About William Latham, "Mayflower" Passenger
Birth: About 1609.
Marriage: Mary (---), before 1643.
Death: Between 1645 and 1651, in the Bahamas.
Children: No known children.
Notes for William Latham:
William Latham came on the Mayflower in 1620 as an 11-year old servant/apprentice to the John Carver family. His origins in England have not been determined, but there is a William Latham baptized on 4 February 1608/9 in Eccleston by Chorley, Lancashire, England, son of Hugh and Eline Latham that would be the right age. Eccleston by Chorley is the area Myles Standish came from.
After the death of John Carver in April 1621, William Latham appears to have finished out his term of service with William Bradford. He was still in the Bradford household in the May 1627 Division of Cattle. Latham was taxed 9 shillings in both 1633 and 1634. In July 1633, Myles Standish was appointed to mow the land owned by William Latham and Edward Bumpass. In July 1635, William Latham witnessed the deed of Edward Bumpass selling his land to John Washborn. In 1636, Myles Standish was granted the use of land neighboring that owned by Washborn and Latham, provided he mow it but leave enough for Washborn's one cow.
In 1638, William Latham had a couple of brushes with the Plymouth Court. On June 5, he was fined 40 shillings for the "entertaining of John Phillips into his house contrary to the act of the Court" and for "lavish and slanderous speeches." Jonathan Brewster was a witness against him. By September, Latham had only paid half the fine. On December 4, 1638, Latham still owed 11 shillings, and was ordered not to depart Plymouth Colony without first obtaining a license. The debt was paid 6 January 1639. And on July 6, 1638, William Reynolds sold half of his share in the black cow to John Phillips, and John Phillips then sold William Latham all his crop of Indian corn. On 26 December 1639, William Latham sold his house and property in Duxbury, and apparently moved to Marblehead, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1641, he deposed he was about 32-years old, and testified in a lawsuit between John Moses and Thomas Keyser. About 1643, he moved to Marshfield, where he is found on the 1643 list of men able to bear arms.
On 24 February 1643/4, a warrant was issued against William Latham's wife Mary for adultery. Governor Edward Winslow of the Plymouth Colony wrote "Whereas divers and sundry complaints have come in to me from Weymouth sent and delivered by godly and credible persons against Mary the wife of William Latham late of Marblehead but now at Marshfield for adultery committed upon the body of the said Mary by one James Brittain of Weymouth. And having apprehended the said Mary and examined her, have sent her with the examination according to my duty to that Government where the fact was committed."
On 28 October 1645, William Latham and Roger Cooke sued John and Ann Baker for 20£, for Ann's accidental burning of their house. The jury could not reach a verdict, but John Baker agreed to pay 20 shillings for damages.
The accidental burning of Latham's house is the last record of him in Plymouth Colony. He apparently returned to England and then shortly thereafter made a trip to the Bahamas, where he and the group he was traveling with all died of starvation.
William Latham, "Mayflower" Passenger's Timeline
September 6, 1620
- September 16, 1620
Signing the Mayflower Compact 1620, a painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris 1899
Not listed on geni currently:
November 9, 1620
- November 19, 1620
Plymouth Rock on the Mayflower
On November 9/19, 1620, after about 3 months at sea, including a month of delays in England, they spotted land, which was the Cape Cod Hook, now called Provincetown Harbor. After several days of trying to get south to their planned destination of the Colony of Virginia, strong winter seas forced them to return to the harbor at Cape Cod hook, where they anchored on November 11/21. The Mayflower Compact was signed that day.
Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Excerpt from Desperate Crossing--The Untold Story of the Mayflower. An excellent History Channel overview of the Mayflower journey. It tells about several in the 3 videos Edward Winslow is one of them.
September 21, 1621
- November 11, 1621
Plymouth Plantation, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States
Edward Winslow, Mourt's Relation:
Harvest festival observed by the Pilgrims at Plymouth
Squanto, a Patuxet Native American who resided with the Wampanoag tribe, taught the Pilgrims how to catch eel and grow corn and served as an interpreter for them. Squanto had learned the English language during his enslavement in England. The Wampanoag leader Massasoit had given food to the colonists during the first winter when supplies brought from England were insufficient.
The Pilgrims celebrated at Plymouth for three days after their first harvest in 1621. The exact time is unknown, but James Baker, then Plimoth Plantation vice president of research, stated in 1996, "The event occurred between Sept. 21 and Nov. 11, 1621, with the most likely time being around Michaelmas (Sept. 29), the traditional time."  Seventeenth-century accounts do not identify this as a thanksgiving observance, rather it followed the harvest. It included 50 persons who were on the Mayflower (all who remained of the 100 who had landed) and 90 Native Americans. The feast was cooked by the four adult Pilgrim women who survived their first winter in the New World (Eleanor Billington, Elizabeth Hopkins, Mary Brewster, and Susanna (White) Winslow), along with young daughters and male and female servants.
"Pilgrims" are often confused with "Puritans". This sculpture The Pilgrim by Augustus St. Gaudens is based on his earlier work The Puritan
William Bradford, in Of Plymouth Plantation wrote:
They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.
The First Thanksgiving 1621, oil on canvas by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899). The painting shows common misconceptions about the event that persist to modern times: Pilgrims did not wear such outfits, and the Wampanoag are dressed in the style of Native Americans from the Great Plains.
Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.
The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, oil on canvas by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe (1914)
Referring to the 1623 harvest after the nearly catastrophic drought, Bradford wrote:
And afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving… By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine now God gave them plenty … for which they blessed God. And the effect of their particular planting was well seen, for all had … pretty well … so as any general want or famine had not been amongst them since to this day.
These first hand accounts do not appear to have contributed to the early development of the holiday. Bradford's "Of Plymouth Plantation" was not published until the 1850s. While the booklet "Mourt's Relation" was summarized by other publications without the now familiar thanksgiving story. By the eighteenth century the original booklet appeared to be lost or forgotten. A copy was rediscovered in Philadelphia in 1820, with the first full reprinting in 1841. In a footnote the editor, Alexander Young, was the first person to identify the 1621 feast as "the first Thanksgiving".