Thomas Rogers (c. 1571 – January 11, 1621) was a Leiden Separatist who traveled in 1620 with his eldest son Joseph as passengers on the historic voyage of the Pilgrim ship Mayflower .
Leiden is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. The municipality of Leiden had a population of 123,856 in August 2017, but the city forms one densely connected agglomeration with its suburbs Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten and Zoeterwoude with 206,647 inhabitants. The Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) further includes Katwijk in the agglomeration which makes the total population of the Leiden urban agglomeration 270,879, and in the larger Leiden urban area also Teylingen, Noordwijk, and Noordwijkerhout are included with in total 348,868 inhabitants. Leiden is located on the Oude Rijn, at a distance of some 20 kilometres from The Hague to its south and some 40 km (25 mi) from Amsterdam to its north. The recreational area of the Kaag Lakes (Kagerplassen) lies just to the northeast of Leiden.
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journey to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system. In the spiritual literature of Christianity, the concept of pilgrim and pilgrimage may refer to the experience of life in the world or to the inner path of the spiritual aspirant from a state of wretchedness to a state of beatitude.
The Mayflower was an English ship that transported the first English Puritans, known today as the Pilgrims, from Plymouth, England to the New World in 1620. There were 102 passengers, and the crew is estimated to have been about 30, but the exact number is unknown. The ship has become a cultural icon in the history of the United States. The Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact prior to leaving the ship and establishing Plymouth Colony, a document which established a rudimentary form of democracy with each member contributing to the welfare of the community. There was a second ship named Mayflower which made the London to Plymouth, Massachusetts voyage several times.
Thomas Rogers was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact, but perished in the winter of 1620/21. His son Joseph, who traveled with Thomas on the Mayflower, but was too young, at age 17, to sign the Mayflower Compact, survived to live a long life. [ self-published source ]
The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It was written by the male passengers of the Mayflower, consisting of separatist Puritans, adventurers, and tradesmen. The Puritans were fleeing from religious persecution by King James of England.
Thomas Rogers was born in the area of the village of Watford, in Northamptonshire, England, which has extensive history from the Roman, Dane, Viking and Saxon eras. His birth year of approximately 1571 is based on his date of marriage. Thomas Rogers was a son of William Rogers and his wife Eleanor. He married Alice Cosford in Watford parish October 24, 1597, with their six children being baptized there between 1598 and 1613. The family went to Leiden from England sometime after their last child, Margaret, was baptized in 1613.
Thomas Rogers was a member of the English Separatist church and sometime after 1613, the last recorded baptism of his children, he, his wife, and children, moved to Leiden as members of the Separatist church there. The earliest Leiden record for Thomas Rogers notes that on February 14, 1614 he bought a house on Barabarasteeg from Jan Bloemsaer, a baker. Leiden records also notes that Rogers became a citizen of Leiden on June 25, 1618, guaranteed by Englishmen William Jepson from Worksop, Nottinghamshire and Roger Wilson of Sandwich, co. Kent. That record states that he was a merchant of camlet, a luxury Asian-type fabric made from a combination of silk and camel's hair.
Other Leiden records for Thomas Rogers show that in 1619, when he was preparing to sell his house in preparation for his departure from Leiden for America, he found that his property still had an outstanding lien on it, forcing him to sue Jan Bloemsaer, from whom he originally purchased the home, and bondsman Gerrit Gerritsz. He was finally able to sell his home on April 1, 1620 to Mordecheus Colven for three hundred guilders.
Per author Eugene Stratton, the 1622 Leiden poll tax listed the family of Thomas Rogers residing there in poverty, but apparently without his wife Alice. Instead of Alice, this family included a possible second wife named Elizabeth – or the Dutch variant Elsgen, and with the children of Thomas Rogers – son John and daughters Lysbeth (Dutch for Elizabeth) and Grietgen (Dutch for Margaret).
Thomas Rogers traveled on the Mayflower with only his eldest son Joseph, leaving behind in Leiden his wife and their three other children – John, Elizabeth and Margaret. In the 1622 poll tax for Leiden, Rogers' family were found among the poor of Leiden, residing at the rear of Anthony Clement's home. His possible second wife, who author Eugene Stratton lists as Elizabeth (or Elsgen) in the 1622 poll tax, may have died in Leiden sometime between 1622 and when his son John and possibly his daughters came to Plymouth sometime after 1627.
William Bradford's later recollection of Thomas Rogers and his son embarked on the Mayflower: "Thomas Rogers, and Joseph, his sone. His other children came afterwards."
Thomas Rogers and his 18-year-old son Joseph departed Plymouth, England aboard the Mayflower on September 6/16, 1620. The small, 100-foot ship had 102 passengers and a crew of about 30-40 in extremely cramped conditions. By the second month out, the ship was being buffeted by strong westerly gales, causing the ship's timbers to be badly shaken with caulking failing to keep out sea water, and with passengers, even in their berths, lying wet and ill. This, combined with a lack of proper rations and unsanitary conditions for several months, attributed to what would be fatal for many, especially the majority of women and children. On the way there were two deaths, a crew member and a passenger, but the worst was yet to come after arriving at their destination when, in the space of several months, almost half the passengers perished in cold, harsh, unfamiliar New England winter.
On November 9/19, 1620, after about three months at sea, including a month of delays in England, they spotted land, which was the Cape Cod Hook, now called Provincetown Harbor. After several days of trying to get south to their planned destination of the Colony of Virginia, strong winter seas forced them to return to the harbor at Cape Cod hook, where they anchored on November 11/21. The Mayflower Compact was signed that day.
Thomas Rogers was the 18th signatory to the Mayflower Compact. His son Joseph was then about 18 years of age and could not sign the Compact.
Confusion has arisen related to the discovery by author Eugene Stratton of the listing of an "Elsgen Rogiers" in Leiden's 1622 poll tax records, where she is noted as the wife of Thomas Rogers. In her care were three of Thomas Rogers' children, who remained in Leiden after he departed on the Mayflower with his son Joseph. The children were listed as Jan Tomasz (John), Lysbeth (Elizabeth) and Grietgen (Margaret) Rogiers (Rogers). However, the name "Elsgen" is also the name used by Alice (née Carpenter), married to Separatist Edward Southworth, during their time in Leiden. Further, Alice Cosford Rogers is reported to have died shortly after the poll was taken on June 3, 1622 in Leiden. This, alongside the fact that the three youngest children listed with her were baptized in England, and the fact that their daughter Elizabeth's name while in Leiden was listed as "Lysbeth," point to the greater likelihood that "Elsgen" is Alice.
Thomas Rogers married Alice Cosford in the parish of Watford, Northamptonshire, England on October 24, 1597. She was baptized in Watford May 10, 1573 and was a daughter of George and Margaret (née Wills) Cosford. Both she and her husband Thomas were named in her father's will in 1608.
Children of Thomas and Alice Rogers:
Between 1598 and 1613 they had six children who were baptized in the parish of Watford, Northamptonshire, England.
Joseph Rogers was a notable person in Plymouth Colony. Over the years, he was involved in the founding of Bridgewater and Eastham. His name appears in the following colony records: 1623 Division of Land with Wm. Brewster - in the 1623 Plymouth Colony land division, Joseph Rogers was allotted two acres - one for himself and one on behalf of his late father; 1626 Purchasers list (colony investors); 1627 Division of Cattle with Wm. Bradford; 1633-34 Tax Lists – with his brother John on the 1633 list along with being a freeman that year; 1643 Able to Bear Arms List (with his brother John – with his surname given as "Roger"). In 1658 he was on the War Council of Plymouth Colony.
Per author Caleb Johnson, about 1629 or 1630 Thomas Rogers' three children were residing in Leiden, John, Elizabeth and Margaret, and the remainder of the church members residing in Leiden, came to Plymouth at colony expense.
Surviving family members: Randy Rasmussen
Thomas Rogers died sometime in the winter of 1620/21. His son Joseph survived and may have lived with Governor Bradford and family.
William Bradford's 1651 recollection of the fate of Thomas Rogers and his family: "Thomas Rogers dyed in the first sickness, but his son Joseph is still living, and is married, and hath *6* children. The rest of Thomas Rogers (children) came over, and are married, and have many children."
Thomas Rogers was buried, likely in an unmarked grave as with most Mayflower passengers who died in the first winter, in Coles Hill Burial Ground in Plymouth. The name of Thomas Rogers is memorialized on the Pilgrim Memorial Tomb on Coles Hill.
John Carver was one of the Pilgrims who braved the Mayflower voyage in 1620 which resulted in the creation of Plymouth Colony in America. He is credited with writing the Mayflower Compact and was its first signer, and he was also the first governor of Plymouth Colony.
Francis Cooke was a Leiden Separatist who came to America in 1620 on the Pilgrim ship Mayflower and a signer of the Mayflower Compact.
Degory Priest was a member of the Leiden contingent on the historic 1620 voyage of the ship Mayflower. He was a hat maker from London who married Sarah, sister of Pilgrim Isaac Allerton in Leiden. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact in November 1620 and died less than two months later.
James Chilton was a Leiden Separatist passenger on the historic 1620 voyage of the ship Mayflower and was the oldest person on board. Upon arrival in the New World, he was a signer of the Mayflower Compact. James Chilton was one of the earliest to die that winter, perishing within the following month.
Thomas Tinker and his family, comprising his wife and son, came in 1620 as English Separatists from Holland on the historic voyage of the Pilgrim Ship Mayflower. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact but he and his family all perished in the winter of 1620/1621, described by Bradford as having died in "the first sickness."
Richard Warren was one of the passengers on the Pilgrim ship Mayflower and a signer of the Mayflower Compact.
Edward Doty was a passenger on the 1620 voyage of the Mayflower to North America; he was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact.
John Tilley and his family were passengers on the historic 1620 voyage of the Mayflower. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact, and died with his wife in the first Pilgrim winter in the New World.
Humility Cooper, of Leiden, Holland, traveled in 1620 on the voyage of the ship Mayflower as a one-year-old female child in the company of the Edward Tilley family. Although Edward Tilley and his wife died the first winter in the New World, Humility survived to live her young life in Plymouth Colony, returning to England possibly in her teen years. Her fate in England is unknown.
Henry Samson In 1620 Henry Samson travelled as a member of the Edward Tilley family on the historic voyage of the Pilgrim ship Mayflower. The Tilleys died in the first winter but Henry Samson survived to live a long, fulfilling life in Plymouth Colony.
Edward Tilley traveled in 1620 on the historic voyage of the ship Mayflower as a Separatist member of the Leiden, Holland contingent. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact, and died with his wife in the first Pilgrim winter in the New World.
William Mullins and his family traveled as passengers on the historic 1620 voyage to America on the Pilgrim ship Mayflower. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact. Mullins perished in the pilgrims' first winter in the New World, with his wife and son dying soon after.
Moses Fletcher was a Leiden Separatist who came to America on the historic 1620 voyage of the Pilgrim ship Mayflower. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact and perished shortly thereafter in the Pilgrims first winter in the New World.
John Turner was a passenger, along with his two sons, on the 1620 voyage of the historic Pilgrim ship the Mayflower. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact and perished with his sons that first winter.
John Crackston was an English Separatist from Holland who came with his son John on the historic 1620 voyage of the Pilgrim ship Mayflower. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact, but perished with the first Pilgrims to die the winter of 1620, exact date unknown. His son John later died in his twenties.
William Bassett was an English artisan, a migrant to North America.
Also see: The ships Anne and Little James
The Mayflower Compact was the iconic document in the earliest history of America. It was ratified by forty-one men on board the Pilgrim ship Mayflower on November 11, 1620 while anchored at Cape Cod, now Provincetown Harbor in Massachusetts. The Compact was originally drafted as an instrument to maintain unity and discipline in this new land called Plymouth Colony but, over time, it has become one of the most historic documents in American History.