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Great Migration: Passengers of the Lyon's Whelp, 1629

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  • Hugh Tilley, alias Hillyer, of Yarmouth (bef.1613 - 1648)
    Biography From Anderson’s The Great Migration Begins Hugh Tilley aka Hillier was born about 1617 (based on estimated marriage year) most likely in England. He died in 1647 in Barnstable. By his wif...
  • "Farmer" William Dodge, of Beverly (c.1604 - c.1685)
    William Dodge of Beverly, known as Farmer William Dodge b.1604/1609 East Coker, Somerset, England Married: Oct 8 1632 d.AFT 12 May 1685 Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts Brief Biography O...
  • Millicent Sprague (1615 - 1696)
    Millicent came over on the pilgrim ship "Lion's Whelp" in 1629. William Sprague, immigrant ancestor and progenitor, was a son of Edward Sprague, of Upway, Dorsetshire, England. Edward Sprague lived...
  • Joanna Converse (c.1603 - 1680)
    Ralph Sprague married in Fordington St. George, Dorsetshire, 15 August 1623 Johane/Joan Warren, daughter of Thomas Warren. Joan Sprague was admitted to Boston church as member #103, immediately after h...
  • Richard Sprague (1604 - 1668)
    Richard Sprague Birth: Circa 1605 - Upwey, Dorsetshire, England Death: Nov 25 1668 - Charlestown, Suffolk County, MA Parents: Edward Sprague, Christian possibly Holland "The Sprague Family:...

The Higginson Fleet

The Lyon's Whelp left the Thames, Gravesend, England April 5, 1629 along with five other ships, George Bonaventure, Four Sisters, Lyon, the Mayflower and the Talbot, arriving  in Salem June 1629.

“Now in this year 1629, a great company of people (The Higginson Fleet) of good rank, zeal, means and quality have made a great stock, and with six good ships in the months of April and May, they set sail from Thames for the Bay of the Massachusetts, otherwise called Charles River.  The fleet consisted of, the George Bonaventure of twenty pieces of ordnance; the Talbot nineteen; the Lion’s Whelp eight; the Mayflower fourteen; the Four sisters fourteen and the Pilgrim four, with 350 men women and children, also 115 head of cattle, as horses, mares, cows and oxen, 41 goats, some conies (rabbits), with all provision for household and apparel, 6 pieces of great ordnance for a fort, with muskets, pikes, corselets, drums, colors, and with all provisions necessary for a plantation for the good of man.” (The True Travels, Adventures and Observations of Captain John Smith – London 1630)

Charles Banks Topo lists the following passengers:

  1. Eedes, William, from Dorsethsire, bound for Salem. Ref: Hist Record of Putman Co, NY. 36 pg 37.
  2. Hoyt, Simon, from Upway, bound for Charlestown and Salem, Dorchester, Windsor Ct. Ref: Hist Record of Putman Co, NY. Notation states he was aboard to Lions Whelp or the Abigail, 1629. 36 pg 36.
  3. Sprague, Ralph, Richard and William, all from Upway, Dorsetshire, bound for Salem 169. Ref: Pope. 36 pg 35.
  4. Stower, first name unknown, from Upway, Dorsetshire, bound for Charlestown, MA 1629.
  5. Tilly, Hugh, from Somersetshire, bound for Salem and Yarmouth. Ref: Mass Col Rec
  6. Thomas Minor


In 1629 a Lion's Whelp sailed with four other ships from Gravesend on April 25, 1629 for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Arrived and greeted by Governor John Endecott on June 30, 1629. All ships were armed merchantmen. Eight cannon were listed for this Lion's Whelp which is the number carried by the Duke of Buckingham's Lion's Whelps and most armed pinnaces as well. Is this ship Buckingham's second Lion's Whelp, diverted for a cross Atlantic run with settlers and provisions to the Massachusetts Bay Colony? A careful scrutiny of the record is not supportive of this conclusion. This Lion's Whelp is tentatively identified as the 120-ton ship that brought William Dodge, along with the Sprague family and others to Salem, Massachusetts in 1629. The Lyon's Whelp left Gravesend 24/25 April 1629 and arrived in Salem mid-July 1629, under Master John Gibbs (or Gibbon). It was one of six ships in a small fleet; the others including the Talbot, George Bonaventure, Lyon, and a ship called the Mayflower (though not the Mayflower of the Pilgrims). This Lion's Whelp and her sister ships the Talbot and the George carried goods and new settlers to Naumkaeg, the Indian name for the territory settled by England's Massachusetts Bay Company at Salem.

Lyon's Whelp sources: