Henry Samson, Mayflower Pilgrim

His name has been spelled Henry, Henri, Henery, Simson, Simpson, Sampson and Samson.


Henry Samson was the son of James Samson and Martha Cooper of Henlow, Bedford, England.  James was the son of John Samson.  Martha Cooper was the daughter of Edmund Cooper and Mary Wyne.  Edmund Cooper was the son of Michael Cooper and Elizabeth Page.  Michael Cooper was the son of Michael Cooper and Margaret.  Michael Cooper is the son of John Cooper and Joan.

Elizabeth Page is the daughter of Robert Page and Cicily Greene.  Cicily Greene is the daughter of John Greene and Edith Latimer.  Edith Latimer can trace her ancestry to several Barons and Lords.


Henry Samson came as a young sixteen year old boy on the Mayflower, under the care of his aunt and uncle Edward and Ann (Cooper) Tilley.  Henry Samson volunteered and fought in the Pequot War of 1637, and during his life took on several civil positions including Constable of Duxbury, property surveyor, and tax collector.  Henry Samson married Ann Plummer, whose ancestry is unknown.  However, Ann had a sister Mary Plummer, who married John Barnes in Plymouth on 12 September 1633.

Edward Tilley and wife Agnes (called Ann by Bradford) came on the Mayflower. They died the first winter, and had no known children. Edward's brother John Tilley also came on the Mayflower with his wife Joan (Hurst).   Edward Tilley had been in Holland since at least 1616 . He and his wife brought with them on the Mayflower Humility Cooper, their recently orphaned niece, who had been born in Holland in 1619.

Humility Cooper was a very young girl, about one year old, and came with Edward Tilley and his wife on the Mayflower.  She was called their "cousin".  Cousin in those days was a synonym for nephew or neice. This has helped identify her family.  Her father had died, and her mother was unable to support her; so she was sent with her aunt and uncle on the Mayflower.

Governor William Bradford in Of Plymouth Plantation, states, "Edward Tilley and his wife both died soon after their arrival, and the girl Humility, their cousin was sent for into England and died there."

The Ship Mayflower

The Mayflower is first recorded in 1609, at which time it was a merchant ship traveling to Baltic ports, most notably Norway.  It was at that time owned by Christopher Nichols, Richard Child, Thomas Short and Christopher Jones.  The ship was about 180 tons, and rested in Harwich.  In its early years it was employed in the transportation of tar, lumber, and fish; and possibly did some Greenland whaling.  Later on in its life, it became employed in Mediterranean wine and spice trading.

In 1620, Thomas Weston assisted by John Carver and Robert Cushman hired the Mayflower and the Speedwell to undertake the voyage to plant a colony in Northern Virginia.  The Speedwell turned out to be a leaky ship, and so was unable to make the famous voyage with the Mayflower.

Christopher Jones was the Captain of the Mayflower when it took the Pilgrims to New England in 1620.  They anchored off the tip of Cape Cod on November 11, 1620.  The Mayflower stayed in America that winter, and its crew suffered the effects of the first winter just as the Pilgrims did, with almost half dying.

The Mayflower set sail for home on April 5, 1621, arriving back May 6th.  The ship made a few more trading runs to Spain, Ireland, and France.  However, Captain Christopher Jones died shortly thereafter, and was buried March 1621/2 in Rotherhithe, Surrey, England.  The ship lay dormant for about two years, at which point it was appraised for probate, and its value was determined to be 128, an extremely low value (had it been in sailing condition, 700 could be expected).

This probate inventory is the last record of the Mayflower.  The ship was not in very good condition, being called "in ruins" in a 1624 High Court of Admiralty record written in Latin.  Ships in that condition were more valuable as wood, so the Mayflower was most likely broken apart and sold as scrap. 

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