Prosperity ~ Susanna Jackson, From Exile to Governors Wife ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #8

england_wales_1644Susanna Jackson was born in 1585 in Scooby, Nottinghamshire, England. Not much is known about her early years. We find Susanna living in Leiden, Holland in 1608, along with her father Richard Jackson and a group of people who had fled there trying to escape the wrath of King. They had been labeled heretics because they rejected the official Church of England.

Here she met William White who had also fled the persecution. They married in 1612 Edward Winslow Founder of Marshfield critical inforand had their first son Resolved in 1616.  William and Susanna were part of a congregation along with William Brewster and Edward Winslow who ran a printing press putting out anti Church of England booklets. This activity caused tensions between England and Holland, so the entire group was asked to leave. They had no choice but to returned to England. On September 16, 1620, William, Susanna and Resolved boarded the Mayflower headed for the New World. They arrived in the Bay of Massachusetts on November 11, 1620. While docked in the Bay waiting for the scouting party to find a suitable place to begin building their homes Susanna gave birth to their second son, Peregrine, aboard the ship. He was the first English born child in the colony. On December 20th they finally left the Mayflower and started to build their homes. On February 21, 1621, William White passed away along with several other inhabitants.

HS MayflowerA few months later, Susanna married Edward Winslow who had been widowed soon after arriving in Plymouth. Their marriage was the first one in Plymouth. They had 2 children, Josiah 1628 and Elizabeth 1630. Edward was a very prominent man and he soon became Governor of Plymouth Colony in 1644. He was also appointed one of the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England and he made many trips to England representing the Colonies. In October 1646 he left on his last mission as the agent of Massachusetts Bay and did not return for the remaining nine years of his life. Susanna died on October 1, 1680, at the age of about 85!

I can’t imagine how it would be to live under a King who would persecute or kill you for your religious beliefs. I have no idea how it would feel to have to flee your home and move to another country. Then having to make a 2-month trip across the ocean while you are pregnant and giving birth on the ship. The pain of losing her husband so quickly after arriving at your destination must have been devastating. But then her life turned around by a new marriage, more children and an easier life. I consider her to have been blessed with prosperity.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

6 thoughts on “Prosperity ~ Susanna Jackson, From Exile to Governors Wife ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #8

  1. G’day Valerie,
    Fantastic story but great to see the amount of information relating to the life of a woman. Generally it is just births, deaths and marriages. But having the background context brings their stories to life.

    My great great great grandmother was also pregnant on board a ship journeying from England to Australia and gave birth to my great great grandmother less than a month after arrival.

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