The More Family
The passenger list of the Mayflower includes four children without parents; they were not orphans, however they may as well have been. The children, between the ages of four and eight, were placed with families making the voyage. The More children are the only passengers with known royal ancestry, with descent from King David I and King Edward I of England.
The children were baptized at Shipton Parish, Shropshire, England as follows. The only child to survive the first winter was Richard.
- Elinor/Ellen [Ellinora] More, baptized, 24 May 1612; was placed with Edward and Rose Winslow;
- Jasper [Jasperus] More, baptized, 8 August 1613; was placed with John and Katharine Carver
- Richard [Richardus] More, baptized 13 November 1614; was placed with William and Mary Brewster.
- Maria More, baptized 16 April 1616; was placed with William and Mary Brewster; [Bradford mistakenly said she was a brother of Richard’s.]
The union between the children’s parents (who were cousins), Samuel More, age 17, and Katharine More, age 25, ensured that the large properties of their families would remain intact.
Though all four of the children were baptized as the children of Samuel More, subsequent court proceedings led to the admission by Katharine that she had been unfaithful with Jacob Blakeway, a tenant farmer on the More property. Although Katharine did not have the required two witnesses, her defense was that she had a precontract with Jacob. It got worse for Katharine. The more Samuel looked at the children, the more he suspected they were not his.
As the children’s legal father, Samuel could do with them as he pleased. He certainly didn’t want another man’s children and he wanted to punish his wife, so he decided to take them away from her. He wanted to dispose of the children in a way in which they would benefit. He learned of the voyage of the Separatists, god-fearing people, and found his solution, to place the children with influential families as servants. He paid £80 for their passage, which was double the usual children’s fare, to ensure that the childen would receive their fair allotment of land at the end of the voyage.
Richard continued living with the Brewsters; he is listed with them in the 1627 cattle division. In 1635, a Richard More age 20 was a passenger on a ship bound for New England. When he left for England is not known, but perhaps he had gone looking for answers into the plight of he and his siblings. In 1637, for £21, he sold twenty-five acres in Duxbury and removed to Salem, where he was granted a half-acre as an “Inhabitant.” He would remain there, when he was not master of a ship. Capt. Richard More died at Salem, between 19 March 1693/94 and 20 April 1696; note that the date of 1692 on his gravestone was added between 1901-1919 and is incorrect.
Richard More married 1) at Plymouth, 20 October 1636, Christian Hunt. He married 2) prob. at Salem, before 23 May 1678, Jane ( ) Crumton. It should be noted that Richard had another wife in England while he was still married to his first wife. The marriage of “Richard Moore of Salem in New England Maryner” and Elizabeth Woolno, is recorded at St. Dunstan’s, Stepney, Middlesex, 23 October 1645.
Children of Richard and Christian (Hunt) More:
- Samuel More, baptized at Salem, 6th 1mth 1642; living 1650; no further record.
- Thomas More, baptized at Salem, 6th 1mth 1642; living 1650; no further record.
- Caleb More, baptized at Salem, 31 1mth 1644; d. at Salem, 4 January 1678/9, ae 34; unmarried.
- Joshua More, baptized at Salem, 3 3mth 1646; living 1650; no further record.
- Richard More, baptized at Salem, 2 11mth 1647; died after 1 May 1696; married by 1673, Sarah ( ); they had six children: Samuel, child, Thomas, Christian, Sarah and Caleb More.
- Susanna More, baptized at Salem, 12 3mth 1650; died after 30 October 1728; married 1) prob. at Salem, circa 1675, Samuel Dutch and had four children: Barbara, Susanna died young, Susanna and Christian Dutch. She married 2) Richard Hutton and 3) John Knowlton.
- Christian More, baptized at Salem, 5 7mth 1652; died at Salem, 30 May 1680; married at Salem, 31 August 1676, Joshua Conant; they had one child: Joshua Conant.
Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Richard More, by Robert M. Sherman, Robert S. Wakefield and Lydia D. Finlay, vol. 15. Plymouth, 1997.
Mayflower Passenger References, (from contemporary records and scholarly journals), by Susan E. Roser. 2011. pp. 293-306.
“Soap Opera On The Mayflower: The Little-Known Story of the More Children,” by Richard H. Maxwell, Mayflower Quarterly 65 [Nov. 1999]:315-321.