Thomas Rogers (-1621)

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Thomas Rogers was born 1572 in Watford, Northamptonshire, England to William Rogers (1530-1585) and Eleanor Taynton (1545-1607) and died 11 January 1621 in Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Alice Cosford (1572-1618) 1597 in Watford, Northamptonshire, England. He married Elizabeth Rogers (c1580-) 1620 in Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands.

Thomas Rogers was an early 1620 Mayflower passenger and settler of Plymouth Colony. He died there in the first harsh winter, but his son Joseph survived and was joined shortly afterwards by the rest of the family. Thomas was one of forty-one signatories of the Mayflower Compact.

Vital Statistics Edit

  • Born circa 1570-1580?
  • 1597 - Marriage to Alice Cosford
  • 1620 - Immigration to America
  • 1620/1621 - Death at Plymouth Colony


Early Life in Watford Edit

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 1572 is based on his date of marriage. Thomas Rogers was a son of William Rogers and his wife Eleanor. Per author Caleb Johnson, he married Alice Cosford in Watford parish in 1597 with their six children being baptized there between 1599 and 1613. The family went to Leiden from England sometime after 1613, and it is possible that Alice Rogers did die there sometime before 1620, based on evidence of a second wife for him in 1622.

Leiden Separatists Edit

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 three children – John, Elizabeth and Margaret, 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).

Mayflower Voyage Edit

Thomas Rogers traveled on the Mayflower to found Plymouth Colony with only his eldest son Joseph Rogers (1603-1678), 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.


Mayflower at Provincetown Harbor

The Mayflower, originating from London with a group of Adventurers bound for the New World rendezvoused on 22 July with the Speedwell just arriving from Holland with a group of religious refugees from Leiden. Originally intended to sail jointly to the English Colony in Virginia it soon became evident that Speedwell was not seaworthy. Passengers and cargo were combined onto Mayflower (with many left behind) for the journey, finally departing on September 9.

During the voyage fierce storms blew the ship off course, arriving at Cape Cod on the Eastern Massachusetts coastline on November 9th. For two days they attempted to sail south to Virginia but exhausting supplies and fierce storms caused them to abort this effort and drop anchor at what is now Provincetown Harbor. On November 11th, the group decided to settle here and start their own colony. They wrote a governmental contract called the Mayflower Compact, Thomas was the 18th of the 41 signers on this document.

Mayflower compact 2016

Signing the Mayflower Compact 1620, a painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris 1899

About the middle of December 1620, the ship moved and dropped anchor in Plymouth Harbor. All the while the pilgrims were conducting several exploring missions of the area and negotiations with the local natives. Almost half of the passengers died, suffering from an outbreak of a contagious disease described as a mixture of scurvy, pneumonia and tuberculosis. In the spring, they built huts ashore, and on March 21, 1621, the surviving passengers disembarked from the Mayflower into their new settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

His son, 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; 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.

Death in Plymouth's First Winter Edit

Thomas Rogers died sometime in the winter of 1620/21 during the early illnesses. 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 sicknes, but his sone 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.

Marriage & Family Edit

1st Marriage : Alice Coford Edit

First married to 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 Margart (sic?) (Margaret?) Cosford. Both she and her husband Thomas were named in her father’s will. She may have died, probably in Leiden sometime before 1620, due to the apparent existence of a second wife noted in the 1622 poll tax list.

Between 1599 and 1613 they had six children who were baptized in the parish of Watford, Northamptonshire, England.

  1. Thomas Rogers (1599-1599). Baptized March 24, 1598/9 and was buried May 27, 1599.
  2. Richard Rogers (1600-1600) Baptized March 12, 1599/1600 and buried April 4, 1600.
  3. Joseph Rogers (1603-1678) - Baptized January 23, 1602/3 and came to Plymouth on the Mayflower with his father in 1620. He married Hannah Harding by 1633 as his only wife. They had eight children, most born in Duxbury. He died in Nauset - now Eastham, in January 1677/78 and was buried in Old Cove Burial Ground there.
  4. John Rogers (1606-1692) - Baptized April 6, 1606 and appeared on the Leiden poll tax list of 1622. He came to Plymouth from Leiden sometime after 1627 – possibly in 1630. On the Plymouth tax list for 1633 and the 1643 Able to Bear Arms List for Duxbury he was listed with his brother Joseph. He married Anna Churchman in Plymouth on April 16, 1639 and had four children. He died in Duxbury between August 26, 1691 and September 30, 1692.
  5. Elizabeth Rogers (1609-) -. Baptized December 26, 1609. She is listed as “Lysbeth”, the Dutch variant of Elizabeth, on the 1622 Leiden poll tax. She is believed to have come to New England sometime between 1627 and 1634. Possibly married Samuel Eddy.
  6. Margaret Rogers (1613-) - Baptized May 30, 1613. She is listed as “Grietgen”, the Dutch variant of Margaret, on the 1622 Leiden poll tax. She is believed to have come to New England sometime between 1627 and 1634.


Offspring of Thomas Rogers and Alice Cosford (1572-1618)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Thomas Rogers (1599-1599) 24 March 1599 Watford, Northamptonshire, England May 1699 Watford, Northamptonshire, England
Richard Rogers (1600-1600) March 1600 Watford, Northamptonshire, England April 1600 Watford, Northamptonshire, England
Joseph Rogers (1603-1678) 23 January 1603 Watford, Northamptonshire, England January 1688 Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts Hannah Churchman (1615-1678)

John Rogers (1606-1692) 6 April 1606 Watford, Northamptonshire, England 1691 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts Anna Churchman (1619-1664)

Elizabeth Rogers (1609-)
Margaret Rogers (1613-)


Vital Records Edit

Bradfords Journal Edit

From the record made (Circa 1651) by Gov Wm Bradford about early Plymouth settlers:

Thomas Rogers, and Joseph, his sone (came). His other children came afterwards… Thomas Rogers dyed in the first sickness, but his sone Joseph is still living, and is married, and hath 6 children. The rest of Thomas Rogers (children) came over, and are maried, and have many children

References Edit

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