FRANCIS EATON

ORIGIN: Bristol, England [TAG 72:301-4].

MIGRATION: 1620 on the Mayflower.

FIRST RESIDENCE: Plymouth.

OCCUPATION: Carpenter. His inventory included "1 tool box" and a long list of carpenter's tools.

FREEMAN: In 1633 Plymouth list of freemen, ahead of those admitted on 1 January 1632/3 [PCR 1:3].

EDUCATION: Signed deed of 30 December 1631 [PCR 12:17].

OFFICES: Appointed arbiter in dispute between William Bennet and Edward Doty, 3 January 1632/3 [PCR 1:7].

His inventory included "1 pistol, one powder horn & one shot purse" valued at 9s. and "one piece" valued at £1 14s. [PCPR 1:17; MD 1:199].

ESTATE: In the 1623 Plymouth land division granted four acres as a passenger on the Mayflower [PCR 12:4]. In the 1627 Plymouth cattle division, the first four members of the tenth company were Francis Eaton, Christian Eaton, Samuel Eaton and Rachel Eaton [PCR 12:12].

On 25 June 1631, Francis Eaton sold to Edward Winslow four acres in the North Field [PCR 12:16 (this was the land received in the 1623 division)]. On 30 December 1631, Francis Eaton sold to William Brewster "one share of land, containing twenty acres, lying at the place commonly called Nothingelse" in consideration of £21 12s., which would "pay his purchase for four shares"; Eaton also sold to William Brewster an additional twelve acres from the same lot [PCR 12:16]. On 8 January 1632/3, Francis Eaton sold to Kenelm and Josiah Winslow "the now dwelling house of the said Francis, with other appurtenances thereunto belonging" [PCR 1:8].

Francis Eaton was assessed 9s. in the Plymouth tax of 25 March 1633 [PCR 1: 1 O]. There is no entry for him or his widow in the 27 March 1634 list; her remarriage to Francis Billington may have been anticipated at the time this list was compiled, so that she would have been included in his household.

Francis Eaton is included in the list of Purchasers [PCR 2:177].

The inventory of the estate of "Fr[ancis] Eaton carpenter of Plymouth," taken 8 November 1633, totalled £64 8s. 7d., with no real estate included; to the inventory was appended a long list of debts owed by Francis Eaton [PCPR 1:17-18; MD 1:197-200]. On 25 November 1633, "whereas Franc[i]s Eaton, carpenter, late of Plymouth, deceased, died indebted far more than the estate of the said Franc[i]s would make good, insomuch as Christian, his late wife, durst not administer, it was ordered, that Mr. Thomas Prence & Mr. John Doane, in the behalf of the Court, should enter upon the estate, according to the inventory brought in upon oath the day of this present, that the creditors might have so far as the estate will make good, & the widow be freed & acquitted from any claim or demands of all or any his creditors whatsoever" [PCR 1:19-20].

BIRTH: Baptized St. Thomas, Bristol, England, 11 September 1596, son of John and Dorothy (Smith) Eaton [TAG 72:303-4].

DEATH: Plymouth between 25 March 1633 (tax list) and 8 November 1633 ( date of inventory). (In the allocation of mowing ground on 1 July 1633 Francis Eaton was not assigned a location, and there was granted to "Mr. Williams that which Fr[ancis] Eaton cut last year" [PCR 1:15], so Eaton may already have died by that date.)

MARRIAGE: (1) By 1619 Sarah __ , who came on the Mayflower and died early in 1621 [Bradford 446].

(2) About 1622 Dorothy __ , who died soon after [TAG 72:304, 308-9]. (She is thought to be the unnamed maidservant of John Carver who "married and died a year or two after [1620], here in this place" [Bradford 444].)

By about 1626 CHRISTIAN PENN, a passenger on the Anne; she married (2) in July 1634 Francis Billington [PCR 1 :31 ], son of JOHN BILLINGTON [PM 56].

CHILDREN:

With first wife

  1. SAMUEL EATON, b. late 1619 or early 1620; apprenticed 13 August 1636 to John Cooke the younger for seven years [PCR 1:43]; m. (1) by 1646 Elizabeth __ , who died between 5 October 1652 and 10 January 1660[/1] [MF 9:5]; m. (2) Plymouth 10 January 1660[/1] Martha Billington [PCR 8:22], his stepsister.

With third wife

  1. RACHEL EATON, b. Plymouth about 1626 (deposed on 22 July 1648 "aged about 23 years" [PCR 2:132]; deposed on 5 October 1652 "aged twenty-six years or thereabouts" [PCR 3:18]); m. Plymouth 2 March 1645/6 Joseph Ramsden (or Ramsdell) [PCR 2:94; MD 36:187-89].
  2. BENJAMIN EATON, b. Plymouth in March 1627/8; apprenticed 11 February 1635/6 to Bridget Fuller for fourteen years [PCR 1:36-37]; placed in service to John Winslow on 14 January 1642/3, "being about xv years in March next" [PTR 1:12]; m. Plymouth 4 December 1660 Sarah Hoskins [PCR 8:22], daughter of WILLIAM HOSKINS {1634, Plymouth} [GM 2:3:414-20].
  3. Child EATON, b. Plymouth say 1630; an idiot, living 1651 [Bradford 447].

COMMENTS: Bradford tells us that on the Mayflower were "Francis Eaton and Sarah his wife, and Samuel their son, a young child," and then in 1651 reports that "Francis Eaton his first wife died in the general sickness. And he married again and his second wife died, and he married the third and had by her three children. One of them is married and hath a child. The others are living but one of them is an idiot. He [Francis Eaton] died about 16 years ago. His son Samuel who came over a sucking child, is also married and hath a child" [Bradford 443, 446-47].

The four persons who earned the allotment of four acres in the 1623 land division were Francis Eaton, his deceased first wife, his second wife and his son Samuel Eaton [MQ 40:13].

BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: In 1996 Robert S. Wakefield revised the earlier account of the family of Francis Eaton in the "Silver Series" of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants [MF 9]. In 1997 Neil D. Thompson published the information that confirmed earlier suggestions as to the English origin of Francis Eaton [TAG 72:301-4]. At the same time David L. Greene presented additional comments on the life and family of this immigrant [TAG 72:305-9].

The Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony 1620-1633

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