Susanna (Jackson) White

BIRTH:  Probably about 1592 at Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England.
FIRST MARRIAGE:  William White, probably around 1614 in Amsterdam, based on the estimated age of son Resolved.
SECOND MARRIAGE:  Edward Winslow on 12 May 1621 at Plymouth (the first marriage at Plymouth).
CHILDREN (by William): Resolved and Peregrine.
CHILDREN (by Edward): unnamed child who died young, Edward, John, Josiah, and Elizabeth.
DEATH:  Sometime between 1654 and 1675.

Susanna White's origins were just discovered in 2017, after more than a century of failed attempts to identify her.  The claim she was Susanna Tilley has been disproven, and the William White who married Anna Fuller in Leiden was not the Mayflower passenger either: that particular William White, woolcomber, witnessed a nuptial agreement of Samuel Lee in Leiden on 10 April 1621, and so couldn't have been the Mayflower passenger (who had already died).  The peer-reviewed article on Susanna's English origin was published in:

Sue Allan, Caleb Johnson and Simon Neal, "The Origin of Mayflower Passenger Susanna (Jackson)(White) Winslow," The American Genealogist 89-4(October 2017):241-264.

Susanna was the daughter of Richard and Mary (Pettinger) Jackson, who were married in Doncaster, Yorkshire, in 1591, and later moved to Scrooby.  Richard Jackson's father was James Jackson of Braithwell (buried at Spalding, Lincolnshire, in 1602).  Two of James'  sons, John and Robert Jackson, moved to Spalding, Lincolnshire, where the elder John was clerk of sewers from 1586 to 1607, and the younger Robert took over in 1607 and continued until his death in 1624/5.  Their sister Jane remained in Braithwell, and brother Richard went to Doncaster and later Scrooby.

Susanna, perhaps with her father Richard (an arrest warrant was issued for "Brownism" on 7 December 1607 for both William Brewster and Richard Jackson), presumably moved to Amsterdam about 1608 and joined the Henry Ainsworth congregation, and there met and married William White.  William White's mother, Thomasine (Cross)(May) White, considered Margaret, wife of John Jackson of Spalding, her kinswoman, so Susanna Jackson and William White may have known each other via this distant kinship (which appears to come via the Bryan or Bendish families) even before they were married in Amsterdam.  She remained, with her husband, as a member of the Henry Ainsworth congregation in Amsterdam, until they decided to come on the Mayflower with the Leiden church congregation.  Members of the Amsterdam congregation had contemplated joining with the Leiden group, but most pulled back after financial disputes with Robert Cushman.  William and Susanna White, perhaps because of their niece Dorothy (May), wife of William Bradford, chose to continue on.

Susanna came on the Mayflower with husband William White and son Resolved.  She was pregnant, and gave birth to son Peregrine while the Mayflower was still anchored off the tip of Cape Cod sometime the last three days of November 1620.  Peregrine is the Latin form of the word "Pilgrim" and shares the same root.  While the name may have been commemorative, the recent research on William White's origin at Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, shows he had a (female) first cousin also named Peregrine, so it may have been a family name as well.  Susanna's husband William died the first winter at Plymouth on 21 February 1620/1, and she remarried a few months later to fellow Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow on 12 May 1621.  Their marriage was the first marriage at Plymouth.  Susanna was one of only four adult women to have survived to see the "First Thanksgiving" at Plymouth that autumn. 

On 30 October 1623, Edward Winslow wrote to Susanna's uncle Robert Jackson, clerk of sewers, enquring about his father-in-law (i.e. Richard Jackson), his wife's brother (whom we have identified as Thomas Jackson), and his wife's sisters.  Several letters written by Richard Jackson to his brother Robert survive in the clerk of sewers records at Spalding dated 1623 and 1624.  The signatures on those letters, match the signature of Richard Jackson found on the Scrooby Manor lease of 1604.  The letters reveal Richard Jackson had traveled to Holland, was in contact with Puritan ministers in London, and he was writing from Everton (the parish that borders Scrooby Manor).

In 1651, her husband Edward Winslow had a portrait done in London.  In the portrait, he is holding a letter.  Careful examination of this letter reveals the last lines are actually legible--they read "your loving wife, Susanna". 

Susanna died sometime after 1654, when she is mentioned in her husband's will.


Sue Allan's new biography of Susanna (Jackson)(White)Winslow will be available on 9 April 2018 from  It will highlight all the recent discoveries we made and provide interesting historical context.