Wife: Grace Makin (7)
Born: 1585 in Fingerinhoe, Essex, England
Died: 03 Jun 1662 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA
5 March 2004
Today I am writing to you about our Pilgrim ancestor who came to America on a ship called the Mayflower.
The story of Thomas Rogers.
Thomas Rogers was a camlet merchant in Watford, Northampton, England. Camlet is a fabric made of wool and silk. He had a wife, Alice Cosford, and a number of children including his eldest son Joseph, who came with him to America, and a younger son and two daughters who came to America later. Thomas was a Puritan.
The Puritans were a group of Christians living in England. They did not want to go to the King's church and worship the way the king told them to. They believed they should follow the teachings of the Bible. They wanted to "purify" the Church of England and that is how they came by their name. Other peolpe called them "Separatists" because they wanted to separate from the Church of England. The king did not like it that the Puritans would not go to his church and so he was always trying to catch them worshipping somewhere other than his church, and if he caught them doing it, he put them in jail or sometimes he even hanged them. King James was making life so unpleasant for the Puritans that a group of them sneaked away across the English Channel to the country of Holland. This group of Puritans was called the Leiden Separatists, because they lived in the Dutch city of Leiden. Our ancestor Thomas Rogers and his family were part of the Leiden Separtists.
I found a very nice story about these people on the internet. It is here:
I think you would like it.
So Thomas and his family went to Leiden to live. There they couldn't farm as they had done in England because they didn't have any land. So they went to work in the woolen mills, making cloth. It was very hard work but they didn't mind. As the years passed by, however, they found their children speaking Dutch and wanting to wear fancy clothes as the Dutch did rather than the simple garments of their parents. So after 12 years they decided to go to the new world they had heard about across the sea. Only a few could go at first, so they chose 35 hearty people plus their two leaders, William Bradford and William Brewster. Then they had to take a bunch of other English people because they didn't have enough money for a ship all their own so some of the people who paid for the ship got to say who would go. 102 people were aboard the Mayflower when it finally left for America on September 6, 1920. Two people died on the voyage but two others were born so they still had 102 when they got to America and picked a place to land on December 16, 1620.
Before they got off the boat in America at a place called Plymouth Rock all the men got together and had a meeting. The Puritans were a little bit afraid that the others in the group, whom they called "Strangers", would not cooperate and work nicely with them once they got on shore so they wrote out an agreement and they called it the Mayflower Compact. I copied it here so you can read it.
THE MAYFLOWER COMPACT
"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620."
There followed the signatures of 41 of the 102 passengers, 37 of whom were members of the "Separatists" and among them was our forefather Thomas Rogers. It became the first law in Plymouth Colony and the basis of the town meetings in New England that survive til this day.
The first winter in the new world was VERY difficult for the pilgrims. They now called themselves pilgrims because of their perilous journey. They didn't have enough food, the work was exhausting and the winter weather was like nothing they had experienced in England or Holland. 52 members of the community died that first winter, including 14 of the 18 mothers in the group. Unfortunately, Thomas was among those that perished that winter. But his son, Joseph, survived for many many years.
Now here's how you are related to Thomas Rogers. Thomas was the father of Joseph Rogers. Joseph Rogers fathered Elizabeth Rogers. Elizabeth was the mother of Elisha Higgins. Elisha begat Jonathan Higgins. Jonathan had Philip Higgins. Philip was the father of Hannah Higgins. Hannah had Charles Stevens. Charles sired Edmund Stevens. Edmund fathered Harold Stevens. Harold had your grandpa, Paul Stevens. Paul and Granny had your mama, Dawne Stevens. Dawne married your daddy and had - Becky, Hannah, Tim, and Sarah! There are twelve generations from Thomas to you, counting Thomas as one and you as twelve. Or you could just say he's your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather.
From Ancestry.com, Biographical Summary by Frankewell
Thomas Rogers was born in Watford, Northampton, England, the son of William and Eleanor Rogers. He married Alice Cosford in 1597. All his children were baptized and/or buried in Watford. He brought his wife and family to Leiden, Holland, where he became a citizen of Leiden on 25 June 1618, where he is called a camlet merchant.On 1 April 1620, he sold his house on Barbarasteeg for 300 guilders, apparently in preparation for his voyage on the Mayflower. He came on the Mayflower with eldest son Joseph, leaving behind in Leiden his son John, daughters Elizabeth and Margaret, and wife Alice. Thomas Rogers died the first winter at Plymouth, leaving behind his 18-year old son Joseph. His wife and children that were left behind in Leiden are found in the 1622 poll tax of Leiden, and were termed "poor people" and "without means". Children Elizabeth and Margaret apparently came to New England later, but where they lived or who they married remain unknown. Son John came to Plymouth about 1630, and there married Anna Churchman, on 16 April 1639.
Another account of Thomas Rogers is from Jane Wile's website http://genejane.com She says Thomas was one of the Separatists and explains that he had been a camlet Merchant. Camlet is a satiny fabric of silk and wool.
Thomas Rogers was a camlet merchant. He bought a house on the Barbarasteeg in Leiden by 1617, having joined the English Separatists there in or after 1613, and he became a citizen of Leiden on 25 June 1618. He sold his house on April 1620, probably to prepare for removal to America. In the fall of 1620 he and his son Joseph sailed on the Mayflower and he was the eighteenth signer of the Mayflower Compact on 11 November 1620. Alice and the other children remained in Leiden, apparently expecting to join Thomas and Joseph later; they were still there in 1622, living in the home of Anthony Clements. Of the four surviving children, only his sons Joseph and John have so far been documented in New England records
Revised: November 26, 2016