Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thomas Rogers

  • Name: Thomas Rogers
  • Born: Watford, Northamptonshire, England
  • Died: Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Elvira Wilde
Thomas Rogers was a Separatist who travelled on the Mayflower to escape religious persecution, and is best known for being one of the 41 signers of the Mayflower Compact. His date of birth is unknown but thought to be approximately 1572. He was among those who did not survive the first harsh winter of 1620–1621.

Thomas Rogers was born in Watford, Northamptonshire, the son of William and Eleanor Rogers. He departed that area sometime after May 1613.

Thomas Rogers and his family moved to Leiden Holland by February 22, 1614. This was the date he bought a house on the Barbarasteeg. He became a citizen of Leiden on June 25, 1618 and worked as a camlet (fabric) merchant. Thomas Rogers is recorded to have sold his Leiden house on April 1, 1620 for 300 guilders, possibly preparing for his voyage to America.

Thomas Rogers and his 18 year old son Joseph departed Plymouth, England aboard the Mayflower on September 6/16, 1620. The small, 100-foot ship had 102 passengers and a crew of about 30-40 in extremely cramped conditions. By the second month out, the ship was being buffeted by strong westerly gales, causing the ship‘s timbers to be badly shaken with caulking failing to keep out sea water, and with passengers, even in their berths, lying wet and ill. This, combined with a lack of proper rations and unsanitary conditions for several months, attributed to what would be fatal for many, especially the majority of women and children. On the way there were two deaths, a crew member and a passenger, but the worst was yet to come after arriving at their destination when, in the space of several months, almost half the passengers perished in cold, harsh, unfamiliar New England winter.

On November 9/19, 1620, after about 3 months at sea, including a month of delays in England, they spotted land, which was the Cape Cod Hook, now called Provincetown Harbor. After several days of trying to get south to their planned destination of the Colony of Virginia, strong winter seas forced them to return to the harbor at Cape Cod hook, where they anchored on November 11/21. The Mayflower Compact was signed that day.

Thomas Rogers married Alice Cosford on October 1597 in Watford, Northamptonshire. She apparently died in Leiden Holland sometime after the 1622 poll tax listing.

Governor William Bradford (Mayflower passenger) wrote of Thomas Rogers in 1650: "Thomas Rogers, and Joseph, his son (came). His other children came afterwards… Thomas Rogers died in the first sickness, but his son Joseph was still living, and was married with 6 children. The rest of Thomas Rogers children came over, and were married, and had many children."

Thomas Rogers died in the first winter. Along with other victims, he was buried in an unmarked grave in Coles Hill Burial Ground, Plymouth. He left behind his son Joseph. Thomas is named on the Pilgrim Memorial Tomb, Plymouth, Massachusetts. The burial place of his wife Alice, whether in Holland or England, is unknown.

This article comes from the Wikipedia article about Thomas Rogers. Thanks Wikipedia.

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