(George Morton was the
4g-grandfather of our
John K. Allen
was one of the founders of the colony of New Plymouth in Massachusetts, having
been of the company of Puritans who left England in the early part of the
seventeenth century, found a brief asylum in Holland, and came to America to
establish a Christian state. The causes leading to the settlement of Plymouth
are so well set forth by Nathaniel Morton, a son of George Morton in “New
England’s Memorial,” that his statement may well introduce this record as
part of the family which thus came to be found in America.
“In the year 1602 divers Godly Christians of our English nation, to the North
of England, being studies of reformation, and therefore not only witnessing
against human inventions, and additions to the worship of God, but minding most
the positive and practical part of divine institutions, they entered into
covenant to walk with God, and one with another, in the enjoyment of the
ordinances of God, according to the primitive pattern of the word of God.
But finding by experience they could not peaceably enjoy their own
liberty in their native county, without offenses to others, that were
differently minded, they took up thoughts of removing themselves and their
families into the Netherlands, which accordingly they endeavored to accomplish,
but met with great hindrance; yet after some time, the good hand of God removing
obstructions, thus they obtained their desires; arriving in Holland, they
settled themselves in the city of Leyden in the year or 1610, and there they
continued divers years in a comfortable condition, enjoying much sweet society
and spiritual comfort in the ways
of God, living peacefully among themselves, and being courteously entertained
and lovingly respected by the Dutch, among whom they were strangers, having for
their pastor, Mr. John Robinson, a man of learned, polished and modest spirit,
pious and studying the truth, largely accomplished with suitable gifts and
qualifications to be the shepherd over his flock of Christ; having also a fellow
helper with him in the eldership, Mr. William Brewster, a man of approved piety,
gravity and integrity very eminently furnished with gifts suitable to such an
This simple description of the beginning of momentous movement gives but a faint
hint of the severity of the conflict for religious freedom which began at the
little village of Scrooby. (He is from Austerfield, the same village in the
North of England from which came William Bradford the Governor of Plymouth
Colony.) There in the drawing room of William Brewster at Scrooby Manor, was
formed that independent congregational church, under the leadership of John
Robinson, numbering among its members
the grave young man, William Bradford, later to become a brother-in-law
of George Morton, and for some thirty years the governor of the colony, both
assisted in establishing. Among
those members is a quite possible to imagine George Morton, a thoughtful young
man scarcely more than twenty, but of excellent education and great strength of
purpose. No list of the members of
this church exits nor are the names know of all those self-exiled Englishmen,
who succeeded in escaping to Holland in 1610, but two years later it is known
that George Morton was in their number, as in the Dutch record of his marriage
is as follows:
First known record of George Morton: “George Morton, merchant from York in
England, his brother, and Roger Wilson, his acquaintance, with Juliana
Carpenter, maid from Bath in England, accompanied by Alexander Carpenter, her
father, and Alice Carpenter, her sister, and Anna Robinson, her acquaintance.
The banns were published Jul 6-16, 1612 and the Marriage took place 23
July- 2 Aug 1612.”
* An interesting story is told of the marriage of William Bradford to Alice
Carpenter the sister of Juliana Carpenter Morton wife of George Morton. An early attachment existed between Mr. Bradford and Alice
and their marriage was prevented by her parents, on account of his inferior
circumstances and rank. She
afterwards married Sir Edwards Southworth.
William Bradford, being now a widower (his first wife, whose maiden name
was Dorothy May, having drowned December 7, 1820, by accidentally falling from the
deck of the Mayflower into the sea) sent letters to England, made overtures to
Lady Southworth, who was then a widow. She
accepted the proposal, and with generous resolution, she embarked (on the ship
Ann) in 1623 to meet her intended partner, knowing that he could not well leave
his responsible station in the new settlement. (With her on the Anne were Mr.
And Mrs. George Morton and their children.
Mrs. Morton, who was Juliana Carpenter being Mrs. Southworth’s sister.)
Conjecture as to his origins: This
is the first positive record of him. Back of this he has not been traced
certainly. But there was a Morton
family, ancient and honorable, in Haworth, adjourning Bawtry and Austerfield,
the Pilgrim region. It owned a
large estate. In this family there
grew up a contemporary of William Bradford, who lived a mile or two away, a
George Morton. He is recorded.
About the time of the departure of the Pilgrims, he disappears.
Some four years later a George Morton, of about corresponding age, and
the progenitor of the Morton family in America turns up among the Pilgrims in
Leyden. The inference is natural
that the two George Morton’s are identical, and that the Haworth George Morton
had become a Puritan and a Separatist, had left Haworth about 1607 or 1608, had
passed a part or the whole of the interval at York, and by 1612 had joined an
old neighbors in Leyden. That a
member of such a family should become a merchant–if he were at York as well as
Leyden, which the Leyden record may imply–is accounted for by the fact that
his own family was intensely Roman Catholic and would have been almost certain
to disinherit him.” Morton Dexter
in private letters to the author.
about the Ships Ann & Little James
The vessels parted company at sea; the ANN arrived
the latter part of June, and the LITTLE JAMES some week or ten days later; part
of the number were the wives and children of persons already in the Colony The
ship Anne arrived in Plymouth in July, 1623 accompanied by the Little James,
bringing new settlers along with many of the wives and children that had been
left behind in Leiden when the Mayflower departed in 1620. EMIGRANT ANCESTORS,
John Camden Hotten, 1874
Morton Farm in England
following quotation is from an article entitled, “In and About Scrooby,” by
Morton Dexter, published in “The Mayflower Descendants” Vol. 11, pp. 194-5.
“The long mile northwest from the Crown Inn (Bawtry) and in Haworth Parish
lies the large Martin Farm, the remainder of the large estate once owned by the
Morton family, an ancient and honorable house which has furnished, in its
descendants, at least one governor and one chief-justice of the supreme Court of
Of interest is the old Morton Chapel, which, although close to the house of
Bawtry really is just over the line of Haworth.
Three hundred years or more ago the Mortons, then Roman Catholic, built
and endowed this Chapel and also just across the road two or three cottages as
refuge for poor old women. This was
also carried on by their Protestant successors.
Known record of George Morton
The second reference to George Morton which we find is in the Dutch record of
the marriage in Leyden, December 15-25, 1612 of Edward Pickering “merchant
from London” with “Maycken Stuws,” with George Morton as witness.
George Morton became an agent for the Pilgrims and published “Mort’s
Relations,” a compilation from the journals of Bradford and Winslow.
In 1623 he came to Plymouth in the “Anne” and he died in 1624.
(William Bradford was like a father to many of his children)
Authorship of “Mort’s Relations”
(The whole was intended, at least in part, to attract new settlers, and
George Morton is credited with having been the publisher in London of “Of
Milford, Worcester, Massachusetts a volume of great interest because it was the
first publication of information about the adventure of the Pilgrims. This volume was published under the name of “G. Mourt.”
and as to the identification of “G. Mourt” with George Morton, I quote the
late Rev. Henry Martyn Dexter as follows:
had been formerly associated with the writers of these journals–Bradford and
Winslow–to the degree that he could speak of them as “my both known and
2. He had always desired and was now intending soon to emigrate
in person to join the company in New-Plymouth; inasmuch as he says “Myselfe
then much desired and shortly hope to effect if the Lord will, the putting to of
my shoulder in this hope full business.”
had been entrusted with public employment in their behalf.
He seemed to have been in London as an agent for them, while those
negotiations were going on with Weston and others which resulted in the sailing
of the Mayflower. He himself sailed
with his family for New Plymouth in the Ann about the last of April in the
following year. He was the only G.M.
of whom these things were true.
Mourt’s Relation or Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth was also published
in 1865. Boston.
Two copies of the original edition of “Mourt’s Relations” are in
the Lenox Library in New York.
Morton’s arrival at Plymouth
George came to Plymouth in the ship “Anne” during the latter part of July in
the year of 1623. On the arrival of
Mr. Morton, Nathaniel Morton his eldest son, say’s in “New England
Memorial” “About fourteen days after (the fast held about the middle of
July) came in the ship Ann, whereof Mr. William Pierce was master.
Two of the principal passengers that came in this ship were Mr. Hatherly
and Mr. George Morton. Mr. Morton
was a pious, gracious servant of God and very faithful in whatsoever publick
employment he was betrusted withal, and an unfeigned well-wisher, and according
to his sphere and condition a suitable promoter of the common good and growth of
the plantation of New Plymouth; labouring to still the discontents that
sometimes would arise amongst some spirits, by occasion of the difficulties of
these new beginnings; but it pleased God to put a period to his days soon after
his arrival in New England, not surviving a full year after his coming ashore.
With much comfort and peace he fell asleep in the Lord, in the month of
June, Anno. 1624.”
Thomas Morton of Plymouth, Mass, writing March 9, 1807, “Partly from record
and partly from tradition,” says (in a manuscript owned by Marcus Morton, Esq.
of Boston, Mass.) “Mr. George
Morton attempted to come over before, and having obtained near half the passage
the ship proved leaky and returned to England again.”
If this be a fact, George Morton was one of the “part of the company”
which was returned to London on the “Speedwell” after putting in at
Plymouth. (See “New England
Memorial”, Nathaniel Morton, Edition of 1826 p. 32.)
of George Morton
Concerning the death of George Morton, Felt had this to say in his
“Ecclesiastical History of New England”; “In June the colonists met with a
great loss in the death of Geo. Morton, an exemplar Christian and a pillar of
church and society*** Though his tarry here is short his memorial on high is
In the division of land among those in the “Ann” it is recorded that George
Morton and Experience Mitchell received eight acres abutting “against the
swamps and Reed Ponde.” In the
same location Thomas Morton Jr. was allotted one acre.
After Mr. Morton’s death, his widow married Manassah Kempton.
She died February 19-29, 1665-6, age 81, and is mentioned in the Plymouth
town records as a faithful servant of God.
Mr. Kempton died January 14, 1662-3.
of George Morton:
born in Leyden, Holland about 1613
Nathaniel came to New England with his father in 1623 on the “Anne”; upon
the death of his father he was adopted by Governor William Bradford, whose
second wife Alice was Mrs. George Morton’s sister.
The benevolent man gave his nephew the care by which the early death of
his father was denied and he received an education which fitted him for the
great work he afterwards accomplished for the colonies.
John and Ephraim were probably also adopted by William Bradford upon the death
of their father.
Thanks to Deanne Driscoll for providing this information!