Peregrine White

Peregrine White, (1620-1704)

Was the first baby boy born on the Pilgrim ship the Mayflower in the harbor of Massachusetts, the second baby born on the Mayflower’s historic voyage, and the first known English child born to the Pilgrims in America. His parents, William White and his pregnant wife Susanna, with their son Resolved White and two servants, came on the Mayflower in 1620. Peregrine White was born while the Mayflower lay at anchor in the harbor at Cape Cod. In later life, he became a person of note in Plymouth Colony, active in both military and government affairs.

English Origins

Peregrine White was the second son of Mayflower pilgrim William White and his wife Susanna White Winslow. His mother Susanna was pregnant during the Mayflower voyage and gave birth to Peregrine in late November 1620 while the ship was anchored at Cape Cod, now Provincetown Harbor.

The Whites are believed to have boarded the Mayflower as part of the London merchant group, and not as members of the Leiden Holland religious movement. Evidence of the William White family coming to the Mayflower from England and not Holland comes from William Bradford’s Mayflower passenger list which has “Mr. William White” in his section for London merchants along with Christopher Martin, William Mullins, Stephen Hopkins, Richard Warren, and John Billington. It is believed that if William White had been a member of the Leiden congregation, his name would have appeared in Bradford’s work for that section, but it does not. There is no evidence to associate William White and his family with Leiden, Holland. And regarding the various White family ancestries which erroneously place the William White family in them, the Mayflower Society states that “Little is known about William White.”

Mayflower Voyage

The Mayflower at sea

The White family, as recalled by William Bradford in 1651 consisted of, “Mr. William White, and Susana, his wife, and one son, called Resolved, and one borne a ship-bord, called Peregrine; and *2* servants, named William Holbeck and Edward Thomson.”

The Mayflower departed Plymouth, England 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 seawater, 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 the cold, harsh, unfamiliar New England winter.

At some point along the journey, the first baby was born on the Mayflower, Oceanus Hopkins, to the passengers Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins.

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 sail 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.


Peregrine White married before March 6, 1648/9 Sarah Bassett, daughter of William and Elizabeth/Elisabeth Bassett. William Bassett came to Plymouth in 1621 on the Fortune as a single man, but by the 1623 division was allotted two acres showing he had married before that date. Bassett’s name as “Wm Bassett, Sen” appears on the 1643 Able to Bear Arms list for Duxborrow (sic). William Bassett became a Plymouth Colony person of historic note.

Sarah Bassett was born in Plymouth c.1630 and died in Marshfield January 22, 1711. They had seven children between c.1649 and c.1670.

Children of Peregrine White and his wife Sarah:

  • Daniel White, born c.1649 and died in Marshfield on May 6, 1724, noted in records as being either 70 or 75. He married in Marshfield on August 19, 1674 Hannah Hunt, who was last known to be living on May 25, 1721. They had seven children.
  • (child) White, born c.1650/1.
  • Jonathan White, born in Marshfield on June 4, 1658. He died in Yarmouth between July 14, 1736 and February 22, 1737. Whites Brook in Yarmouth, Massachusetts is named for him as he lived nearby.

Jonathan White married twice:

    1. Married in Yarmouth February 2, 1682/3 Hester Nickerson, daughter of Nicholas and Mary Nickerson. She was born in Yarmouth in the last week of October 1656 and died there on February 8, 1702/3. They had seven children.
    2. Married _MARGARET Elizabeth ALEXANDER married in 1708_______. She died in Yarmouth on April 12, 1718 “wife of Jonathan White.”
  • Peregrine White (Jr.), born in Marshfield c.1661, baptized at Brattle Street Church, Boston, on February 16, 1723/4, “aged 62” and died in Boston on November 20, 1727 “aged 66.”.

Peregrine White Jr. married twice:

    1. Married c.1684 Susanna ______. They had one son.
    2. Married before June 9, 1696 Mary _______. She died after March 13, 1755. She married second in Boston on December 19, 1728 Cornelius Judevine.
  • Sarah White, born in Marshfield in October, 1663 and died in Scituate on August 9, 1755 in her 92nd year. She married in Scituate in January 1688/9 Thomas Young, son of George and Hannah (Pinson) Young. He was born in Scituate on November 5, 1663 and died there on December 25, 1732 at age 69. They had nine children.
  • Sylvanus White, born in Marshfield before 1667 and died in Scituate before June 29, 1688. He married Deborah Church, who died after June 30, 1688. She was possibly the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Warren) Church, who was born in Hingham January 27, 1656/7. They had one son.
  • Mercy White, born c.1670 and died in Marshfield on June 12, 1739, age 69. She married in Marshfield on February 3, 1697, William Sherman, son of William and Desire (Doty) Sherman. She was a descendant of Pilgrim Edward Doty. They had four children.

Death and Burial

Peregrine White died on July 20, 1704 (Old Style), in Marshfield, Massachusetts at age 83 years and 8 months. He was buried in Winslow Cemetery in Marshfield, Massachusetts. His wife Sarah died on January 22, 1711, and was also buried in Winslow Cemetery. Additionally, Peregrine’s elder brother Resolved White, his wife Judith, and their mother Susanna were all buried in Winslow Cemetery. Winslow Cemetery has a substantial stone monument to “The Early Settlers of Green Harbor Marshfield” naming, among others, Resolved and Peregrine White, their wives and mother Susanna as well as her second husband Edward Winslow.

Find A Grave Memorial


Marshfield vital records note the death of “Capt. Peregrine White” on “July ye 20:1704” and the ‘Boston Newsletter’ of Monday July 31, 1704, gives the following obituary: “Marshfield, July, 22 Capt. Peregrine White of this town, Aged Eighty three years, and Eight Months; died the 20th Instant. He was vigorous and of a comly Aspect to the last; Was the Son of Mr. William White and Susanna his Wife;’ born on board the Mayflower, Capt. Jones Commander, in Cape Cod Harbour. Altho’ he was in the former part of his Life extravagant; yet was much Reform’d in his last years; and died hopefully.”


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