William Mullins (c1572-1620)

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William Mullins was born 1572 in Dorking, Surrey, England, United Kingdom to John Mullins (c1550-) and Joan Bridger (c1550-) and died 20 February 1621 in Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States of unspecified causes. He married Elizabeth Wood (c1575-1604) 1595 in Surrey, England, United Kingdom. He married Alice Brown (1574-1621) 1605 in Surrey, England.

Passenger on the 1620 Mayflower and early settler of Plymouth Colony. William and his wife Alice both died in the first harsh winter at Plymouth.

However, their daughter, Priscilla Mullins (1602-1680), would survive and marry John Alden (c1599 -1687) and create one of the largest branch of Mayflower descendants to inhabit the American continent.

Vital Statistics

  • Born circa 1572 in Dorking, Surrey County, England.
  • Married to Alice who died, probably after 1621-Apr-5
  • 1621-Feb-21 : Died in the winter of 1620/1621 at Plymouth Colony.


William Mullins was born about 1572 to John and Joan (Bridger) Mullins of Dorking, Surrey, England.

William sailed to America in 1620 on the Mayflower with his wife, children (Priscilla and Joseph) and servant, Robert Carter (?-1621). He is on the passenger list, not as a pilgrim (Seperatist) but as a planter hired by the London Merchants.

It is suggested that Alice and Joseph were alive when the Mayflower began its return trip to England, but had died before the arrival of the Fortune in 1621.

Voyage of the Mayflower


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, William was the 10th 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.

William brought his wife Alice and children Priscilla and Joseph on the Mayflower; he also brought over 250 shoes and 13 pairs of boots, his profession being a shoemaker. He died on 21 February 1620/1, during the first winter at Plymouth, as did his wife and son Joseph as well. His original will has survived, written down by John Carver the day of Mullins' death. In it he mentions his wife Alice, children Priscilla and Joseph, and his children back in Dorking, William Mullins and Sarah Blunden. He also mentions a Goodman Woods (likely a reference to the Wood family in Dorking), and a Master Williamson, who have not been identified. It was witnessed by the Mayflower's captain Christopher Jones, the Mayflower's surgeon Giles Heale, and Plymouth's governor John Carver.

Marriage and Family

His Family history has been revised based on an article by noted Mayflower researcher and biographer Caleb Johnson which appeared in the March 2012 Mayflower Quarterly.

1st Marriage : Elizabeth Wood

William Mullins probably married firstly Elizabeth Wood in Stoke, near Guildford, co. Surrey, England sometime prior to December 1598 – possibly in the early 1590s. She was the daughter of John and Joan (Taylor) Wood. She died sometime prior to 1604.[16]

  1. William Mullins, Jr. - possibly born about 1593 and died in 1674 in New England, coming there sometime after his father’s death. Records for the 1643 Able to Bear Arms List for “Duxborrow” (Duxbury) note a “Wm Mullens.” He married: 1. _________ by 1618 and had one daughter. 2. Ann (___) Bell in Boston on May 7, 1656 as her second husband.
  2. Sarah Mullins (c1597-), born possibly late 1590s. She married _____ Blunden by 1621 and remained in England. She was named the estate administrator in her father’s will and was awarded administration in July 1621. No further information.
  3. Elizabeth Mullins (1598-) - baptized December 11, 1598 at Holy Trinity Church, Guildford, co. Surrey. She may have died young.
  4. Priscilla Mullins (1602-1680) - was born about 1603 and died between 1651 and September 12, 1687, the date of her husband’s death. She had been a passenger on the Mayflower with her parents and her brother Joseph, and only she survived after their deaths in 1621. She married Mayflower cooper John Alden (c1599-1687) before 1623 and had eleven children. The only proven descendants of William Mullins living today are descended from Priscilla.

2nd Marriage : Alice Browne?

William Mullins married a woman named Alice, but her maiden name has not been identified. Longstanding claims that her maiden name is Atwood, or Poretiers, are without basis. Recent research in Dorking records has suggested that Alice is more likely to have come from the Browne, Gardinar, Dendy, Hammon or Wood families, perhaps even related to Mayflower passenger Peter Browne who also came from Dorking.

William Mullins married secondly Alice _____ possibly ca 1605. Her ancestry is unrecorded. She may have been the widow of two possible men with the surname Browne. She died in Plymouth in the winter of 1620/1. Child believed of his second marriage:

  1. Joseph Mullins (1606-1621) - born about 1606. He was a passenger on the Mayflower with his parents and sister Priscilla. He died after the first winter in Plymouth – sometime in 1621 between April 5 and mid-November, date unknown.


Offspring of William Mullins and Elizabeth Wood (c1575-1604)
Name Birth Death Joined with
William Mullins (1593-) 1593 Dorking, Surrey, England 1674 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts Unknown Mullins (c1595-)
Mary Ann Bell (c1595-)

Sarah Mullins (c1597-) 1597 Dorking, Surrey, England England Mr. Blunden (c1600-)

Elizabeth Mullins (1598-) 11 December 1598 Baptism at Holy Trinity Church, Guildford, Surrey, England 1620 Surrey, England
Priscilla Mullins (1602-1680) 1602 Dorking, Surrey, England 12 September 1687 Duxbury, Plymouth County, New York John Alden (c1599-1687)

Offspring of William Mullins and Alice Brown (1574-1621)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Joseph Mullins (1606-1621) 1606 Surrey, England 1621 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts


Household Servants

  • Robert Carter (c1605-1621) - a teenage servant, sailed on the Mayflower with the Mullins Family, but also died that first winter.

Notable Descendants

Through his daughters marriage to John Alden, the Mullins/Aldens challenge John Howland for the claim to having the greatest number of descendants in America.

Notable descendants include: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Ichabod Alden, Orson Welles, Dan Quayle, Raquel Welch, Frank Nelson Doubleday, Samuel Eliot Morison, Gamaliel Bradford, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Herbert Henry Dow, Martha Graham, Adlai Stevenson III, Jan Garrigue Masaryk, Dick Van Dyke, Julia Child, William Cullen Bryant, John Trumbull, Ned Lamont, Matt Hasselbeck and Marilyn Monroe.

Vital Records

Bradfords Passenger List

1651 Journal entry by Gov William Bradford about the orginal Mayflower settlers:

Mr. William Molines, and his wife, and 2 children, Joseph and Priscila; and a servant, Robert Carter.

Mr. Molines, and his wife, his sone, and his servent, dyed the first winter. Only his dougter Priscila survived, and maried with John Alden, who are both living, and have 11 children. And their eldest daughter is maried, and hath five children.

Last Will

The will of William Mullins was the first one written in New England. It was written for him on his deathbed by Governor John Carver (1565-1621) and witnessed by Dr. Giles Heale, surgeon of the Mayflower and its captain, Christopher Jones. His is the only known will of a Mayflower passenger who died that winter, with it being taken back to England on the Mayflower’s return trip.

His will states that he was owed monies by “Goodman Wood” in the amount of 40 pounds of which he made distribution to family members in his will. Except for 10 pounds he gave to his daughter Sarah, he bequeathed all his stocks and bonds to his son William. He also made distribution of all goods and supplies brought with him on the Mayflower to family members as well as twenty-one dozen pairs of shoes and thirteen pairs of boots which he requested be sold to the New Plymouth Company. He also divided his shares in the joint-stock company among family members as well as stipulating that if his son William should ever come to Plymouth – which he eventually did – he would inherit his property there. The probate record of his will has the Latin annotation “nuper de Dorking defunctus in partibus transmarinis” indicating he formerly resided in Dorking, co. Surrey. The original will still survives today.


Sources and notes

‡ General



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