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About Peter -The Brief History of Pilgrim Peter Brown 1594/5 -1633

There is little known about the origins of Peter Brown. He was baptized in 1594/5 in Dorking, Surrey, England. He may possibly be the son of William Brown of Dorking, Surrey and may have had 5 siblings, Jane and Thomas who were older and younger brothers, Samuel, John and James. His brother John Brown came to Plymouth Colony about 1632. It is supposed that the children may have been apprenticed to weavers after their father died.

Peter may have heard of the proposed voyage to the new world through an association he had with the Mullins family. He was a single man of about 25 years when he departed England along with 102 passengers and crew aboard the Mayflower. He was not a member of the Leiden Separatist community. After 3 months at sea in mid-November 1620 they landed at Cape Cod. After unsuccessfully trying to get to their correct destination of the Virginia Colony they anchored at the harbor at the Cape Cod Hook. It was there that the passengers decided to bind themselves together for the sake of all. They penned and signed what we now call the Mayflower Compact that created a democratically governed and administrated society. Peter Brown along with most of the adult males signed the document.

His name appears on a partial listing of the parcel locations that was created in 1620 by William Bradford. His neighbor John Goodman and his parcel were on the south side of the street and the ocean side of the highway.

In January of 1621 Peter and John Goodman were part of a group of 4 men who were out gathering and cutting roofing thatch all afternoon. The group was about a mile and a half from the plantation. Peter and John had separated from the other two and gone off to a lake or pond to sit and eat. They had with them a great mastiff bitch and a spaniel. A deer appeared and the dogs took chase with the men following. They soon discovered that they were lost and wandered all that afternoon becoming wet and cold. They took refuge under a tree for the night. They thought they heard lions in the woods and climbed the tree but it was too cold to stay in it. It was an anxious night for them as the dog had to be held so it would not go toward the lion sounds. The next day they wandered until they found a high enough hill that they were able to see the harbor. They made it back to the plantation that evening very faint and frostbitten.

His name appears in the 1623 Division of Land. Sometime prior to 1626 he married Widow Martha Ford, who was the only woman aboard the ship Fortune that arrived in 1621. In the 1627 Division of Cattle he, his wife Martha, his daughter Mary and his stepchildren by Martha’s first marriage were included along with other colony settlers. Peter and Martha had another daughter named Priscilla. Shortly thereafter Martha died. Peter then married a woman named Mary (her maiden name is not known). They had two children, daughter Rebecca born about 1631 and another born around 1633 whose name is unknown that died before reaching adulthood.

Brown Tankard.JPG

Peter Brown died in 1633 taken ill by a sickness that also took several other Plymouth settlers. He left no will. His estate inventory was taken on October 10th 1633.

Peter Brown's Beer Tankard. Image Courtesy of

Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth, MA.

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