The Plymouth Colony Archive Project
Analysis of Selected Wills

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This section of the Plymouth Colony Archive includes a collection of searchable texts concerning wills of selected individuals who were members of the colony. The texts of a number of other wills currently appear with probate inventories presented in the Probates section of this Archive.
Our thanks to Caleb Johnson, a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, for presenting the texts of a number of the wills below from the Plymouth Colony court records. Please revisit this page soon. We intend to add additional wills to this collection on an ongoing basis.

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Mayflower's end, 1624 on the Thames,
"Mayflower's end, 1624 on the Thames"
© by artist Mike Haywood
After the death of a person, their will and a probate inventory of their possessions had to be taken and approved by the Governor and Assistants at the next Court after their death, provided it was not in the same month that they died. Letters of administration would then be granted to the executor so that the estate could settled. If someone did not make a will, they died intestate, and after an inventory of their possessions had been taken, the Court gave legal authority to someone, usually the wife, husband or close relative, through letters of administration, to settle the estate (Plymouth Colony Records Vol. 11: 195). A selection of wills is provided below.
We also provide an Index of Wills & Inventories, 1670-1685. Copies of such Plymouth Colony wills and probate inventories from 1670 onwards that have not been published on our website may be requested in writing from the Plymouth County Commissioner's Office, 11 South Russell Street, Plymouth, MA 02360. The current cost is $.50 a sheet.

Selected Wills

William Mullins, 1621
Samuel Fuller, 1633
Stephen Hopkins, 1644
Love Brewster, 1650/1651
Edward Winslow, 1654
Edward Doty, 1655
Myles Standish, 1655/56
William Bradford, 1657
Bartholomew Allerton, 1659
Isaac Allerton, 1659
Francis Cooke, 1663
George Hall, 1669
Capt. Thomas Southworth, 1669
Joseph Tilden, 1670
Capt. William Hedge, 1670
John Howland, 1672
Mary Winslow, 1676
George Soule, 1677
Lt. Joseph Rogers, 1677/1678
Gyles Hopkins, 1682/1683
Henry Sampson, 1684
Elizabeth Howland, 1686
John Cooke, 1694
Peregrine White, 1704

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