William Brewster

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Born: c 1566 / 67
Scrooby, Nottingham, England
Son of
William Brewster and Mary (Smythe) Simkinson
Died: 10 April 1644, Plymouth - Massachusetts
Married: Mary (---)
 
CHILDREN:

NAME
BIRTH
DEATH
MARRIAGE
Jonathan
12 August 1593, Scrooby
Nottingham, England
7 August 1659
New London,
Connticut
Lucretia Oldham,
10 April 1624,
Plymouth, Mass.
Patience
c 1600,
prob. Scrooby,
Nottingham,
England
bef. 12 Dec 1634
Plymouth,
Massachusetts
Thomas Prence,
5 Aug 1624,
Plymouth,
Massachusetts
Fear
c 1606
prob. Scrooby,
Nottingham,
England
bef. 12 Dec 1634
Plymouth,
Massachusetts
Isaac Allerton
aft. 10 July 1623,
Plymouth,
Massachusetts
child
prob. c 1609
Leyden,
Holland
1609,
Leyden,
Holland
unmarried
Love
c 1611,
prob.
Leyden,
Holland
betw.
6 Oct 1650 -
Jan 1650 / 51
Sarah Collier,
15 May 1634,
Plymouth,
Massachusetts

Wrestling

c 1614,
prob.
Leyden,
Holland

bef.
1644

unmarried

ANCESTRAL  SUMMARY
 
( 1 )  William Brewster, taxed 1524, Bently cum Arksey, York, England; m. Maude Man bef. 1558; children: William and Henry.
 
( 2 ) William Brewster II, b. c 1535, d. 1590, living in Scrooby, York, England in 1564; m. Mary (Smythe) Simkinson, dau. of William Smythe of Stainforth, Hatfield, England, widow of john Simkinson of Doncaster, York, England.
 
( 3 ) William Brewster of the Mayflower
 
On 12 June 1609, a Leyden record shows that William Brewster and Ann Peck gave power of attorney to Thomas Simkinson, merchant of Hull.  Presumably Thomas Simkinson has some relation to Brewster's mother's first husband John Simkinson.

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      William Brewster was the Reverend Elder of the Pilgrim's church at Plymouth, since their pastor John Robinson remained behind in Leyden, Holland with the majority of the congregation which planned to come to America at a later time.  Brewster was a fugitive from the King of England, because he had published a number of religious pamplets while in Leyden which were critical oor opposed the tenets of the Church of England.  He had been a member of the Separatist church movement from its very brginning, and was the oldest Mayflower passengers to have particapated at the First Thanksgiving, in his early fifties.
      William Bradford wrote a lot about William Brewster in Of Plymouth Plantation, some of which follows:

After he had attained some learning, viz. the knowledge of Latin tongue, and some insight in the Greek, and spent some small time at Cambridge, and then being first seasoned with the seeds of grace and virtue, he went to the court, and served that religious and godly gentleman, Mr. Davison, divers years, when he was Secretary of State; who found him so discreet and faithful as he trusted him above all other that were about him, and only employed him in all matters of greatest trust and secrecy ... he attended his mr. when he was sent in anbassage by the Queen into the Low Countries ... And, at his return, the States honored him with a gold chain, and his master commited it to him, and commanded him to wear it when they arrived in England, as they rid through the Country, till they came to the court ... Afterwards he went and lived in the country, in good esteem amongst his friends and the gentleman of those parts, especially the Godly and religious.  He did much good in the country where he lived, in promoting and furthering religion not only by his practice and example, and provocating and encouraging of others, but by procuring of good preachers to the places thereabouts, and drawing on of others to assist and help forward in such work; he himself most commonly deepest in the charge, and sometimes above his ability .... They ordinarily met at his house on the Lord's day, (which was a maor of the bishops) and with great love he entertained them when they came, making provision for them to his great charge.  He was the chief of those that were taken at Boston, and suffered the greatest loss; and of the seven that were kept longest in prison, and after bound over ... After he came into Holland he suffered much hardship, after he had spent the most of his means, having a great charge, and many children; and, in regard of his former breeding and course of life, not so fit for many employments as others were, especially as were toilsome and laborious.  But yet he ever bore his condition with much cheerfulness and contention.  Towards the later part of those 12 years spent in Holland, his outward condition was mended, and he lived well and plentifully; for he fell into a way to teach many students, who had a desire to learn the English tongue, to teach them English; ... he also has means to set up printing, by the help of some friends ... and by reason of many books which would not be allowed to be printed in England, they might have had more then they could do .... And besides that, he would labor with his hands in the fields as long as he was able; yet when the church had no other minister, he taught twice every Sabbath ... For his personal abilities, he was qualified above many; he was wise and discreet and well spoken, having a grave and deliberate utterance, of a very cheerful spirit, very sociable and pleasant amongst his friends, of an humble and modest mind, of a peaceable disposition, undervaluing himself and his own abilities ... inoffensive and innocent in his life and conversation ... he was tender-hearted, and compassionate of such as were in misery, but especially of such as had been of good estate and rank, and were fallen into want and poverty, either for goodness and religious sake, or by the injury and oppression of others.

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NOTE  ON  WILLIAM  BREWSTER'S  WIFE
 
The maiden name William Brewster's wife has not been proven.  The claim it was Mary Wentworth rests solely on the fact that Mary Wentworth happened to live somewhat close to William Brewster in Scrooby, Nottingham.  That is very shaky evidence to say the least.  Further, it has been proposed that William Brewster may have married Mary Wyrall, but the evidence is just as flimsy for that marriage.  There are no fewer than seven marriages from 1590-1610 that have been located in parish registers showing a William Brewster marrying a Mary.  All, however, have been satisfactorily eliminated as probable candidates for the William and Mary (Brewster) who came on the Mayflower.  So at present, there is no evidence to document who William Brewster's wife Mary actually was.

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This chest is thought to have belonged to William Brewster, and was likely brought over in the Mayflower.
 
Photo courtesy of: Pilgrim Hall Museum

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SOURCES:
Mary B. Sherwood,
Pilgrim: A Biography of William Brewster
Falls Church, Virginia: Great Oaks Press, 1982)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Eugene Aubrey Stratton,
Plymouth Colony: Its History and Its People, 1620-1691
(Ancestry Publishing: Salt Lake City, 1986)
 

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