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William Brewster, Organizer of the Mayflower Voyage

William Brewster, b. 1567, d. Apr. 10, 1644, was a leader of the Pilgrims, who established Plymouth Colony. In England he studied briefly at Cambridge, the only Pilgrim Father to have some university training. A member of the local gentry in Scrooby, Yorkshire, he helped organize a separatist religious congregation in 1606 and financed its move to Holland in 1608. His influence with the Crown was instrumental in winning the approval of the Virginia Company for the proposal to resettle the congregation in America, and he was one of the few original Scrooby separatists who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. As the church's ruling elder in Leyden and then in Plymouth, Brewster shared with William Bradford and Edward Winslow in the leadership of the Pilgrim enterprise.

The Mayflower Compact

As the ruling elder and only university trained passenger on the Mayflower, it is likely that William Brewster drafted the Mayflower Compact, the first constitution written and adopted in North America. The following is the text of the Compact:

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereigne Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c.

Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne Parts of Virginia; doe, by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civill Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equall Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the Generall Good of the Colonie; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.

In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Raigne of our Sovereigne Lord, King James of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland, the fiftie-fourth, Anno. Domini, 1620.

Mr. John Carver           Mr. Stephen Hopkins
Mr. William Bradford      Digery Priest
Mr. Edward Winslow        Thomas Williams
Mr. William Brewster      Gilbert Winslow
Isaac Allerton            Edmund Margesson
Miles Standish            Peter Brown
John Alden                Richard Bitteridge
John Turner               George Soule
Francis Eaton             Edward Tilly
James Chilton             John Tilly
John Craxton              Francis Cooke
John Billington           Thomas Rogers
Joses Fletcher            Thomas Tinker
John Goodman              John Ridgate
Mr. Samuel Fuller         Edward Fuller
Mr. Christopher Martin    Richard Clark
Mr. William Mullins       Richard Gardiner
Mr. William White         Mr. John Allerton
Mr. Richard Warren        Thomas English
John Howland              Edward Doten
Edward Liester

My Brewster Ancestry

  1. Macka Lee Murrah
  2. Ina Gertrude Johnson m. Earvin Elroy Murrah
  3. Florence Ophelia Largent m. Franklin John Johnson
  4. Malcom David Largent m. Eliza Azalee Spears
  5. Thomas Wayne Largent m. Talitha Maria Freeman
  6. David Barss Freeman m. Talitha T. Thompson
  7. James Freeman m. Hannah Barss
  8. Samuel Freeman m. Mary Mayo
  9. Thomas Freeman, Jr. m. Mary Smith
  10. Deacon Thomas Freeman m. Rebecca Sparrow
  11. Major John Freeman m. Mercy Mary Prence
  12. Patience Brewster m. Governor Thomas Prence
  13. Elder William Brewster (of the Mayflower) m. Mary _____
  14. John William Brewster m. Mary Smythe-Simkinson
  15. William Brewster m. Maude Man
  16. William Brewster m. Prudence Perkins

Famous Brewster Descendants

Other Brewster Internet Resources

Updates and Corrections

The above information is based on the best sources currently available to the author and is subject to correction. If you have information that is different or additional to that shown above, I would like to receive it. Please contact me by e-mail and mention this web page in your message.

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