John Crackston

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Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

John Crackston (c. 1575 – c. 1620/21), also spelled as John Craxston or Crakstone, was an English Separatist from the Netherlands who came with his son John on the voyage of the Pilgrim ship Mayflower. He signed the Mayflower Compact.[1][2][3]

English origins[change | change source]

Separatists were people who rejected the Church of England. These other beliefs were not allowed in England.

Crackston's birth year is of about 1575. It is based on a document made when his daughter married. It is believed that he moved to the Netherlands from Colchester in co. Essex, England from another document. In the 1618 Leiden marriage of his daughter Anna, she is said to be from Colchester.[1][2][3][4]

In Leiden[change | change source]

The name of John Crackston, in Leiden Netherlands, first appears in legal documents on June 16, 1616, when, along with fellow Mayflower passenger Moses Fletcher, he witnessed a promise of marriage of Zachariah Barrow.[1][2][3]

Crackston’s daughter Anna (Anne) married Thomas Smith in Leiden on December 12, 1618. In the records Anna is described as being a unmarried women from Colchester in England. At her wedding was her friend Patience Brewster. She would also be a Mayflower passenger. Patience would die of a fever in Plymouth in 1634 as the first wife of Plymouth Colony Governor Thomas Prence.[2][3]

Mayflower voyage[change | change source]

In 1620 John Crackston came to the Mayflower with other church members from Leiden and in the company of his son John. It is believed that his wife, name unknown, may have been died. His daughter Anna had married in 1618 and did not accompany them.[1][2][3]

William Bradford, wrote in 1651, Crackston and his son John embarked on the Mayflower[5]

John Crackston and his son 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.[6][7] The Mayflower was supposed to land in the Colony of Virginia, but the ship was too damaged and they were forced to land at Cape Cod now called Provincetown Harbor.[6][8][9][10]

John Crackston was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact. On that document, he signed his name as “John Craxton.” His son John Jr. was apparently not yet twenty-one years of age and did not sign the Compact.[2][6]

Family of John Crackston[change | change source]

Crackston first wife's name is not known.[1]

Children of John Crackston and his first wife:

  • Anna (Anne) Crackston was born about 1600, probably in Colchester, co. Essex, England. She married Thomas Smith in Leiden in 1618.
  • John Crackston (Jr.) name appears in the 1627 Division of Cattle, appearing as “John Crakstone” with the Allerton family. His name also appeared in the 1623 Division of Land as “John Crackston” with the Winslow family. It is believed that John Crackston Jr. died sometime after 1627. His burial place is unknown.[1][11][12]

Death and burial of John Crackston[change | change source]

John Crackston (Sr.) died in the winter of 1620, wrote Governor William Bradford. Bradford said it was after he got lost in the woods and his feet became frozen and he got a fever. The exact date is unknown. As with most passengers who died that winter, he was most likely buried in an unmarked grave in Cole's Hill Burial Ground, Plymouth. Cractston's name is spelled “John Craxston Sr.” on the Tomb.[1][13]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 A genealogical profile of John Crackston, (a collaboration of Plimoth Plantation and New England Historic Genealogical Society accessed 2013)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and Her Passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., copyright 2006 Caleb Johnson), p. 130.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 274
  4. Charles Edward Banks, The English Ancestry and Homes of the Pilgrim Fathers (New York: Grafton Press, 1929), p. 50
  5. Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 406
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 413
  7. 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.
  8. Stratton, 20.
  9. 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.
  10. Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 411–413
  11. Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and Her Passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., copyright 2006 Caleb Johnson), pp 130–131
  12. Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp 274; 415–416; 421–422
  13. Memorial for John Crackston [1]