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Elizabeth Walker Warren

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Elizabeth Walker Warren (c. 1583–October 2, 1673) was an early Plymouth Plantation colonist's wife. She was married to 1620 Mayflower passenger and Mayflower Compact signer, Richard Warren, who died in 1628. Elizabeth died in 1673, over age 90, outliving her husband Richard as a pioneer of the New World by almost 50 years, raising all seven of their young children as a widow.

Born Elizabeth Walker, she married Richard Warren at Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, on 14 April 1610. Elizabeth Walker was the daughter of Augustine Walker of Great Amwell. She was baptised at Baldock in September 1583. This information came to light with the discovery of Augustine Walker's will dated 19 April 1613, in which he named his daughter Elizabeth and her children Mary, Ann and Sarah Warren.[1]

In 1623 Warren felt that conditions were right to bring his family over from England, and they arrived that year on the Anne.[2][self-published source]

In the 1623 Division of Land, Warren received two "akers" (acres) of land in one area – "these lye one the north side of the towne nexte adjoyning to their gardens which came in Fortune" and five acres in another – "these following lye on the other side of the towne towards the eele-riuer (Eel River)" (as Richard "Waren").[3][4]

In Plymouth two more children were added to their family – in 1624 his wife Elizabeth gave birth to a son Nathaniel and in 1626 another son, Joseph."[3]

In 1626 twenty seven Plymouth settlers , called Purchasers, were involved with the colony joint-stock company which afterwards was turned over to the control of senior colony members. That group was called Undertakers, and were made up of such as Bradford, Standish and Allerton initially who were later joined by Winslow, Brewster, Howland, Alden, Prence and others from London, former Merchant Adventurers. The agreement was dated 26 October 1626 and was finalised sometime in 1627. Richard Warren may have originally been a party to the agreement, but due to his death, which may have been sometime in 1628, his name on the charter was replaced by that of his wife, recorded as "Elizabeth Warren, widow."[5] Elizabeth Warren, as a widow, was named in a law passed by the Plymouth Court specifically to give her the Purchaser status that her husband had – "hee dying before he had performed the bargaine, the said Elizabeth performed the same after his decease, …"[6]

In the 1627 Division of Cattle, Richard, his wife and their seven children, in the ninth lot, received several animals that had arrived on the ship Jacob, apparently in 1625. The ninth lot also listed John Billington and the Soule (spelled Sowle) family.[3][7]

Not very much is known about their life in Plymouth, but the Warren family does seem to have been among those with wealth.[8]

During her widowhood, Elizabeth Warren's name is noted in Plymouth Colony records. She was listed as the executor of her husband's estate, paying taxes as head of household and as an independent agent in her own right.[9] She lived to be more than ninety years of age, dying on 2 October 1673. Her death as noted in Plymouth Colony records: "Misstris Elizabeth Warren, an aged widow, …haveing lived a godly life, came to her grave as a shoke of corn fully ripe". She was buried at Burial Hill in Plymouth.[3][10][11][12]

[13] [14]

Elizabeth Warren is now widely considered to be the daughter of Augustine Walker. In in December 2002, Edward Davies discovered the will of Augustine Walker, dated April 19, 1613, which genealogists generally consider to be the will of the father of Plymouth Colonist Elizabeth Warren. This will refers to his daughter Elizabeth Warren as well as her three daughters: Mary, Ann, and Sarah. Elizabeth married a Richard Warren in Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, on April 14, 1610.[14][15][16]

Mayflower passenger and Mayflower Compact signer Richard Warren arrived in Plymouth on the Mayflower in 1620, alone.[15][17] Elizabeth Warren remained in England with their five daughters, Mary, Ann, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Abagail. Elizabeth came to Plymouth Plantation with their daughters on the ship Anne in 1623. Richard and Elizabeth subsequently had sons Nathaniel and Joseph at Plymouth. Richard received his acres in the Division of Land in 1623, and his family shared in the 1627 Division of Cattle, but he died a year later in 1628. The only record of his death being found in Nathaniel Morton's 1669 book New England's Memorial, in which he writes: "This year [1628] died Mr. Richard Warren, who was an useful instrument and during his life bare a deep share in the difficulties and troubles of the first settlement of the Plantation of New Plymouth."[17][15][16]

The Widow Elizabeth Warren did not remarry after Richard's death, leaving her to raise five daughters under the age of 18 and two sons, her youngest an infant aged 1, under the challenging conditions of the Plymouth Plantation.[18] She is considered remarkable in history in how the Plymouth community treated her, with records showing she was frequently supported in court proceedings over men, including over her own son, Nathaniel Warren regarding land ownership. Elizabeth raised all children to adulthood, and they each married and had several children, making Richard one of the most common Mayflower passengers to be descended from. Richard and Elizabeth's descendants include President Ulysses S. Grant, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Alan B. Shepard, Jr. the first American in space.[16][17][15]

Peggy M. Baker, Director Emerita of the Pilgrim Society & Pilgrim Hall Museum writes, in an essay on Elizabeth Walker Warren:

"While the court records of Plymouth Colony reveal much about the daily activities of the lawabiding men of the Colony, they tell us little about the women (except for those few women who broke the law). There was, in fact, no officially recognized role for the law-abiding married woman. The activities and contributions of those women, although vital to the survival and success of the Colony, are nowhere registered or officially acknowledged. According to the accepted legal convention of the times, all married women, even those conducting business independently, were regarded as representatives of their husbands. Only widows could be legally recognized as agents in their own right. Very few widows availed themselves of the privileges and the responsibilities that such independent status would entail".[16]

A biographic sketch of Elizabeth Warren done in 1985 says, "A study of early Plymouth records leads to the conclusion that she was a woman of force and social position in the community, and she is therein usually spoken of as ‘Mistress’ Elizabeth Warren, a designation by no means common. And she is one of the rare instances in that early colony of continued widowhood".[19]

Elizabeth Walker Warren died in 1673. Upon her death the Records of Plymouth Colony noted:

"Mistress Elizabeth Warren, an aged widow, aged above 90 years, deceased on the second of October, 1673. Who, having lived a godly life, came to her grave as a shock of corn fully ripe".[16][18]

Elizabeth Walker Warren is believed to be buried at Burial Hill in Plymouth.


  1. Edward J. Davies, "The Marriage of Richard1 Warren of the Mayflower", The American Genealogist, 78(2003):81–86; Edward J. Davies, "Elizabeth1 (Walker) Warren and her Sister, Dorothy (Walker) (Grave) Adams", The American Genealogist, 78(2003):274-75.
  2. Caleb H. Johnson. The Mayflower and her passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., 2006), pp. 244–245
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Caleb H. Johnson. The Mayflower and her passengers (copyright 2006 Caleb Johnson Xlibris Corp.) p. 245
  4. Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 416–417
  5. Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 27, 28, 336, 419–420
  6. Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 367–368
  7. Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p 424
  8. Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 367
  9. Pilgrim Hall Museum for Elizabeth Warren
  10. Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p.368
  11. Pilgrim Hall Museum Elizabeth Warren
  12. Grave for Elizabeth Warren
  13. "Warren". MayflowerHistory.com.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Pilgrim Hall Museum - Beyond the Pilgrim Story - Richard & Elizabeth Warren". www.pilgrimhallmuseum.org.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 "Richard Warren-Elizabeth Walker, Marriage, Family, Genealogy, 14 April 1610, Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, England". www-personal.umich.edu.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 http://www.pilgrimhallmuseum.org/pdf/Elizabeth_Warren_Essay.pdf
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "Richard Warren Biography - Mayflower Heritage and History". mayflower.americanancestors.org.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Elizabeth WALKER". www.phillipsplace.net.
  19. "Sources". www.phillipsplace.net.

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