|3rd Governor of Plymouth Colony|
|Preceded by||William Bradford (thrice)|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Prence|
|6th Governor of Plymouth Colony|
March 1, 1636 – March 7, 1637
|Preceded by||William Bradford|
|Succeeded by||William Bradford|
|10th Governor of Plymouth Colony|
June 3, 1639 – June 5, 1644
|Preceded by||William Bradford|
|Succeeded by||William Bradford|
Droitwich, Worcestershire (England)
|Profession||politician and governor|
Edward Winslow (1595 – 1655). He was a Separatist who traveled on the Mayflower in 1620. He was one of several senior leaders on the ship and also later at Plymouth Colony. Both Edward Winslow and his brother, Gilbert Winslow signed the Mayflower Compact. In Plymouth he served in a number of governmental positions such as assistant governor, three times was governor and also was the colony’s agent in London. In early 1621 he had been one of several key leaders that Governor Bradford depended on after the death of John Carver. He was the author of several important pamphlets, including Good Newes from New England and co-wrote with William Bradford the historic Mourt's Relation, which ends with an account of the First Thanksgiving and the abundance of the New World. By 1646 Winslow had traveled to England to serve the Puritan government of Oliver Cromwell, never to return to Plymouth. In 1655 he died of fever while on a British naval expedition in the Caribbean against the Spanish. His is the only Plymouth colonist with an extant portrait, and this can be seen at Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Edward Winslow was born in 1595 and would have been baptized a few days later. He was the eldest son of Edward Winslow (Sr.) of Droitwich, co. Worcester, by his wife Magdalene Oliver who he married the previous year at St. Bridget’s Church, London. Edward Winslow, the father, according to family records, was born October 17, 1560 and was a descendant of the Winslow family of Kempsey, Worcester, a line that had existed in the county at least since 1500. The Winslow estate in Kemspey was called Kerswell with a similar name of Careswell later being given to the gentrified Plymouth estate of Governor Josiah Winslow, son of Edward Winslow and Susannah White.
Author Charles Banks notes that it is highly probable that this Edward, Sr. was the son of Kenelm Winslow of Kempsey. Author Eugene Stratton believes that no one has been able to discern Kenelm Winslow's ancestry with any certainty. Kenelm Winslow, probably a brother of Edward, Sr., born in 1551, was called a resident of Worcester, yeoman, in 1605. It is not certain if the family was gentry, but were at least fairly well-off. Edward, Sr. was an under-sheriff and involved in the salt production trade.
Edward Winslow had four younger brothers –Gilbert accompanying him on the Mayflower in 1620, with other brothers John, Josiah and Kenelm all following them to America over the next decade.
Between April 1606 and April 1611, Edward Winslow attended the King’s School at Worcester Cathedral. Two years later, in August 1613, he became an apprentice contracted for a total of eight years to John Beale stationer and citizen of London, but after an apparent legal dispute with Beale, Winslow’s contract was re-made with him being apprenticed in October 1615 for eight years. But Winslow apparently did not fulfill his contract with Beale as about two years later, in 1617, he moved to Leiden, Holland to join the Separatist church there.
In Leiden 1617-1620
In 1617 Edward Winslow traveled to Leiden Holland to join the English exile Separatist church and help Elder William Brewster with his underground (illicit) printing activities. Brewster and young Edward Winslow in 1618 were responsible for a religious tract critical of the English king and his church bishops which caused an angry King James to order Brewster’s arrest, sending English government agents to Holland to try to find and seize him. The Pilgrims had bad fortune in this, as Elder Brewster was forced to hide, first in Holland, then in England, from the agents just when the Pilgrims needed his leadership in preparation for their departure for America.
On April 27, 1618 Winslow married in Leiden Elizabeth Barker, he being called a printer from London. Johnson reports that a search of possible English ancestral and baptismal records for Elizabeth does not reveal anything of note.
Winslow quite soon became a leading member of the English exiles meeting as the Leiden church group. On June 10, 1620, Winslow was one of four men – the others being William Bradford, Isaac Allerton and Samuel Fuller, who wrote a letter representing the Leiden congregation to their London agents John Carver and Robert Cushman regarding the terms upon which the Pilgrims would travel to the America. The trip preparations became quite taxing on everyone’s patience and pocket-book due to the various Thomas Weston financial schemes that used up what monies they had and as author Nathaniel Philbrick wrote: “..during preparations to sail for America, the Pilgrims demonstrated an extraordinary talent for getting duped.” 
Winslow and his wife Elizabeth were part of the Leiden Separatist group who had decided to travel far away from England and the repressive regime of King James I to more freely practice their religious beliefs. Merchant Adventurer investment group agent Thomas Weston assisted them in this venture by providing the ship Mayflower for their journey. Traveling on the Mayflower in company with the Winslows were his brother Gilbert and family servant/employee George Soule and a youth, Elias Story. Also in the care of the family was Elinor (Ellen) More, a girl of eight years. In all there were four More children from Shipton, Shropshire in the care of others on the Mayflower: Elinor, Jasper, Mary and Richard. These children were later feared to be of an adulterous relationship and given into the care of others on the Mayflower by their mother’s husband, Samuel More to put the children at as great a distance as possible. Elinor perished the winter of 1620 with only one brother Richard More surviving.
The Mayflower departed Plymouth, England on September 6/16, 1620. The small, 100-foot ship had 102 passengers and the crew is estimated to be approximately 30 but the exact number is unknown. They lived in extremely cramped conditions. By the second month out, the ship was being buffeted by strong westerly gales, causing the ship‘s timbers to be badly shaken with caulking failing to keep out sea water, and with passengers, even in their berths, lying wet and ill. This, combined with a lack of proper rations and unsanitary conditions for several months, attributed to what would be fatal for many, especially the majority of women and children. On the way there were two deaths, a crew member and a passenger, but the worst was yet to come after arriving at their destination when, in the space of several months, almost half the passengers perished in cold, harsh, unfamiliar New England winter.
On November 9/19, 1620, after about 3 months at sea, including a month of delays in England, they spotted land, which was the Cape Cod Hook, now called Provincetown Harbor. After several days of trying to get south to their planned destination of the Colony of Virginia, strong winter seas forced them to return to the harbor at Cape Cod hook, where they anchored on November 11/21. The Mayflower Compact was signed that day.
In Plymouth Colony
The ill-prepared and poorly supplied colonists lost over half of its population through a multitude of problems - including hunger, scurvy, disease and their first bitter winter on the North American mainland. In the spring of 1621, Winslow and the others attended what would become known as the first Thanksgiving.
The people who survived all worked hard to provide food and shelter. Amidst criticism from Thomas Weston for not loading up the returning Mayflower with goods for the investors, William Bradford sent a letter stating the troubles encountered by the Mayflower passengers. He blamed Thomas Weston, and stated that Governor Carver had worked himself to death that spring and the loss of him and other industrious men lives cannot be valued at any price.
The following year the ship Fortune arrived at Plymouth colony. But again, Thomas Weston had inadequately supplied the ship for the colony. With winter approaching, the colonists only had half the needed supplies, but as William Bradford recorded, 'they all faced it bravely'.
The following year, despite the adversities of the winter, the colonists were able to load the Fortune for England with enough furs and other supplies to pay for over half of their indebtedness to the Merchant Adventurers, but the ship was attacked by the French as it came near the English coast and all the cargo was taken by the privateers.
On February 21, 1621, William White died leaving a widow, Susanna, and two sons, Resolved and Peregrine, the first child born in the colony. Edward Winslow lost his wife Elizabeth on March 24, 1621. And just a month and half later, on May 12, 1621, Edward Winslow and Susanna White became the first couple to marry in Plymouth Colony. This was necessary to provide for the women and children. They were married in a civil ceremony by Governor William Bradford. The couple had three sons, one daughter and one unknown child who died young.
Leadership at Plymouth Colony and with Cromwell in England
Winslow had established a friendship with native leader Massasoit, whose people were trading with the colonists. In January 1629 a new patent for land at Kennebec was approved which provided for a fishing and trading post at Pentagoet and a fortified trading post at Cushnoc on the Kennebec which opened the area to Plymouth colonists. At the same time, Isaac Allerton opened his own trading post on the Kenebec and thereby became a rival of Edward Winslow, setting a pattern for adversarial rivalry between them that would continue from that time on.
Edward Winslow was an experienced diplomat acting for Plymouth in its relationship with English officials. He later was Plymouth governor for one-year terms from 1633–34, 1636–37 and 1644-45. Additionally, in 1643 Winslow was one of the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England, which was a military group uniting the various New England colonies against the natives.
By the early 1640s England was engaged in a great civil war. Some settlers returned to England to join the efforts to overthrow the reigning King. In 1646, Winslow began working for Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector. After King Charles was executed in 1649, Edward Winslow had plans to return to Plymouth but soon became involved in the problems of England. He would never return to Plymouth.
In 1654, Winslow was commissioner of a British naval mission against the Spanish in the West Indies. They were victorious but Winslow contracted yellow fever and died on May 7, 1655 near Jamaica.
Marriage and children
Edward Winslow married:
- Elizabeth Barker after May 12, 1618 in Leiden Holland. She died on March 24, 1621 in Plymouth Colony. No reported children. Elizabeth was buried in 1621 in the Cole's Hill Burial Ground in Plymouth. She is memorialized on the Pilgrim Memorial Tomb, Coles Hill, as "Elizabeth, first wife of Edward Winslow."
- Susanna ______ White on May 12, 1621 in Plymouth Colony. She died between December 18, 1654 (Edward Winslow’s will) and July 2, 1675 (date of son Josiah’s will).
Children of Edward Winslow and his wife Susanna:
- (child) born and died in 1622 or 1623
- Edward Winslow - born ca. 1624. No record after May 22, 1627.
- John Winslow - born ca. 1626. No record after May 22, 1627.
- Josiah Winslow, 13th Governor of Plymouth Colony - born ca. 1627. Married Penelope Pelham by 1658 and had four children. He died 1680. She died 1703.
- Elizabeth Winslow - born ca. 1631. Married (1) Robert Brooks by 1656 and had one son. Married (2) George Curwin 1669 and had two daughters. He died 1684/5. She died 1698.
Children of Susanna ____ White’s first marriage with William White who became Edward Winslow‘s step-sons:
- Resolved White - born ca. 1615. Married 1640 (1) Judith Vassall, daughter of William Vassall, and had eight children. Resolved married 1674 (2) Abigail ____ Lord. She died 1682. He died 1687.
- Peregrine White - born late November 1620 on board the Mayflower in Cape Cod Harbor. First English child born in that part of America. Married ca. 1648/9 Sarah Bassett daughter of William Bassett, and had seven children. He died 1704. She died 1711.
Death and Memorial of Edward Winslow
Winslow is reported to have been buried at sea in the Caribbean somewhere between Hispanola and Jamaica, sometime after May 7, 1655. Winslow Cemetery in Marshfield, Massachusetts has a stone monument to "The Settlers of Green Harbor Marshfield" with the name of Edward Winslow and his wife Susannah (White) and many others. This includes the names of Susannah's sons Resolved and Peregrine White and their wives. Also in Winslow Cemetery is a memorial stone w/plaque stating "Edward Winslow, Founder of Marshfield".
His writings, though fragmentary, are of the greatest value to the history of the Plymouth colony. They include:
- Good Newes from New England, or a True Relation of Things very Remarkable at the Plantation of Plimouth in New England (1624);
- Hypocrisie Unmasked; by a True Relation of the Governor and Company of Massachusetts against Samuel Gorton, a Notorious Disturber of the Peace (1646), to which was added a chapter entitled "A Brief Narration of the True Grounds or Cause of the First Plantation of New England";
- New England's Salamander (1647); and
- The Glorious Progress of the Gospel amongst the Indians in New England (1649).
Edward Winslow, along with William Bradford are believed to have prepared a Journal of the Beginning and Proceeding of the English Plantation settled at Plymouth in New England, published in 1622, which is generally known as Mourt's Relation, owing to its preface having been signed by "G. Mourt."
- William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation by 'William Bradford, the second Governor of Plymouth, (Boston: 1856), p. 306
- Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 373
- Charles Edward Banks, The English Ancestry and Homes of the Pilgrim Fathers: who came to Plymouth on the Mayflower in 1620, the Fortune in 1621, and the Anne and the Little James in 1623 (Baltimore, MD.:Genealogical Publishing Co., 2006) p. 98
- Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and Her Passengers. (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., copyright 2006 Caleb Johnson), p. 251
- Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and Her Passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., copyright 2006 Caleb Johnson), pp. 251-252
- Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A story of Courage, Community and War (New York: Viking, 2006), p. 18
- David Lindsay, PhD., Mayflower Bastard: A Stranger amongst the Pilgrims, (New York: St. Martins Press, 2002), p. 29.
- Donald F. Harris, PhD., Mayflower Descendant, (July 1993), vol. 43 no. 2 pp. 1-5
- Donald F. Harris, PhD., Mayflower Descendant, (July 1993), vol. 43 no. 2, pp. 1-7
- Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and Her Passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., 2006), p. 33
- Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 413
- George Ernest Bowman, The Mayflower Compact and its signers, (Boston: Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1920), Photocopies of the 1622, 1646 and 1669 versions of the document, pp. 7-19.
- Edward Winslow, "Primary Sources for The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth Pilgrim Hall Museum
- William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford, the second Governor of Plymouth, (Boston: 1856), p. 109
- Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A story of Courage, Community and War, (New York: Viking, 2006), p. 126, 135
- David Lindsay, PhD., Mayflower Bastard: A Stranger amongst the Pilgrims, (New York: St. Martins Press, 2002), Introduction, also p. 50
- Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A story of Courage, Community and War, (New York: Viking, 2006), p. 104
- Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, (New York: Viking, 2006), pp. 183-184
- David Lindsay, PhD., Mayflower Bastard: A Stranger amongst the Pilgrims, (New York: St. Martins Press, 2002), pp. 72, 79, 137
- Albert Van Dusen, Connecticut (Random House 1961), p.19
- Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: Descendants of the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Massachusetts, Dec., 1620: Family of William White, Originally compiled by Ruth Wilder Sherman, CG, FASG and Robert Moody Sherman, CG, FASG, Re-edited by Robert S. Wakefield, FASG (Pub. by General Society of Mayflower Descendants 2006 3rd Edition), vol. 13, p. 2
- Memorial for Edward Winslow
- Monument: Early Settlers of Green Harbor - Winslow/White
- Memorial for Elizabeth Barker Winslow
- William Bradford, ed. by Charles Deane, History of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford, the second Governor of Plymouth, (Boston: 1856), p. 101
- Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: Descendants of the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Massachusetts, Dec., 1620: Family of William White, Originally compiled by Ruth Wilder Sherman, CG, FASG and Robert Moody Sherman, CG, FASG, Re-edited by Robert S. Wakefield, FASG, (Pub. by General Society of Mayflower Descendants 2006 3rd Edition), vol. 13, p. 5
- Robert Charles Anderson. Pilgrim Village Famiily Sketch: Edward Winslow (a collaboration of American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society)
- Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: descendants of the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Massachusetts, Dec. 1620: Family of William White, Originally compiled by Ruth Wilder Sherman, CG, FASG and Robert Moody Sherman, CG, FASG, Re-edited by Robert S. Wakefield, FASG, (Pub. by General Society of Mayflower Descendants 2006 3rd Edition), vol. 13, p. 5
- David Lindsay, PhD., Mayflower Bastard: A Stranger amongst the Pilgrims, (New York: St. Martins Press, 2002), p. 137
- Alexander Young, Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers of the Colony of Plymouth, from 1602–162, (Boston:C. Little & J. Brown 1841) [url=
- William Bradford, Edward Winslow (1865). Mourt’s Relation, or Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth. Boston: J. K. Wiggin. Reprint of the original version.
- J. D. Bangs's 'Pilgrim Edward Winslow: New England's First International Diplomat (Boston, 2004);
- Moore, Jacob B. (1846). Memoirs of American governors. New York: Gates & Stedman.
- Holton, David P.; Holton, Frances K. F. (1877). Winslow memorial. Family records of the Winslows and their descendants in America, with the English ancestry as far as known. New York: Holton.
- Palfrey, John G. (1859). History of New England, Vol. 1. Boston: Little, Brown.
- Palfrey, John G. (1860). History of New England, Vol. 2. Boston: Little, Brown.
- Palfrey, John G. (1865). History of New England, Vol. 3. Boston: Little, Brown.
- Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project "Archaeology of the Edward Winslow Site" www.plymoutharch.com
- Also see a paper by W. C. Winslow, Governor Edward Winslow, his Place and Part in Plymouth Colony, in the Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1895 (Washington, 1896)
- See Egerton Ryerson's The Loyalists of America and Their Times for evidence of the differences between the Pilgrim Fathers (Plymouth Rock) and the Puritan Fathers (Massachusetts Bay) with respect to loyalty to the Crown, tolerance of other religions, and treatment of the Native Peoples, and how this schism continued right up to and during the American Revolution.
- "Winslow Homestead in Marshfield, Massachusetts". Winslow House. Retrieved 2011-02-07.