Henry Sampson (1604-1684)

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Henry Sampson was born 15 January 1604 in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England, United Kingdom to James Sampson (1574-1639) and Martha Cooper (1578-1654) and died 24 December 1684 in Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States of unspecified causes. He married Ann Plummer (c1605-1680) 6 February 1636 in Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. Ancestors are from the United Kingdom.

Samson or Sampson?

Henry and his immediate family are found in most records with the spelling of "SAMSON". But quickly many succeeding generations changed the name spelling to "SAMPSON".

Henry Samson died on December 24, 1684 in Duxbury, Massachusetts. His wife Ann had predeceased him, dying between December 24, 1668 and December 24, 1684. Both were buried in Cole's Hill Burial Ground in Plymouth, Plymouth Colony.



Mayflower at Provincetown Harbor

Henry Samson traveled in 1620 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.

Migration to Holland

Henry Samson was baptized in Henlow, Bedford, England on January 15, 1603/04. He was a son of James Samson and his wife Martha (Cooper), a sister of Ann Cooper (c1584-1621), wife of Edward Tilley (c1588-1621). Henry was noted in his father’s 1638 will and was bequeathed five pounds.

Several members of the Tilley and Cooper families, including Henry Sampson went to Leiden, Holland to join the Leiden Separaists there, many would become future Mayflower passengers.

Voyage of the Mayflower

Henry Samson, age about sixteen, boarded the ship Mayflower as a nephew of the Edward Tilley family, along with his cousin, one year old Humility Cooper (1619-1638). Why Henry was in the custody of the Tilleys is unknown – it is possible he may have been apprenticed out to his uncle Edward Tilley. The reason that Humility and Henry were given over to the care of the Tilleys, apparently in Leiden, has never been fully explained. Henry's parents and siblings remained in Henlow, Bedfordshire. (See Bradford's Journal below.)

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 3 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.

Plymouth Colony Life

At the death of the Edward Tilleys in the winter of 1620/1621, Henry Samson and Humility Cooper were given over to the care of others – it being uncertain what family that was. Records do show Henry’s name with the family of Edward Winslow (1595-1655) in the 1623 Division of Land, adjoining land of Humility Cooper, and with the family of William Brewster (1567-1644) in the 1627 Division of Cattle.

In 1626 Henry Samson was a member of the Purchasers, which were a Plymouth Colony investment group in company with former members of the “Merchant Adventurers” London organization. In that agreement, he was listed as “Henry Sampson.” Over the years, Henry Samson received generous land grants.

  • Became a Freeman before March 7, 1636/7.[18]
  • Henry was a volunteer in the Pequot War of 1637, but the war ended before the Colony could get is troops organized.[5]
  • On January 1, 1637/38, Henry and Ann were granted land in Duxbury, Massachusetts next to Henry Howland (1604-1671).
  • In April 1640, Henry was granted additional land that had formerly been a common.
  • Starting in the 1640s, Samson began many years of public-service duties. He served on six juries between 1641 and 1663 and twelve petty juries between 1644 and 1670.[5]
  • In 1648 he was an arbiter, a surveyor in 1649 and in 1661, a constable for Duxbury.[5] Johnson 204 Between 1638 and 1654 Samson and his wife had nine children and in 1665 and 1667 he was allowed by the Plymouth Court to seek out land for his children.[5]
  • Sometime after 1668, Henry and his wife sold some of their land in Nemasket and would also sell of some of his Dartmouth properties in 1682 and 1684.[19]
  • In 1669 he served on a coroner’s jury assembled by John Alden (c1599-1687).

Marriage & Family

Henry Samson married Anne Plummer in February 6, 1635/6 in Plymouth, Massachusetts and between about 1638 and about 1654 he and his wife had nine children.

Children of Henry and Anne Samson:

  1. Stephen Sampson (1638-1714) - md Elizabeth Sprague
  2. John Sampson (1640-1702) - died unmarried between 1702 and 1712
  3. Elizabeth Sampson (1642-1711) - md Robert Spout
  4. James Sampson (1644-1716) - md Hannah
  5. Hannah Sampson (1646-1681) - md Josiah Holmes - res. Duxbury
  6. Daughter Sampson (1648-c1700) - md John Hanmore - see note on will below
  7. Mary Sampson (1650-1686) - md John Summers / no recorded children
  8. Dorcas Sampson (1652-1695) - md Thomas Bonney
  9. Caleb Sampson (1654-1744) - married 1) Mercy Standish and 2) Rebecca Bartlett


Offspring of Henry Sampson and Ann Plummer (c1605-1680)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Stephen Sampson (1638-1714) 1638 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 31 January 1714 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts Elizabeth Sprague (1657-1727)

John Sampson (1640-1702)
Elizabeth Sampson (1642-1711)
James Sampson (1644-1716)
Hannah Sampson (1646-1681)
Daughter Sampson (1648-c1700)
Mary Sampson (1650-1686)
Dorcas Sampson (1652-1695)
Caleb Sampson (1654-1744) 1658 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 9 July 1745 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts Mercy Standish (1660-1778)
Rebecca Bartlett (1655-1741)


Offspring of James Sampson and Martha Cooper (1578-1654)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Henry Sampson (1604-1684) 15 January 1604 Henlow, Bedfordshire, England, United Kingdom 24 December 1684 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States Ann Plummer (c1605-1680)

Joseph Sampson (1605-)
Mary Sampson (1607-1607)
Dorothy Sampson (1609-)
Humphrey Sampson (1611-)
Elizabeth Sampson (1612-)
Humphrey Sampson (1613-)
Mirioll Samson (1614-1615)
John Samson (1616-)
Mary Samson (1618-)

Vital Records

Bradfords Journal

Record made in 1651 about original Mayflower settlers:

"Edward Tilley, and Ann his wife; and 2 children that were their cousins; Henry Sampson and Humility Cooper."

"Edward Tillie, and his wife both dyed soon after their arrivall; and the girle Humility their cousen, was sent for unto England, and dyed there. But the youth Henry Sampson, is still liveing, and is married, & hath .7. children. John Tilley and his wife both dyed, a litle after they came ashore."

Will of Henry Samson

Henry Samson made his will December 24, 1684, which was sworn March 5, 1684/85. In the will he named his sons Stephen, John, James and Caleb, dividing his remaining Dartmouth land holdings between Stephen, John and James. Small sums were given to son Caleb and daughter Elizabeth, wife of Robert Sprout; Hannah, wife of Josias Holmes; (unknown) the wife of John Hanmore; Mary, wife of John Summers; and Dorcas, wife of Thomas Bonney. The name of the daughter who was married to John Hanmore has not been found in any record.


  • Henry Samson, Henry Sampson - Disambiguation
  • Henry Samson - Wikipedia
  • Henry Sampson (1604-1684)/List of Famous Descendants
  • A genealogical profile of Henry Samson, (a collaboration of Plimoth Plantation and New England Historic Genealogical Society accessed 2013)
  • Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and her passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., 2006 Caleb Johnson), pp. 203, 234
  • Pilgrim Hall Museum Henry Samson
  • Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 347, 362
  • For Henry's parents, sibilings and maternal ancestry see: Leigh, Robert Ward. "English Ancestry of Seven Mayflower Passengers: Tilley, Sampson and Cooper," The American Genealogist Vol 52 #4 (10m 1976), p 198-209.
  • For further information on Henry's paternal ancestry see: Leigh, Robert Ward. "Henry Sampson's Paternal Grandfather," The American Genealogist Vol 56 #3 (7m 1980) p 141-143.

Sources and notes

‡ General
  • TAG 57:141.
  • The Genealogist 6:166-186.
  • Mayflower Descendant.
  • James Savage, 'Gen. Dict. of the First Settlers of New England,' 1869-1873.
  • The Pilgrim Edward Doty Society. Descendants of Edward Doty, Mayflower Passenger 1993.


  bobfo67, DennisDoty, MainTour

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