Isaac Allerton, "Mayflower" Passenger

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Isaac Allerton, Sr.

Also Known As: "on the Mayflower 1620", "Isaac Allerton"
Birthplace: Undershaft, London, Middlesex, England (United Kingdom)
Death: circa February 10, 1659 (64-81)
New Haven, New Haven Colony, Connecticut, Colonial America
Place of Burial: New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of unknown Allerton and wife of unknown Allerton
Husband of Mary (Norris) Allerton, "Mayflower" Passenger; Fear Allerton and Joanna Allerton
Father of Bartholomew Allerton, “ Mayflower” Passenger; Remember Maverick; Mary Cushman, "Mayflower" Passenger; Stillborn Son Allerton, Died Young; Unknown 2 Allerton, Died Young and 3 others
Brother of Sarah Godbertz

Occupation: Civil Servant; Merchant; Tailor, Pilgrim; trader; scoundrel, Asst. of Gov. Bradford, Plymouth Colony Business Manager, Politician and businessman, Merchant, farmer, tailor & seaman, Tailor
Managed by: Daniel Robert May
Last Updated:

About Isaac Allerton, "Mayflower" Passenger

Isaac Allerton was one of the original Pilgrim fathers who came on the Mayflower to settle the Plymouth Colony in 1620. Allerton is an ancestor of Presidents of the United States Zachary Taylor and Franklin D. Roosevelt. He married three times, sired seven children, was the fifth signer of the Mayflower Compact, served as an assistant to Governor William Bradford, and founded the town of Marblehead, Massachusetts.

"Allerton was an uncommon man of unusual talent who lived a long and active life. His resourcefulness to overcome adversity suggests that he should be counted as one of the remarkable men in early 17th century America." - Robert Jennings Heinsohn, Ph.D.


Isaac Allerton was born in England about 1583-1586, but his parentage has not been identified. He probably belonged to an old and honorable family of mixed Saxon and Danish descent, that had
been for many centuries located in the southeastern part of England, many representatives of which are still to be found in Suffolk and adjacent counties. He resided at London, working as a tailor, for some time prior to removing to Holland, in 1609. It is said that he was about twenty-six years old when he went to Holland and about thirty-seven when he came to Plymouth.

The records of St. Dionis Backchurch, London, give the marriage of Edward Allerton, of that Parish, to Rose Davis, of St. Peter's, Cornhill, 14 February, 1570-80. Edward died in 1590. Rose survived him six years, dying in 1596. It is possible that they were the parents of Isaac Allerton and his sister Sarah.

He may be related to Mayflower passenger John Allerton, but no relationship between them has been documented. Isaac Allerton is found in several Leyden records, and his sister Sarah married Degory Priest there on the same day as Issac's marriage to Mary Norris. A John Allerton and a Robert Allerton can also be found in Leyden records.

Marriages and Descendants

  1. Mary Norris, born 1587 Newbury, England, daughter of Edward Norris; married 4 November 1611, Leyden, Holland; died 25 February 1620/21 Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts. They had the following children:
    1. Bartholomew Allerton was born about 1612 in Leyden, Holland. He died about 15 October 1658 in Bramfield, Suffolk, England. Bartholomew married (1) Margaret. Bartholomew also married (2) Sarah Fairfax in probably, Rumbough, Suffolk, England.
    2. Remember Allerton was born about 1613 in Leyden, Holland. She died about 12 September 1652. Remember married Moses Maverick before 6 May 1635 at Salem, Massachusetts.
    3. Mary Allerton was christened June 1616 in Leyden, Holland. She died 28 Nov 1699 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Mary married Thomas Cushman about 1636 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
    4. Son Allerton was born 22 December 1620 in Plymouth Harbor, MA. He died 22 December 1620 in Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts.
  2. Fear Brewster, daughter of Elder William Brewster and Mary Wentworth, born 1606/7, Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England; married 25 February 1620 Plymouth, Massachusetts; died before 12 December 1634 Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts. They had the following children:
    1. Sarah Allerton was born about 1626/7 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. She died young.
    2. Isaac Allerton, Jr. was born about 22 May 1628 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He died about 25 Oct 1702 in Westmoreland, Virginia. Isaac, Jr. married (1) Elizabeth about 1652. Isaac also married (2) Elizabeth Willoughby about 1663 in Norfolk county, Virginia.
  3. Joanna Swinnerton, born c.1605.


Isaac Allerton (c. 1585 or 1586 - 1659) is believed to have been born in London, England, about 1585 or 1586 and was raised to become a tailor. He was about 26 when he apparently followed the Scrooby exiles to Leiden, Holland.

There he married his first wife, Mary Norris [Savage says "Collins"], of Newbury, Berkshire County, England, on 4 November 1611. The witnesses to this marriage were Edward Southworth, Richard Masterson, Randolph Tickens, Anna Fuller and Dillon Carpenter. At the same time and place his sister Sarah, widow of John Vincent, of London, Degory Priest, a hatter also from London. Degory Priest later accompanied Isaac and Mary on the Mayflower, and he died soon after landing, 1 January, 1620/1. While living in Leiden, Allerton was one of only three upon whom the privilege of citizenship was conferred by the city on February 5, 1614. The other two were William Bradford, later to be Governor of the Plymouth colony, and Degory Priest, his brother-in-law.

At the time of the sailing of the Pilgrims he had four living children, all born in Holland; three whom, Barthelomew, Remember and Mary, came over with their parents in the Mayflower, while the youngest, Sarah, remained behind and came over later with her aunt, Sarah Priest, sister of Isaac Allerton. Also accompanying Allerton was his apprentice, John Hooke, who died the first winter at Plymouth.

From the family history by Walter S. Allerton, "The voyage on the Mayflower was a long and stormy one, and disease and death were already at work among the over-crowded passengers of the little vessel, when on November 9, at break of day the sandy hills of Cape Cod became visible on the western horizon. Their original plan had been to settle near the mouth of the Hudson, and accordingly they put about at once to the south, but soon found themselves entangled in the shoals of the dangerous coast, and being all of them, especially the women and children, heartily sick of confinement within the narrow limits of the little vessel, the desire to be once more on land became too strong to be resisted. The captain also, having been bribed by the Dutch West India Company not to carry them to the Hudson, declared that further progress to the south was impossible and putting about once more to the north, they doubled the northern extremity of the Cape next day, and came to anchor in Cape Cod harbor to ride out a storm."

"This land, upon which they had now decided to settle, being in the forty-second degree of latitude was without the territory of the Virginia company, and therefore the charter they held became useless; and some symptoms of faction and of an inclination throw off all authority appearing among the servants who had been hired in England. It was thought best by the leaders of the Colony that they should into into an association for self government and bind themselves to be governed by the will of the majority; and accordingly, on the 11th day of November, 1620 (old style) there was drawn, on the lid of a chest on board of the Mayflower, at Cape-Cod, and signed by forty-one of the principal men of the first band of Pilgrims, a platform of government known as the Compact, and which gave these people the claim of being the first 'Signers' of the now United States of America."

"Isaac Allerton was the fifth signer of the Compact, the names of which precede his being those of John Carver, William Bradford, Edward Winslow, and Elder William Brewster (afterward being his Father-in-law). His brother-in-law, Degory Priest, was the twenty-ninth signer. They remained at anchor in Cape Cod Harbor for five weeks, during which time the men made many excursions to explore the surrounding country, while the women were taken on shore to wash the clothing. Finally, Having selected a place for their settlement, on Monday, 22 December 1620 (11 December 1620, O.S.), a date which by their act has been rendered one of the landmarks of history, they landed at Plymouth, and at once set about the erection of a store-house for their goods, and dwellings for themselves. But even before their landing several of their number had died, and although the winter proved to be an unusually mild one, it was still far more severe than those to which had been accustomed, and this together with their enfeebled condition after the confinement of the voyage and the want for proper food and shelter, caused such sickness among the colonists that at times there were no more than six or seven of them well enough to nurse the sick, and by the coming April forty-four or nearly one-half, had died, and among them were Carver, the first governor, and his wife, and Mary, the wife of Isaac Allerton, who died February 25th, 1621. While on the Mayflower in the Harbor of Cape Cod, She had been delivered of a child, still-born, and the hardships and privations of the terrible winter proved too much for her strength thus enfeebled."

"The first entry in the records of the Plymouth Colony is an incomplete list of 'The Meersteads and Garden Plottes' assigned to those who came out on the Mayflower, at the first division of land. Each of these 'Garden Plottes' contained one 'aker'." It is probable that Isaac Allerton built a house on his 'garden plott,' but if he did he did not occupy it during the entire period of his residence in Plymouth, for in 1635, he lived at Rocky Nook, on Jones' River in Kingston, in a house which he afterwards sold 'to my well beloved sonne-in-law Thomas Cushman';the location of the Rocky Nook house is still pointed out near the celebrated Elder's spring.

In March the colonists had a suspicion that trouble with the Indians was coming. An attack was expected on the night of the 22nd and watch was kept, but no trouble occurred. "The next day, Friday, Captain Standish and Mr Allerton went venturously to visit King Massasoit, and were received by him after his Manner. He gave them 3 or 4 groundnuts and some tobacco." As the result of this visit a treaty of peace was concluded, which held good for more than fifty years.

Isaac Allerton was one of the more active and prominent members of early Plymouth. He was also said to have been the wealthiest of all the pilgrims, and is one of the few among them to whom Bradford and other contemporaneous writers always give the prefix 'Mr.', which in those days was used as an indicator of of superior family or respectability. He was elected as Governor Bradford's assistant in 1621, and continued as an assistant into the 1630s. "In September, 1621, a party of ten, including Isaac Allerton, went by water to explore what is now the harbor of Boston, and to visit the Indians who lived in that vicinity, and on this trip the first headland at Nantasket , at the entrance to the harbor was called Point Allerton, a name which it still retains, although it has sometimes been spelled Alderton; and adjoining hill in the town of Hull was also known for as Allerton Hill. For several years after the landing of the colonists Isaac Allerton was engaged in building houses and barns for shelter, in clearing and tilling the soil, and in managing with the other men, the affairs of the little settlement. He participated in another division of land in the spring of 1624, when seven acres, 'on the south side of the Brook to the Baywards,' were set off for him.

In 1626, he married Fear Brewster, daughter of Elder William Brewster, who had come over with her sister, Patience, in 1623 on the ship Ann. She was described as "a woman of pleasing appearance and of a pious disposition". With her he had another son, naming him Isaac Allerton, Jr. In 1627, he was sent to negotiate the Plymouth Colony's buyout of the Merchant Adventurers, the investors who had originally funded (and had hoped to profit from) the Colony. The Colony was about £2500 in debt; a small group of Plymouth's residents, including Bradford, Brewster, Standish, Fuller, and Allerton, sought to assume the debt themselves in return for the rights to profit from the company. Allerton was sent to England to negotiate further, and would return to England on several more occasions. Unfortunately, Allerton apparently began to use his "free" trips to England to engage in some private gains, purchasing goods and selling them in the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth. He also used his capacity as Plymouth's designated negotiator to engage the Colony in a number of unapproved money-making schemes: he went so far as to purchase ships (which he partially used for his own private trading), and to attempt to negotiate grants and patents for trade - all at great cost to the company and none of it approved by the others back at Plymouth. When his trading schemes failed, the Company found itself in far greater debt than it ever started out with.

Bradford wrote, "Mr. Allerton played his own game and ran a course not only to the great wrong and determent of the Plantation... but abused them in England also in prejudice against the Plantation," and later on, "Concerning Mr. Allerton's accounts. They were so large and intricate as they could not well understand them, much less examine and correct them without a great deal of time and help and his own presence, which was hard to get," and also, "he screwed up his poor father in law's account".

Walter S. Allerton, a descendant of Isaac Allerton and hardly objective himself, accuses Bradford of bias: "About this time, 1630, began his trouble with the colonists, or rather with Governor Bradford, the true cause of which it is difficult to ascertain, and with a full account of which I shall not weary the reader. Bradford's version can be found, written with all the energy and rancour of his narrow and prejudiced mind, in the pages of his famous journal, but it is a series of complaints rather than a statement of facts, and evidently fails to state the true grounds of the disagreement. We might offset the complainings of Bradford with the statements of those who were better able to know the true value of Isaac Allertons's services to the colony; thus James Sherley, one of the Adventurers and a steadfast friend of the colonists, writes, March 8, 1629, 'He hath been a truly honest friend to you all, either there or here. And if any do, as I know some of them are apt to speak ill of him, believe them not.' and again on March 19, 1629, he writes, in a letter signed also by Timothy Hatherly, a friend of the colonists at London, 'But the Lord so blessed his labours (even beyond expectation in these evil days), as he obtained the love and favour of great men in repute and place, he got granted all Mr. Winslow desired in hes letters to me and more also.' Many similar statements might be quoted from letters and writings of other friends to the colony in England, while on the other hand Bradford complains bitterly that too much money had been expended in obtaining a charter, and that he had sometimes endeavored to further his own interests rather than those of the colony. But those who care to examine into the merits will inevitably come to the conclusion reached by a painstaking and impartial historian, that 'As an agent Mr. Allerton appears to have been indefatigable in his attempts to promote the interests of his employers. He was a person of uncommon activity, address and enterprise."

"We know that the church at Leyden took offense at the liberal tendencies of Isaac Allerton, that the colonists were greatly offended at his apparently innocent mistake in employing the notorious Morton of Merry Mount as his secretary, although in these days, Mouton would almost pass for a Saint, and when he became known as a firm friend of Roger Williams, and was found to have sheltered and protected many of the oppressed and persecuted Quakers, the cup of his iniquity was indeed full in the minds of the colonists, and we are not surprised to hear that about 1636, he left Massachusetts in consequence of the religious intolerance of the people, and went to New Amsterdam to live. Like most of his descendants, Isaac Allerton, though a just and fair minded man, was of a quick temper, apt to resent an affront, and impetuous in acting upon his impulses, and therefore, when once a difference had arisen between him and a majority of the Plymouth colonists, who were no doubt well represented by their narrow and dogmatic governor, there was little possibility of any reconciliation, even had there been more in common in their natures and their ways of life and thought."

Robert Jennings Heinsohn, Ph.D., in 'Reflections on Isaac Allerton', says, "...Allerton became a worldly man, a free-thinker in both religious and commercial matters. He outgrew Plymouth and became an eighteenth-century man decades ahead of his time. He embraced the world of commerce, the art of the deal, but lacked the restraint necessary to retain the trust of his Plymouth colleagues."

In truth, it was not all Isaac Allerton's fault. Bradford, who'd suffered reversals of his own back in Leiden, never had a talent for financial matters, and the colony continued to have trouble with the merchants in London long after Allerton ceased representing them in 1630. According to Bradford's own calculations, between 1631 and 1636 they shipped £10,000 in beaver and otter pelts (worth almost $2 million in today's dollars) yet saw no significant reduction in their debt of approximately £6,000

Walter S. Allerton again: "In 1633, Winthrop records that Allerton fished with light boats at Marble Harbor, and he is justly regarded as the founder of Marblehead, for he made that place the headquarters of his fishing fleet, built a large warehouse, and resided there a great part of the time with his son-in-law Moses Maverick, until his liberal views again brought him into trouble with the General Court, as they had previously done with his old associates at Plymouth... In 1634 his trading house at Machias was taken by the French and Indians and destroyed by fire with all its contents. In February of the same year, 'Mr. Cradock's house at Marblehead was burnt down about midnight, there being in it Mr. Allerton and many fishermen whom he had employed that season.' The same year, returning from a trading voyage to Port Royal, 'his pinace was cast away and entirely lost;' and on December 12, 1634, his wife died at Plymouth."

"In 1635 his misfortunes continued. In March, he was notified to leave Marblehead on account of his religious views, and in May he transferred all his houses, buildings and stages for the curing fish at that place to his son-in-law, Moses Maverick. In august a bark belonging to him, which had been hired to transport Rev. Mr. Avery and his family, from Newbury to Marblehead, was lost at Cape Anne, and twenty-one persons perished, and in 1636, while returning from Penobscot, he was himself shipwrecked."

"From 1636 to 1646, he resided most of the time at New Amsterdam, where he was engaged in the coasting and tobacco trades, having a warehouse on the East River, somewhere near where the foot of Maiden Lane now is. That his intelligence and enterprise were thoroughly appreciated by the Dutch settlers is shown when, in 1643, a council of eight was appointed, nominally to assist Governor Kieft, but in reality to manage him; Isaac Allerton was one of the number. While living at New Amsterdam, he made many voyages to Virginia and even to the West Indies, and frequently visited the New England Colonies; and notwithstanding the treatment he had received he often rendered good service to such residents of the Massachusetts settlement as came in his way." Winthrop wrote in 1643: "Three ministers which were sent to Virginia were wrecked on Long Island; Mr. Allerton, of New Haven, being there took great pains and care of them, and procured them a very good pinace and all things necessary."

Walter S. Allerton again, "In 1644, he wrecked at Scituate, on his way from New Haven to the Colonies, and at this time we find the first mention of his third wife. The date of this marriage is not known nor the surname and residence of his wife; her first name was Johanna, and he is generally thought to have married her at New Haven, but more probably she came from Marblehead or Salem. She appears to have been a woman of a most excellent character, and she outlived her husband many years. At the time of this marriage Isaac Allerton must have been nearly sixty years of age and the union proved a childless one."

Isaac Allerton died the latter part of 1658, or before the 12th Feb. 1658-9, and was probably buried in the old Burial Ground at New Haven. Although his estate, when inventoried, appeared to be large, he was in fact found to have died insolvent. The public records of New Haven record the settlement of his estate on 12 February, and presented 5 April 1659. Isaac Allerton, the son, purchased of the creditors, his father's "dwelling-house, orchard and barn, with two acres of meadow." In a deed on the New Haven Records, dated 4 October 1660, and confirmed 10 March 10 1682/3, he conveys to his "Mother-in-law, Mrs. Joanna Allerton," a life interest in "the house that she now dwells in at New Haven, New England, with all the furniture in it, and the lands and appurtenances belonging to it."

"For two centuries and a third the dust of the Pilgrim leader has slumbered beneath the elms of New Haven, but his memory is fresh to-day and will always endure, not only in the hearts of his descendants but in common with his heroic companions of the Mayflower, his name will be forever cherished by the entire people of that mighty nation, the corner-stone of whose foundations was so deeply and so enduring laid by the pilgrims of Plymouth." - Walter S. Allerton


  • Allerton, Walter S. A History of The Allerton Family in The United States, 1585 To 1885, and A Genealogy of the Descendants of Isaac Allerton, 'Mayflower Pilgrim', Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1620. Ed. Horace True Currier. Chicago, Illinois: Samuel Waters Allerton, 1900. Print.
  • Bradford, William, and Harvey Wish. Of Plymouth Plantation. New York: Capricorn, 1962. Print.
  • Gehring, Charles T. Delaware Papers (Dutch Period): a Collection of Documents Pertaining to the Regulation of Affairs on the South River of New Netherland, 1648-1664. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1981. Print.
  • Hall, Newman A. "Allerton of Virginia." Virginia Genealogist 32: 83-92. Print.
  • Hall, Newman A. "Joanna Swinnerton: The Third Wife of Isaac Allerton, Sr." New England Historical and Genealogical Register 124 (1974): 133. Print.
  • Hall, Newman A. "The Children of Isaac Allerton." The Mayflower Quarterly 47 (1981): 14-18. Print.
  • Hall, Newman A. "The Unproved Allerton Family Lineage." The Mayflower Quarterly 452: 23-24. Print.
  • Heath, Dwight B., and George Morton. A Relation or Journal (of the Beginning and Proceedings) of the English Plantation Settled at Plymouth in New England, by Certain English Adventurers Both Merchants and Others. New York, NY: Corinth, 1963. Print.
  • Heinsohn, Ph.D., Robert Jennings. "Isaac Allerton in Marblehead, New Amsterdam and New Haven" SAIL1620. Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Web. 24 Aug. 2011. <>.
  • Heinsohn, Ph.D., Robert Jennings. "Reflections on Isaac Allerton." SAIL1620. Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Web. 24 Aug. 2011. <>.
  • Roberts, Gary Boyd., and Julie Helen. Otto. Ancestors of American Presidents. Santa Clarita, CA: Published in Cooperation with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Mass. by C. Boyer, 3rd, 1995. Print.
  • Thompson, Roger. "Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620–1633, 3 Volumes (Boston: New England Genealogical Society, 1995–1996). Pp. 2217. ISBN 0 8808 2042 X." Journal of American Studies 1.02 (1996): 36-39. Print.
  • Wakefield, Robert S. Mayflower Families in Progress: Isaac Allerton of the Mayflower and His Descendants for Four Generations. Plymouth, MA: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1992. Print.

Further Reading

  • Calder, I. M., The New Haven Colony, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1934
  • Cushman H., Memoirs of Isaac Allerton, NEHGR, Vol. 8, p 265-270, 1854
  • Dahlgren S. and Norman H., The Rise and Fall of New Sweden, Almqvist & Wiksell Intl., Stockholm, Sweden, 1988
  • Greenwood I., Allertons of New England and Virginia, NEHGR Vol. 44, p 290-296, July 1890 (reprinted by Higginson Books, Salem, MA)
  • Hoadly, C. J., Records of the Colony Jurisdiction of New Haven 1635-1665, Case Lockwood & Co, Hartford, CT, 1858
  • Hoffecker, C. E., Waldron R., Williams, E. and Benson B.E., New Sweden in America, University Delaware Press, Newark, DE, 1995
  • Innes J. H., New Amsterdam and Its People, Vols. I & II, Ira J. Friedman, Inc., Port Washington, NY, 1902
  • Johnson, A., The Swedish Settlements on the Delaware, Vols. I & II, Burt Franklin, New York, NY, 1911, republished 1970
  • Roads, S. Jr., The History and Traditions of Marblehead, Houghton, Osgood, Co., Cambridge, 1880
  • Shepherd, W. R., The Story of New Amsterdam, Ira J. Friedman division, Kennikat Press, Port Washington, NY, 1926
  • Wakefield, Robert S., FASG, and Margaret Harris Stover, CG, Mayflower Families Trough Five Generations, Volume 17, The Family of Isaac Allerton, 1998
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Isaac Allerton, "Mayflower" Passenger's Timeline

Undershaft, London, Middlesex, England (United Kingdom)
London, Middlesex, England (United Kingdom)
Age 23
Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands
Leiden, Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
June 6, 1616
Leiden, Rhynland, Holland, Netherlands