The Winslow Family
Edward Winslow and his wife Elizabeth traveled on the Mayflower with three servants, George Soule, Elias Story and Ellinor/Ellen More. Edward’s brother Gilbert was also a passenger but later returned to England. Edward’s brothers John, Josiah and Kenelm would all follow Edward to Plymouth Colony over the next decade.
Edward was born at Droitwich, Worcester, England, 18 October 1595, the son of Edward and Magdalene (Oliver) Winslow. He married at Leiden, Holland, 27 April 1618, Elizabeth Barker, of Chatsum, England. Elizabeth died at Plymouth, 24 March 1620/21. Two months later, the first marriage in Plymouth colony took place on 12 May 1621, when Edward married Susanna (Jackson) White whose husband William White had also died in the general sickness leaving Susanna a young widow with two children. Edward died in the West Indies, between Domingo and Jamaica, 8 May 1655.
Edward was a signer the Mayflower Compact, on 11 November 1620, when the ship was anchored at Provincetown Harbor. He was also a member of the groups that explored Cape Cod in the shallop as they sought to find a suitable place to settle their colony. Three expeditions were sent out in November and December 1620 and Edward was undoubtedly on all three. In the 1623 land division, he was given four acres. He is listed in the 1627 cattle division with wife Susanna, their children, Edward and John Winslow, and Susanna’s children, Resolved and Peregrine White.
In the early years, Edward was one of the first Pilgrims to interact with the native Wampanoag tribe in the Plymouth area. In the years that followed, he continued to interface as a diplomat with the various native groups in the area. In March 1623, receiving news that Massasoit was gravely ill, Edward Winslow was sent, and he was able to provide aid which greatly improved his health.
By 1634, Edward moved his family to the town of Marshfield but he was still a prominent figure in Plymouth. He was frequently chosen as an Assistant to the Governor, and was also elected Governor several times, the first in 1633. He was often sent to England as Plymouth’s agent, to settle accounts with the Adventurers and conduct business on behalf of the colony. He sometimes went for supplies, and in 1624 he brought back the first cattle. In 1634 he was sent to England to defend Plymouth’s role in the Hocking incident in Maine and he ended up in prison for seventeen weeks.
Edward’s final trip to England was in 1646, where he “fell upon other employment” and he never returned to Plymouth.
While in England, Edward had his portrait painted; it remains the only authenticated portrait we have of one of the Pilgrims. He also authored several publications: Good News from New England or A Relation of Things Remarkable in That Plantation (1624), Hypocrisie Unmasked (1646) and New England’s Salamander (1647).
Children of Edward and Susanna (Jackson) (White), Winslow:
- Child, born at Plymouth, circa 1623; died young.
- Edward Winslow, born at Plymouth, circa 1624; no further record.
- John Winslow, born at Plymouth, circa 1626; no further record.
- Josiah Winslow: born at Plymouth, circa 1629; died at Marshfield, 18 December 1680; married at London, England, 1651, Penelope Pelham; they had four children: Daughter, Elizabeth, Edward and Isaac Winslow. Josiah was the first native-born Governor of Plymouth colony from 1673-80.
- Elizabeth Winslow, born at Plymouth, circa 1630/31; died at Boston, 23 December 1697; married 1) at London, England, 9 March 1655/66, Robert Brooks; they had five children born at London: son, John, Robert, Josiah and son Brooks; married 2) at Salem, 22 September 1669, Captain George Curwin/Corwin, they had three children: Penelope, Susanna and George Corwin.
Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Edward Winslow, vol. 25, by Marston Watson. Plymouth, 2019.
Mayflower Passenger References, (from contemporary records and scholarly journals), by Susan E. Roser. 2011. pp. 421-450.
Descendants of Edward Winslow are invited to join the Winslow Heritage Society.
Edward Winslow’s mortar and pestle at Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts