Mary and John
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 Company. 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.
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. 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.
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. In September or October 1608, after little more than a year, the colonists abandoned the colony.
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.
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. 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. They arrived two weeks before the first ships (the Arbella and three escorts) 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.
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.
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. A number of the passengers played significant roles in the founding of the nation. They include:
- Roger Ludlowe
- John Mason
- Samuel Maverick
- William Phelps founder of both Dorchester, Massachusetts and Windsor, Connecticut and foreman of the first grand jury in New England.
- Nicholas Upsall
- Matthew Grant and wife Priscilla, ancestors of Ulysses S. Grant and his father Jesse Root Grant
- Simon Mills I, CO-founder of Windsor, Connecticut. Crossed the Atlantic with his older brother John, who died during the journey. The Mills come from a military family known in England as early as the Crusaders in A.D.1080, as lineage is recorded from William the Conqueror’s “Doomsday Book”.
- CPT. John Bissell, ferryman of Windsor. Fought in King Phillips War before crossing the Atlantic with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Sarah.
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). A number of the passengers played significant roles in the founding of the nation. They include:
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