Pilgrim plymouth

Member Exclusive: William Brewster and Aging in Plymouth Colony

About this Event

Aging was a major concern for the Pilgrims. As church members fell deeper and deeper into poverty in Holland, Reverend John Robinson and William Brewster worried that increasing age would make the congregation incapable of the constant labor needed to meet basic necessities. After the high death count of the First Winter in Plymouth, the Old Comers (all of the passengers on the first four ships to Plymouth) lived longer lives than their peers in England.

In his brief biography of William Brewster that was included in Of Plymouth Plantation, Governor William Bradford commented on Brewster's longevity and the long lives of his neighbors, "I cannot but here take occasion, not only to mention, but greatly admire the providence of God, that notwithstanding the many changes and hardships that these people went through, and the many enemies they had and difficulties they met withal, that so many of them should live to very old age!" A strong statement by a man who rarely used the exclamation point. This member exclusive talk will explore the death of Ruling Elder William Brewster in April 1644, the passing of key Mayflower leaders between 1655 and 1657, how Plymouth families handled care for their oldest members, and how estates were structured to protect widows and the disabled.

Register Today

To register or inquire about how to become a member to enjoy Plimoth Patuxet's monthly Members-only program, please email members@plimoth.org