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Good morning. Are you enjoying my 2020 A to Z Challenge so far? I hope you’ve taken the plunge with me and started your 14 day trial of so we can go through this together. Maybe we’ll even discover a common ancestor!

One ancestor that I know I share with tens of thousands of Americans would be – William Brewster (a Mayflower Pilgrim). So for the letter “B”, I wanted to share some trivia about Elder William Brewster.

#1. William Brewster Was the Senior Elder at Plymouth Colony

TRIVIA: Brewster was the only Pilgrim with political and diplomatic experience.

The Brewsters offered their home in Scrooby (seen below) as a meeting house for the Brownist church (separatists from the Church of England).

Scrooby Manor Photograph taken in 19th century

In 1608, Brewster successfully escaped England without permission (which was against the law) and settled in Holland and Leiden before coming to Plymouth Colony where they could worship freely.

Brewster began working a printing press and publishing religious books and pamphlets that were then illegally conveyed into England. Thomas Brewer (his partner) was arrested and held in the University of Leiden’s prison but Brewster managed to evade the authorities and went into hiding for a couple years.

As the elder of the church, his responsibilities included seeing that the congregation’s members “carried themselves properly”.

He undertook the role of spiritual leader until the colony’s first pastor, Ralph Smith, arrived in 1629.

Afterwards he served as an advisor to Governor William Bradford who wrote a biography of Brewster in Of Plymouth Plantation.

#2. William Brewster Lost 2 Daughters to Influenza

It seemed timely to share that William Brewster, the Elder of the community at Plymouth Colony, sadly lost 2 of his grown daughters to influenza in 1634 – Fear Brewster Allerton (wife of Isaac Allerton, a signatory to the Mayflower Compact) and Patience Brewster Prence (wife of Thomas Prence, 4th Governor of Plymouth).

The 1633-1634 outbreak of Smallpox and Influenza came over to the American Colonies with the European settlers. Native Americans and Colonists alike suffered large losses.

It was not until 1770 when Edward Jenner found a vaccine that helped the recipients become immune.

Thankfully medicine and science have come a long way since.

#3. 7 Places Named after William Brewster

7 cool places to visit named after a mayflower pilgrim

  • Great Brewster, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Little Brewster, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Middle Brewster, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Outer Brewster, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Brewster Gardens, Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • Brewster, Massachusetts
  • Brewster, Nebraska

#4. Famous Descendants of William Brewster

are you descended from William Brewster? #atozchallenge #ancestry #williambrewster #glennclose #ashleyjudd #ellen #thejoyousliving

Bing Crosby through daughter Patience Brewster Prence (mentioned in #2)

Norman Rockwell through daughter Patience Brewster Prence (mentioned in #2)

William Wadsworth Longfellow through son Love Brewster and his wife Sarah Collier

First Lady Mamie Eisenhower through son Love Brewster and his wife Sarah Collier

Katharine Hepburn through son Jonathan Brewster and his wife Lucretia Oldham

Julia Child through son Jonathan Brewster and his wife Lucretia Oldham

Glenn Close through son Jonathan Brewster and his wife Lucretia Oldham

Ashley Judd through son Jonathan Brewster and his wife Lucretia Oldham

Richard Gere through son Jonathan Brewster and his wife Lucretia Oldham

Ellen DeGeneres through son Jonathan Brewster and his wife Lucretia Oldham

and so many more!!!

#5. My Connection to William Brewster (11th Great Grandfather)


My mother

My grandmother

Hildred Julia Young & Charles Harry Connors [Pepper]

Ella Jane Maxson & Nelson Young

James S. Maxson & Julia Maria Manning

Phylomel Dayton & Benjamin C. Maxson

Tabitha Welton & Isaac Dayton

Ann Brewster & Daniel Welton

Samuel Brewster & Tabitha Baldwin

William Brewster & Patience Reed

Captain Benjamin Brewster & Anna Addis

Jonathan Brewster & Lucretia Oldham

Elder William Brewster


The Brewster Genealogy, 1566-1907 (

Elder William Brewster, of the Mayflower: His Books and Autographs, with other notes (amazon)

Chief of the Pilgrims, Or, the Life and Time of William Brewster (amazon)


5 Intriguing Facts About William Brewster #WilliamBrewster #Brewster #Genealogy #Ancestry 


Are you a descendant of Elder William Brewster?