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By Stacy B. C. Wood, Jr.

Peter Browne's Ale tankard on display at the Pilgrim Hall Museum.Peter Brown (also spelled Browne) came on the 1620 voyage of the Mayflower without a family. In Governor Bradford's list of passengers, he is included with nine others who were also unaccompanied by family members. A son of William Brown, he was probably born in the county of Surrey, England, perhaps in the village of Dorking where he was baptized on 26 January 1595 (N.S.). He was a signer of the"Mayflower Compact." His occupation before coming to America is unknown, but he would have been a yoeman or farmer until his untimely death in 1633 at the age of 38 years. It is supposed that his death was due to what Governor Bradford called "an infectious fever" that killed about 20 of the Colony that year in addition to many Indians. Of those who died, the Governor only lists three, all of whom werer Peter's fellow passengers on the Mayflower: Thomas Blossom, Richard Masterson and the Colony physician Samuel Fuller.

Peter married first, by the year 1626, to the widow Martha Ford who died in 1630 or 1631. They had two daughters: Mary (born about 1626) and Priscilla (born about 1628). Left with these two small children, he married, by 1631, a Mary whose last name is unknown. They had a daughter Rebecca and an unnamed child who died as a youth.

It is known that Peter knew the Mullins family who were also from Dorking and it is possible that Peter named his second daughter for Priscilla Mullins who married Pilgrim John Alden. At his death, Peter Brown's estate inventory included 1 "fowling piece" (shot gun), and a Bible. There is no known portrait of Peter Brown and apparently no memorials have been erected for him. There is no Peter Brown Pilgrim family association. A wooden beer tankard (drinking cup with cover) belonging to his family is in the Pilgrim Hall collection. His grave site has not been located.

 

Sources:
Immigrants to Plymouth Colony by Robert Charles Anderson (Boston, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004);
Plymouth Colony—Its History & People 1620-1691 by Eugene Aubrey Stratton, FASG (Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 1986);
Family of Peter Brown by Robert S. Wakefield, FASG;
Vol. 7 of the Mayflower Society's series Mayflower Families Through Fiver Generations (Plymouth, MA, GSMD;
Caleb Johnson's MayflowerHistory.com;
Pilgrim Hall Museum, www.PilgrimHall.org