Second Generation






1.†† Recallingthatthe younger Peter Worden,son of Peter

ye elder, was listed on the 1622 Preston Guild Roll along

with his father, we've lost track of him for 16-17 years, as we next find him at Yarmouth, Cape Cod, within the Plymouth Colony, in 1638/9.


2. The first inkling of his presence there is by way of implication (rather than proof) in the text of his father's will. That will charges Peter the younger with certain responsibilities toward a grandson of the elder Peter,

including that of providing him with "meate, drinke, and cloathes." Others involve goats and pigs and some money for the grandchild. These imposed duties imply that Peter II

was near at hand in Yarmouth at the time - February 9, 1638/9. Thereafter, in the records of the Plymouth Colony Court, there is ample documentary proof of his being in

Yarmouth up to the time of his death in 1680/1.



June 2, 1640.


(Ref. A).




"Nicholas Sympkins, Peter Worden, and Ivillm Chase are graunted a warrant to attach and deuide the goods of one

Phillips Woodall, left in the said Nicholas Sympkins hands, who is deptd the goument some tyme since, being seually endebted to them & others, and to make satisfaccon so farr as the said goods will extend, to themselues and others."




Auqust 1643. (Ref. B).


"The Names of all the Males that are able to beare Armes from xvj Yeares old to 60 Yeares, wthin the seurall TOIvnshipps. "


"Yarmouth 1643"


Three pages following this heading is a list of 52 men, including Peter Worden and Heugh Tilly, "als Hillier." Hugh Tilly, one of the witnesses to the will of PW I has an alias. In England at that time there were many legitimate reasons for the use of aliases, generally to fine-tune one's identity, such as the addition of the mother's name or of a place-name. There were other reasons, too numerous to recount here, but Ref. C has a good expianation.




The heading of this 1643 list refers to men aged 16-60.

(Peter II was then aged about 35 years). In that year military companies were authorized and organized in each town, and the inhabitants were directed by government "to provide a place of defence against sudden assault." (Of Indians).


1644. (Ref. D).




In the year 1644 a map was drawn up, either by the Colony or by the Town of Yarmouth, in which the locations of 21 families and one meeting _ouse were plotted. The land and

homestead of Peter Worden is plotted thereon as No. 15. A copy of this map is on a following page.






(Ref. E).


"Yarmouth Regester of the Beirth of their




Despite the 1648 heading, this list seems to the year 1642 because the first entry is:






"Hannah, the daughter of Richard Templare, was borne the fift of January, anno Dom 1642." (Underlines mine.The year was Old Style. New style would be 1643).


Entries which follow are in chronological order by day and month for 12 months, without any other year being shown. They go into the following February, which would be 1643 Old Style (1644 New Style). After births on December 7th and 16th, another is recorded for January 22nd. That one is then followed by:


"The daughter of Peeter Worden, Febrewary the tenth."


Because of the foregoing, Peter's daughter may well have been born in 1643/4 rather than 1648. It is unfortunate that her name was not recorded.




May 14, 1648.


(Ref. F).


Despite the 1644 map, there was still some squabbling going on in Yarmouth regarding ownership of land. In the Plymouth Colony Court Records we find this entry:


"At Yarmouth, the xiiijth day of May, 1648, by Captain Standish, who was authorised by the Court holden at Plimouth the 7th of March 1647, to haue the hearing and to put an end

to all differences as doe remayne in the towne of Yarmouth."




Myles Standish had been authorized at a court




held March 7th, 1641 to have this hearing, now being held at Yarmouth on the 14th of May l64_. Again, March 7th was in the year expiring, while the following May is in the next year. Standish was holding his hearing about two months following the authorization by the Court. The old calendar has to be kept in mind. Otherwise events appear to be out of place).


Following this statement of Captain Standish's purpose in holding the hearing, there are listed many pieces of land (in fact, most of Yarmouth) with his disposition of each, including this:

"Item, yt Robert Dennis shall enjoy 12 acars of vpland in the west feild, which hee bought of Peeter Worden, and 10 acars of Mr Hawes, and 7 acars of Mr Hallott, and 4 acars there given him by the towne."


Captain Myles Standish wasted no time. He settled everything in one day. The Court then appointed a committee of three men, and forbade them to dispose of any lands ".. .without the consent of those three or two of them; and if any difference arise between them which they cannot compose themselves, that they repair to Captain Standish for direction." (!!!) There was to be no more squabbling!


June 5, 1651.


(Ref. G).




"At the Generall Court of Election holden at New Plym, for the Jurisdiction of New Plym, the fift of June 1651..." 22 men Ivere slvorn in as jurors for "The Grand Enquest". One of these Ivas Peeter Worden."


June 3, 1652.


(Ref. H).




"Peeter Worden and William Hailstone, for not appearing to serve on the grand enquest, are fined according to order." The amount of the fine is not stated.


1657 (?}_Qr 1639 (?)


(Ref 1).




Th_ government of Plymouth Colony tried to maintain strict control over who lived where within its boundaries.

There were several reasons: to guard against the admission of persons of ill repute; to prevent the entrance of those who might become public charges; to have accurate census of those able to bear arms and those who were to pay taxes

(yes, even in Colonial days!); and to have some inventory of the particular skills of persons within the Colony.


For permission to reside within a town a man (women were not so required) had to petition the Court to "take up his freedome" there. Upon approval, he was further required 0 "take the Oathe of Fidellyty," in which he promised to do




nothing contrary to the interests of the Colony; to report to its government anyone who did; and to obey all laws and ordinances.


He also took the "freeman's oath." Only males were eligible to become "freemen". When a man was approved to "take up his freedome at Yarmouth" (say), he took both the Freeman's Oath and the Oath of Fidelity. Eligibility for the status of freeman began at age 16, at which age a male was also obliged to bear arms for the common defense.


Thus there was published by Court Order, from time to time, the names of men who had been approved to "take up their freedom" at such-and-such a place, and those who had "taken the oath of fidelity."


In R_ference I there is an undated list, sandwiched between two others, both of which were dated 1657: .


"Of Yarmouth that have taken the Oath of Fidellyte"


†††† This is followed by the names of 38 men, including Mr.

Nicholas Symkins, Hugh Tillie als Hillier, Giles Hopkins (all of whom were witnesses to the will of Peter Worden I in 1638/9), and Peter Worden.


Having compared the handwriting of the court clerk and the color of ink in the original list I have found that they closely match a list dated 1639, and do not match any dated 1657. Further, it stands to reason that Peter and these three old friends of 1638/9 would have taken the oath of fidelity long before 1657, especially considering the fact that Peter had been a juror on the Grand Inquest. There are even further reasons to suspect this, but I will not go into them all here. The printed version says 1657, but I think it much more likely that it was 1639, which, perhaps not so incidentally, happens to coincide with the year in which Yarmouth was settled.




March 5, 1666.


(Ref. J).


"Att the Court of fift day of March 1666."






held att Plymouth the


This court convened for the purpose of disposing complaints against several persons, including:




"William Lumpkin and Peter Worden, for causing a disturbance att the meeting house in Yarmouth on the Lords Day, were fined, each of them, ten shillings to the vse of the collonie."


........ and in Ref. K: "Peter Worden and William Lumpkin

were fined 10s. each for causing disturbance in the Yarmouth




meeting-house on the Lord's day, by talking, it is said, in a low voice during service. ... " The 1644 location of the meeting house is shown as #7 on the following map. By the date of this infraction of the rules by Peter (1666) it may have been located at another spot.


l679L80 to _:I-J380/l.


(Ref. L).




Peter made his. will 9 January 1679. A codicil was dated the 29th of July, 1680. His estate was inventoried on January 20, 1680. His will was submitted to Plymouth Colony Court for probate on March 3, 1680. These dates are "Old Style", and are confusing, because it looks as if his inventory and probate took place before he made his codicil. But these are "Old Style" dates. Translated to "Ne,., Style" the chronology is sound:


Old Style


New Style


=9 Jan 1680 29 Jul 1680 20 Jan 1681 3 Mar 1681


a.Will of 9 Jan 1679 b.Codicil of 29 July 1680 c.Inventory of 20 Jan 1680 d.Probate of 3 March 1680


===Peter's will, codicil, and estate inventory, recorded in the Plymouth Colony Records (Ref. L), covers four lengthy pages in the handwriting of the Court Clerk, with erratic spelling typical of the times. Too detailed to include a

verbatim transcript here, pertinent excerpts are given on a following page. He refers lovingly to his wife, Mary; provides adequately for her welfare; makes specific bequests to his three daughters, Mary, "Marcye" (really Mercy) and

Martha; makes specific bequests to some grandchildren; for≠gives part of the debts of two sons-in-law (to whom he refers as hi s "sons"); and bequeaths the bulJc of hi s estate to his son, Samuel, who is named as sole executor.


13. The Records of the Plymouth Colony Court amply document Peter's presence at Yarmouth from 1638/9 to 1680/1. The Court records and his will give some indication of the type of person he was. To bring up a family of a wife and four children and to leave a sizeable estate for the times, would indicate that he was a hard-working, family man, of thrifty character. And judging from the fines for talking during church service and failing to show up for Grand Inquest duty he was, perhaps, a bit of a maverick of independent mind.


14. It appears that he had some military service while in North America because his will provides for a bequest to Samuel, his son, ".. .of all other lands due to mee from the Towne Not yett layed out or from the Country as procured by the Late warr with the Indians."




This is undoubtedly a reference to "King Phillip's War" which ended in August 1676, at the death of "King Phillip", an Indian named Metacomet, who was as unfriendly to the English as his famous father (Massasoit) was friendly.


15. Peter's wife was named Mary, but maiden name, nor when or where they were suppose they married in England, because:


I do not know her married. I would


a. Peter's will referred to land in England that ". .carne by my wife." She could have inherited it, of course, after her arrival in North America.


b. Peter was 30 years old when we first find him in Yarmouth, and assuming that he had reached these shores not long before that, it seems likely that he had married while still in England, but there is no proof that I hav_ seen.


16. Apparently his marriage to Mary was of long duration,

lasting until his death. He was literate, in that he signed his will and the codicil, implying some education, as his father also seemed to have. He must have married a lady of some (perhaps modest) means, if she had had land of her own in England. Mary died March 6, 1686/7, surviving Peter by six years. with three daughters and one son, Samuel, the Worden generations which followed again hung by the slender thread of a single male offspring, as had been the case with Peter's father.


17. Peter and Mary had three daughters and one son, all named in their respective wills. Peter identified by name the husbands of Mary and Martha. By referring to Kenelm Winslow as his "son"," he implied a son-in-law relationship, thus the husband of his other daughter, Mercy.


18. Oliver Norton Worden, in his 1868 book (Ref. M) the children this way:




a. Mary Worden, born 1639 married John Burge (Burgess) in 1657; they had four sons and one daughter.


b. Mercy Worden, born 1640/1 married 2d. They had six sons and one daughter.






c. Martha Worden, born l643? (*) ance. She died _725 at age 82?


Married Joseph Sever≠


d. Samuel Worden, who ,vas the youngest.




a physician, born 1646,


* ONW's listing of 1643 as the year of birth for Martha is, I believe, accurate, for reasons stated in _6. February 10 would have been 1643, Old Style, certainly not 1648 as in the printed version of the Plymouth Colony Records. Further, if Samuel, born 1646, was the youngest,






Excer£ts from the Will of Peter Worden, II


1. Son, Samuel Worden is sole executor. Receives all lands at "Equivett" (Quivett) Neck, with eight acres at the South Sea (note 1644 map of Old Yarmouth); house and surrounding land after death of PW's wife, Mary; estate in Old England; certain cattle, plowing equipment, bedstead, chest, cloak, gun, three acres of marsh after Martha's death, other sundry items.


2. Dauqhter, Martha, life interest in three acres of marsh, then to Samuel. Life' interest in cattle, then to her 2 daus.


3.†† IILoveinq ,'life, Mary Worden,††††††††††††††† life interest†††† in†† housing,

lands, and orchards, household goods and cattle for her support. At her death goods and cattle remaining go equally to his three daughters, Mary,"Marcye" (Mercy),and Martha.




Dauqhter, Marv, twEnty acres of upland, forever.


Signed 9 January 1679 (1680), John Silas "Saers" (Sears), witnesses.


Freeman, Sr., and


Codicil of 29 July 1680 leaves Samuel some oxen and his Indian squaw servant (after the death of Peter's wife, Mary); directs Samuel to provide his mother with firewood, and hay for her cattle; forgives twenty shillings each of debts owed by two sons-in-law, John Burge (Mary's husband), and Kenelm Winslow (Mercy's husband). Signed by same witnesses, above.






1648 for a sister would be incorrect, unless she died young and thereafter Samuel was known as the youngest (survivor).


ONW says that Samuel was the first male Worden born North America.




19. Peter Worden, II, and his wife, Mary, are buried in the Worden Cemetery, East Dennis, Mass., alongside the body of his††† father.†† For†† detailsabout this†††† cemetery, seethe

following section concerning Samuel Worden.






A. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, M.D., Editor, Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New Enqland. Court Orders, Vol. I, 1633-1640, p. 156. Boston 1855.


B. Ibid. Miscellaneous Records, 1633-1689, p. 194.


C. Noel C. Stevenson, LLB, The Genealoqical Reader, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1958. Pp. 103-105, "Use of an Alias in English Surnames."


D. Map of Old Yarmouth, 1644. Author unknown, but appears in History of Old Yarmouth, by Charles F. Swift, published by the Author at Yarmouthport, Mass., 1884.


E. Shurtleff, Op. Cit., Misc. Records, 1633-1689, p. 7.


F. Shurtleff, Op. Cit. Court


Orders, Vol. II, p. 128.


G. Ibid. p. 168.


H. Shurtleff, Op. Cit. Court Orders, Vol. III, p.l1.


I.Shurtleff, Op. Cit. Misc. Orders 1633-1689, p. 185.


J (1). Shurtleff, Op. Cit. Court orders, Vol. IV, p 140


(2)††† Shurtleff, Op. Cit. Misc. Orders, 1633-1689,

p.119 (Treasury Accounts).


_11††† K. Celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the Foundinq

_ \Of Old Yarmouth, Mass., Sept. 1 and 3, 1889. Published by

the Committee, Yarmouth, 1889.


L. Plymouth Colony Records, Wills, Vol 4, Part I, pp 72-75. (These are the original records, in the offices of the Plymouth County Commissioners, Plymouth, Mass.)


M. Oliver Norton Worden, Some Records of Persons by the Name of Worden, privately printed at Lewisburg, Pa. 1868.




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