Fortune Passengers from Leiden: Delano, Bumpas, Morton, Simonson
The Mayflower arrived back in England on 6 May 1621 (o.s.), and Thomas Weston wrote his scolding letter to the (now deceased) John Carver on 6 July 1621 (o.s.), and, presumably, put the letter on the boat and immediately sent it down the Thames. That gave Weston less than 90 days to assemble as many people as he could to undertake a dangerous voyage across the Atlantic -- a voyage that lasted four months, with the first month having the Fortune stuck in the English Channel because of contrary winds.
An obvious source of passengers would be those who had come from Leiden on the Speedwell, but were unable to continue the journey when the Speedwell was abandoned, since there was not enough room on the horribly overcrowded Mayflower. A number of unmarried young men did go on the Mayflower, but these sailed for reasons such as family relationships with the other passengers, being hired because they had skills necessary to the new community, or being indentured to a passenger. We know that 20 people disembarked at Plymouth (England), and did not get back on the Mayflower. Six of these were Richard Warren’s wife and five daughters: they were on the ill-fated Paragon and then on the Anne. Robert (and probably Thomas) Cushman were also in the group that stayed, and the Cushmans arrived a year later on the Fortune. A very, very obscure passage in a 1625 letter from Thomas Blossom to William Bradford might mean that Thomas Blossom and his (unnamed) son were on the Speedwell, but did not continue the journey [as an aside, Thomas Blossom is an ancestor of Barak Obama, both President Bushes, and Mr. Rogers]. That leaves ten Speedwell-but-not-Mayflower passengers to be accounted for.
We know of several members of the Leiden congregation who were on the Fortune: these were all unmarried young men, in their late teens or early twenties. If they had originally been on the Speedwell, and had remained in England because they could easily get work there and could take the next boat to America (whenever that would sail), it is reasonable to think that they would have stayed in touch with Thomas Weston and would have been able to leave at a moment’s notice. Four of these are as follows:
1. Philip Delano (the anglicised form of Philippe de la Noye), whom Bradford notes as having French parents and who asked, on his own, to join the Leiden congregation. Philip’s aunt was Hester (Mahieu) Cooke, wife of Mayflower passenger Francis Cooke (“the wife of Francis Cooke,” Edward Winslow wrote, “being a Walloon, [who] holds communion with the Church at Plymouth, as she came from the French, by virtue of communion of churches”). Philip had been baptised in the Walloon Church in Leiden in December 1603, and so must have been about 18 when he boarded the Fortune. He would have been about the same age as his cousin John Cooke, who had accompanied his father Francis on the Mayflower.
2. In the land division of 1623, Moses Simonson was joined with Philip Delano in a grant of land, suggesting that they may both have come together from Leiden. It is assumed that he was about Philip’s age (and several sources guess that he was born at about 1605). In the 1623 Plymouth land division "Moyses Simonson & Philipe de la Noye" jointly received two acres [PCR 12:5]; in the 1627 Plymouth cattle division Moses Simonson was the eighth person in the first company (headed by Francis Cooke) [PCR 12:9]. In 2004 Jeremy Bangs published a number of intriguing records for the family of Simon Moseszon of Leiden and explored the possibility that he might be father of Moses Simonson. Although such a connection is possible, it is far from proven [New England Ancestors 5 n. 3:54-55].
3. Also in the land division of 1623, and in the tax lists of 1633 and 1634, Edward Bumpas was adjacent to Philip Delano. The two men at a later date held adjacent land [PCR 1:59, 66, 67]. The last three sons of Bumpas were Philip, Thomas and Samuel, names also used by Delano. These items suggest that Eduard Bompasse (anglicised as Edward Bumpas) came from Leiden with Delano in 1620 or 1621, that the two may have had some association there before that date, and that Bumpas was also a member of the Walloon community there. He was about the same age as Moses Simonson (based on his age at marriage).
4. Thomas Morton was quite possibly the witness to the marriage of George Morton and Juliana Carpenter in Leiden on 6 July 1612 [n.s.] [MD 11:193]. Juliana Carpenter’s sister Alice was William Bradford’s second wife. This identification, if true, shows another member of the Leiden congregation. His age at first marriage would suggest that he was in his late twenties when he was a passenger on the Fortune. There is a possibility that he was married, perhaps around 1617, but his wife’s name is unknown, and she appears in no New England record. The (younger) Thomas Morton who came on the Anne might be this Thomas’ son, but it is just as possible that he was his nephew.
If we add those related to Mayflower passengers (Jonathan Brewster, eldest son of William Brewster; John Winslow, younger brother of Edward Winslow), that leaves only four passengers of the Speedwell unaccounted for. This is a long way from George Willison (and many commentators who follow him) in Saints and Strangers, who theorises that there was a veritable riot when large numbers of people demanded to be let off the Mayflower and Speedwell, abandoning the trip when the ships put in to Plymouth. From what it appears, most of those that stayed in England because there was no room for them on the Mayflower were those most able to support themselves individually; they stayed in close touch with the Merchant Adventurers for news of the new colony, and they got on the first ship they could that would take them to New England.