Thanksgiving – We Were There!

At this time of year we like to take time to remember Jonathan’s great grandpa Richard Warren who was not only a passenger on the Mayflower but among the ten men in the landing party with Myles Standish at Cape Cod on November 11, 1620.  Warren co-signed the Mayflower Compact and was one of  19 signers who surved the first winter.  While we are able to document and trace Jonathan’s family lineage to Richard Warren, the fact is there are millions of descendants throughout history and most don’t even know it.  One reason for this is that all of Richard Warren’s children survived to adulthood, married, and also had large families.  Among his descendants (and thus also in Jonathan’s family tree) are Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Gere,  Longfellow, Amelia Earhart, Orson Welles, the Wright Brothers, and Sarah Palin.

Warren is actually one of the least documented Mayflower pioneers. Clearly a man of rank, 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. And yet, Bradford did not mention him in his History of the Plimouth Plantation except in the List of Passengers.

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) Extensive research in every available source of information — registers, chancery, and probate, in the London courts, proved fruitless in an attempt to identify him.  He was not of the Leiden, 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 (1.6 km2) of land” at the Eel River (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).

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 a 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
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