What Happened to Sarah Morton?
If you’ve read the book Sarah Morton's Day, you probably learned a lot about a day in the life of a Pilgrim girl. But, that was just one day of her life. There were many other days!
- Sarah was born in 1618 in Leiden, a city in Holland.
- About six years before Sarah was born, on July 22, 1612, Sarah's parents, George Morton and Juliana Carpenter Morton, were married in Leiden.
- Sarah’s father, George, worked as a merchant. A merchant is someone who buys and sells goods for a profit.
- Sarah had a sister named Patience, and two brothers, Nathaniel and John. They were all raised in Leiden.
- In 1623, when Sarah was 6 years old, her father decided the family would move to the New World.
- Sarah and her family traveled from England to America on either a ship called Anne, or a ship called Little James. Historians aren't sure which one, because both ships arrived in Plymouth in the summer of 1623.
Sarah’s aunt, Alice Carpenter Southworth, joined Sarah’s family on the voyage to America. Aunt Alice was the sister of Sarah’s mother, Juliana. She traveled to New England to marry William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony. Sarah’s youngest brother, Ephraim, was born either just before the family left Holland or soon after the family’s arrival in Plymouth. Shortly after the Morton family came to New Plymouth, however, tragedy struck the family. Sarah’s father George died in June 1624.
By 1627, Sarah’s mother had remarried, and Sarah had a stepfather. His name was Manasseh Kempton. Manasseh and Juliana did not have any children together, but they continued to live in Plymouth Colony. By this time, Sarah was nine years old, and she may not have been living with her family anymore. Records show that she might have been living with the family of Ralph and Joyce Wallen. In the 1600s, it was common for children of all social classes to be sent to live with other families as servants. There, they would learn important life skills about how to run a household.
On December 20, 1644, when she was 26 years old, Sarah Morton married George Bonham. Sarah and George had six children: George, Jr., Ruth, Patience, and three daughters all named Sarah. In the 1600s, if a child died at an early age, the parents might name their next child after the child who had died.
George, Jr. was born in 1656. He married Elizabeth Jenney on April 27, 1681, and they had seven children. Ruth married Robert Barrow. They had one child. Patience married Richard Willis on December 28, 1670, and they had one child named Ruhamah. Two of Sarah’s youngest daughters, both named Sarah, died very young. Her last child, also named Sarah, died in 1704.
Sarah Morton Bonham died in Plymouth in 1694 at the age of 76. Her husband, George, lived another 10 years, and died at the age of 84.