Peter Worden, I (1569 - 1639) MP

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Birthplace: Chorley, Lancashire, England
Death: Died in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Massachusetts
Occupation: textile merchant and leased from the town of Preston Lancashire, England, a shop and stall in the Moothall being on the ground floor under the Council chamber in the center of Preston.
Managed by: Diane Bowen
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Peter Worden, I

Peter Worden

Plaque inscription:

Peter Worden 1569 - 1639 Peter Worden 1609 - 1681 Mary Worden 1686

Old Worden Cemetery, Dennis, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States of America

Notes:This cemetery was also known as the Winslow Cemetery and the Homer Cemetery

-------------------- ▼Life in England Peter married Margaret Grice, daughter of Thomas and Alice Grice, and widow of Anthony Wall, between February 1603 and March 1604, according to a 1607 Palatine Chancery Court action (PRO-PL6/1, No. 37). She was born between 1566 and 1571, probably in Warrington, Lancashire. She died early in 1612. She had five children by her first husband, who died in 1601.

Peter Worden was listed as "Gentleman" in several documents, and he was a member of the Town Council of Preston, Lancashire, England, which is located about five miles from Clayton. He was a "Foreign (outsider) Burgess" in Preston, and he leased a shop in the Guild hall, located next to the Preston Market Place, on 01 October 1617. The preston Guild Rolls trace his membership in 1582, 1602, and 1622 and that of his father Robert and grandfather William. He was last recorded in Preston on 21 January 1629, when, according to the early archives of Preston Borough, he loaned 8 shillings to the Borough for a project concerned with common lands.

[edit] ▼Life in New England In 1630 the Plague, which had already ravaged London, struck Preston, and 1069 people out of a population of 3000 died within the year. Peter Worden, his son, and their families probably left Preston because of the plague, as did many of the other survivors, because he next appears in the American Colonies in the mid 1630s. He was probably one of those who came "On Their Perticulers" (not belonging to any general group of emigrants from England sharing a common sectarian religion--such as the Pilgrims.)

Peter sailed to America with his son Peter Worden in about 1637, although there is no evidence of his journey to America. He may have also come with an illegitimate grandson (John Lewis, mentioned in will. He would have been son of Elizabeth and John Lewis, a married priest who was defrocked and debarred over the affair.). His daughters and wife were dead by 1638.

It is believed that Peter Worden was first in Lynn, Massachusetts before moving to Yarmouth in 1639. In The History of Old Yarmouth, by Charles F. Swift, is the following: "At the extreme easterly part of the Town, Peter Worden [sic] the elder and younger have established themselves, in spite of the opposition of some of their associates, and here the former died the first year of settlement." He is rumored to have been first European land owner in Yarmouth (now East Dennis, Massachusetts). A partial quote from the Dennis-Yarmouth Register published in 1891 states, "Old Werden was doubtless the first Englishman who died and was buried in town. The region of his settlement was in East Dennis. This grave is in the ancient burial place southeast of the Hall, named for him."

Peter Worden's will was probated on 05 March 1639. It is the first will printed in the Plymouth Court Records. A copy of the will remains in the Barnstable Probate Court. In his will Peter Worden left most of his real and personal property in both England and America to his son, Peter Worden. Both he and his son are buried in the Worden Cemetery, overlooking Cape Cod Bay. The cemetery is located on the south side of Route 6A in the Town of Dennis near the border of the Town of Brewster. Diectly across Route 6A, in a pasture, is a small foundation said to be from the house of the elder Peter Worden. The barn in the pasture is said to be built on the original foundation of the house of his son, Peter Worden. Worden Hall, after a varied career, was purchased by an artist, handsomely restored - the name Worden Hall in gold leaf - and is now a home and art gallery. It is interesting to note that no Worden has ever lived there. It was built in 1866 and named in memorial of Peter I, the first European land owner in East Dennis.

The cemetary has in recent years been called the Homer Hall Cemetary instead of the Worden-Winslow Cemetary. The Winslow part of the name coming from Mercy Werden's marriage to Kenelm Winslow. They and many of their descendents are buried there. In 1970, a brass plaque was placed on Peter's grave by the Dennis Cemetary Commission. To quote the Cape Cod Standard Times, "The final resting place was honored with a suitable plaque in simple ceremonies and the ancient cemetary of the Werdens will be preserved as one of the historical spots of Dennis."

[edit] Timeline Birth: cir __ ___ 1576 Clayton, Lancashire. 1582 Preston, Lancashire; appeared as out Burgess in the Guild Rolls. 1602 Preston, Lancashire; also appears as an out burgess in the Guild Rolls. Marriage: cir __ ___ 1603 1609-1613 Preston, Lancashire; served on the town council and his signature appears in White book of orders in 1610 and 1612 and served as juror nine times between 1609 and 1613. Occupation: cir __ ___ 1610 Preston, Lancashire, England; resided in Preston where he worked in some kind of textile business. 1616 Preston, Lancashire; A land transaction portrays Peter as a Gentleman. 01 Oct 1617 Preston, Lancashire; leased a shop in the Moothall (town hall/guild hall) in the market place. 1622 Preston, Lancashire; appears as out Burgess along with son as Peter Wearden. cir __ ___ 1625 Lancashire; Peter was Inspector of cloth (an alnager) for the county. 21 Jan 1630 Preston; On 21 Jul 1630 he was repaid 8 shillings by the town, which he had lent them. 1631 bought a quantity of wine and later sold the wine and some cloth to Hugh Swansey. cir __ ___ 1635 Clayton; Sometime before Peter came to America, William, Peter's brother had mortgaged some of his lands to Peter for a small sum of money. This might have been part of the property in Clayton, which Peter referred to in his will. 1636 Lancashire; In a 1636 court proceeding, he referred to his home, which he inhabited as in Clayton. Note: b 07 Jan 1638/39 came to America, perhaps first to Lynn although no record of this has been found. He may have first learned of the Plymouth Colony from Myles Standish, a relative of the Standish family whom Peter knew in England. 07 Jan 1638/39 Yarmouth, Ma; A General Court of Assistance was held in Plymouth Colony, which listed the names of men to whom grants of land had been made. The list of grantees was followed by a list of four men already there "Psons there excepted against ...Old Worden, Burnell, Wright, Wat Deuille." Will: 09 Feb 1639 Yarmouth, MA; dated 9 Feb 1638 and proved 9 Mar 1639, witnessed by Nicholis Sympkins, Heugh Tillie and Giles Hopkins. Family genealogists have long wondered who the John Lewis provided for in the will was. In 1992 it was discovered that Peter's daughter, Elizabeth, prior to her marriage, gave birth to an illegitimate child, fathered by a married priest by the name of John Lewis. Death: 05 Mar 1638/39 MA; Peter died between February 9, 1638/9 and March 5, 1638/9. It has been thought that he was buried in the Worden Family cemetery in East Dennis but recently this has been questioned. [edit] ▼Will Last Will & Testament [1638]

The last will and testament of Peter Werden, of Yarmouth, Ye elder deceased proved at ye General Court held at Plymouth, the 5th day of March, in ye 13th year of ye reign of our sovereign Lord Charles I, King of England, etc., 1638, by ye oathes of Mr. Nicholas Sympkins, Hugh Tillie, & Giles Hopkins - as followeth. Be it know unto all men to whom this doth or may concerne, that I, Peter Werden, of Yarmouth, in New England, in the Plymouth Patten being very sicke, in this yeare of our Lord 1638, and on ye 9th day of February, do make my last will to testify unto all that I, Peter Werden, do give and bequeath unto Peter Werden, my only sonne, and sonne and heir, and in the presence of Nicholas Sympkins, Hugh Tillie, and Giles Hopkins, I do make him my whole executor, to whom I do give all my lands, leases, tenements with goods moveable and unmoveable town of in the town of Clayton in the county of Lankester. Likewise do I give unto Peter, my sonne, all my goods which I have at this present in New England. My will is my sonne is to give to John Lewis one nat goat, also my will is my sonne is to give my grandchild such money as is due for the keeping of goates and calves until this day and that my sonne is with the money to buy John a kid to dispose it otherwise for his use. Also one bed or bolster, 3 blankets, also my sonne is to have the tuition of my grandchild until he be at the age of one and twenty years of age, also my will is he shall fynd him with meate, drink and clothes, and at the three last years of the 21 years also to have 40 shillings the year after and above, for to add to his stock with a sowe pigg when the sowe piggs.

In witness we present set our hand

Nicholas Sympkins Hugh Tilly A His Mark Giles Hopkins G His Mark Witnessess deposed 5th march 1638

This Last Will & Testament was published in the "Mayflower Descendents" Volume 3, 1901, page 75.

▼References ↑ Worden Origins, p. 83.

 Roberts, Gary Boyd. Ancestors of American Presidents. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009).

Ancestor of Rutherford B. Hayes and descendant of William I of Scotland

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Peter Worden, I's Timeline

1569
1569
Chorley, Lancashire, England
1590
1590
Age 21
Yarmouth-Cape Cod, Barnstable, Massachusetts, Usa
1598
December, 1598
Age 29
Clayton, Lancashire, England
1598
Age 29
1603
1603
Age 34
England
1604
1604
Age 35
England
1605
1605
Age 36
England
1607
1607
Age 38
Clayton, Lancashire, , England
1609
1609
Age 40
Clayton, Lancashire, England
1630
1630
Age 61
See notes.