlow (1590–1664), one of the assistants of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.[1] The ship's first two voyages to North America were to what is now Maine in June 1607 and September 1608, transporting emigrants to the colonies and back to England. The third voyage was on March 20, 1630, bearing 130 colonists, and the fourth on March 26, 1634, to Nantaskut in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1607 voyages[edit]

Map of Ft. St. George, constructed by the colonists.

The ships Gift of God captained by John Elliott and led by George Popham, and Mary and John, captained by Robert Davies and led by Raleigh Gilbert, departed Falmouth, England, on June 1, 1607. They arrived on the coast of Maine on August 16, 1607.[2] They arrived with about 120 English colonists, who chose the mouth of the Sagadahoc River (now known as the Kennebec River) on a site known today as Sabino Head, Maine on August 13, 1607. The colonists were financially backed by Sir John Popham, Chief Justice of England, and led by his nephew George. They hoped to ship timber back to England, to find gold, silver, and other valuable minerals, and to establish a fur trade with the local Eastern Abenaki people. The Mary and John stayed until October 6, 1607 when it returned to Plymouth, England, arriving on December 1, 1607.[3][4][2]

The colonists built an admiral's house, a chapel, a storehouse, a cooperage, and a guardhouse. They also built a 30-ton ship they named Virginia. The ship Gift of God remained at the settlement until December 16 when it too sailed for England, carrying nearly half the colonists with it with the purpose of conserving the outpost's supplies. The Popham Colony, England's first attempt at a New England settlement, didn't prosper. During a harsh winter season, George Popham died on February 5, 1608 and Raleigh Gilbert assumed leadership. In the late summer, two relief ships including the Mary and John arrived carrying supplies. Captain Robert Davies of the Mary and John also brought news that Raleigh Gilbert's brother Sir John Gilbert had also died leaving the colony's leader as his heir. Raleigh Gilbert elected to return to England, and the remainder of the colonists followed him aboard the Virginia and the Mary and John.[2] In September or October 1608, after little more than a year, the colonists abandoned the colony.[4][5][6]

1630 voyage[edit]

In 1630, the ship was captained by Thomas Chubb and the company was led by Roger Ludlow, one of the Assistants of the Massachusetts Bay Company, who was accompanied by Edward Rossiter, another Assistant to the Company.[7]

The ship had three decks for its passengers, livestock, and cargo. She became part of what was later known as the Great Migration. The colonists were recruited by the Reverend John White of Dorchester, Dorset. Nearly all of the passengers originated in the West Country counties of Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and the West Country towns of Dorchester, Bridport, Crewkerne, and Exeter.[8] The ship sailed on March 20, 1630, under the command of a Capt. Squeb or Squibb, from Plymouth, England, with 140 emigrants on board.

After an uneventful passage they arrived in Nantasket, near present-day Hull, Massachusetts, on May 30.[9][10][11] They arrived two weeks before the first ships (the Arbella and three escorts)[12] from the Winthrop Fleet, a group of 11 ships led by John Winthrop which carried about 1000 Puritans along with livestock and provisions from England to New England during the summer of 1630. While the Mary and John were not formally part of the Winthrop Fleet, John Winthrop knew of their voyage. In a letter to his wife he sent before leaving Southampton, John Winthrop wrote about the Mary and John's intended destination, which may have indicated approval of their voyage as fellow emigrants within his jurisdiction.[7]

The passengers initially founded Dorchester, Massachusetts. The voyage, along with an 11-ship flotilla led by John Winthrop that departed England in April 1630, greatly strengthened the two-year-old Massachusetts Bay Colony. In late 1635, about 2/3 of the passengers relocated to Connecticut where they were principal founders of the Connecticut River farming community of Windsor, Connecticut and participated in the organization of the first Connecticut colonial government in early 1639 Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in participation with Hartford and Wethersfield, CT.

Notable passengers[edit]

While a contemporary passenger list has never been found, researchers from the "Mary and John Clearinghouse" have established a list of known, probable, and possible passengers.[13] A number of the passengers played significant roles in the founding of the nation. They include:

1633 voyage[edit]

The second trip of the Mary and John to colonial America began shortly after March 24, 1633/4, in Southampton. The master was Robert Sayres (or Sayers).[7] A number of the passengers played significant roles in the founding of the nation. They include:


  1. ^ "Ship Mary and John". Dorchester Atheneum. March 2, 2007. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Hegon, Mogg; Jocelyn, Henry. "Popham Colony". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  3. ^ "History of the Popham Colony". Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b Tabor, William H. "Maine's Popham Colony". Peopling of the Americas. Athena Review. 3 (2). Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  5. ^ "John Hunt Map". Archived from the original on 2007-05-21. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
  6. ^ Gidwitz, Tom (March 2006). "The Little Colony That Couldn't". Archaeology. Archaeology Magazine. 59 (2). Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Banks, Charles Edward. "The Winthrop Fleet of 1630". Massachusetts Genealogy Trails. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Sailing of the Mary and John 1630". Mary and John Clearinghouse. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Mary and John 1630". Mary and John Clearinghouse. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  10. ^ Winthrop, John (1996). The Journal of John Winthrop. Boston: Harvard University Press. p. 29. ISBN 9780674484269.
  11. ^ Pope, Franklin Leonard (1888). "Genealogy of Thomas Pope of Plymouth". The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. 42: 45.
  12. ^ Banks, Charles Edward (1999) [1961]. The Winthrop Fleet of 1630 (reprint ed.). Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN 0-8063-0020-5.
  13. ^ Spear, Burton W. "Mary and John 1630" (PDF). Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  14. ^ Marshall, pp. 6-7; McFeely, 1981. p.3


External links[edit]