Francis Eaton is an ancestor who tugs at my heart strings as he had a life filled with tragedy. The misfortune started early--all of Francis’s siblings, except for his brother Samuel, died in 1603/1604, apparently due to a sickness that had spread through the household.
Francis was baptized 11 September 1596 at Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, the son of John Eaton and Dorothy Smith. He became a house carpenter in England, which may have been why the Separatists wanted him to come to America with them. He was not a Separatist but rather a “stranger.” Francis had at least some education as he signed his name to documents.
|Francis Eaton Signature from mayflowerhistory.com|
Francis married first Sarah, whose maiden name is unknown, about 1618-19, in England. They had a son Samuel who was an infant on board the family’s voyage aboard the Mayflower. Sadly, Sarah died during that first difficult winter at Plymouth.
Francis married second Dorothy, maiden name unknown, before 1623 at Plymouth. She was a maid servant to John Carver who had died in the spring of 1621, as did his wife, leaving Dorothy on her own.
In the 1623 Land Division, Francis received four shares: one for himself, one for his deceased wife Sarah, one for his son Samuel, and one for his current wife Dorothy. Dorothy must have died soon after the division of land at Plymouth.
Francis was about 26 years of age and had already lost two wives, but he forged ahead and married yet again. He married third Christian Penn around 1625 in Plymouth. Christian had arrived in 1623 on the “Anne.” They had three children together: Rachel, Benjamin and a third child whose name is unknown. The unknown child was called an “ideote” and was still living in 1651. I can’t imagine how people coped with a child with a severe disability given how difficult life already was for them.
Francis died in the fall of 1633, apparently dying of an infectious fever that swept hrough Plymouth. He was just 37 years of age and left behind a wife and four young children.
His estate included one cow and a calf, two hogs, fifty bushels of corn, a black suit, a white hat, a black hat, boots, four pewter platters, fishing lead, and many carpentry tools including , hammers, an adze, square, augers, a chisel, boards, saws. See a list of his inventory at: http://www.pilgrimhall.org/willfeaton.htm.
In July 1634, Christian married second Francis Billington, whose father John was hanged for murder in 1630. She and Francis Billington had nine children together. She died circa 1684, probably at Middleborough.
My line of descent from Francis and Sarah Eaton:
1 Francis Eaton 1596 - 1633
2 Samuel Eaton 1620 - 1684
+Martha Billington 1638 - 1704
3 Mercy Eaton 1665 - 1703/04
+Samuel Fuller 1658 - 1728
4 Benjamin Fuller 1695/96 -
5 Samuel Fuller 1724 - 1758
+Ann Tinkham 1726 - 1758
6 Mary Fuller 1748 - 1802
+Jabez Nye 1749 -
7 Desire Nye 1771 - 1858
+David Pierce 1773 - 1820
8 Lucy Nye Pierce 1809 - 1896
+Rowland Sturtevant Bumpus 1804 - 1853
9 Mary Briggs Bumpus 1840 - 1916
+Seth Washburn 1828 - 1921
10 Charles Francis Washburn 1857 - 1941
+Hattie Maria Benson 1861 - 1914
11 Carrie Clyfton Washburn 1896 – 1974
+George Brewster Smith 1895 – 1913
12 Arthur Elmer Washburn Davis 1913 - 1976
+Mildred Louise Booth 1917 – 1999
13 My parents
Richard Gere is a descendant of Francis Eaton.