James Chilton

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Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

James Chilton (c. 1556 – 1620). He was a passenger on Mayflower and was the oldest person on the ship.[1][2]

Chilton was probably in Canterbury, England. Chilton is a very old family name in Canterbury.[3]Chilton married and had a total of ten children. Unfortunately many of the children died young. They moved to Sandwich where Moses Fletcher also lived.[4]

The Chiltons did not have the same religous beliefs as the Church of England. They were called Separatists. This religion was not allowed in England. He and his family left England and joined a religious group in Leiden, Holland.[5]

The Chiltons were not welcome by some people in Leiden. This may have been because of their religion. James and his daughter were attacked by several boys who threw rocks at them. When Chilton tried to speak to the crowd, he was struck in the head by a large cobblestone, and was knocked unconscious.[6]

On the Mayflower[change | change source]

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

The Chilton family on the Mayflower consisted of James Chilton, the oldest Mayflower passenger, his wife, and their daughter Mary. Two of their daughters were married and stayed in Leiden. Isabella came over later in another ship.[4][5]

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England on 16 September 1620. There were 102 passengers and 30–40 crew. On 19 November 1620, the Mayflower reached land at Cape Cod hook. They landed on November 21. They wrote the Mayflower Compact, which made rules on how they would live and treat each other.[7][8] The Mayflower was supposed to land in the Colony of Virginia, but the ship was damaged and they were forced to land at Cape Cod now called Provincetown Harbor.</ref>[9]

William Bradford was also a Mayflower passenger and he kept a journal of life in Plymouth Colony. The journal mentions the Chilton family. He states the Chiltons had another daughter who was married and came to Plymouth Colony later in another ship.[10]

Death and Burial[change | change source]

Chilton died on December 18, 1620. His wife died about a month after him during the "first sickness" but his daughters lived a long life.[11] Chilton and his wife are named at the momument at Cole's Hill Burial Ground.[12]

References[change | change source]

  1. Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and her passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., 2006), pp. 115-116
  2. Pilgrim Hall Museum [1]
  3. Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and her passengers (Indiana:Xlibris Corp., 2006), p. 115
  4. 4.0 4.1 Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 262
  5. 5.0 5.1 Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and her passengers, (Indiana:Xlibris Corp., 2006), p. 116
  6. Jeremy D. Bangs, ed. The Pilgrims in the Netherlands, Recent Research Papers Presented at a Symposium held by The Leiden Pilgrim Documents Center and The Sir Thomas Browne Institute. Leiden Pilgrim Documents Center Leiden, The Netherlands
  7. 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. Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 20, 411-413
  10. Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 406
  11. William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford, the second Governor of Plymouth (Boston: 1856), p. 10
  12. Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A story of Courage, Community and War (New York: Viking 2006) p. 81