Francis Eaton, "Mayflower" Passenger

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Francis Eaton, "Mayflower" Passenger's Geni Profile

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Francis Eaton

Also Known As: "Francis Etton", "Eaten", "Eeaton"
Birthplace: St. Thomas Parish, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
Death: before November 26, 1633
Plymouth, Plymouth Colony, Colonial America (Epidemic)
Place of Burial: Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States of America
Immediate Family:

Son of John Eaton and Dorothy Eaton
Husband of Sarah Eaton, "Mayflower" Passenger; Dorothy Eaton, "Mayflower" passenger and Christian Billington
Father of Samuel Eaton, "Mayflower" Passenger; Rachel Ramsden; Benjamin Eaton and Unknown "ideote child" Eaton
Brother of John Eaton; Jane Eaton; Samuel Eaton and Welthian Eaton

Occupation: Mayflower ship's carpenter, being in the employ of the Merchant Adventurers, financial supporters of the Mayflower venture
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Francis Eaton, "Mayflower" Passenger

Francis Eaton

  • AKA Etton, Eaten, Eeaton
  • passenger of the Mayflower in 1620
  • Birth: BEF 11 SEP 1596
  • Baptism: 11 SEP 1596 St. Thomas, Bristol, Gloucester, England
  • Death: Bet 25 Oct and 8 Nov 1633 in Plymouth, Plymouth Colony (of disease)
  • Occupation: House Carpenter
  • Parents: John Eaton (married on 14 October 1594 at Bristol, "county Gloucester," England) to Dorothy Smith

Writer Ambrose Bierce is a descendant.


Francis married three times.[7]

He married first, by 1620 in England, to Sarah Unknown, who was aboard the Mayflower. She died in early 1621 at Plymouth Colony.

Child of Sarah and Francis Eaton:

  1. SAMUEL (MAYFLOWER) EATON b: ABT 1620. Married 1) Elizabeth 2) Martha Billington (step sister).

He married about 1622, as his 2nd wife, to Dorothy Unknown, a maidservant of John Carver).[1] She died soon after their marriage, and she and Francis had no children. An agreement in Dec 1626 provides her given name "Dorothy". It also implies that she was still living. She may actually have been dead, but news had not reached the agent who made the 1626 agreement.

He married about 1626 or early 1627, as his 3rd wife, and as her 1st husband, to Christian Penn, passenger aboard the Anne.[3] She married (after Francis's death) in July 1634, as her 2nd, to Francis Billington, son of John Billington of the Mayflower. She apparently died about 1684.

Children of Christian and Francis Eaton:

  1. Rachel Eaton. Married Joseph Ramsdell.
  2. Benjamin Eaton b: Bet 1 Jun and 31 Aug 1627 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA. Married Sarah Hoskins.
  3. Unknown "Ideote" Eaton


Francis Eaton was baptized in 1596 in Bristol, Gloucester, England, the son of John and Dorothy (Smith) Eaton. Nearly all of Francis Eaton's siblings died in 1603/1604, apparently due to a sickness that had spread throughout the household. He and brother Samuel did survive; Francis would name his first son Samuel.

Francis was, by trade, a carpenter. That he was able to sign his own name to a deed indicates at least a basic level of education.

He married his first wife, Sarah, probably around 1619, and they had their first child Samuel about 1620. Francis, Sarah, and "sucking" child Samuel came on the Mayflower to Plymouth in 1620.

Sarah died the first winter at Plymouth, and Francis then remarried to Dorothy, the maidservant of John Carver, sometime before 1623. John Carver had died in April 1621, and his wife Katherine died a few weeks later, so perhaps the marriage occurred not long thereafter.

In the 1623 Division of Land at Plymouth, Francis Eaton received four shares: one for himself, one for his deceased first wife Sarah, one for Samuel, and one for his current wife Dorothy, all of whom came on the Mayflower.

Dorothy died sometime shortly thereafter: no children are known to have been born from their marriage. Francis then married, about 1626, to Christiana Penn, and they had three children together: Rachel, Benjamin, and a child that was called "an ideote" that was still living in 1651, but whose name has not survived.

Francis Eaton himself died in 1633, apparently suffering the same fate as his siblings in childhood, dying of a disease that spread through Plymouth that autumn. Francis Eaton's estate included one cow and a calf, two hogs, fifty bushels of corn, a black suit, a white hat and a black hat, boots, saws, hammers, an adze, square, augers, a chisel, boards, fishing lead, and some kitchen items.

Francis Eaton death, estate and burial

Francis Eaton died in the autumn of 1633, possibly as the result of an epidemic that spread through the colony that year and also claimed the lives of fellow Mayflower passengers Peter Browne and Samuel Fuller. By the time of his death his was a freeman.

On 26 November 1633, the Plymouth Court proclaimed "…Francis Eaton, carpenter, late of Plymouth, deceased, died indebted far more than the estate…" Thomas Prence and John Doane were involved in the estate process with the probate inventory being drawn up the same day by James Hurst, Francis Cooke and Phineas Pratt, revealing how meager his estate was due to Eaton's dire financial situation.

Prior to his death, due apparently to his shortage of finances, Eaton had sold off all his lands and house. At his death what was left of his estate was only his livestock, household goods and carpentry tools, the total of which only made up 1/3 of the value of his total debts. But Christian, his widow, apparently was not held liable for his debts by the Court which proclaimed that "… the widow be freed and acquitted from any claim or demand of all or any his creditors whatsoever."

Francis Eaton died without a will, but we do have the inventory of his estate at the time of his death. Click < here > for Francis Eaton's inventory.

His burial site is unknown.

Burial of the wives of Francis Eaton

The burial place of his first wife Sarah is unknown, but most likely her burial was in an unmarked grave on Cole's Hill, the first Pilgrim burial location, as with so many others who died the first winter of 1621. The reason for the unmarked graves was so that the Native Americans would not know how decimated their numbers were, with so many deaths. She is memorialized on the Pilgrim Memorial Tomb (Sarcophagus) on Cole's Hill in Plymouth with: "Sarah, first wife of Francis Eaton."

The burial places of his second and third wives, Dorothy and Christian, are unknown.


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Francis Eaton, "Mayflower" Passenger's Timeline

September 11, 1596
St. Thomas Parish, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
September 11, 1596
St. Thomas Parish church, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
September 11, 1596
St. Thomas, Bristol, , Gloucestershire, England
- 1633
Age 18
England (United Kingdom)
August 1620
Age 23
Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA; Immigration: from Egland on the "Mayflower"