Thursday, May 21, 2009

GEORGE SOULE 1600-1679

[Ancestral Link: Lura Minnie Parker (Stagge), daughter of Minnie May Elmer (Parker), daughter of Mark Alfred Elmer, son of Hannah Polina Child (Elmer), daughter of Polly Barber (Child), daughter of Ichabod Barber, son of Thomas Barber, son of Thomas Barber, son of Susanna West (Barber), daughter of Susannah Soule (West), daughter of George Soule.]

Plymouth Rock

Marker for Mayflower Passengers, near Howland House, Plymouth Plymouth, Massachusetts

List of Mayflower Names, Pg 1

Mayflower Compact


A signer of the Mayflower Compact
One of the original 102 Pilgrims
Arrived on the Mayflower at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620

Signature of George Soule

George Soule was born in England in about 1595 (possibly Eckington, England). George was orphaned when fire destroyed his home. He was brought up by his brother, Robert Soule of Selter County.

As a young man George Soule became a teacher to Edward Winslow’s children. The Winslow family from which Edward was descended lived in the nearby parish of Kempsey, County Worcester, and it is probable that this early neighborhood association explains the apprenticeship of George Soule to the Governor. It is supposed that George Soule was in London when he joined Winslow on the voyage. Droitwich, the family home of the Winslows at that time, was a salt mining place connected in a business way with the Salters' Company of London in trade, and thus the Winslow-Soule association was established. Soule came with Winslow to America on the Mayflower in 1620 and was one of 41 signers of the Mayflower Compact in November of 1620. Soule was among the one half of the population that survived the first winter in Plymouth and was present at the time of the “First Thanksgiving” in 1621.

In about 1626, probably in Plymouth, Massachusetts, George Soule married a woman named Mary (likely Mary Buckett/Beckett). Mary Beckett came to America on the Anne and they were married in Plymouth. (She died in Duxbury, Massachusetts in December 1676). They had nine children.

Children from this marriage were:

Zachariah Soule was born before 22 May 1627.

John Soule was born about 1632 in Plymouth, Massachusetts and died before 14 November 1707 in Duxbury, Massachusetts.
Nathaniel Soule was born about 1637.
George Soule was born about 1639.
Susanna Soule was born about 1642.
Mary Soule was born about 1644.
Elizabeth Soule was born about 1648.
Patience Soule was born about 1648.
Benjamin Soule was born about 1651.

George Soule moved to Duxbury, Massachusetts (George Soule, Miles Standish and John Alden laid out the first town, Duxbury) and George Soule eventually became a prominent landowner. He was a deputy to the Plymouth Court for a number of years beginning in 1642. He had volunteered for the Pequot War of 1637, but Plymouth’s troops were not needed. He was on various committees, juries, and survey teams, during his life in Duxbury. In 1646, for example, he was appointed to the committee to deal with Duxbury’s problem of the disorderly smoking of tobacco.
The house of George Soule at Plymouth, Massachusetts has been reconstructed, as seen above.

Some of George Soule’s glassblowing work is in the Plymouth Pilgrim Museum.

George Soule died in 1679, leaving a sizable estate, and is buried next to John Alden and Priscilla at Duxbury; and near to Miles Standish. He, John Alden and others bought land for Governor Prence.

George Soule made out his will on 11 August 1677, and added a codicil to it on 20 September 1677. The codicil is quite interesting as it gives a little insight into a family squabble between son John and daughter Patience:

“If my son John Soule above-named or his heirs or assigns or any of them shall at any time disturb my daughter Patience or her heirs or assigns or any of them in peaceable possession or enjoyment of the lands I have given her at Nemasket alias Middleboro and recover the same from her or her heirs or assigns or any of them; that then my gift to my son John Soule shall be void; and that then my will is my daughter Patience shall have all my lands at Duxbury and she shall be my sole executrix of this my last will and testament and enter into my housing lands and meadows at Duxbury.”

*Note: The name Soule is English and means dweller at or near a muddy pond.

The fort and the militia

At the west end of the street, on the highest point overlooking the town and the bay, the Pilgrims built a two-story fort, from which they could defend the town. The Pilgrims feared that the French or Spanish might attempt to attack or pirate the colonists, and they also feared that unfriendly Indians could mount an attack on the colony.
The Pilgrims had brought with them several different varieties of cannons, which they hauled up to the second story of the fort and mounted in a way that could command the whole harbor. The largest was a minion cannon, which was brass, weighed about 1200 pounds, and could shoot a 3.5 pound cannonball nearly a mile. They also had a saker cannon of about 800 pounds, and two base cannons that were much smaller, perhaps about 200 pounds and which shot a 3 to 5 ounce ball. Various other gun ports in the fort could be opened and closed for the smaller cannon to be moved and pointed in any direction necessary. Observation windows provided a clear view of the town, the harbor, and the nearby woods. By 1627, Plymouth's fort had six cannon, plus four small ones positioned near the governor's house at Plymouth's main intersection. The fort served not only for defense, however. It was also the Pilgrims meetinghouse, where church services, town meetings, and court sessions were held.

Captain Myles Standish was the Pilgrim's military leader, responsible for organizing the militia and defending the colony. He had been a lieutenant in Queen Elizabeth's army and was stationed in the Netherlands, where he made friends with the Pilgrims and their pastor, John Robinson. He is remembered as having been unusually short, with ruddy-red hair, very faithful and loyal, yet with a quick temper that often made his face turn red, earning him the nickname "Captain Shrimp" by some of those who did not like him. He was routinely elected and re-elected to the position of militia captain throughout the first few decades of the colony. He was responsible for training the men in the use of their armor, guns, and cannon; he established and appointed the watch shifts, and organized and trained the men for various forms of attacks that could be made against the colony. Luckily for Captain Standish, there were never any direct attacks on Plymouth itself, though the town occasionally sent him and some of his militia to help other neighboring English colonists with their disputes with the Indians, and they occasionally used the militia to arrest trespassers or others that were violating the terms of their trading contracts, or otherwise causing problems.

Houses in Plymouth

The Pilgrims started constructing their living houses and storehouses in late December 1620, but only managed to get a couple built before and during the first winter; and they were hindered further by occasional fires, usually caused by a spark or ember from the fire making it onto the roof, which was constructed of dried thatch. On 28 December 1620, the Pilgrims assigned out house-plots to the 19 family groups--each family was responsible for building their own house, as well as supplying labor to build community storehouses, a defensive fort, and sheds. They were assigned land plots that were 50 feet deep. The width of the lot was about 8 feet multiplied by the number of members in the family--so a family of six would have received a plot of land approximately 50 feet by 50 feet. But without the time, good weather, and enough manpower to quickly build a house, many of the Pilgrims continued to live on board the Mayflower throughout the winter. In December 1621, Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow wrote a letter in which he said "we have built seven dwelling-houses, and four for the use of the plantation." In 1622, the Pilgrims built a fence around the colony for their better defense--the perimeter was nearly half a mile, and the fence was about 8 to 9 feet high.

In late 1623, Emmanual Altham wrote a letter from Plymouth to his brother back in England, and reported that there were about twenty houses, but only about five of them were "very fair and pleasant". By that time, several additional ships carrying passengers, including the Fortune in 1621, and the Anne in 1623, had arrived. The Fortune brought mostly young, undisciplined men, who the company hoped would contribute labor. The Anne brought many of the wives and children to the colony--many of the men had left behind their wives and children in England until the colony was better established. In 1624, Captain John Smith recorded that Plymouth had about 32 houses, "whereof 7 were burnt the last winter."

In 1628, Plymouth was visited by the Dutchman named Isaac de Rasieres, and he wrote a more detailed description of what he saw:

"New Plymouth lies on the slope of a hill stretching east towards the sea-coast, with a broad street about a cannon shot of 800 feet long, leading down the hill; with a crossing in the middle, ... The houses are constructed of clapboards, with gardens also enclosed behind and at the sides with clapboards, so that their houses and courtyards are arranged in very good order, with a stockade against sudden attack; and at the ends of the streets there are three wooden gates. ... Upon the hill they have a large square house, with a flat roof, built of thick sawn planks stayed with oak beams, upon the top of which they have six cannon."

The earliest houses in Plymouth had thatched roofs, but because they were more likely to catch on fire, the colony eventually passed a law that required new homes be built with plank instead. Most houses had dirt floors, not wooden floors, and each had a prominent fire and chimney area, since this was the only source of heat as well as the only way to cook. Each house would have had its own garden, where vegetables and herbs could be grown. Each family was also assigned a field plot just outside of town, where they could grow corn, beans, peas, wheat, and other crops that required more space to grow, as well as to raise larger livestock.

Families in Plymouth

The Husband
In the Pilgrim household, the father was the head of the household. He was expected to maintain his authority over his wife, children, and servants. The husband was expected to love his wife with the same passion and strength as Christ loved His Church. William Gouge, in his Of Domestical Duties (a book published in 1611, and owned by William and Alice Bradford) recommends that a husband be kind and accepting of the things his wife does, provide her means of spiritual edification, be courteous, protect her from danger, don't require her to do activities unbecoming of her place, and yield to her "humble" desires whenever possible. Gouge, along with several other Puritan authors, including John Dod and the Pilgrims' pastor John Robinson, argue that beating a wife for discipline was not appropriate or productive (although not illegal, nor outright condemned). To deal with difficult wives that do not properly submit to their husband's authority, they recommended other disciplinary measures, such as depriving her of liberty, and not permitting her to engage in the activities she desires.

The Wife

The wife was first and foremost required a "reverend subjection," to be fully submissive to her husband. She was to obey her husband's lawful commandments, as if they came from Christ himself. She was to be mild, obedient, and courteous. She was to dress and behave modestly, and to speak with meekness. The wife, however, was second-in-command in the household, and commanded the children and servants. Although the husband had final authority in all matters, he was expected to give his wife the latitude and authority to run, organize and manage the household. The wife was required to have the husband's consent before she dispose of any jointly-owned property; however she was entitled to do what she wanted with her personal belongings which she had prior to marriage, and with any gifts she received from friends or neighbors which were intended for her use. The wife was required to dwell with her husband wherever he should choose to establish himself. If a husband needed to take residence in a place not fitting for his wife, then she must live where he placed her, and come to him as soon as he required. A married woman in Plymouth Colony would typically have a child every two or three years throughout her child-bearing years; families with 8 or 10 children were not uncommon. During the early years of childhood, the mother was expected to be the primary teacher, role model and governor of the children; later in life the father was expected to take on a greater role, instructing them in work ethic, religion, morals, and values.

The Children

Children were expected to both love and fear their parents, to be obedient in all things, to be submissive equally to mother and father, and to speak in a restrained and proper manner. Pilgrim parents did not "spare the rod," and corporal punishment was considered necessary for the proper upbringing of children. Children were expected to have the full consent of parents before taking up any occupation, and parental consent was required for marriage. Children were expected to help with the household chores. When a parent or parents died, the children were expected to see to a proper burial, work to pay off any of their parents' debts, and to protect their parents' honor from defamation after their decease.

Animals and Livestock

The Pilgrims did not bring any large livestock animals with them on the Mayflower. In fact, the only animals known with certainty to have come on the Mayflower were two dogs, an English mastiff and an English spaniel, who are mentioned on a couple of occasions in the Pilgrims' journals. Although not specifically mentioned, it seems likely that they had with them some chickens, because chicken broth was given by Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow to the Wampanoag sachem Massasoit when he was sick in early 1622; and it is also likely they brought some pigs, and perhaps even a few goats. In 1623, Emmanual Altham visited Plymouth and reported there were six goats, fifty pigs, and many chickens.
The first cattle arrived at Plymouth on the ship Anne in 1623, and more arrived on the ship Jacob in 1624. Onboard the Anne in 1623 were three cows, nicknamed the "Great Black Cow", the "Lesser Black Cow", and the "Great White-Backed Cow". By 1627, both the "Lesser Black Cow" and the "Great White-backed Cow" had calves. Onboard the Jacob in 1624 were four black heifers (a heifer is a young female cow that has not yet had a calf.) The four black heifers were nicknamed "Least", "Raghorn", "Blind", and "Smooth-Horned". There was also a "Red Cow" that belonged to the poor of the colony, which had a red female calf around 1625, and a male calf in 1627.

By May 1627, there were 16 head of cattle and at least 22 goats living in Plymouth. Sheep are almost never mentioned in any Pilgrim writings, but in January 1628 the Plymouth Court recorded that Myles Standish purchased from Abraham Pierce two shares of the "Red Cow" in exchange for two lambs.
And probate estate inventories for three Mayflower passengers made in 1633 (Samuel Fuller, Francis Eaton, and Peter Browne) show that all three men owned several rams, sheep, and lambs. The first horses and oxen did not begin arriving until the 1630s, most being brought to the Massachusetts Bay Colony to the north.

Cooking and Food

During the Mayflower's voyage, the Pilgrims main diet would have consisted primarily of hard biscuit, salt pork, dried meats including cow tongue, various pickled foods, oatmeal and other cereal grains, and fish. The primary beverage for everyone, including children, was beer. Wine may also have been drunk, as was aqua-vitae--a more potent alcohol. The occasional juice from a lemon was also taken, to prevent scurvy. The Pilgrims believed (and rightly so) that water was often contaminated and made people sick. The brewing and fermenting processes killed most of the parasites that caused these diseases.

Once the Pilgrims had settled themselves in Plymouth, they slowly began to learn about other food sources. The bay was full of fish, although the Pilgrims had poorly equipped themselves for fishing. There were clams, mussels, and other shellfish that could be gathered, and the bay was also full of lobster. Waterfowl such as ducks and geese were hunted, as were wild turkeys and other birds, and even the occasional deer.
The Pilgrims had also brought seeds with them, to plant English vegetable and herb gardens, as well as larger crops such as barley, peas, and wheat. And while exploring Cape Cod, they managed to "borrow" large baskets full of Indian corn they had found buried in the ground on a hill they named Corn Hill.

After they made contact with their Wampanoag neighbors, through the assistance of "Squanto" (Tisquantum), the Pilgrims learned the Indian techniques for planting and growing corn (which involved manuring the ground with shad caught in Town Brooke), and learned how to catch eel in the muddy riverbeds.
Each house had a prominent fire pit and chimney, where the cooking was normally done by the women and girls. Several "recipe books" from the period exist, that provide some interesting insights into cooking at the time. Perhaps the most famous of these is Gervase Markham's The English Housewife, first published in 1615. A recipe for cooking a young turkey or chicken reads:
"If you will boil chickens, young turkeys, peahens, or any house fowl daintily, you shall, after you have trimmed them, drawn them, trussed them, and washed them, fill their bellies as full of parsley as they can hold; then boil them with salt and water only till they be enough: then take a dish and put into it verjuice [the juice of sour crab-apples] and butter, and salt, and when the butter is melted, take the parsley out of the chicken's bellies, and mince it very small, and put it to the verjuice and butter, and stir it well together; then lay in the chickens, and trim the dish with sippets [fried or toasted slices of bread], and so serve it forth."

For roasting venison [deer], the another recipe says:
"[A]fter you have washed it, and cleansed all the blood from it, you shall stick it with cloves all over on the outside; and if it be lean you shall lard it either with mutton lard, or pork lard, but mutton is the best: then spit it [put it on a spit that can be hand-rotated over the fire] and roast it by a soaking fire [a slow-roasting fire], then take vinegar, bread crumbs, and some of the gravy which comes from the venison, and boil them well in a dish; then season it with sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt, and serve the venison forth upon the sauce when it is roasted enough."

For sauce for a turkey, another recipe says:
"Take fair water, and set it over the fire, then slice good store of onions and put into it, and also pepper and salt, and good store of the gravy that comes from the turkey, and boil them very well together: then put to it a few fine crumbs of grated bread to thicken it; a very little sugar and some vinegar, and so serve it up with the turkey: or otherwise, take grated white bread and boil it in white wine till it be thick as a galantine [a sauce made from blood], and in the boiling put in good store of sugar and cinnamon, and then with a little turnsole [a plant used to as red food coloring] make it of a high murrey color, and so serve it in saucers with the turkey in the manner of a galantine."
An assortment of wooden trenchers (plates); earthen pots, bowls, porrigers, tygs, and jugs, and pewter platters.


The Pilgrims are often depicted in "popular culture" as wearing only black and white clothing, with large golden buckles on their shoes and hats and long white collars. This stereotypical Pilgrim, however, is not historically accurate. The Pilgrims, in fact, wore a wide variety of colors. This is known because when a person died, an inventory was made of their estate for the purpose of probate: and often the color of various clothing items were mentioned. For example, long-time church member, Mary Ring, died in Plymouth in 1633, and her estate included a "mingled-color" waistcoat, two violet waistcoats, three blue aprons, a red petticoat, a violet petticoat, blue stockings, and white stockings. In addition, she owned gray cloth, blue cloth and red cloth, ready to make additional clothing. Plymouth's Church Elder William Brewster, who died in 1644, owned green drawers, a red cap, a violet coat, and a blue suit. And Governor William Bradford, when he died in 1657, owned a green gown, violet cloak, and a red waistcoat.

Women's clothing
A woman's undergarment was a long off-white short-sleeved, linen shirt, called a shift, which somewhat resembled a modern-day woman's nightshirt except that it was ribbon-tied at the collar and cuffs and fastened in the front. One or more ankle-length, waist-fastened petticoats were worn. The dress, or gown, consisted of two parts, a bodice and a skirt--sometimes the sleeves were a separate part as well, being tied to the bodice. The bodice or the skirt could be the same or different colors, and were made of wool. The bodice buttoned all the way down the front. The skirt was ankle-length and gathered at the waist. A long-sleeve fitted waistcoat was often worn over the top, and an apron was worn if the woman was doing any kind of work. Women occasionally wore lace collar and cuffs, and a cloak. Women's hair was always worn pulled tightly back, and gathered under a coif or hat.

Men's clothing

For the upper body, men usually wore a long, short-sleeved, off-white linen shirt, with collar. On top of that he wore a doublet, which was relatively close-fitting, with long sleeves, broad padded shoulders, and buttoned down the front with tabs at waist. A cloak was often draped over the shoulders. A lace collar and cuffs were worn, as was a felt or knit cap. Older or more revered men often wore over the top of everything a full-length wool gown. For the lower body, breeches or drawers were usually worn. These were front-buttoning, rather baggy pants which extended to the knee level. Stockings were knee-length, often made of wool; they were held up with tied ribbons referred to as garters. Shoes were either low cut leather shoes, or higher-cut leather boots.

Children's clothing

Until about the age of eight, children--both boys and girls--wore gowns. These gowns were similar to a woman's dress, with a full-length skirt, high neckline, and long sleeves, but were laced up and fastened in the back. Older boys simply wore smaller versions of men's clothing, and older girls wore smaller versions of women's clothing.

Church and Religion

The Pilgrims strongly believed that the Church of England, and the Catholic Church, had strayed beyond Christ's teachings, and established religious rituals, and church hierarchies, that went against the teachings of the Bible. This belief put them at odds with church officials, who in the early years of King James I, tried to have them arrested and thrown in jail for refusing to attend church services and participate in Anglican church rituals. For this reason, many of the Pilgrims fled to Leiden, Holland, where there was religious freedom. However, the Pilgrims had difficulty adjusting to the more permissive Dutch culture, and had difficulty supporting themselves because their usual way of supporting themselves (farming) was not possible in the Netherlands, where there is little farmland and the economy where the economy was primarily based on shipping and trade.

In Leiden, the Pilgrims church grew, as additional people fled England. The church pastor was John Robinson. Their church was created around the model of the New Testament, so they had a Church Elder (William Brewster), some deacons, and a deaconess. They strictly honored the Sabbath, by not performing any labor on Sunday. They studied the writings of earlier Protestants and Separatists, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, and they even established a printing press to illegally distribute new Separatist and Puritan books in England.

The Pilgrim church had a number of religious differences with the Church of England and the Catholic Church. Here were some of the main points and differences:

Predestination. The Pilgrims believed that before the foundation of the world, God predestined to make the world, man, and all things. He also predestined, at that time, who would be saved, and who would be damned. Only those God elected would receive God's grace, and would have faith. There was nothing an individual could do during their life that would cause them to be saved (or damned), since God had already decided who was going to be saved before the creation of the world. However, God would not have chosen blatant sinners to be his elect; and therefore those who were godly were likely to be the ones God had elected to be saved.
Sacraments and Popery. To the Pilgrims, there were only two sacraments: baptism and the Lord's Supper. The other sacraments of the Church of England and Roman Catholic church (Confession, Penance, Confirmation, Ordination, Marriage, Confession, Last Rites) were inventions of man, had no scriptural basis, and were therefore superstitions--even to the point of being heretical. The Pilgrims opposed mass, and considered marriage a civil affair to be handled by the State (not a religious sacrament). Icons and religious symbols such as crosses, statues, stain-glass windows, fancy architecture, and other worldly manifestations of religion were rejected as a form of idolatry. They also rejected the Catholic and Anglican Book of Common Prayer, believing that prayer should be spontaneous and not scripted.

Church Hierarchy.The legitimacy of the Pope, the Saints, and the church hierarchy were rejected, as was the veneration of relics. The church of the Pilgrims was organized around five officers: pastor, teacher, elder, deacon, and deaconess (sometimes called the "church widow"). However, none of the five offices was considered essential to the church. The Pastor was an ordained minister whose responsibility was to see to the religious life of the congregation. John Robinson was the pastor of the Pilgrims, but was never able to get to America before his death in 1625. The Teacher was also an ordained minister who was responsible for the instruction of the congregation. The Pilgrims apparently never had anyone to fill that position. The Elder was a lay-person responsible for church government, and he was also the church's eyes and ears, assisting the Pastor and Teacher in admonishing the congregation. William Brewster was the Elder for the Plymouth church. The Deacons collected offerings, and attended to the needs of the poor and elderly. John Carver and Samuel Fuller both were deacons during their life. The Deaconess attended the sick and poor, and often played the role of midwife for the congregation. The Deaconess of the early Plymouth church is not named, but may have been Bridget Fuller.

The Church Building

The church building itself had no significance to the Pilgrims, and was kept intentionally drab and plain, with no religious depictions, crosses, windows, fancy architecture, or icons, to avoid the sin of idolatry. At Plymouth, the Pilgrim's church was the bottom floor of the town's fort--the top floor held six cannons and a watchtower to defend the colony. The church room was also the town's meetinghouse, where court sessions and town meetings took place. Isaac de Rasieres, who visited Plymouth in 1627, reported how the Pilgrim's began their church on Sunday: "They assemble by beat of drum, each with his musket or firelock, in front of the captain's door; they have their cloaks on, and place themselves in order, three abreast, and are led by a sergeant without beat of drum. Behind comes the governor, in a long robe; beside him on the right hand, comes the preacher with his cloak on, and on the left hand, the captain with his side-arms and cloak on, and with a small cane in his hand; and so they march in good order, and each sets his arms down near him." During the early years of Plymouth, failing to bring your gun to church was an offense for which you could be fined 12 pence.

Infant Baptism

The Pilgrims believed baptism was the sacrament which wiped away Original Sin, and was a covenant with Christ and his chosen people (as circumcision had been to God and the Israelites), and therefore children should be baptized as infants. This was in opposition to the Anabaptists, who believed that baptism was essentially an initiation ceremony into the church-hood of believers, and therefore could only be administered to believing adults who understood the meaning of the ceremony. The Pilgrims, on the other hand, believed that "baptism now, as circumcision of old, is the seal of the covenant of God," and they felt that groups like the Anabaptists who did not baptize their infants were depriving Christ's flock of all its young lambs. They further believed that at least one parent must be of the faith for the child to be baptized into the church.

Holy Days and Religious Holidays

The Pilgrims faithfully observed the Sabbath, and did not work on Sunday. Even when the Pilgrims were exploring Cape Cod, they stopped everything and stayed in camp on Sunday to keep the Sabbath. The Pilgrims did not celebrate Christmas and Easter. They believed that these holidays were invented by man to memorialize Jesus, and are not prescribed by the Bible or celebrated by the early Christian churches, and therefore cannot be considered Holy days. "It seems too much for any mortal man to appoint, or make an anniversary memorial" for Christ, taught the Pilgrims' pastor John Robinson.


The Pilgrims considered marriage a civil affair, not to be handled by the church ministers, but instead by civil magistrates. Marriage was a contract, mutually agreed upon by a man and a woman. Marriage was created by God for the benefit of man's natural and spiritual life. Marriages were considered important for two main reasons: procreation of children to increase Christ's flock; and to avoid the sin of adultery. Pastor John Robinson taught that the important characteristics to find in a spouse are (1) godliness, and (2) similarity--in age, beliefs, estate, disposition, inclinations, and affections. In the marriage, "the wife is specially required a reverend subjection in all lawful things to her husband," and the husband is "to give honor to the wife," as the Lord requires "the love of the husband to his wife must be like Christ's to his church." The Pilgrims refused to include religious symbolism in a marriage ceremony, including the exchange of wedding rings, which they considered a "relic of popery ... and that it is a diabolical circle for the Devil to dance in."

The Bible, Hymn Book, and other books
Governor William Bradford's Geneva Bible, dated 1592. Courtesy of Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

The Pilgrims used the Geneva edition of the Bible, first published in English in 1560. The footnotes of the Geneva Bible were written by early Calvinists and Protestants, and so interpreted scriptures in a way more palatable to the Pilgrims than the later King James Bible (first published in 1611) whose translation and footnotes were written by the Anglican church hierarchy. The Pilgrims only sang psalms in church, they did not believe in singing anything but Biblical texts. Henry Ainsworth, of an English separatist church in Amsterdam, wrote the psalm book used by the Pilgrims, because they believed it more accurately translated the Biblical Psalms into verse than other psalm books. For religious texts, the Pilgrims read a lot. Elder William Brewster had hundreds of books on religious topics. The two most popular books in early Plymouth were John Dod's Exposition Upon the Ten Commandments, and their own pastor John Robinson's book Observations Divine and Moral.

The Last Will and Testament of George Soule

"In the name of God Amen"I Gorge Soule senir of Duxberry in the Collonie of New Plymouth in New England being aged and weake of body but of a sound mind and Memory praised be God Doe make this my last Will and Testament in Manor and forme following Imprimis I comitt my soule into the hands of Almighty God whoe Gave it and my body to be Decently buried in the place appointed for that use whensoever hee shall please to take mee hence; and for the disposall of my outward estate which God of his Goodnes hath Given mee first I have and alreddy formerly by Deeds under my hand and seale Given unto my two sonnes Nathaniel: and Gorge All my lands in the Township of Dartmouth; Item I have formerly Given unto my Daughters Elizabeth and Patience all my lands in the Township of Middleberry Item I Give and bequeath unto my Daughters Sussannah and Mary twelve pence a peece to be payed by my executer heerafter Named after my Decease; And forasmuch as my Eldest son John Soule and his family hath in my estreame old age and weaknes bin tender and carefull of mee and very healpfull to mee; and is likely soe to be while it shall please God to continew my life heer therfore I give and bequeath unto my said son John Soule all the Remainder of my housing and lands whatsoever to him his heires and Assignes for ever Item I Give and bequeath unto my son John Soule all the Remainder of my housing and lands whatsoever to him his heires and Assignes for ever Item I Give and bequeath unto my son John Soule all my Goods and Chattles whatsoever Item I Nominate And appoint my son John Soule to be my sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament; and lastly I Doe heerby make Null and voyde all other and former wills and Testaments by mee att Any time made; and Declare this Instrument to be my last Will and Testament In Witnes wherof I the said Gorge Soule have heerunto sett my hand and seale this eleventh Day of august in the yeer of our Lord one Thousand six hundred seaventy and seaven"Gorge Soule and a seale"Item the twentyeth Day of September 1677 I the above Named Gorge Soule Doe heerby further Declare that it is my will that if my son John Soule above named or his heires or Assignes or any of them shall att any time Disturbe my Daughter Patience or her heires or Assignes or any of them in peacable Posession or Injoymenht of the lands I have Given her att Namassakett allies Middleberry and Recover the same from her or her heires or Assignes or any of them That then my Gift to my son John Soule shalbe voyd; and that then my will is my Daughter Patience shall have all my lands att Duxburrey And shee shalbe my sole executrix of this my last Will and Testament And enter into my housing lands and meddowes at Duxburrow, In Witness wherof I have heerunto sett my hand and seale"Gorge Soule and A seal"

The inventory of the goods of George Soule, deceased 1679

Item Dwelling house orchyard Barne and upland praised at
Item Meddow Land
Item bed and beding and wearin Clothes
Item a Gun
Item bookes
Item a Chest and Chaire
Item 2 paire of Sheers a tramell and wedge
Item to other old lumber
Item by Debts Due to the estate
An Acompt of Debt Due unto John Soule to be payed out of his fathers estate
Anno: 1674 Impr for plowing in one bushell of wheat & one bushell of pease
for reaping Rye and pease
Item one Day plowing Greensword
Item for plowing in weeding
Item 2 Dayes and an half plowing in of Rye
Item to Willam Clarke
1675 Item for one Day plowing in of pease & two Days Reaping of Rye
Item 1 locke for a Barne Dore
Item for Goods taken up att Edmun Mufords att Boston viz: 4 yards 1'2 Carsey
Item for 7 yards of penistone 2 s 09 d pr yard
Item for 10 yards of Canves att 1 s 6 d pr yard
Item for buttons and silke
Item for blew linnine
Item for thred browne Coullered
Item for four yards of Red Cotton att 2 s 6 d pr yard
Item for three hundred of shooe Nailes
Item payed to Mr Mumford upon the old accoumpt
1676 for Drawing 13 load of Brush and hedging about a feild
Item for plowing in of pease and wheat 2 Dayes
Item for Makeing a prteing fence between the orchyard
Item for makeing stone wall about the orchyard
Item for 12 yards of teicking of William Vobes
Item for 20 yards of Canvis att 1 s 9 d pr yard
Item for Dowlis of Mr hetman 7 yards att 2 s 3 d pr yard
Item for eight yards of Osenbrigg of mr Thomas att 1 s 2 d pr yard
Item for serge for a paire of briches
Item for one paire of sheets
Item for Diett and tendance since my mother died which was three yeer the Last December except some smale time my sister Patience Dressed his victualls
Item for funerall charges

George Soule in the Records of Plymouth

1633 : "The Names of the Freemen of the Incorporacon of Plymoth in New England, An: 1633 ... George Sowle""Georg Sowle" was again listed as a Freeman in 1636-7, 1643, 1658 & 1670.Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, pg. 4, 52 ; Vol. 8, p. 174-5, 189, 198; and Vol. 5, p. 275.25 March 1633 : "According to an order in Court held the 2d of January, in the seaventh yeare of the raigne of o'r soveraigne lord, Charles, by the grace of God King of Engl., Scotl., France, & Irel., defendor of the faith, &c, the psons heere under menconed were rated for publike use by the Gov'r, Mr Will Bradford ... to be brought in by each pson as they are heere under written, rated in corne at vi s[hillings] p bushell, at or before the last of November next ensuing ... George Sowle, 00 : 09 [shillings] : 00."George Soule was again "rated" 9 shillings in 1634.Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, pg. 9-10, 27.1 July 1633 : "Orders about mowing of Grasse for the prnt Yeare, 1633 ... That George Sowle mow for a cow neere his dwelling howse."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, pg. 14-15.14 March 1635-6 : "At a Generall Meeting the 14th of March, concerning the Hey Grownds for Plymoth & Duxburrough ..."That Manasseh Kempton & George Sowle haue theirs against the fence of the sd George, & against the fence of Thomas Little."In 1636-7, George Soule was again granted hay grounds, "To Georg Sowle, where he gott hey the last yeare."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, pg. 39-41, 56.1636 [a law was passed requiring every man mark his cattle and record the mark] : "Georg Soale a peece cut out like a [cross] of the under side of the right eare downewarde."Records of the Town of Plymouth, Vol. 1, p. 1.3 January 1636-7 : "Georg Soule complains agst Natha'll Thomas, in a plea of trespasse, to the damnag of fourty pounds. The jury found for the plt, the beasts to be restored to him, & gaue him xii d damnag, & costs of suite."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 7, p. 4.2 May 1637 : "It was ordered by this Court, that a jury should be empanelled to set forth the heigh wayes about Plymouth Ducksborrow, and the Eele Riuer, wch was accordinge sumoned ..."The Verdict or Order of thabouesaid Jury, prformed by them the tenth Day of May, 1637, and deliuered by them into the Genall Court held the xij'th of July next after, and by the same confirmed in these words following, vizt : "... To the Eele Riuer, from Plymouth ... The heigh way from Thomas Clarks stille to passe betweene his house and his hoggs coate downe to George Soules, next the riur, and the said Georg to allow a sufficient way from thence ou the riuer by a bridge, and so to another heighway alowed for that neighbourhood; to the wch neighbourhood we allow a way from Mr Hopkins house downe to a p that leads to the fishing poynt..."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, pg. 58-60.7 June 1637 : "It is concluded and enacted by the Court, that the colony of New Plymouth shall send forth ayd to assist them of Massachusetts Bay and Conectacutt in their warrs against the Pequin Indians, in reveng of the innocent blood of the English wch the sd Pequins haue barbarously shed, and refuse to giue satisfaccon for..."The Names of the Souldiers that willingly offer themselues to goe vpon the sd Service, wth Mr Prince & the Leiftent [William Holmes]. Voluntaries. Francis Clarke, Richard Church, Georg Soule ..."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, pg. 60.4 December 1637 : "A garden place is graunted to Georg Soule, on Ducksborrow side, by Samuel Nashes, to lye to his ground at Powder Poynt."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, pg. 69.7 May 1638 : "One acre of land is graunted to Georg Soule at the watering place, in lue of another acre wch was taken from him for other vse, puided it be so layd forth that it be least prjudiciall to the neighbourhood there; and also that pcell of Stony Marsh at Pouder Poynt, containeing two acres, be it moore lesse, compassed about wth the lotts of lands there graunted vnto him."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, pg. 83.26 July 1638 : "The stock at this tyme was thus disposed ..."Mr. John Holmes sixe shares, Mr Thomas Hill foure shares, Ralph Wallen two shares, in the browne back cowe was at Georg Soules."Records of the Town of Plymouth, Vol. 1, p. 4.1639 : "Memorand the xiij'th July 1639 That Georg Sowle doth acknowledge that for & in consideracon of one Steere Calfe to him payd & Deliuered by Robte Hicks of Plymouth hath freely and absolutely bargained and sould vnto the said Robte Hicks his heires & assignes all those his two acrees of lands lying at the lace called the watering place on the South side of the Towne of Plymouth and all his right title & interrest of and into the same wth all and singuler thapprtencs therevnto belonginge To haue and to hold the said two acrees of lands wth all and singule the apprtences therevnto belonging vnto the said Robte Hicks his heires & Assignes foreu to the onely pper vse and behoofe of him the said Robte Hicks his heires and assignes for euer."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 12, pg. 45.5 May 1640 : "John Winslow, Nicholas Snowe, Nehemiah Smythe, Georg Soule, Josuah Pratt - are appoynted to view all the meddowes at Greens Harbour, wch are not graunted forth, & to measure them, and to make report thereof the next Court."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, pg. 151.2 November 1640 : "George Soule is graunted the meddow he desires against Mr Princes lands at Greens Harbour, if in case Mr Howland do not exchaung fiue acres wth Mr Bradford, and Mr Bradford take his further of to fitt him wthall, or make exchaung wth Mr Burne & Mrs Fuller, whereby he may be furnished."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, pg. 165.7 December 1641 : "Georg Bonum & Thom Clark compl agst James Luxford, in an action of trespasse vpon the case, to the dam of x li debts. [Good] Attached."In the hands of Joseph Greene 00 [pounds] : 12 [shillings] : 01 [pence]. In the hands of Thom Morton 00 : 15 : 01. In the hands of George Soule 2 : 6 : 11"Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 7, pg. 27.27 September 1642 : "This Court was occationed by the Indians to puide forces against them for an offensiue & defensiue warr; and though all the inhits were warned, yet they appeared by their seuall deputies, as they had liberty to doe ..."For Duxborrow, Capt. Miles Standish, Mr John Alden, Johathan Brewster, Mr Comfort Starr, Mr Wm Wetherrell, Willm Basset, Christopher Waddesworth, Georg Soule."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, pg. 45-6.7 March 1642-3 : "Constables for eich Towne ..."Duxborrow, - Thom Bonney constable. Loue Brewster & Georg Soule, grand jury men."George Soule was sworn in as a member of "The Grand Inquest" on 6 June 1643.Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, pg. 53, 56.4 June 1645 : "Whereas Jonathan Brewster desireth a pcell of land at Namassacheesett, wch Mr Collyer, Mr Alden, & Georg Soule are appoynted to view and make report thereof vnto the Court; and as the Court shall approue, it so to be graunted vnto him."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, pg. 88.28 October 1645 : "The Names of the Comittees this Court ... Duxborrow [:] Mr John Alden, George Soule."Again on 3 March 1645-6 : "The comittees of the seuall townes : ... Duxborrow, [:] Mr John Alden, Georg Soule." 7 July 1646 : "The comittees of the seuall towneshipps : ... Duxborrow [:] Mr John Alden, George Soule." 4 June 1650 : "The comitties of the seuerall Townes that serued at this Court ... Duxbery [:] Gorg Soule, Constant Southworth." 5 June 1651 : "Comitties of the seuerall Townshipes ... Duxber [:] Gorge Soule, Constant Southworth."7 June 1653 : "The Deputies of the seuerall Townes ... Duxburrow [:] Gorg Soule, Constant Southworth."6 June 1654 : "The Names of the Deputies of the seuerall Townshipps. Mr. John Howland, Mr John Winslow, John Dunham, Senir, John Cooke, Gorge Soule, ... [et al]"Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, pg. 94-5, 104, 154, 167 and Vol. 3, p. 31, 49.20 October 1646 : "Antony Thacher and George Sole were chosen a comittee to draw vp an order concerning disorderly drinking of tobacco."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, pg. 108.1 June 1647 :"Capt Miles Standish, compl, agst Gilbert Brookes, in an accon of trespas vpon the case; dam v li. The jury found for ye defend 2 d dam, & charge of ye Courte."Thomas Prence, gent, compl, agst Edward Holeman & Nicolas Hodges, def: Accon, trespass vpon ye case; dam 40 s. The jury found for the plaint. his peece & locke made good by ye defend, & cost of Court, and iudgmt therevpon was graunted."The Petty Jury for these Trialls. John Finney, Rich Sparrow, Robte Wickson, Sam Nash, George Soule, [et al], jur. sworne."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, pg. 116-7.5 June 1650 : "Att the Generall Court of freemen holden the fifte of June 1650 ..."Wheras a Comittie was Chosen by the court viz Mr Tho: Prence Mr Willam Collyare Mr Tho: Dimacke Mr James Cudworth Mr Josiah Winslow John Dunham sei. Gorg Soule and Constant Southworth to Consider of the pprosition propounded by the comitties at the last october Court concerning the Maior pt of the court to order the aiornments and desolutions of the generall Courts and the making and Repealling of lawes they the said Comittie declared theire minds to bee that things in respect of the aforsaid perticular doe Rest vnalltered as they are..."Wheras A Comittee was chosen viz: Mr Tho: Prence Mr Willam Collyare Mr Tho: Dimmacke Mr James Cudworth Mr Josias Winslow John Dunham senir. Gorge Soule and Constant Southworth to consider of the proposition propounded by the deputies att the Court held in October 1650 concerning the major pte of the Courts to order the adjurnments and desolutions of the generall Courts and the makeing and repealing of lawes they the said Comittee declared theire minds to bee that matters in the aforsaid respects to rest vnaltered as they were and that for the future as formerly in the makeing and repealing of lawes and adjournment of Courts wherin Comittes are requisite the majestrates and deputies bee considered as one body."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 11, pg. 56, 79.26 September 1651 : "An Inventory of all and singulare the goods and Chattels of Willam Thomas gent: of the Towne of Marshfeild late Deceased taken the 26th Day of September Anno Dom 1651 ... Gorg Soule, Josias Winslowe."At the Request of Captaine Nathaniell Thomas Wee Gorge Soule and Josias Winslow have according to our best widsom and Descrecion vallued the goods and Chattels above expressed but soe it is that the said Deceased in his life time Did lend to Divers of his Naighbors; and other Divers pticulars which are not Returned as yet; which are Included in the Inventory and vallued by us from his Informacion"Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 10, p. 163-4.January 1652-3 : "These prsents Witnesseth That George Soule of Duxburrow hath covenanted with Mr John Winslow of Plymouth That ; Mary Soule his Daughter shall Dwell abide and continew with him the said Mr John Winslow the full tearme of seaven yeares begining from the first day of this prsent month called January and from the said Day fully and compleatly to bee ended; And in case the said Mary Soule Doe not change her condicon by marriage shee is to Dwell and avide with him the full tearme of eight years begining from the first of this prsent month as aforsaid and from thence fully to bee ended."Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 1, p. 214.7 March 1653-4 : "The deputies of each towne appeering, according to the summons directed to each towne for that purpose, the occation of sending for them was declared, viz : that wheras a letter hath been somtime sence receiued from the Generall Court of the Massachusetts conserning the confedderacon of the Vnited Collonies, wherunto an answare was required to bee made, accordingly the Court framed an answare, and ordered that in theire name it should bee sent with the first conveniency."The names of the deputies that appeered and acted in the abouesaid occations were thus following : - Mr John Howland, Mr John Winslow, Leift Thomas Southworth, John Cooke, Gorg Soule, [et al]..."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 3, pg. 43-44.7 March 1653-4 : "Att this Court, Kanelme Winslow complained against John Soule for speakeing falsly of and scandalicing his daughter in carying diuers falce reports betwixt Josias Standish and her; the which complaint, att the request of Gorge Soule, father of the said John Soule, was refered vntill another Court, to bee tryed by a jury of twelue of his equalls."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 3, pg. 46-7.3 June 1656 : "Att this Court, a jury was appointed to giue meeting to Mr John Alden, Assistant, on the 18th day of this psent June, att the house of Mr Arther Howland, att the South Riuer, by the said Mr Alden to bee impanneled to lay outt or deuide the lands of the said Arther Howland and Tho Chillingsworth, deceased, according to theire best euidence."Theire names are as followeth : - Mr. Anthony Eams, Tho Bird, Josepth Andrews, Leiftenant Torry, Ensigne Williams, Serjeant Johnson, Christopher Wadsworth, Gorg Soule, [et al]"Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 3, pg. 102.4 May 1658 : "Mr. Kanelme Winslow, Anthony Snow, and Timothy Williamson are requested and deputed by the Court with all convenient speed to lay out a pcell of meddow, being fiue acres graunted vnto Gorge Soule according to the graunt vpon record."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 3, pg. 134.1 June 1658 : "Gorge Soule, Constant Southworth, and Phillip Delanoe are appointed by the Court to sett the range betwixt Mr Bournes and Anthony Snowes lands att Marshfeild, to run the line on the same point of the compase that Mr Bournes range now runes to the South Riuer; and what they aformencioned appointed shall doe therein shall stand feirme for the future."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 3, pg. 138-9.1660 [Purchase of Dartmouth] : "Att a generall meeting of the Purchasers att Plymouth the seaventh of march 1652 It was ordered and fully agreed unto and Concluded by the whole that all that Tract and tracts of lands lying from the Purchassers bounds on the west side of coughcusse to a river called Accusshaneck and three miles to the Eastwards of the same; with all Ilands meddows woods waters rivers Creekes and all appurtenances therunto belonging Should bee given to those whose names are heerunder written Containing thirty four shares and was then given alloted Assigned and sett over to them by the whole to have and to hold to them and their heires and Assignes for ever ; to Devide and Dispose of the same as theys hould see good; and they are to Satisfy the Indians for the Purchase therof and to beare all other Due Charges that shall any way arise about the same According to their severall proportions"William Bradford a moyety, Captaine Standish ... Gorge Soule ... [et al] "Wheras these Purchasers whoe by agreement of the whole had theire proportions of Purchase land falling unto them in the places above mencioned whoe by agreement had theire severall names entered into a list (together with some other old Comers) under the hand of the honored Govr: late Deceased they Did Desire that the list of theire Names might bee recorded; but the above written originall list of Names and the agreement Could not bee found in some yeares ; soe that it was Judged lost These purchasers notwithstanding still Desiring that what was theire right might bee recorded; wherupon order was given by the aforsaid Govr that it might bee Done ... "The names of those whoe by order of the Purchasers mett att Plymouth the seaventh Day of march 1652 whoe by Joynt consent and agreement of the said purchasers are to have theire prtes shares or proportions att the place or places commonly called and knowne by the names of Acushena alias acquessent which entereth in att the westeren end of Neckatay and to Coaksett alias acoakius and places adjacent ... The said Tract or tract[s] of Land soe bounded as abovesaid which is purchased of the Indians which were the right propriators therof; as appeers by a Deed under their hands with all the mershes meddows rivers waters woods Timber; and all other profitts privilidges emunities comodities and appurtenances belonging to the said Tract or Tracts above expressed or any prte or prcell therof to belonge unto the prties whose names are underwritten (whoe are in number thirty four whole prtes or share and noe more) to them and their heires and assignes for ever ..."Mr. Willam Bradford one whole prte or share, capt: Standish one whole prte or share, ... Gorge Soule one whole share..."Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 4, p. 185-188.3 March 1662-3 : "Richard Church and John Tompson complained against Capt Thomas Willett, in an action of the case, to the damage of twenty four pounds, for non pforming an agreement, according to couenants, about the meeting house att Plymouth."Find for the defendant the cost of the suite..."The names of the jury that tryed the action betwixt Richard Church and John Tompson, plaintiffes, and Capt Willett, defendant, are as followeth : John Bourne, Gorge Soule, James Walker, Barnabar Laythorp, Josepth Beedle, Henery Sampson, Benjamine Nye, Resolued White, Francis Crooker, John Whiston, Stephen Winge, John Wadsworth, sworne."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 7, pg. 105-6, 108. 1664 : "The severall lots layed forth and bounded lying and being upon Pochade necke neare unto Namassakett graunted unto severall psons afternamed are as followeth ..."Gorge Soule, 21 Lott is bounded with two red oakes marked ... "Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 34, p. 80-82. 5 March 1667-8 : "Att this Court, Nathaniel Soule, being sumoned, appeered to answare for his abusing of Mr John Holmes, teacher of the church of Christ att Duxburrow, by many false, scandulous, and approbriouse speeches, as appeered to the Court by many testimonies, for which hee was centanced by the Court to make a publicke acknowlidgment therof att this psent Court, and to find surties for his good behauior, and to be sett in the stockes duering the pleasure of the Court; att the earnest request of the said Mr Holmes, the latter pte of the centance was remitted; the two former ptes therof were pformed as followeth ..."Nathaniel Soule acknowlidgeth to owe vnto our sou lord the Kinge the sume of 20 [pounds] : 00 : 00. Gorge Soule, Senir, the sume of 10 [pounds] : 00 :00. John Soule, the sume of 10 [pounds] : 00 :00. "Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 4, pg. 179.6 March 1667-8 : "The last Will and Testament of Mr John Barnes of Plymouth in New England late Deceased; exhibited to the court held att Plymouth the 29th of October anno Dom 1671 on the oathes of Mr Samuell Saberry and Samuell hunt as followeth ..."Signed and sealed In ye prsence of George Soule Senr: Saml: Seabury samuell hunt"Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 4, p. 98-100.23 July 1668 : " I Gorge Soule senir of Duxburrow ... plantor; Doe by and with the Consent of Mary my wife give ... unto Francis Walker husband to my Daughter Elizabeth halfe my whole share of lands att Namassakett both upland and meddow land for quantity and quallitie; and wheras there is three Devisions of Land alreddy : viz: a hundred acrees and twenty five acrees and twenty acrees; The said Francis shall have the lower halfe of the hundred acree lott next towards the meddow and the twenty acree lott with halfe of all the rest yett to be Devided both upland and meddow"The witnesses were Samuel Nash and Jonathan Alden." This deed was acknowlidged this twenty fourth of the fift month 1668 before mee John Alden Assistant. "Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 27, p. 39-40.26 January 1668-9 : " Gorge Soule of Duxburrow ... for and in Consideration of the love and naturall affection; and for other valluable causes and Considerations ... Doth give ... unto Patience haskall his true and Naturall Daughter: and unto John haskall her husband; all that his halfe share of land at Namassakett both upland and meddow land ... haveing given the other halfe share formerly unto Francis Walker ... and if the said Patience shall Die before her husband John haskall and have noe Child ... then the abovesaid halfe share of lands shalbe the proper Inheritance of the abovesaid John haskall ... but if the abovesaid Patience shall survive her husband John haskall and have noe Child by him ... then the whole half share of land to belong unto the abovesaid Patience her heires and assignes"The witnesses were Samuel Nash and David Alden." This Deed was acknowlidged the twenty sixt of the eleventh month 1668 by Gorge Soule senir before mee John Aldin Assistant. "Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 27, p. 40.12 March 1668-9 : " Duxburro 12th 1 mo 1668 ... I George Soul of Duxburro ... husbandman do give ... all my right title & Interest In a percell of land lying att Namascutt viz The moyety or half part of all my sd Lands meado Swamps &c unto my Daughter Elizabeth Wife unto Francis Walker To her And her heirs for Ever ... I do farther ... give unto my sd Daughter the moyety or half part of all my purchase or purchasess lying And being as before Expresst In yet place Comonly Called Namascutt I do further give And grant unto my sd Daughter all the privilidges That may or Shall arise on ye sd Lands &c ... further I do declare This To be my Will as To Deed of Gift As tho it were more fully Exprest yet looking on this As a sufficient deed unto her And her heirs for Ever and further These may declare That my Wife Mary Soul doth also give up all her iInterest In That half part unto my sd Daughter Elizabeth."The deed was signed by George Soule only. It was witnessed by Samuel Seabury and Rudolphus Thacher, but was not acknowledged."Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 27, p. 40-41.27 October 1674 : "Gorge Soule, of Duxburrow, complained against John Peterson, of Duxborrow, aforsaid, in an action of the case, to the damage of an hundred pounds, for better cecuritie for the payment of a debt of six pounds seauen shillingssss and thripence due, to haue bin payed the first day of Nouember last, as appeers by a bill bearing date the thirtieth day of July, in the yeare of our Lord 1672; as alsoe for the payment of sixty three pounds twelue shillings and ninepence due, heerafter to be payed att seuerall payments, as by seuerall bills of the aforsaid date appeereth, which said sume of seauenty pounds, being behind and vnpayed, is pte of the sume of eighty pounds contracted to be payed by the said John Peterson to the said Gorge Soule, for the purchase of a certaine tract of land lying in Powder Point, in Duxburrow, aforsaid, att the time of the said purchase of the lands of and in the occupation of the said Gorge Soule, and now in the occupation of the said John Peterson and the said Gorge Soule."The jury find for the defendant the cost of the suite."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 7, pg. 193.

George Soule : 1650
"And seeing it hath pleased Him to give me [William Bradford] to see thirty years completed since these beginnings, and that the great works of His providence are to be observed, I have thought it not unworthy my pains to take a view of the decreasings and increasings of these persons and such changes as hath passed over them and theirs in this thirty years..."One of his [Edward Winslow's] servants died, as also the little girl, soon after the ship's arrival. But his man, George Soule, is still living and hath eight children."William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647, ed.Samuel Eliot Morison (New York : Knopf, 1991), p. 443-7.
George Soule's wife, Mary
1 March 1658-9 : "John Smith, Junir, of Plymouth, Goodwife Howland, the wife of Henery Howland, Zoeth Howland and his wife, John Soule and Goodwife Soule, the wife of Gorge Soule, of Duxburrow, Arthur Howland and his wife, of Marshfeild, Mis Cudworth, Goodwife Coleman, Willam Parker, and his wife, of Scituate, haueing bine prsented for frequently absenting themselues from the publicke worship of God, were sentanced by the Court to pay, according to order of Court, each ten shillings, to the collonies vse."Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 8, pg. 95.
Updated 14 July, 1998


George Soule: Mayflower passenger
"The names of those which came over first, in the year 1620, and were by the blessing of God the first beginners and in a sort the foundation of all the Plantations and Colonies in New England; and their families ..."Mr. Edward Winslow, Elizabeth his wife and two men-servants called George Soule and Elias Story; also a little girl was put to him called Ellen, the sister of Richard More."William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647, ed.Samuel Eliot Morison (New York : Knopf, 1991), p. 441-3.

George Soule: Signer of the Mayflower Compact
"I shall ... begin with a combination made by them before they came ashore ; being the first foundation of their government in this place. Occasioned partly by the discontented and mutinous speeches that some of the strangers amonst them had let fall from them in the ship: That when they came ashore they would use their own liberty, for none had power to command them, the patent they had being for Virginia and not for New England... And partly that such an act by them done, this their condition considered, might be as firm as any patent, and in some respects more sure."The form was as followeth : IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620."William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647, ed.Samuel Eliot Morison (New York : Knopf, 1991), p. 75-76.

George Soule and the 1623 Division of Land
The 1623 Division of Land marked the end of the Pilgrims' earliest system of land held in common by all. Governor Bradford explains it in this way:"And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, or that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled wold have been thought great tyranny and oppression."

William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647, ed.Samuel Eliot Morison (New York : Knopf, 1991), p. 120.

Plymouth Colony Records, Deeds, &c, Vol. I 1627-1651 is the oldest record book of the Plymouth settlement. It begins with the 1623 Division of Land, recorded in the handwriting of Governor William Bradford. George Soule's lands are among "The Falles of their grounds which came first over in the May Floure, according as thier lotes were case" and are described as "these lye on the South side of the brooke to the baywards."

George Soule and the 1627 Division of Cattle
Plymouth Colony Records, Deeds, &c, Vol. I 1627-1651 also tells of the 1627 Division of Cattle:

"At a publique court held the 22th of May it was concluded by the whole Companie, that the cattell wch were the Companies, to wit, the Cowes & the Goates should be equally devided to all the psonts of the same company... & so the lotts fell as followeth, thirteene psonts being pportioned to one lot...

"The ninth lot fell to Richard Warren and his companie Joyned with (2) him his wife Elizabeth Warren (3) Nathaniell Warren (4) Joseph Warren (5) Mary Warren (6) Anna Warren (7) Sara Warren (8) Elizabeth Warren (9) Abigall Warren (10) John Billington (11) George Sowle (12) Mary Sowle (13) Zakariah Sowle.

"To this lott fell one of the 4 black Heyfers that came in the Jacob caled the smooth horned Heyfer and two shee goats."

George Soule: a 1626 "Purchaser"
In 1621, King James I authorized the Council for New England to plant and govern land in this area. This Council granted the Peirce Patent, confirming the Pilgrims' settlement and governance of Plymouth. Peirce and his associates, the merchant adventurers, were allotted 100 acres for each settler the Company transported. The Pilgrims had a contract with the Company stating all land and profits would accrue to the Company for 7 years at which time the assets would be divided among the shareholders. Most of the Pilgrims held some stock. The Pilgrims negotiated a more favorable contract with the Company in 1626. In 1627, 53 Plymouth freemen, known as "The Purchasers," agreed to buy out the Company over a period of years. In turn, 12 "Undertakers" (8 from Plymouth and 4 from London) agreed to pay off Plymouth's debts in return for trade benefits.

Cross-Sections of the Mayflower

Forecastle: Where the crew's meals were cooked, and where the crew's food and supplies were kept.Poop House: Nothing to do with a bathroom, the poop house was the living quarters for the ship's master (Christopher Jones) and some of the higher ranking crew, perhaps master's mates John Clarke and Robert Coppin.Cabin: The general sleeping quarters for the Mayflower's twenty or thirty other crewmembers. The crew slept in shifts.Steerage Room: This is where the pilot steered the Mayflower. Steering was done by a stick called a whip-staff that was moved back and forth to move the tiller, which in turn moves the rudder.Gun Room: This is where the powder, shot, and other supplies were stored for the ship's guns and cannons.Gun Deck: The gun deck is where the cannon were located. On merchant ships, this deck was used to hold additional cargo. In the Mayflower's case, the gun deck is where the passengers lived on the voyage to America.Capstan and Windlass: Large apparatus which were used to lift and lower heavy cargo between the decks.Cargo Hold: This is where the Pilgrims would have stored their cargo of food, tools, and supplies during the voyage.

The Gun Deck, sometimes referred to by the Pilgrims as "betwixt the decks" or the "tween deck," is where the Pilgrims lived for most of the voyage. They occasionally ventured to the upper deck, especially during calmer weather when they would be less likely to get in the way of the seamen and there was less danger of being swept overboard. The gun deck had about four gun ports on either side of the ship for cannon. Even though the Mayflower was a merchant ship, it needed to be able to defend itself from pirates, and needed to be prepared for the possibility of conscription (when England was at war, the King or Queen could turn merchant ships into military vessels.) The height of the gun deck was around five and a half feet.

The Gun Deck Floor Plan

During the voyage, the 102 Mayflower passengers lived primarily on the gun deck, or the 'tween deck. The length of the deck from stem to stern was about 80 feet, of which about 12 feet at the back belonged to the gun room and was probably off-limits to the passengers. The width at the widest part was about 24 feet. Various hatches provided access to the cargo hold below. The windlass and capstan, both used to haul heavy items by rope between the decks, also took up floor-space, as did the main mast in the middle, and the sprit sail mast in the front. Many of the families built themselves small little "cabins," simple wooden dividers nailed together, to provide a small amount of privacy. Others, especially the young single men, just took up any old spot--many found shelter within a shallop, a 30-foot sailing vessel that the Pilgrims brought with them, and which they had dismantled and stowed on the gun deck. The two month voyage, with many young men living inside of it, caused considerable damage to the shallop, and cost the Pilgrims several weeks of time to fix after they arrived.

GEORGE Soule (Immigrant) was born between 1593 and 1600 in England. He died in January 1679 at the age of 86 in Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. George immigrated 1620 to England on the Mayflower, as an indentured servant to the Edward Winslow family. He was the children's tutor. Although this implies he was of lesser status to Winslow, the families were closely associated in many matters. This friendship and intermarriage continued even to descendants living in Detroit several hundred years after they set sail in 1620.

George Soule was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact.

George married Mary BUCKET (BECKET) before 1626 in Plymouth. At the first division of cattle, George and Mary were married, with Zachariah born at that time. Mary was born 17 January 1599/1600 in England. She died December 1676 in Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

He made is will 11 August 1677 in Duxbury. A codicil was made 20 September 1677. The codicil implored his son, John, to not harass his sister, Patience, and her family when they inherit the lands he bequeathed Patience. If John did harass his sister, he would lose his inheritance, she would get all of John's inheritance and be named the executrix of her father's estate. The will and codicil were witnessed by Nathaniel Thomas and Deborah Thomas.

GEORGE Soule (Immigrant) and MARY Bucket (Immigrant) were married. MARY Bucket (Immigrant) died in December 1676 in Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.
notes from

Theories on the Parentage of George Soule of the Mayflower
copied from:

The Search for the English Origins of Mayflower Passenger George Soule
By Caleb Johnson

This article was published in the December 2005 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society

This three part series is reproduced with the kind permission of Soule Kindred


Before any attempt is made to ascertain the English origins of Mayflower passenger George Soule, it is important to briefly summarize what is known about him. Many of the more significant facts were recorded by William Bradford, governor of Plymouth. In 1651, Bradford wrote several pages containing “The names of those which came over first, in ye year 1620 and were (by the blesing of God) the first beginers, and (in a sort) the foundation, of all the plantations, and colonies, in New-England. (And their families).” On this list is found:

Mr. Edward Winslow, Elizabeth his wife, and 2 men servants, caled Georg Sowle, and Elias Story; also a litle girle was put to him caled Ellen, the sister of Richard More.

George Soule was one of the signers of the “Mayflower Compact,” according to Nathaniel Morton who first recorded the names of the signers in his 1669 book, New England’s Memorial. George Soule received one acre in the 1623 Division of Land at Plymouth “on the South side of the brooke to the baywards.” In the 1627 Division of Cattle, George Soule is listed with his wife Mary and eldest son Zachariah, joined with the family of Richard Warren. They received shares in “one of the 4 black Heyfers that came in the Jacob caled the smooth horned Heyfer and two shee goats.”

Since children during this time period were very regularly named after their parents and grandparents, it is worth noting the names of George Soule’s children. He and wife Mary had nine children: Zachariah, John, Nathaniel, George, Susanna, Mary, Elizabeth, Patience, and Benjamin. The names Zachariah, Nathaniel, Patience, and Benjamin appear to be Puritan-influenced names that are not probably to be found in George’s parents. Children George and Mary were presumably named after their parents. That leaves only John, Susanna, and Elizabeth as names that could have been inherited from a grandparent.

Others who have searched English records have had trouble determining the age of George Soule—a necessary piece of information to accurately formulate a theory on his origins and eliminate unnecessary candidates. Charles E. Banks, writing in G.T. Ridlon’s History, Biography and Genealogy of the Families Named Soule, Sowle and Soulis (Lewiston, Maine, 1926), at page 141, states that because “his age is not known and no document has survived here which connects him with an English parish, two prime clues are lacking.” Nils Wilkes, in his In Search of George Soule of the Mayflower at page 43, notes with a little more precision, “George Soule must have been born in England somewhere between 1590 and 1600.”

However, it is possible for us to considerably narrow his age from that given by Banks/Ridlon and Wilkes. First, George Soule signed the “Mayflower Compact.” In order to have done so, he needed to have been of legal age. On 8 September 1623, William Bradford wrote a letter to the English investors in the Pilgrims’ joint-stock company to answer some of their concerns and complaints about the government the Pilgrims had established. Bradford wrote: “Touching our government you are mistaken if you think we admit women and children … for they are excluded, as both reason and nature teacheth they should be; neither do we admit any but as are above the age of 21 years, and they also but only in some weighty matters, when we think good.” In other words, the men over 21 in the colony were only allowed to participate in government for “some weighty matters,” and women and those under 21 were barred from participation. George Soule, therefore, was over 21 years of age on 11 November 1620, and thus was born in 1599 or earlier.

Additionally, George Soule came in the capacity of a “manservant” to Edward Winslow. Manservants were essentially apprentices, except in many cases they were not being taught a specific trade, but were simply housed and fed by their master for a contractual period of time, in exchange for labor. This was often done when a father died, leaving a wife and children without enough estate to care for themselves; or when a family became too large to support itself. The contractual period of service ended at age 25, or sometimes earlier. So when George Soule came on the Mayflower as a manservant for Edward Winslow, he must have been under 25 years of age, meaning he was born sometime after 1595. These facts place George Soule’s birth at between 1595 and 1599.

Additionally, it can be noted that George Soule was not married in 1623. He only received one share in the Division of Land: if he were married he would have received two shares. His future wife, Mary Buckett, arrived on the ship Anne in July 1623. She is listed elsewhere in the Division of Land, receiving one share “on the south side of town towards the eele-river.” However, George and Mary were married and already had one child by 22 May 1627, the date of the Division of Cattle. So he was married at least by 1626. George Soule would not have been eligible to marry until his contract was up, which normally would occur when he reached the age of 25. His marriage right around 1624-1626 fits in perfectly with the chronology given above for a birth between 1595 and 1599.

Previous researchers seem to have assumed that George Soule’s origins should be found in county Worcester, near the birthplace of his master Edward Winslow. However, this need not be the case. Edward Winslow left county Worcester for London by 1613, where he became a printer’s apprentice, and then left for Leiden, Holland by 1618. Winslow probably made his contact with the Soule family through one of the other Pilgrims in Leiden, or through one of the London investors that were underwriting the voyage.


The most popular theory on the origin of George Soule has him coming from Eckington, county Worcester. This theory was worked primarily by G.L. Ridlon and Charles E. Banks through the 1920s, and was further investigated by Nils Wilkes about 1986. Though none of the researchers came to any conclusive conclusion, both Ridlon and Banks offered tentative theories and suggestions, which over the intervening 75 years have often been presented as if they were documented fact. A closer examination of the Eckington Soules is thus a necessary beginning-point for any investigation.

A careful examination of the records of Eckington, county Worcester, reveal that there are three different George Soule’s living there in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Research is hampered somewhat by the fact that the parish registers for Eckington do not begin until 1678, and only the pre-Mayflower years of 1612, 1615, and 1617 are available in Bishop’s Transcripts. So most of the information about the Soule family of Eckington comes from probate and manor records.

Let us now take a look at each of these three Georges, to determine if any meet the necessary qualifications to have been the Mayflower passenger.


On 5 February 1580, Robert Soule “citizen and salter of London” sold to his brother Thomas his lands in Eckington, county Worcester. The deed was witnessed by his sons Edward and George. On 20 September 1581, George Soule of Evesham leased land in Eckington and the neighboring parish of Birlingham. On 17 August 1583, George Soule had a daughter Mary baptized at All Saints, Evesham. This is his only child of record for him. Robert Soule was a gentleman, and had his coat of arms confirmed by the College of Arms in London on 18 June 1591. Robert Soule, salter, made out his will, proved 17 April 1595 at St. Giles Cripplegate, London. In his will, he bequeaths son George £10, and mentions George had received a “great house or inn” at Evesham, county Worcester.

This George Soule could not be the Mayflower passenger. He was an adult in 1580, so clearly was born well outside the 1596-1599 window calculated previously. It has been suggested that perhaps he had a son George. But there is no record of any such son. Additionally, this George Soule had a fairly high social status and wealth, being the son of an armorial gentleman and having received a “great house or inn.” If he ever did have a son George, he would not make a likely candidate to have been a manservant to Edward Winslow.


On 5 February 1612/3, Robert Soule, husbandman of Eckington, made out his will. He bequeathed to wife Elizabeth his lease of land in Eckington, and upon her death it was to transfer to his son George. Son Thomas received a malt mill, cistern, and watering trough, while son Robert received the “residue” of his goods that were not otherwise disposed of. Daughters Alice Warde, Anne, and Eleanor are also mentioned. An estate inventory was made on 12 March 1612/3, and the will was proved the next day, 13 March 1612/3. On 10 October 1613, George Soule and his mother Elizabeth signed a lease of land in Eckington.

Charles Banks noted that this George “answers best of all the candidates the demands of identification, in point of time, locality and relationship to a Sole family which had contact with Governor Winslow both in London and Worcestershire.” Nils Wilkes denoted this man as “George ?Pilgrim?” on his tree of the Soule families of Eckington.

However, this George Soule is almost certainly not the Mayflower passenger. He signed a lease agreement in October 1613, which would indicate he was 21 years of age or older at the time. This puts his birth at sometime before 1592. His brother Thomas—presumably a younger brother since he received only a malt mill, cistern and watering trough in his father’s will—was married on 2 May 1606 to Winifred Moore. If younger brother Thomas was married in 1606, then he was probably about 25 years old, putting his birth at 1581-1584—so this would push George’s birth to sometime before 1584 at least. Once again, this is far too old to have been the Mayflower passenger. In addition, as will be discussed under the next George Soule, this man was probably still living in Eckington on 31 August 1647.


On 5 June 1631, Eckington parish registers record the marriage of George Soule to Susan Nash. If he were about 25 when he married, this George would have been born about 1606—right about the same time period that Thomas Soule, mentioned above, was married to Winifred Moore. Because of the timing, I therefore suspect this George is probably the son of George Soule discussed above. George and Susan had a daughter Frances baptized on 13 November 1636 at Eckington. A few years earlier, the parish registers record the marriage of Grizzigon Soule to Thomas Roberts on 2 February 1627; Grizzigon was perhaps George’s sister. On 13 February 1633/4, George Soule, molecatcher of Eckington, had a legal dispute with Mary Taylor. Mary was ordered to keep the peace with George, and George signed a release indicating Mary had paid her debt for molecatching. On 9 June 1637, George Soule was in trouble for having stolen a sheep from Thomas Roberts—presumably his brother-in-law. Apparently the family dispute was mended, because George was a witness to Thomas Roberts’ will in February 1643.

On 31 August 1647, George Soule “the younger” is listed on an account of men of Eckington that were quartering troops and horses during the English Civil War. Because he is referred to as “the younger,” we can presume there was an older George Soule still living in Eckington at the time: probably George’s father George, as I surmised above. Since both Georges are living in Eckington in 1647, they obviously were not the Mayflower passengers. Younger George made out his will on 17 October 1651, proved ten years later on 22 June 1661. His will mentions wife Susanna, and daughter Frances, as well as kinsman Thomas son of Thomas. I presume that is Thomas, son of his uncle Thomas.

These three George Soules (son of Robert the salter; son of the Robert the husbandman; and the molecatcher), can thus all be eliminated as candidates for the Mayflower passenger, because they were either too old, or still living in Eckington after the Mayflower’s departure. There are no other known George Soules in any Eckington records. Therefore, we must discard the theory he was from Eckington, and move on to search for his origins elsewhere in England.

There are more George Soules somewhat to the west of Eckington in the parishes of Berrow, Dymock, and Redmarly D’Abitot, in county Worcester, as well as Asperdon, county Hereford. Additionally, there are some George Soules living in Flitwick and Tingrith, county Bedford, which is not too far from Henlow, the origins of the Mayflower. Tilley, Samson, and Cooper families; and the Bedfordshire Soules appear to have reached across into northern county Hertford, into the parishes where Mayflower passenger Richard Warren is thought to have originated. These families will be investigated as this research, funded by the Soule Kindred in America, Inc., progresses.

found on

Biography of Mayflower Ancestors - George Soule1620, Plymouth Colony

"George Soule's birthplace was England (possibly at Eckington, Worcestershire), and the date of birth was about 1600. He died at Duxbury before 1 February 1680. He was married at Plymouth before 1627, to Mary Bucket who died at Duxbury in Decmber 1676. Nothing is known of Mary Becket prior to her arrival at Plymouth on the Anne in July 1623. Their children were: Zachariah, John Nathaniel, George, Benjamin, Mary, Patience, Susanna, and Elizabeth; all but Zachariah and Benjamin has proven descendants. Of his English ancestry nothing is known for a certainty, although some sources say that he was the son of John Soule of Eckington, Worcestershire. He was of the London contingent of the Mayflower company and came over as a "servant" of Edward Winslow.

In the cabin of the Mayflower on 21 November 1620, the Compact was signed, George Soule's name is thirty-fifth on the list. We hear no more of him at Plymouth until the division of land in the spring of 1623, at which time, he being single and a Mayflower passenger, was eligible for a one acre plot. The following spring (1624), his wife to be, Mary Bucket, was also eligible for a one acre plot as a passenger on the Anne. In the division of livestock in 1627 he is listed in Richard Warren's company and we see from the listing that he was married then and one son, Zachariah, had been born. In 1637, during the troubles with the Pequot Indians, George Soule volunteered his services. In 1645 he moved to Duxbury where he served as a Selectman and as a Civil Magistrate. He was a representative to the General Court for the years 1642-1645, 1650-1651, and 1653-1654. His will and an inventory of his este are on record at Plymouth."

Source: Register of the Society of Mayflower descendants in the District of Columbia, 1970.
Found on

GEORGE SOULE 1590 - 1678
George Soule was born in England, and orphaned when fire destroyed his home in England. He was brought up by his brother, Robert Soule of Selter County, England, a wealthy London salter. George came to New England aboard the Mayflower in 1629 among a company of adventurers off to the New World, and was a signer of the Mayflower Pact. He came as a teacher to wealthy Pilgrim Edward Winslow's children, and was listed as a manservant to the Winslow family. It is logical that Winslow bore the cost of Soule's passage. Mary Beckett, his sweetheart in England, came to America on either the "Ann" or the "St. James". She and George were married in Plymouth, Massachusetts. George kept a diary and brought a library over from England which was the best in America at that time. He was very scholarly. The family was poor, however, and many nights the family of ten went to bed hungry.

The Winslow family lived near the Soule family in the Droitwich parish of Kempsey, Worcestershire, England, and it is probable that this early neighborhood association explains the apprenticeship of George to the Governor. It is supposed that George was in London when he joined Winslow on the voyage. Droitwich, the family home of the Winslows at that time, was a salt mining place connected in a business way with the Salter's Company of London in trade, and thus the Winslow-Soule association was established.

Unlike some of his colleagues, Soule never returned to his homeland. However, suffice it to say that he became a relatively well-to-do leader, business man and office holder in the Plymouth Colony. In 1623 George received his own right of an acre of land as did the others, and in 1627 he took part in the division of cattle. As early as July 1627, George was one of a group of 58 "Purchasers or Old Comers' who assumed Plymouth Colony's debt to "The Adventurers", the promoters and capitalists who financed the voyage of the Mayflower and other early ventures and expenses of the colony. In return the group received profitable trading concessions in Maine, at Cape Ann, on Buzzard's Bay and subsequently on the Connecticut River. The General Court voted in 1639-1640 to pay these "Purchasers or Old Comers" for the surrender of their patent. Existing land records show that George acquired extensive holdings in Duxbury, Dartmouth, Middleboro, Marshfield and Bridgewater but resided only in Plymouth and Duxbury or "Ducksburrow", as it was called originally. In 1633 he was made freeman of the colony, and was rated as 9s., corn6s, per bushel. There is record of a sale by George Soule of an acre of land granted to his wife Ann as a passenger, which he could do as her husband.

Early in 1637, the Pequot Indians "fell openly upon the English at Connecticut". In response to a plea for assistance, the Plymouth General Court agreed forthwith to send 50 men. George volunteered as private for this service under Lieutenant William Holmes and Reverend Thomas Prence as chaplain "but when they were ready to march...they had word to stay; for the enemy was as good as vanquished and there would be no need."

In 1638 he moved to Duxbury, Masschusetts, which was laid out by George, along with Miles Standish and John Alden. George was among the selectmen chosen in that town, and was part of the committee for revision of the Colonial laws. In September 1642 he appeared before the General Court as one of two "Deputies" or representatives from Duxbury; Plymouth Colony having established representative government in 1639 after finding it no longer practicable to have all of the colonists participate as individuals. The representatives were limited to terms of one year and denied the right of succession so we find George Soule serving each alternate year for many years, with increasing assignments such as forming a committee with Anthony Thatcher "to draw up an order concerning disorderly drinking of tobacco".

George died and is buried in Duxbury. His inventory was taken by Edward Southworth and Thomas Delano on January 22, 1679. His will, dated September 1677, reads: "In the Name of God Amen. Gorge Soule senir of Duxbury in the Collonie of New Plymouth in New England being aged and weake of body but of sound mind and Memory praised be God Doe make this my last Will and Testament in Manor and forme following Imprimis I comitt my sole Into the hands of Almighty God whoe Gave it and my body to be Decently buried in the place appointed for that use whensoever hee shall please to take me hence, and for the Disposall of my outward estate which God of his Goodness hath Given mee first I have and already formerly by Deeds under my hand and seale Given unto my two sonnes Nathaniel and Gorge All mylands in the Township of Dartmouth; Item I have formerly Given unto my Daughters Elizabeth and Patience all my lands in the Township of Middleberry Item I Give and bequeath unto my Daughters Susannah and Mary twelve pence a peece to be paid by my executor hereafter Named after my Decease; And forasmuch as my eldest son John Soule and his family hath in my extreme old age and weakness bin tender and careful of mee and very healpfull to mee; and is likely soe to be shile it shall please God to continew my life heer therclore I give and bequeath unto my said son John Soule all the Remainder of my housing and lands whatsoever to him his heires and Assigns forever Item I Give and bequeath unto my son John Soule all by Goods and Chattles whatsoever Item I Nominate and appoint my son John Soule to be my sole Executor of the my last will and Testament; and lastly I doo hearby make Null and voyde all other and former wills and Testaments by mee att Any time made; and Declare this instrument to be my last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I the said Gorge Soule have heerunto sett my hand and seale this eleventh Day of August in the year of our Lord one Thousand six hundred seaventy and seaven, Gorge Soule and a seale."

Son John Soule was the favored son until he protested his father George's will. John was displeased with the amount of property given to his sister Patience and his displeasure came to the notice of his father for he delivered this caveat in a codocil: "Item the twentyeth Day of September 1677 I the above Named George Soule Doe heerby further Declare that it is my will that if my son John Soule above named or is heires or Assignes or any of them shall att any time Disturbe my Daughter Patience or her heires or assignes or any of them in peacable Posession of Injoyment of the lands I habe given her att Namassaket allies Middleberry and Recover the same from her or her heires or Assignes or any of them That then by Gift to my son John Soule shall shalbe voyd' and that then my will is my Daughter Patience shall have all my lands att duxburrey and shee shalbe my sole executrix of this my last Will and Testament and enter into my housing lands and meddowes att Duxburrow, In Witness wherof I have heerunto sett my hand and seale: Gorge Soule and A seal"

The only memorial of this family is a gourd shell in the Hall at Plymouth which belonged to George Soule.
found on

1 comment: