Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Richard More, the Mayflower Bastard, Salem, Massachusetts

Both these tombstones were photographed at Burying Point, Salem, Massachusetts, 
also known as the Charter Street Cemetery

DIED 1692

[* this latin translates to "Today me, tomorrow you"]

Richard More is one of the four More children who were put out to Mayflower passengers in 1620 as servants.  All the children were less than seven years old, and when Richard was placed into the custody of the Brewster family, he was about five years old.  He was the only one of the four siblings to survive the first winter in the New World.  This was the result of a custody battle between his parents.  His father accused his mother of adultery, and none of the children were his.  But since he was legally their parent he turned them over to Mayflower passengers, with the promise that they would receive land in Plymouth Colony.

The story of Richard More and his siblings was told very admirably in the book The Mayflower Bastard, by David Lindsay, St. Martin's Press, New York, 2002.  It is a true soap opera of a story, and for all the interesting details you should read the book.  When Richard was of age he became the apprentice to Isaac Allerton, another Mayflower passenger and my 11 x great grandfather.  Allerton lived in Salem and Marblehead after he was thrown out of Plymouth (another soap opera).  Allerton was a business man who returned to England many times during his lifetime.

Richard Moore, married three times. His first wife was Christian Hunter in 1636, my 10x great aunt.  She was daughter of my 11 x great grandparents, of unknown names, and sister of my 10x great grandmother, Elizabeth Hunter (abt 1614 - 1689) who married Humphrey Woodbury (1609 - 1689) of Beverly, Massachusetts.  His second wife was a bigamous relationship in England, while he was traveling abroad, and this third wife was from Salem.  The first and third wife are buried in Salem.  I told you it was quite a soap opera!

The last two lines on Richard More's tombstone were added in the early 20th century.  The year 1692 was apparently a guess, and the words "A Mayflower Pilgrim" are not original. I found an article in the Greenfield, Massachusetts newspaper Greenfield Gazette, 18 December 1920, page 7 that describes his tombstone without the last two lines. This article was printed on the 300th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower.  Perhaps that anniversary prompted someone to alter Richard More's stone? That same year, the Boston Globe reported on 24 October 1920 that the Mayflower Society was adding the name of the boy passenger, Richard More, to the list of approved passengers, and his descendants would be eligible for membership.

Richard More is thought to be the last male living passenger of the Mayflower.  His gravestone is also thought to be the only gravestone in it's original spot (never moved) and contemporary to the time of death (not placed by descendants or a family association years later).  It has been encased in concrete as a move towards preservation.  Richard More's aristocratic parents left him a legacy of royal ancestors, including William the Conqueror, Henry I, Henry II, King John, Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III and many members of the nobility.  Both his parents were Mores.  Most of his descendants eligible for membership in the Mayflower society are through is daughter Susanna, who married Samuel Dutch.


Richard More, son of Jacobe Blakeway and Katharine More (wife of Samuel More), baptized 13 November 1614 in Shipton, Shropshire, England, and died between 19 March 1694 and 20 April 1696 in Salem, Massachusetts; married first on 20 October 1636 to Christian Hunter; married second (while still married to the first wife) on 23 October 1645 in England to Elizabeth Woolnough; married third after 1675 to Jane Hollingsworth, widow of Samuel Crumpton.

Seven children with Christian Hunter, all born in Salem:
1. Samuel More, baptized 6 March 1642; married Sarah Unknown
2. Thomas More, baptized 6 March 1642
3. Caleb More, baptized 31 March 1643/4
4. Richard More, baptized 2 Jan 1648; married Sarah Unknown
5. Joshua More, baptized 3 March 1646
6. Susanna More, baptized 12 May 1650; married 1 Samuel Dutch, 2 Richard Hutton 3 John Knowlton
2. Christian More, baptized 5 September 1652, married Joshua Conant

One daughter with Elizabeth Woolnough
1. Elizabeth More, born about 1638; no further information

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. I found this such an interesting read ...I think i should look out that book ....Thank You for sharing.

  2. I have just ordered it ....cant wait to get it

    1. Angie, you're going to love it! Better than fiction. Sometimes real life can be so interesting. This story is good enough to be an adventure movie!

  3. So you are related both to Richard More's master and to his wife. Does his line to royalty go through his mother or his father (since his father accused his mother of adultery ...)? I like the idea of history itself as a long, long soap opera with many episodes. Maybe a pretty good analogy!

    1. Mariann, Richard More's parents were cousins from an upper class family, and it was an arranged marriage. All four siblings were really the children of her lover. Just like "Days of our Lives"

    2. Richard More is my direct ancestor.I feel so sad when I read their story. Poor Katherine!

  4. Please note there are some oversights in your Richard More article. Please see this new Wikipedia article on Richard More which we compiled this year for all the details of his life as well as his marriages and family:

    We revised/created 20 Wikipedia articles this year tied to his life, his siblings, family members, and persons who crossed his path in England and on the Mayflower. Interested persons can contact me for a list (with links) of those articles.

    One major point about Richard that I have researched for years is his extensive and well-documented noble and royal ancestry, the only person on the Mayflower with such ancestry. See Douglas Richardson's Plantagnet Ancestry and Magna Carta Ancestry for those details.

    One oversight that does stand out is about a fictious wife named "Jane Hollingsworth". This all comes from some careless genealogy reported in 1922. Jane was his 2nd wife's name (no maiden name known) and 'Hollingsworth' was the surname of his first wife Christian's step-father. Interested folks can contact me for a copy of the article.

    Alton Rogers
    Richard More descendant

  5. I am trying to see if I am related to Richard More. I am related to Thomas Putnam b.1613 who married Mary Verne b.1614. Who had a son named Joseph Putnam b.1669 who married Elizabeth Hawthorne Porter b.1672. I look forward to hearing back.

    1. I think you need to rework your lineage. Thomas Putnam (1615 - 1686) was married twice, and neither wife was Mary Verne. His son Joseph (1669 - 1724) was married twice, and one of his wives was Elizabeth Porter (1673 - about 1746). You can consult one of the Mayflower Silver books for the first five generations of the More lineage to see if you find any relatives in this line.

    2. Thomas Putnam is not related to Richard More. I am related to both men. Richard is my 9X great grandfather and Thomas is my 1st cousin 10X. I have my family uploaded on Family Tree software. I'm able to ask the relationship and there is none.

    3. Richard is my 10 x great grandfather. I am a member of the Mayflower Society.

  6. One of Thomas' wives was Mary Veren born in 1648, marrying an older man. Her mother, also known as Mary Veren, was born in 1616.

  7. Richard More is has a descent to the ancient kings of Scotland by way of Richard More's Corbet-Lucy ancestry.
    In an article written by Douglas Richardson he states that " with the Cressett-Wrottessley-Sutton connection in place, Richard More's best royal descent runs as follows:
    1. Edward 111, King of England, married Phillipa of Hainault
    2. Lionel of Antwert 1st Duke of Clarence , married Elizabeth de Burgh
    3. Philippa, 5th Countess of Ulster married Edmund de Mortimer 3rd Earl of March
    4. Elizabeth Morimer, married Henry Percy, knight., 2nd Earl of Northumberland
    5. Elizabeth Percy, married, married John Clifford, 7th Lord Clifford
    6. Thomas Clifford, 8th Baron de Clifford, married Joan Dacre
    7. Maude Clifford married Edmund Sutton Knight of Dudley castle
    8. Dorothy Sutton, married Richard Wrottesley,
    9. Joan/Jane Wrottesley, married Richard Cressett
    10. Margaret Cressett, married Thomas More of Larden
    11. Jasper More of Larden , married Elizabeth Smalley
    12. Katherine More , married Samuel More, by Samuel More, or her lover Jacob Blakeway she had Richard.

  8. Wow this is very interesting to me as a relation to the Mores. Thank you very much. Do you know if any photos surrounding this family exist?

    1. I'm pretty sure all that exists today are these tombstones.