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Descendants of William and George Phelps

Written by John Plummer, transcribed by David Phelps.

Origins of the Recovery Passengers

Most, if not all, of the twenty-six passengers on the Recovery appear to have originated in England's contiguous counties of Dorsetshire, Somerset, and Devonshire. In fact, references to them are concentrated at the point where the three counties meet—as well as around the ports of Weymouth (from which they sailed) and Dorchester (eight miles inland from Weymouth). This area also had a concentration of Puritan ministers with connections to Massachusetts.

The Reverend William Walton, who witnessed English letters of administration on the estate of the father of one Recovery passenger, was curate of Seaton in Devonshire, five miles from the Dorsetshire border.34

The Reverend Joseph Hull was rector of Northleigh in Devonshire, five miles from Seaton, between 1621 and 1632. 35

The Reverend John Maverick's father had been a minister in Awliscombe, Devonshire, five miles from Northleigh.36 The Reverend John Warham was a vicar in Crewkerne, Somerset, just nine miles from the Devonshire border.37 Also from this tri-county area was the Reverend John White, whom history calls the Father of Massachusetts, even though he remained in old Dorchester.38 Noteworthy, too is the fact that the first minister of Taunton, William Hook, had been vicar of Axmouth, Devonshire, where Hezekiah Hoare's father held land.39

The religious body led by these Puritan ministers in England undoubtedly included a number of Recovery passengers. One of the men (Terry) and the husbands of two female passengers (Hill and Cogan) actually had been made freemen before the Recovery arrived in the New World; 40 and their family connections in the Old World were surely not coincidental. Terry's mother was a sister of the Reverend White;41 and the mother-in-law attributed to both Hill and Cogan was of Exeter in Devonshire,42 one of many places where Reverend Warham preached.43

Among the other passengers, Newberry was evidently well-known to the diarist of Dorchester who recorded his departure in April 1634;44 and Pope, prior to leaving England, had married a daughter of Nicholas Clap of Ottery Venn in Devonshire,45 whose brother was a Crewkerne parishioner of the Reverend Warham.46

A similar pattern appears when the Old World lives of several other Recovery passengers are examined. Parkman was of Sidmouth in Dorsetshire,47 the very place where passenger Hoare was baptized.48 Elwell is said to have been from Stoke Abbott, Dorsetshire.49 Dibble and David Phippen were both from Weymouth in the same shire;50 Swift came from nearby Dorchester;51 and Eames and Bascomb were both from Fordington, just outside Dorchester.52 Gillette, who apparently had made a prior voyage on the Mary and John, was from Colyton in Devonshire.53 Another passenger, Joseph Andrews, is said to have been from Devonshire also.54

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David Phelps Phelps Family Research
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