Mary Chilton


BAPTISM:  31 May 1607 at St. Peter's, Sandwich, co. Kent, England, daughter of James Chilton.
MARRIAGE:  John Winslow (brother of Mayflower passengers Edward and Gilbert Winslow), about 1626 at Plymouth.
CHILDREN:  John, Susanna, Mary, Edward, Sarah, Samuel, Joseph, Isaac, an unnamed child who died young, and Benjamin.
DEATH: Before 1 May 1679 at Boston.


Mary Chilton was born in 1607 in Sandwich, Kent, England, and was the daughter of James Chilton and his wife (whose name has not been discovered). When Mary was just two years old, excommunication proceedings began against her mother, who had attended the secret burial of a child of Andrew Sharpe. The child was buried in secret because they opposed the "popish" burial ceremonies required by the Church of England.

Mary and family then came to Leiden, Holland, and joined with the Pilgrims' church there. In 1619, when she was twelve, her father and oldest sister were caught in an anti-Arminian riot and her father was hit in the head with a stone--an injury for which he would have to seek out a surgeon.

In 1620, at the age of 13, Mary came with her parents on the Mayflower. Her father was one of the first who died after the ship had anchored off Provincetown Harbor. He died on December 8. Mary is traditionally given the honor of being the first female to step ashore at Plymouth Rock, but there is no historical documentation for this tradition. Her mother died sometime later the first winter, orphaning her in the New World. Which family it was that raised her has not been determined, but in 1623, at the age of 16, Mary received her share in the Division of Land, and her property was located between that of Myles Standish and John Alden, and was not too far from the Winslows. Edward Winslow's brother John had come to Plymouth on the ship Fortune in 1621. Sometime between 1623 and 1627, John Winslow married Mary Chilton.  In the 1627 Division of Cattle they received a share in the "lesser" black cow that had come in the ship Anne in 1623, along with two female goats. As they had not yet had any children by the Division of Cattle, it is likely their marriage occurred in 1626.

Their first child John was born about 1627, and nine more children would follow. The family resided in Plymouth for many years, but eventually ended up in Boston, where her husband John died in 1674. Mary made out her will in 1676 and died about 1679.