Our family can claim a Mayflower connection through James Chilton. Much of the following information was provided to us by Marion Emmons. Her information comes from Volume Two of the Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, published 1978. Additional information was found in Volume 15 of the Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: James Chilton – Richard More, published 1997.
JAMES CHILTON was the oldest passenger on the Mayflower. He was born about 1556 in Canterbury, Kent County, England. He was a tailor by trade and was listed as a freeman of Canterbury in 1583. Sometime before 1587 he was married, possibly to Susanna Furner, daughter of his step-mother and her first husband, Francis Furner. James and his wife had 10 children. Baptismal records list seven of those children as being baptized in Canterbury, England. About 1600 the family moved to Sandwich, England where the last three of his children were baptized. It was in Sandwich where he met other Pilgrims who later went to Holland, and he was drawn into the Separatist movement.
Our descent from James Chilton has been proved through only his eldest child, Isabella. Governor Bradford wrote that among those on the MAYFLOWER, were James Chilton and his wife, and Mary his daughter. (They had another daughter that was married who came to Plymouth afterward. It is this ‘other’ daughter, Isabella, from whom the Pearls descend.) In 1650 Gov. Bradford wrote “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. So their increase is ten.” James died on 18 December 1620, scarcely a month after signing the Mayflower Compact. He was the only signer who died at Cape Cod, while the MAYFLOWER was docked in Provincetown Harbor. His wife died soon after, sometime after 21 January 1620/1.