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James Chilton (b. Abt. 1562, d. December 18, 1620)James Chilton was born Abt. 1562 in St. Pauls, Canterbury, Kent, England, and died December 18, 1620 in Cape Cod, Provincetown Harbor, Barnstable, Massachusetts.He married Susanna Furner.
Notes for James Chilton:
Parish records of St. Paul's Church at Canterbury, indicate he was a member here in 1586, where the first three of his children were baptized, the same parish where he was baptized.James, besides being a citizen at Canterbury, was engaged in his profession as a Tailor in 1583.
The Chilton family moved to Sandwich, England in 1600, a neighboring town where his last three children were born and baptized, at the parish church of St. Peter.It is thought that here, James may have been introduced to the Separatist (Pilgrim) movement, by possibly Moses Fletcher, who was living here and also a passenger aboard the Mayflower. At Sandwich, Susannah Chilton, Moses Fletcher and Thomas Bartlett were, according to records found at Canterbury Cathedral, excommunicated from the church on 12 Jun 1609.This may be the first record of the prosecution of a female Mayflower Pilgrim.After the Sandwich baptismal of their child Mary in 1607, the Chilton's are no longer heard from until their sailing on the Mayflower in 1620. Without a doubt he was living in Leyden, Holland with his family, indicated by the Leyden marriage record of his daughter "Ysabel Tgiltron, spinster from Canterbury was married here in 1615."Another entry shows that "Engeltgen Gilten" married Robert Nelson in 1622.No Leyden date specifically mentions his name.
His religious convictions and bonded associations with members of Robinson's and Brewster's group must have been very strong as he was the eldest person aboard the Mayflower, about 57 years old.He was placed into a decisive position at this age, to follow the Pilgrims exodus to New England, remain in Holland, or return to England where he had no home.
The events leading to the Pilgrims leaving England and later Holland is well documented.James, his wife, and daughter Mary, left Holland in mid summer of 1620, to join with the Mayflower before making the crossing. Soon after the journey started, their ship, the Speedwell was deemed unsafe and consequently both vessels sailed to Plymouth, England for repairs.Half of the Separatists were required to remain in England, as did half of the Mayflower passengers, the other half crowded aboard the Mayflower with about half of its original passengers, who were not traveling for religious reasons.James Chilton has been erroneously lumped together with the "Strangers" on the 1620 Mayflower, but he was in fact a Leiden Separatist. (Jan van Dorsten in "Why the Pilgrims Left Leiden," in Bang's Pilgrims, p. 34)Leiden records reveal that on 28 Apr 1619 the sixty-three-year-old James Chilton was returning to his house with his daughter when about twenty boys began throwing rocks at them, and James was hit on the head and knocked to the ground.His wife Susanna and daughter Mary came with him to the New World, and a daughter Isabella came later.He probably had another daughter, "Engeltgen," who married in Leiden in 1622.He was also known to have had other children in England, but no descendants from them have been traced.James Chilton was the son of Lionel Chilton, and he was a resident of Canterbury, where he worked as a tailor, and of Sandwich, Kent before going to Holland. Many people became sick during this voyage for various reasons due in part to calamitous conditions, scurvy being one of the main causes.Half died within a year, only the strong persevered, John and his wife were among those who didn't.
As the Mayflower lay anchored in Cape Cod harbor, it was apparent to the leaders that some form of covenant would be necessary for the government of the colony.This cognizance was the nucleus of the famous Mayflower Compact, which became the cornerstone of democracy and constitutional law.James may have been the 24th signer of the Mayflower Compact, if the order of names as Gov. Bradford recorded it is correct, the original copy had been lost.He was the only signer of the Compact that died at reaching Cape Cod, his wife died within one month.James was the oldest Mayflower passenger, and the first to die after reaching the new world.
Located in Southampton, England, just across the street from Mayflower Park, there stands an impressive monument.This large tablet is dedicated to the Pilgrim's who sailed from this port on 15 Aug 1620.
James father was Lyonell, born about 1539 in St Paul's Parish, Canterbury, Kent, England.He was a yeoman with a considerable amount of property in St Paul's Parish.The Chilton family is known in the Canterbury area as far back as 1339, when a Robert Chilton was in the Parliament.
More About James Chilton:
Record Change: February 05, 2004
Children of James Chilton and Susanna Furner are:
- +Isabella Chilton, b. January 15, 1586/87, Canterbury, Kent, England, d. Bef. October 03, 1665, Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.