George Morton (Pilgrim Father)

George MORTON (George Mourt) (c. 1585 – 1624) was an English Puritan Separatist. (Wikipedia)  He published and wrote the introduction to the first account in Great Britain of the founding of Plymouth Colony, called Mourt’s Relation. George was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Miller line.

Morton – Coat of Arms

George Morton was born 2 Aug 1585 in Harworth, near Scrooby, Nottingham, England or Bawtry, South Yorkshire, England. His parents were George MORTON and Catherine BOWN (Boun).  His parents may have been Roman Catholic. About 1600 when still very young, he was converted by (our ancestor)  William BREWSTER to Puritanism. He  was a member of the Scrooby Congregation of separatists who eventually became the Mayflower Pilgrims.  He had moved to Leyden, Holland with the congregation and stayed behind as their financial agent when the first settlers left for Plymouth, Massachusetts.

George published “Mourts Relation” (1622) which gives the earliest account of the Pilgrim enterprise.

He married  Juliana CARPENTER on  22 Jul 1612 Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands.  He was possessed of considerable means, was entered in his marriage record  as a merchant from York, was apparently one of the financial mainstays of the Pilgrims at Leyden, and was certainly closely associated with the leaders.  He was one of those who went to London in 1619 to negotiate with the merchants, living probably at Aldgate, where his brother-in-law, Edward Southworth, was already established. Here he changed his name to Mourt, perhaps to escape the displeasure of his Catholic relatives.  After the Mayflower sailed, he was financial agent at London for the Pilgrims and  continued to orchestrate business affairs in Europe and London for their cause, arranging for the 1622 publication of, and perhaps helping write, Mourt’s Relation. In 1623 Morton himself emigrated on the ship Ann to Plymouth Colony with his wife Juliana Carpenter and her sister, Alice Southworth, who was to become the second wife of Governor William Bradford.  George Morton died in 1624, the year after he arrived in Plymouth.  After Morton’s death, Governor Bradford took a keen interest in helping to raise the Morton children, adopting our ancestor Lt. Ephraim MORTON.

Juliana Carpenter was born 7 Mar 1584 in Wrington, Somerset, England. Her parents were Alexander CARPENTER and Priscilla (Druscilla) DILLON. After George died, she married Manasseh Kempton before May 1627.  Juliana died 29 Feb 1665/66.

Manasseh Kempton was baptized on 26 Feb 1589/90 at Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland.  His parents were George KEMPTON and Mary JERSEY.     His younger brother Ephraim KEMPTON came to Plymouth by 1642.  Manasseh died on 14 Jan 1662/63, in Plymouth.

Manasseh (also written Manasses) Manasseh went to Colchester, Essex where he may have become involved with a Separatist congregation. From there, he joined Henry Jacob’s Separatist congregation in London in 1620.   He came over on the Anne as a single man in 1623. He was a freeman of Plymouth in 1633. He served as a deputy to the Plymouth General Court and on a number of juries and committees. He owned land in several towns besides Plymouth, including Eastham and Dartmouth, much of which he gave to his stepchildren.

Children of George and Juliana:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Nathaniel Morton (Wikipedia) 1613
Leiden, Holland
Lydia Cooper (sister of John COOPER)
22 Dec 1635
Plymouth, Mass
.
Hannah Pritchard
29 Apr 1674 Age: 50 Plymouth, Mass
16 Jun 1685
Plymouth, Mass
2. Patience Morton 1615
Leiden
John Faunce
c. 1633
Plymouth
.
Thomas Whitney
aft.  1 Feb 1661
Plymouth
16 Aug 1691Plymouth, Mass
3. John Morton 1616
Holland
Lettice Kempton
1648 Plymouth, Plymouth Colony
10 Oct 1673 – Plymouth, Mass
4. Sarah Morton 1618 George Bonham (Bonum) 1694
5. Lt. Ephraim MORTON 1623 on the Ann on  the passage to Plymouth Colony Ann COOPER
18 Nov 1644 in Plymouth
.
Mary Shelly Harlow
18 Oct 1692.
7 Sep 1693 Plympton, Mass.

George’s grandfather was Anthony MORTON.   Anthony’s sister Alice married William Bradford (1533-1595) a prosperous Yeoman farmer, was apparently the first Bradford to settle in Austerfield.   George Morton was therefore, a second cousin to Gov. William Bradford.

In 1577 William Bradford had purchased from Anthony Morton; land and houses in Austerfield and Bawtry (in Yorkshire); and land in Mission (in Nottinghamshire). He already owned lands in Tickhill and Bentley from his parents and grandparents. Even before this purchase, in 1575, he and John Hanson were the only taxed inhabitants of Austerfield. Bradford was assessed 20s on his land, whereas John Hanson was assessed 60s on “goods”.  The accepted genealogy has him as the son of Peter Bradfourth (1475-1542).

William Bradford and Alice Morton had a daughter Elizabeth BRADFORD who married another of our ancestors Cuthbert FORSTER (c. 1544 – 1589)

Back to George Morton (Pilgrim Father)

First Known Record of George Morton (in Holland)

“George Morton, merchant from York in England, accompanied by Thomas Morton, his brother, and Roger Wilson, his acquaintance, with Juliana Carpenter, maid from Bath in England, accompanied by Alexander Carpenter, her father, and Alice Carpenter, her sister, and Anna Robinson, her acquaintance.

George is listed as the compiler of “Mourt’s Relation” (1622) which gives the earliest account of the Pilgrim enterprise.  He may have wrote the preface and gave the book to the press; the bulk being written by Edward Winslow. It was the first published book about the Colony. It provides the only contemporary report on the voyage of the Mayflower, the first days of Plymouth Colony and a brief account of the first Harvest Celebration (Thanksgiving).  When published in 1622 it was a 76 page collection of misc. documents and letters. The full title is “George Mourt, comp., A Relation or Journall of the Beginnings and Proceedings of the English Plantation Settled at Plimoth in New England, by Certaine English Adventurers Both Merchants and Others.”

He received the writings sent in the Fortune from Plymouth in 1622, and published them under the title: “A Relation or Journall of the beginning and proceedings of the English Plantation setled at Plimoth in New England…London, Printed for John Bellamie” (1622), which is still the only contemporary account of the voyage of the Mayflower and the first months of the colony. Tradition has assigned to him the authorship, and it has always been known as “Mourt’s Relation”. It has been conjectured that Bradford and Winslow were the authors and Morton merely the publisher, but since the narrative Bradford wrote and sent back on the Fortune was retained by the captain of the French privateer which captured the Fortune on its return voyage (Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, 1574-1660, 1860, p. 124), it is possible that Morton wrote a narrative from information brought back by those returning on the Mayflower and teh Fortune and published it together with material by Winslow and others not retained by the French captain. The authorship of the book cannot now be definitively established.

The book Mourt’s Relation (full title: A Relation or Journal of the Beginning and Proceedings of the English Plantation Settled at Plimoth in New England) was written primarily by Edward Winslow, although William Bradford appears to have written most of the first section. Written between November 1620 and November 1621, it describes in detail what happened from the landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims inside the fishhook tip of Cape Cod (became Provincetown Harbor), through their exploring and eventual settling of Plymouth Colony; the book describes their relations with the surrounding native Indians, up to the First Thanksgiving and the arrival of the ship Fortune in November 1621. Mourt’s Relation was first published in London in 1622, by George Morton, sometimes called George Mourthence the title “Mourt’s Relation”). The purpose of Mourt’s Relation was clear: to paint the new settlement in the brightest possible hues.

Juliana and Manasseh Kempton

23 Oct 1643 – Peregrine White of Marshfield, the first child born to the Pilgrims in the New World.  sold to “Mannasses Kempton of Plymouth … planter … all those his uplands and meadows lying at the Eel River in Plymouth Township aforesaid lately assigned and confirmed unto the said Peregrine by Mr. Edward Winslow in the public court held at Plymouth the twenty-eight of September Anno Domini 1642″

14 Feb 1659/60- “Mannasses Kempton of Plymouth yeoman do … make over the abovesaid deed unto Ephraim Morton my son-in-law,” reserving some portions of meadow for himself

22 Feb 1650/51 “Mannasses Kemton of Plymouth, planter”, gave to his “son-in-law Ephraim Morton” a parcel of land and a parcel of meadow at Sagaquas and his part and right in the land at Satuket. In case Morton’s brothers wished to settle on the land, Kempton ordered that it be divided equally among them.

22 June 1651 – Edward BANGS of Eastham, yeoman, and Rebecca his wife, sold to “Mannasses Kemton” of Plymouth, yeoman, forty acres of upland in Plymouth

Kempton was one of those having an interest in the lands at Punckateesett near Rhode Island March 1651 and he shared lot #34 with Nathaniel Morton

Manasseh Kempton was one of the Dartmouth Purchasers

On 21 Feb 1660/61 “Mannasses Kemton” of Plymouth, yeoman, deeded to Ephraim Morton of Plymouth “the one half of all that his lot or share of land commonly called the purchase land lying and being at Acushena, Coaksett and places adjacent both upland and meadow”

In a letter dated 6 November 1661 Manasseh Kempton gave to the church of Eastham a parcel of land in that town

Children and Descendants

 

Morton Chest - Pilgrim Hall Museum

Morton Chest  with Drawer Red and white oak
Probably made in Plymouth, 1650-1700
Descended in the Morton family of Plymouth
Pilgrim Hall Museum

Chests of drawers as we know them today became popular almost 300 years ago.
Before that, people in England and America had chests with one drawer at the bottom, like this one, or without drawers.

This chest has remains of the original decoration: a bright red tulip with green leaves, painted in vermilion and verdigris. When the chest was new, the wood was pale and the decoration would have been very dramatic

1. Nathaniel Morton

Nathaniel’s wife Lydia Cooper was born about 1615.  She came to Plymouth Colony with her brother John COOPER about the year 1632.  In 1634 Lydia’s brother John married Nathaniel’s aunt Priscilla Carpenter, widow of William Wright and daughter of Alexander CARPENTER. Lydia & John Cooper also have a sister, Ann Cooper who died 1 Sept 1691 in Massachusetts;  The parents of Lydia, John & Ann Cooper are not known.  However, their grandfather may be Thomas COOPER of Fluton with Silsoe, Bedfordshire, England. This line needs further research;

Nathaniel’s second wife Hannah Pritchard was born about 1624.  Her parents were Richard Pritchard and Anne [__?__].  She was the widow of Richard Templar.  Hannah died 26 Dec 1690 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Mass.

Nathaniel Morton became the clerk of Plymouth Colony, a close adviser to his uncle Governor William Bradford, who raised him after the death of his father, and the author of an influential early history of the Plymouth Colony, “New England’s Memorial.”

In a tradition at The Wall Street Journal, the newspaper has run for four decades a portion of Nathaniel Morton’s book, its observation of the first Thanksgiving, on the Wednesday before the holiday.

Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.
When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love.
The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other’s heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loath to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.
Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.
Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.
If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.

Nathaniel early became Bradford’s assistant in the management of public affairs, and by annual popular vote was secretary of the colony from 7 Dec., 1647, until his death. Almost all the records of the Plymouth colony are in his handwriting. He read extensively, and took great pains to note down the incidents of the early days of the colony, which he published under the title of “New England’s Memorial, or a Brief Relation of the most Memorable and Remarkable Passages of the Providence of God manifested to the Planters of New England” (Cambridge, Mass., 1669).  This work, compiled at the request of the commissioners of the four united colonies, was chiefly attested as correct by the most eminent survivors of the earlier generations.

New England Memorial by Nathaniel Morton 1669

He also wrote a “Synopsis of the Church History of Plymouth” (1680),  and he was the author of numerous verses in commemoration of the virtues of the Pilgrims.  Plymouth Public Schools named Nathaniel Morton Elementary School after him.

2. Patience Morton

Patience’s first husband John Faunce was born by about 1608, based on estimated date of marriage.  ” John died in Plymouth, 29 November 1653.

John and Patience came to New England aboard the Anne, 1623. They married in 1633. In addition to being a planter, John was a businessman, designated as one of the Purchasers for the colony. John was not a member of the original Scrooby group, but was a “stranger” recruited by the merchant adverturers who financed the colony.

Patience’s second husband Thomas Whitten was born in 1599, England. He died in 1673 in Plymouth, Mass.  A broadweaver who came from Benenden, Kent, to New England in 1635 and settled at Plymouth MA. (On 8 May 1635, “Awdry Whitton,” aged 45, was enrolled at London as a passenger for New England on the Elizabeth & Ann; on 1 May 1635, “Jeremy Whitton,” aged 8, & “bro[ad] weaver Thomas Whitton,” aged 36, with a “certificate from the minister of Bennandin in Kent of their conformity,” were enrolled at London as passengers for New England on the Elizabeth & Ann. He married (1) at St. Mary Magdalene, Canterbury, Kent, 1 Oct 1625, Audrey (Cork) Morecock, widow of Henry Morecock. She died by 1639. He married (2) at Plymouth, 22 Nov 1639, Winifred Harding. “Winnefred Whitney the wife of Thomas Whitney died the 23rd of Jul 1660″ at Plymouth. He married (3) after 23 Jul 1660, Patience (Morton) Faunce.

John Faunce came to Plymouth in 1623 of the Anne.   He was the “Purchaser” and on the 1633 Freeman list.    Faunce served on juries and obtained various land grants (PCR, passim).  His house was located in the southern part of Plymouth near the Eel River.   There is a book called The Faunce Family History and Genealogy (Akron, Ohio 1967).

When John died in 1654, his children were left in poverty.   Juliana’s nephew Lieutenant Southworth taking by the hand Thomas, a boy of eight years, led him away to adopt into his  family and, transmitting that which he had received from Gov. Bradford, gave the orphan a good education, secular and religious, for which Thomas Faunce, the last ruling elder known in Plymouth, said that he had “reason to bless God to all eternity.”

Patience and John’s son Thomas was a famed church elder and the originator of the story of Plymouth Rock.  Thomas was born 1647 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass and lived until 27 Feb 1746 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mas.

Deacon Spooner related the story to the Old Colony Club that at the age of 95 Elder Thomas Faunce was driven to town in a open wagon and taken to Plymouth Rock. He told the people gathered there how he had talked to John Howland and his wife, John Alden, Giles Hopkins, George Soule, Francis Cooke and Mrs. Cushman, born Mary Allerton. All of these, he said had told him that upon that rock they stepped ashore. He also said that John Winslow’s wife (Mary Chilton) came there on her 75th birthday and laughed as she stepped on the rock and said she was the first woman to step on it. Finally he admonished them with

“And ye children of my blood, I charge you to remember how, year by year, while God lent me strength, I brought you here on Forefathers Day and set your feet upon the rock, and told you what mighty things the Fathers had done for you… then come ye forward, sons and grandsons and set your feet upon the rock once more in my sight, and never forget this day, you nor your children’s children, to the last generation.”

3. John Morton

There were two woman named Lettice [joy in Latin] in early Plymouth.   Lettice Hanford and Lettice Kempton  are often mixed up with four marriages between them.  There is only one recorded death:  22 Feb 1691.  Here’s my crack at unsorting the tangle.

John’s wife Lettice Kempton was about 1629 in London.  Her parents were our ancestors Ephraim KEMPTON and Hannah [__?__].   After John died, Lettice married Andrew Ring, son of William RING and Mary DURRANT.  Andrew Ring’s first wife was Deborah Hopkins, daughter of our ancestor Stephen HOPKINS.  Lettice died 22 Feb 1691 in Middleboro, Plymouth, Mass.

Lettice Hanford was baptized  8 June 1617,at Alverdiscott, Devonshire.  Her parents were Jeffrey Hanford and Eglin Hatherley.   Lettice Hanford clearly preceded her mother & younger sisters to New England.  On 10 Apr 1635, Eglin Hanford,” aged 46, & “2 daughters, Margaret Manford,” aged 16, & “Eliz[abeth] Hanford,” aged 14, along with “Rodolphus Elmes,” aged 15. & “Tho[mas] Stanley,” aged 16, were enrolled at London as passengers for New England on the Defence.)

Lettice Hanford first married  8 Apr 1635 in Scituate, Plymouth, Mass. to Edward Foster (b. 24 Jan 1590 in Frittendon, Kent, England – d. 25 Nov 1643 in Scituate, Plymouth, Mass.)  at Mr. Cudworth’s [Scituate] by Captain Standish. She was admitted to Scituate church (as “Goody Foster”) 25 December 1636. They had 3 children: Timothy, Timothy again, & Elizabeth Hewett Ray.

After Edward died, she married Edward Jenkins (1618  Kent, England – d. 1699 Scituate, Plymouth, Mass)  On 4 March 1634/5, “Edw[ar]d Jeakins,” one of seven servants of Nathaniel Tilden of Tenterden, Kent, was included in the list of passengers of the Hercules of Sandwich.  Lettice and Edward had 3-4 children: Samuel (b. 1645), (probably) Sarah Bacon, Mary Atkinson Cocke, & Thomas.  In the late 1660s and early 1670s Edward Jenkins had to come to the aid of two of his children who experienced a number of problems. On 5 Mar 1666/67, “Dinah Silvester, Sarah Smith, and the daughter of Edward Jenkens, [are] summoned to the next court.

Hon. John Morton was an admitted freeman of Plymouth Colony, 1648, and one of the original proprietors of Middleboro.

John Morton Bio

4. Sarah Morton

Sarah’s husband George Bonham was born in 1604 in Lexden, Essex, England. His parents were William Bonham and Anne Babbington. George died 28 Apr 1704 – Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.

Sarah Morton’s Day by Kate Waters

Sarah Morton Bonum was the subject of the children’s book Sarah Morton’s Day by Kate Waters. Text and photographs of Plimouth Plantation follow a pilgrim girl through a typical day as she milks the goats, cooks and serves meals, learns her letters, and adjusts to her new stepfather.

Typical Reader Review:

“This was one of my favorite books as a kid, especially being one of Sarah Morton’s descendants. It was great learning about how my family and others started out in America, and it is very well researched and informative. Now that I work at a preschool, I can’t wait to read this to my kids at Thanksgiving to give them a glimpse of how Pilgrims lived. I would highly recommend this book to teachers, parents, and libraries.”

Picture of Sara Morton taken from book Sara Morton’s Day by Kate Waters

Notable descendants of George Morton:

5. Lt. Ephraim MORTON (See his page)

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Morton_(pilgrim_father)

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Appletons’_Cyclopædia_of_American_Biography/Morton,_George

George Morton of Plymouth Colony and some of his descendants (1908)

Hudson-Mohawk genealogical and family memoirs: a record of …, Volume 2 By Cuyler Reynolds

Representative men and old families of southeastern Massachusetts …, Volume 3

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bobwolfe/gen/pn/p6751.htm – Detailed Notes for Manasseh Kempton

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24 Responses to George Morton (Pilgrim Father)

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  7. V.E.G. says:

    Joy Morton is the direct descendant of the first state house of Boston Architect, Thomas Joy! He is the distant cousin of hero Gary Michael Joy!

  8. V.E.G. says:

    Edward Charles Pickering and his brother William Henry Pickering is the distant cousin of Joy Morton!

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