So, you want to learn about John Carver's Facts and Accomplishments?
John Carver is credited with writing the Mayflower Compact, was its first signer, and was the first governor of New Plymouth Colony. Carver was a Leiden Separatist instrumental in organizing the Pilgrim's Mayflower voyage in 1620, on which he was a passenger, and which resulted in the creation of Plymouth Colony in America.
John Carver Facts: Early Days
- On February 8, 1609, John Carver and his first wife, Mary de Lannoy, of L’Escluse, France, were members of the French Walloon church in Leiden.
- Like the Separatists, who came to Holland from England about 1607/1608, the French Huguenot community was fleeing adverse events in their homeland.
- John Carver was a deacon in Leiden about 1609 at about age 25 and is believed to have been born sometime before 1584. Leiden records of St. Pancras Churchstate that Carver buried a child on July 10, 1609.
- Sometime shortly after the death of the child, Carver’s wife Mary died.
- John Carver married secondly Katherine White, who was a prominent member of the Leiden English Separatist church.
- She was originally of Sturton in Nottinghamshire, eldest daughter of Alexander White.
- After his marriage to Katherine, Carver became much more involved in the Leiden church, making close associations with the leaders of the church, especially the Separatist pastor John Robinson, husband of Katherine’s younger sister Bridget.
- The exact marriage date of John Carver and Katherine White is not known, but she, under the name “Katherine Carver,” was witness to a betrothal in Leiden on May 22, 1615, so the marriage was sometime prior to that date
- With the forces of King James I searching for Elder Brewster, who was in hiding, the Leideners depended on deacon John Carver for guidance.
- Sometime in 1617, both Carver and Robert Cushman, he being assigned as chief agent in London for the Leiden church, began negotiations with officials of the Virginia Company in London for land in the Colony of Virginia under which they would be self-governing.
- They came in contact with Sir Edwin Sandys, an acquaintance of church Elder William Brewster and a leading member of the Virginia Company. To satisfy the Company that they were not supporting religious Leiden dissidents who were giving the English problems they had to put together seven articles for the Council for Virginia, signed by all the senior Separatist church members.
- The articles basically acknowledged the supremacy of the king and the Church of England. Sir Edwin Sandys reported back to Pastor John Robinson and Elder William Brewster that Carver and Cushman had “carried themselves” with “good discretion.”
John Carver Facts: The Mayflower and Plymouth Colony
- To fund the Mayflower voyage, the Leiden congregation turned to Thomas Weston and the Merchant Adventurers, London businessmen interested in supporting the voyage in the name of profit.
- John Carver had the task of organizing the voyage and, along with chief agent Robert Cushman, the very burdensome task of negotiating funding with Thomas Weston and the Adventurers.
- The small, 100-foot ship had 102 passengers and a crew of about 30-40 in extremely cramped conditions. By the second month, many of the crew and passengers began suffering from sickness, which became fatal for many. Two died on their journey, and more died when they came ashore for the first winter in New England.
- In November of 1620, after about three months at sea, including a month of delays in England, they spotted land, which was the Cape Cod Hook. 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. The Mayflower Compact was signed that day.
- John Carver may have been the actual author of the Mayflower Compact itself and was also its first signer. Following the Compact signing, Carver was “chosen, or rather confirmed,” governor of the new political body that was his creation.
- When the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, Carver accompanied the military commander Myles Standish. The two chose the place where they would set up their settlement during the harsh winter that had already begun.
- During the harsh winter, John Carver did not act like a wealthy man. He worked alongside all the people to help the colony flourish. In April of 1621, Carver complained of headaches and went home to rest. There, he fell into a coma and died a few days later.