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By Joan Reed Miller

Date of birth: about 1556, probably Canterbury, Kent, England
Baptized: unknown
Marriage: possibly Susanna Furner, daughter of his step-mother, before 1587, England
Children: Ten (10)
1. Isabella baptized 15 Jan 1586/7, married Roger Chandler
2. Jane baptized 8 Jun 1589
3. Mary buried 23 Nov 1593, died young
4. Joel buried 2 Nov 1593, died young
5. Elizabeth baptized 14 Jul 1594
6. James baptized 22 Aug 1596, died young
7. Ingle baptized 29 Apr 1599, probably married Robert Nelson
8. christian baptized 26 Jul 1601
9. James baptized 11 Sep 1603
10. Mary baptized 30 May 1607, married John Winslow
Death: 18 December 1620, Cape Cod Harbor (now Provincetown), on board the Mayflower.
Burial Site: unknown

 

'First Sunday in New England' Engraved by J. Scott after a picture by Alfred Walter Bayes.

  • James Chilton was born before 1556, probably at Canterbury, County Kent, England, the son of Lyonell Chilton and his first wife whose name has not been found.
  • James married before 1587, and his first child was baptized at St. Paul's Parish in Canterbury on 15 January 1586/7.
  • James Chilton and wife had seven children born in Canterbury, Kent, before moving about 1600 to Sandwich, County Kent, where he had his last three children baptized.
  • James, his wife, and his youngest daughter Mary came on the Mayflower in 1620.
  • In 1609, (identified only as the wife of James Chilton), was charged by the Archdeaconry Count with attending the secret burial of a child (they opposed the "popish" burial ceremonies of the Church of England). Presumably it was not long before the family left for Holland.
  • James Chilton's wife was one of a group excommunicated in 1609. Apparently, they buried a young child without following the proper ceremonies prescribed by the Church of England. Religious dissenters opposed such ceremonies, since they were not Biblically based.
  • Mrs. Chilton's excommunication record from St. Peter's, Sandwich, reads: "I the arson there doe present Thomas Bartlet the wife of James Chilton Danyell Hooke and Mosses Fletcher all of our said parish for pryvatly burying a childe of andrewe Sharpe of St. Maries parish who is strongly suspected not to dye an ordinary death the which they secretly conveyed to the earth with out anie notice given to me or my clarke or anie companie of neighboures but such only as semed accessary thereunto, this they did the 25 or 24 of Aprill last past, the lawfulness of which acte some of them seem now since to dissent by calling into question the lawfulnesse of the kinges constitutions in this and other behalfes, affirming these thing to be popishly cerimonious and of no other force; for the truth of all which the premisses with much more when it shall be further required I the now resident incumbent there have hereunto subscribed my name this 8 May 1609."

  • In 1619, James Chilton (aged 63) and his oldest daughter Isabella were caught in the middle of an anti-Arminian riot in Leiden, and he was hit in the head with a stone, requiring the services of the town surgeon Jacob Hey.
  • James Chilton, age about 64, was the oldest passenger on the Mayflower.
  • James died on 8 December 1620 on board the Mayflower, which was anchored in Provincetown Harbor—one of the four passengers to die on board during the months of November and December. His wife Susanna died at Plymouth shortly after 11 January 1620/1. Daughter Mary Chilton, now an orphan at 13 survived.
  • Governor Bradford wrote in 1650: "James Chilton and his wife also died in the first infection, but their daughter Mary is still living and hath nine children; and one daughter is married and hath a child."
  • James, a Leiden  Separatist and tailor, was the 24th signer of the Mayflower Compact.

REFERENCES
General Society of Mayflower Descendants
Mayflower Families Through Five Generations (Silver Books)
Pilgrim Hall Museum
Caleb Johnson's MayflowerHistory.com