Peregrine White

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William Halsall, Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor (1882)

Peregrine White (c. 20 November 1620 – 20 July 1704) was the first baby boy born on the Pilgrim ship the Mayflower in the harbour of Massachusetts, the second baby born on the Mayflower's historic voyage, and the first known English child born to the Pilgrims in America.[1] His parents, William White and his pregnant wife Susanna, with their son Resolved White and two servants, came on the Mayflower in 1620. Peregrine White was born while the Mayflower lay at anchor in the harbor at Cape Cod. In later life he became a person of note in Plymouth Colony, active in both military and government affairs.[2][3][4]

English origins[edit]

Peregrine White[5] was the second son of Mayflower pilgrim William White and his wife Susanna White Winslow. His mother Susanna was pregnant during the Mayflower voyage and gave birth to Peregrine in late November 1620 while the ship was anchored at Cape Cod, now Provincetown Harbor.[2][4][6]

The Whites are believed to have boarded the Mayflower as part of the London merchant group, and not as members of the Leiden Holland religious movement. Evidence of the William White family coming to the Mayflower from England and not Holland comes from William Bradford's Mayflower passenger list which has "Mr. William White" in his section for London merchants along with Christopher Martin, William Mullins, Stephen Hopkins, Richard Warren and John Billington. It is believed that if William White had been a member of the Leiden congregation, his name would have appeared in Bradford's work for that section, but it does not. There is no evidence to associate William White and his family with Leiden, Holland. And regarding the various White family ancestries which erroneously place the William White family in them, the Mayflower Society states that "Little is known about William White."[4][7]

Mayflower voyage[edit]

The White family, as recalled by William Bradford in 1651 consisted of, "Mr. William White, and Susana, his wife, and one son, called Resolved, and one borne a ship-bord, called Peregrine; and *2* servants, named William Holbeck and Edward Thomson."[8]

The Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England, on the 6/16 of September in 1620. The small, 100-foot ship had 102 passengers and a crew of about 30-40 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, contributed to circumstances that 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 the cold, harsh, unfamiliar New England winter.[9]

At some point along the journey, the first baby was born on the Mayflower, Oceanus Hopkins, to the passengers Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins.

On 9/19 November 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 sail 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 11/21 November 1620. The Mayflower Compact was signed that day.[9][10][11]

In Plymouth Colony[edit]

Peregrine White's father William White died on 21 February 1621. With her husband's death, Susanna, with her newborn son Peregrine and five-year-old Resolved, became the only surviving widow out of the many families who perished that first winter. On 12 May 1621 Peregrine's mother Susanna married widower Edward Winslow, a Mayflower and later a Plymouth colony notable with whom she had five children, one of whom was Josiah Winslow, future Plymouth governor.[2][4][12][13]

In the 1627 Division of Cattle, both Resolved [sic] and his brother Peregrine were listed in the Third Lot under Capt. Standish in the family of Edward Winslow, his wife Susanna and their sons Edward and John Winslow.[2][14]

In 1636, the family, now numbering 6 - Edward and Susanna, Resolved and Peregrine White, and the two children born to Edward and Susanna, Josias and Elizabeth Winslow - moved to the new settlement of Marshfield, north of Plymouth.[15]

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe

Peregrine served in the militia at age 16 and continued to serve, first as a lieutenant and then a captain. He was also a farmer. At some point he also served his community as a representative to the General Court.[16]

On 23 October 1643, at Marshfield, Peregrine White sold to Mannasses Kempton of Plymouth, land at Eel River that had been given to him the year before by his stepfather Edward Winslow.[17]

At the court on 6 March 1648/9 Peregrine White and Sarah his wife, both of Marshfield, were presented (fined) for fornication before marriage. Since records show their first child, Daniel, was born in 1649, they seemed to have married after Sarah had become pregnant.[17][18]

Peregrine's in-laws, the Bassets, had a great deal of land in Marshfield and Peregrine and Sarah moved there, eventually buying several adjacent pieces of property as the years progressed.[16]

On 3 June 1651, Lt. Peregrine White was admitted as a Freeman.[17]

On 3 June 1652 William Bassett Sr. of Duxburrow gave his son-in-law Lt. Peregrine White 40 acres of upland.[15]

In 1655 he was granted land as the "first of the English that was borne in these partes."[19]

On 16 June 1656 as written, William Bassett Sr. of Duxborrow [sic], now living at Bridgewater, gave his lands in Scituate to his sons Peregrine White and Nathaniel Bassett.[17]

On 2 October 1658 he was chosen as a member of the council of war.[17]

On 3 June 1662 Peregrine was chosen to be deputy for Marshfield.[17]

On 4 March 1673/4 Lt. Peregrine White was granted 100 acres at Titicut.[20][21]

On 19 August 1674 Peregrine White of Marshfield deeded to his son, Daniel White, in consideration of his intended marriage, various buildings and lands in Marshfield from the time of his death, except if he died before his wife Sarah and Daniel was to pay monies to sister Sarah and Mercy when they became or married.[21]

On 22 May 1696 Capt. Peregrine White "the first born Child of New England born November 1620" was admitted into the Marshfield Church in his 78th year. At age 78, Peregrine officially joined the Marshfield church.[21]


Peregrine White married before 6 March 1648/9 Sarah Bassett, daughter of William and Elizabeth/Elisabeth Bassett.[22] William Bassett came to Plymouth in 1621 on the Fortune as a single man, but by the 1623 division was allotted two acres showing he had married before that date. Bassett's name as "Wm Bassett, Sen" appears on the 1643 Able to Bear Arms list for Duxborrow [sic]. William Bassett became a Plymouth Colony person of historic note.[4][23][24]

Sarah Bassett was born in Plymouth c.1630 and died in Marshfield on 22 January 1711. They had seven children between c.1649 and c.1670.[15][25]

Children of Peregrine White and his wife Sarah:

  • Daniel White, born c.1649 and died in Marshfield on 6 May 1724, noted in records as being either 70 or 75. He married in Marshfield on 19 August 1674 Hannah Hunt, who was last known to be living on 15 May 1721. They had seven children.[26]
  • (child) White, born c.1650/1.[27]
  • Jonathan White, born in Marshfield on 4 June 1658. He died in Yarmouth between 14 July 1736 and 22 February 1737.[28] Whites Brook in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, is named after him since he lived nearby.[29]
Jonathan White married twice:
  1. Married in Yarmouth 2 February 1682/3 Hester Nickerson, daughter of Nicholas and Mary Nickerson. She was born in Yarmouth in the last week of October 1656 and died there on 8 February 1702/3. They had seven children.
  2. Married _MARGARET Elizabeth ALEXANDER married in 1708_______. She died in Yarmouth on 12 April 1718 "wife of Jonathan White."
  • Peregrine White (Jr.), born in Marshfield c.1661, baptized at Brattle Street Church, Boston, on 16 February 1723/4, "aged 62" and died in Boston on 20 November 1727 "aged 66.".[30]
Peregrine White Jr. married twice:
  1. Married c.1684 Susanna ______. They had one son.
  2. Married before 9 June 1696 Mary _______. She died after 13 March 1755. She married second in Boston on 19 December 1728 Cornelius Judevine.
  • Sarah White, born in Marshfield in October 1663 and died in Scituate on 9 August 1755 in her 92nd year. She married in Scituate in January 1688/9 Thomas Young, son of George and Hannah (Pinson) Young. He was born in Scituate on 5 November 1663 and died there on 25 December 1732 at age 69. They had nine children.[31]
  • Sylvanus White, born in Marshfield before 1667 and died in Scituate before 29 June 1688. He married Deborah Church, who died after 30 June 1688. She was possibly the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Warren) Church, who was born in Hingham 27 January 1656/7. They had one son.[31]
  • Mercy White, born c.1670 and died in Marshfield on 12 June 1739, age 69. She married in Marshfield on 3 February 1697 William Sherman, son of William and Desire (Doty) Sherman. She was a descendant of Pilgrim Edward Doty. They had four children.[4][32]


In 1704 - The will of Peregrine White (which is owned by and displayed at Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth), dated July 14, 1704, and proved August 14 of the same year states: Peregrine White of Marshfield…..Being aged and under many Weaknesses and Bodily Infirmities devised to his wife Sarah everything not otherwise disposed of by the will to his eldest son Daniel …personal items and land .. as well as various personal items and land to daughters Sarah and Mercy and sons Jonathan and Peregrine. His will was signed with the initials PW "The mark of Peregrine White" who was then aged almost 84 years.[33][34]

Death and burial[edit]

Peregrine White died on July 20, 1704 (Old Style), in Marshfield, Massachusetts at age 83 years and 8 months. He was buried in Winslow Cemetery in Marshfield, Massachusetts. He was the last surviving Pilgrim Father, though the last Mayflower passenger, Mary Allerton, died in 1699. His wife Sarah died on January 22, 1711, and was also buried in Winslow Cemetery. Additionally, Peregrine's elder brother Resolved White, his wife Judith and their mother Susanna were all buried in Winslow Cemetery. Winslow Cemetery has a substantial stone monument to "The Early Settlers of Green Harbor Marshfield" naming, among others, Resolved and Peregrine White, their wives and mother Susanna as well as her second husband Edward Winslow.[4][15][25][35]


Marshfield vital records note the death of "Capt. Peregrine White" on "July ye 20:1704" and the 'Boston Newsletter' of Monday July 31, 1704, gives the following obituary: "Marshfield, July, 22 Capt. Peregrine White of this town, Aged Eighty three years, and Eight Months; died the 20th Instant. He was vigorous and of a comly Aspect to the last; Was the Son of Mr. William White and Susanna his Wife;' born on board the Mayflower, Capt. Jones Commander, in Cape Cod Harbour. Altho' he was in the former part of his Life extravagant; yet was much Reform'd in his last years; and died hopefully."[36]


  1. ^ Green, Eugene; Sachse, William; McCaulley, Brian (2006). The Names of Cape Cod. Arcadia Press. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-933212-84-5.
  2. ^ a b c d Johnson 2006, p. 247.
  3. ^ Stratton 1986, pp. 79, 365, 370, 406, 408.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g A genealogical profile of William White (Peregrine) Archived November 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Peregrine comes from the proper Latin form Peregrinus. This translates into English as Pilgrim.
  6. ^ Stratton 1986, p. 21.
  7. ^ Banks 2006, p. 94.
  8. ^ Stratton 1986, p. 406.
  9. ^ a b Allison Lassieur, Peter McDonnall The voyage of the Mayflower (Pub. Capstone Press, ©2006 Mankato, Minnesota)
  10. ^ Stratton 1986, p. 413.
  11. ^ Bowman 1920, photocopies of the 1622, 1646 and 1669 versions of the document.
  12. ^ Philbrick 2006, pp. 89-90.
  13. ^ Sherman 2006, p. 5.
  14. ^ Stratton 1986, pp. 421-422.
  15. ^ a b c d Sherman 2006, p. 8.
  16. ^ a b Pilgrim Hall Museum Peregrine White Archived March 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ a b c d e f Sherman 2006, p. 9.
  18. ^ Stratton 1986, p. 193.
  19. ^ Stratton 1986, p. 371.
  20. ^ Young 1842, p. 148.
  21. ^ a b c Sherman 2006, pp. 8, 9, 10.
  22. ^ Pilgrim Hall Museum. "Peregrine White in the Records of Plymouth Colony" (PDF).
  23. ^ Banks 2006, p. 106.
  24. ^ Stratton 1986, pp. 439, 441, 442.
  25. ^ a b Stratton 1986, p. 370.
  26. ^ Sherman 2006, p. 14.
  27. ^ Sherman 2006, p. 10.
  28. ^ Sherman 2006, p. 16.
  29. ^ Green, Sachse & McCaulley 2006, p. 206.
  30. ^ Sherman 2006, p. 17.
  31. ^ a b Sherman 2006, p. 19.
  32. ^ Sherman 2006, p. 20.
  33. ^ Sherman 2006, p. 13.
  34. ^ Pilgrim Hall Museum Wills and personal items index
  35. ^ Memorial for Peregrine White
  36. ^ "White-Peregrine". Retrieved January 19, 2018.


  • Banks, Charles Edward (2006). 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.
  • Bowman, George Ernest (1920). The Mayflower Compact and its signers. Boston: Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants.
  • Johnson, Caleb H. (2006). The Mayflower and Her Passengers. Indiana: Xlibris Corp.[self-published source]
  • Philbrick, Nathaniel (2006). Mayflower: A story of Courage, Community and War. New York: Viking.
  • Sherman, Ruth Wilder, CG, FASG and Robert Moody Sherman, CG, FASG. Re-edited by Robert S. Wakefield, FASG, Mayflower Families through Five Generations: Descendants of the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth, Mass. December 1620. Vol. 13: Family of William White. Pub. General Society of Mayflower Descendants 2006 3rd Ed.
  • Stratton, Eugene Aubrey (1986). Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing.
  • Young, Alexander (1842). Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers of the Colony of Plymouth from 1620-95. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown.