|Thomas Willett biographical notes (4)|
Passage had been arranged for Reverend Robinson’s widow, Bridget, and three of her children: Isaac, Mercy and Fear. “But, for some reason the widow drew back at the last and did not embark” (Wilson, page 268). The congregation had to have special assurances that they would not be persecuted when they came to England to sail to the new world. But, at last everything
was worked out through the intermediators and in March, 1629, they sailed. They arrived at the Plymouth Colony on 15 March, 1620 [sic]. The passage was quick for that day, with only six weeks on board the Mayflower. In the narrative that Governor Bradford wrote, Thomas Willett was 19 at this time.
“Again the next year, in the summer of 1630, a party from the Green Gate Congregation crossed to England and set sail, embarking on the Handmaid which dropped anchor at Plymouth three months later with sixty on board” (Wilson, page 268).
The Handmaid was the last of the Pilgrim ships. Plymouth was a thriving Pilgrim town. Life there was not so somber as life in Boston under the influence of Governor Winthrop and his Puritans. Plymouth was still a leader in the affairs of the colony, and would remain so for many years afterward by virtue of being the first settlement in Massachusetts.
[p. 4] Shortly after Thomas Willett’s arrival, the Colony's government sent him north to take charge of their tradin post near the mouth of the Kennebec River in what is now Main. A little later, a new tradin post was established on the Penoscot [sic] River, about 50 miles up the Maine Coast from the Pilgrim trading post at Kennebec. There was a royal proclamation against trading weapons to the Indians. However, another agent, Edward Ashley, was illegally furnishing the Indians with weapons in defiance of King Charles I proclamation of November 24, 1630. Ashley was arrested and sent to England for trial before the Privy Council. Young Thomas Willett had actually seen Ashley sell contraband and was a star witness. However, this required that Willett return to England. He and Isaac Allerton returned to England on Allerton's ship, White Angel. On September 6, 1631, Willett gave his testimony. Ashley was found guilty. This was only one of the problems and conflicts which faced the Pilgrim community.
And even greater fraud had been continuously perpetuated [sic] on the unsuspecting Pilgrims by Willett’s fellow traveller, Isaac Allerton. Allerton had been acting as the Pilgrim’s agent in London who dealt with the backers of Plymouth Plantation. Allerton had succeeded in running up the Pilgrim’s [sic] debt, from £400 (about $20,000) to £4,770 (about $238,500) in less than four years. Allerton was eventually dismissed from his position, but he continually plagued the Pilgrim fathers for years afterward.
Back a Page
Updated Mar 2014
|Our Stories: Welcome Presentations People Places Updates Do you know?|