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Richard Warren

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Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

Richard Warren (c. 1583 – c. 1628) was one of the passengers on the Pilgrim ship Mayflower and a signer of the Mayflower Compact.[1][2]

Early life


Richard Warren married Elizabeth Walker, at Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, on 14 April 1610. Elizabeth Walker was the daughter of Augustine Walker of Great Amwell. She was baptised at Baldock in September 1583. This information came to light with the discovery of Augustine Walker's will dated 19 April 1613, in which he named his daughter Elizabeth and her children Mary, Ann and Sarah Warren.[3]

Based on his marriage in Hertfordshire, speculation is that he also came from that county. His parentage and apparent birthplace are uncertain, but there is a Warren family that may be of that ancestry residing in the vicinity of Therfield.[4]

The author and genealogist Charles Edward Banks states that Warren came from London and was called a "merchant" of that city.[5] Warren was one of those very few English merchants who signed on to make the Mayflower voyage as a member of the Leiden contingent. His reason for this has not been determined, and given his status, it is unusual that little is actually known of him.[4]

The Mayflower

Signing the Mayflower Compact 1620, a painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris 1899

At the time of the Mayflower's voyage in 1620, Richard and his wife had five daughters: Mary, Ann, Sarah, Elizabeth and Abigail. But Richard came on the Mayflower alone, deciding to wait until conditions in the New World were satisfactory before bringing over his family.[4] Governor William Bradford recalled of that time, "Mr. Richard Warren, but his wife and children were lefte behind, and came afterwards."[6]

The Mayflower departed Plymouth, England on 6/16 September 1620. The small, 100 ft (30 m) 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 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 the cold, harsh, unfamiliar New England winter.[7]

On 9/19 November 1620, after about three months at sea, 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. The Mayflower Compact was signed that day.[7][8] Richard Warren's name appears 12th in the list, according to Nathaniel Morton's enumeration of it.[1]

In the New World


Warren participated in some of the early explorations of Cape Cod, when a suitable settlement location was being searched for.[4]

One such extensive exploration began on Wednesday, 6 December 1620 in freezing weather using the ship's shallop, a light, shallow-water boat with oars and sails which was navigated by two pilots, with a master gunner and three sailors. Pilgrims on board, in addition to Warren, were senior members Governor John Carver, Bradford, Myles Standish and Edward Winslow along with John and Edward Tilley, John Howland, Stephen Hopkins and Hopkins' servant, Edward Doty. These persons were less than half the number of the previous exploration due to many having been felled by illness. The English explored in freezing temperatures wearing unsuitable clothing due to not planning for the severity of the New England winter weather. This exploration would result in their first encounter with Indians and did not turn out well, as they learned that slow-firing muskets were no match for rapid-fire arrows. This Indian challenge to the Pilgrims was later known as the "First Encounter".[9]

In 1623 Warren felt that conditions were right to bring his family over from England, and they arrived that year on the Anne.[10][self-published source]

In the 1623 Division of Land, Warren received two "akers" (acres) of land in one area—"these lye one the north side of the towne nexte adjoyning to their gardens which came in Fortune" and five acres in another—"these following lye on the other side of the towne towards the eele-riuer (Eel River)" (as Richard "Waren").[11][12]

In Plymouth two more children were added to their family. In 1624 his wife Elizabeth gave birth to a son Nathaniel and in 1626 another son, Joseph."[11]

In 1626, 27 Plymouth settlers, called Purchasers, were involved with the colony joint-stock company which afterwards was turned over to the control of senior colony members. That group was called Undertakers, and were made up of such as Bradford, Standish and Allerton initially who were later joined by Winslow, Brewster, Howland, Alden, Prence and others from London, former Merchant Adventurers. The agreement was dated 26 October 1626 and was finalised sometime in 1627. Warren may have originally been a party to the agreement, but due to his death, which may have been sometime in 1628, his name on the charter was replaced by that of his wife, recorded as "Elizabeth Warren, widow."[13] Elizabeth Warren, as a widow, was named in a law passed by the Plymouth Court specifically to give her the Purchaser status that her husband had: "hee dying before he had performed the bargaine, the said Elizabeth performed the same after his decease, …"[14]

In the 1627 Division of Cattle, Richard, his wife and their seven children, in the ninth lot, received several animals that had arrived on the ship Jacob, apparently in 1625. The ninth lot also listed John Billington and the Soule (spelled Sowle) family.[11][15]

In his "Increasings and Decreasings", Bradford assigns Warren the title of "Mr." which indicates someone of status, but does not mention him at all in his recording of Plymouth history. And except for a few mentions elsewhere, not very much is known about him in Plymouth, but the Warren family does seem to have been among those with wealth.[16]

During her widowhood, Elizabeth Warren's name is noted in Plymouth Colony records. She was listed as the executor of her husband's estate, paying taxes as head of household and as an independent agent in her own right.[17]

Marriage and children

Coat of Arms of Richard Warren

Richard Warren married Elizabeth Walker, daughter of Augustine Walker, on 14 April 1610, at Great Amwell, Hertfordshire.[3]

Children of Richard and Elizabeth Warren:

  • Mary was born about 1610 and died on 27 March 1683 in Plymouth. She married Robert Bartlett about 1629 and had eight children. He died between 19 September and 29 October 1676 in Plymouth. She and her husband were buried at White Horse Cemetery Plymouth, Mass.
  • Ann was born about 1611/2 and died after 19 February 1675/6. She married Thomas Little on 28 April 1633 in Plymouth and had nine children. He died shortly before 12 March 1671/2 in Marshfield.
  • Sarah was born about 1613 and died after 15 July 1696. She married John Cooke, son of Francis Cooke, on 28 March 1634 and had five children. He died on 23 November 1695 in Dartmouth.
  • Elizabeth was born about 1615 and died on 9 March 1669/70 in Hingham, MA. She married Richard Church by 1635/6 and had eleven children. He died 27 December 1668 in Dedham.[18]
  • Abigail was born about 1619 and died after 3 January 1692/3 in Marshfield. She married Anthony Snow on 8 November 1639 in Plymouth and had six children. He died in August 1692 in Marshfield.
  • Nathaniel was born about 1624 in Plymouth and died between 21 July and 31 October 1667 in Plymouth. He married Sarah Walker on 19 November 1645 in Plymouth and had twelve children. She died on 24 November 1700.
  • Joseph was born by 1627 in Plymouth and died on 4 May 1689 in Plymouth. He married Priscilla Faunce about 1653 and had six children. She died on 15 May 1707 in Plymouth.[19][20]

Death and burial


Warren died of unknown causes, possibly sometime in 1628, exact date unknown. Morton, in his 1669 book New England's Memorial, recorded that "This Year [1628] died Mr. Richard Warren, who .... was an useful Instrument; and during his life bare a deep share of the Difficulties and Troubles of the first Settlement of the Plantation of New-Plymouth [sic]" (p. 68).[1][11][16]

From Bradford's recorded Plymouth history:

"Mr. Richard Warren lived some *4* or *5* years, and had his wife come over to him, by whom he had *2* sons before [he] dyed; and one of them is maryed, and hath *2* children. So his increase is *4* But he had *5* doughters more came over with his wife, who are all married, and living, and have many children."[7]

Banks states that Warren died before 1628 and that he was probably considerably past middle life at the time of emigration in 1620.[5] He was buried at Burial Hill in Plymouth.[21]

Warren's widow Elizabeth lived to be more than ninety years old, dying on 2 October 1673. Her death was noted in Plymouth Colony records: "Misstris Elizabeth Warren, an aged widow, ...haveing lived a godly life, came to her grave as a shoke of corn fully ripe". She was buried at Burial Hill in Plymouth.[11][22][23][24]



Because all seven of Richard and Elizabeth Warren's children survived and had families, they have very many descendants today. Some notable descendants include:


  1. ^ a b c Morton, Nathaniel (1855) [1669]. New England's Memorial. Boston: Congregational Board of Publication. p. 26.
  2. ^ Roebling, Emily Warren (1901). Richard Warren of the Mayflower and Some of his Descendants. Boston: David Clapp & Son. OCLC 656801408.
  3. ^ a b Edward J. Davies, "The Marriage of Richard1 Warren of the Mayflower", The American Genealogist, 78(2003):81–86; Edward J. Davies, "Elizabeth1 (Walker) Warren and her Sister, Dorothy (Walker) (Grave) Adams", The American Genealogist, 78(2003):274–275.
  4. ^ a b c d Caleb H. Johnson. The Mayflower and her passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., 2006), p. 244
  5. ^ a b 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: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2006), p. 92
  6. ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 406
  7. ^ a b c Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 413
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A story of Courage, Community and War (New York: Viking, 2006), pp. 70–73
  10. ^ Caleb H. Johnson. The Mayflower and her passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., 2006), pp. 244–245
  11. ^ a b c d e Caleb H. Johnson. The Mayflower and her passengers (copyright 2006 Caleb Johnson Xlibris Corp.) p. 245
  12. ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 416–417
  13. ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 27, 28, 336, 419–420
  14. ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 367–368
  15. ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 424
  16. ^ a b Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 367
  17. ^ Pilgrim Hall Museum for Elizabeth Warren Archived 1 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Descendants of Richard Church of Plymouth, Mass: https://archive.org/stream/descendantsofric00chur#page/n3/mode/2up/search/richard+church
  19. ^ A genealogical profile of Richard Warren, (a collaboration of Plimoth Plantation and New England Historic Genealogical Society. Retrieved 2013)
  20. ^ Robert C. Anderson, Pilgrim Village Family Sketch: Richard Warren (a collaboration of American ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society) Archived 14 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Richard Warren (1578–1628)". Find a Grave. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  22. ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 368
  23. ^ Pilgrim Hall Museum Elizabeth Warren
  24. ^ Grave for Elizabeth Warren
  25. ^ Robert Battle, Ancestry of Sarah Palin
  26. ^ Family Relationship of Richard Warren and Taylor Swift via Richard Warren
  27. ^ "Family relationship of Richard Warren and John Cena via Richard Warren".

Further reading

  • Edward J. Davies, "The Marriage of Richard1 Warren of the Mayflower", The American Genealogist, 78 (2003), 81–86.
  • Jones, Emma C. Brewster. The Brewster Genealogy, 1566–1907: a Record of the Descendants of William Brewster of the "Mayflower," ruling elder of the Pilgrim church which founded Plymouth Colony in 1620. New York: Grafton Press. 1908
  • Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie: Issue 40 of Sesame booklets; BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2008. ISBN 0-554-47602-9.
  • Mayflower Families Through Five Generations (Vol. 18, Pt. 1: Richard Warren); edited by Robert S. Wakefield & Judith H Swan (2004).
  • Mayflower Families Through Five Generations (Vol. 18, Pt. 2: Richard Warren – Fifth Generation Descendants of Mary 2, Anna 2 and Elizabeth 2); edited by Robert S. Wakefield et al. (2011).
  • Mayflower Families Through Five Generations (Vol. 18, Pt. 3 Richard Warren) Fifth Generation Descendants of Abigail 2, Nathaniel 2, and Joseph 2; edited by Robert S. Wakefield (2001).
  • The Mount Vernon Street Warrens, Martin Green, Simon & Schuster, 1989 ISBN 0-684-19109-1
  • Richard Warren of the Mayflower and some of his Descendents, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, by Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1901, Vol. 55:70–78.