The Hector ‘passenger list’ - The Broket Archive

The Hector ‘passenger list’

When you find a passenger list containing the name of your ancestor you strike genealogical gold. And on the internet you can readily find a list of 40 or so ancestral passengers on a 1637 voyage of the Hector to Boston1John Brockett, for example, is on the list. But all that glitters is not gold, and what you can’t find is documentary evidence of that list. To be blunt, an original list of those 40 or so passengers for that voyage of the Hector in 1637 doesn’t exist. It’s what’s called a factoid. The dictionary definition of a factoid is “an assumption or speculation that is reported and repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact”,2 and the passenger list of the 1637 voyage of the Hector is an example of one. This webpage suggests how the tale first emerged and how it grew in the telling. If you don’t have the time to read the discussion in full you can find a summary of the 6 main stages in the development of the tale by clicking+Read More

If you notice anything inaccurate or unclear in this discussion, do get in touch.

Contents of this page:
+++1. Before 1902
+++2. 1902: Atwater’s History of the Colony of New Haven
++++++2.1. Imaginative narrative
++++++2.2. The ‘company’
+++++++++2.2.1 Nine examples
+++++++++2.2.2. Names of members
++++++2.3. ‘Chartering’
++++++2.4. The Jan 1637 Petition
+++++++++2.4.1. Overview
+++++++++2.4.2. Summary and transcription
+++++++++2.4.3. Atwater’s narrative
++++++2.5. 1905: EJ Brockett
+++3. 1934: Calder’s The New Haven Colony
++++++3.1. The ‘group’
++++++3.2. Chapter 1
+++++++++3.2.1. Her argument
+++++++++3.2.2. Her evidence
+++4. 1938: Lancour’s Passenger Lists …
+++5. 1977-80: Boyer and Filby
+++6. Today: the internet list of names
+++7. Implications

1. Before 1902

Only one list of passengers on the 1637 voyage of the Hector and the other ship has so far been found that dates from before 1902. It wasn’t a ‘passenger list’ in the sense of a formal document drawn up by the officer of a ship or of a port of departure or arrival, but was the mention of 5 men on board in Winthrop’s journal entry recording the ships’ arrival in Boston 26 Jun 1637. It is contemporary, valid evidence:+Read More

To summarize, the journal entry said that there were 2 ships, the Hector and another, and in them came 5 men: Mr Davenport, a second unnamed minister, Mr Eaton, Mr Hopkins and Lord Ley. It mentioned that Lord Ley was treated with disrespect by the master, Ferne, and some of the passengers. Whether or not these disrespecting passengers were among the 4 he had named is left unstated. If there had been other passengers, Winthrop neither named them nor said how many. Another contemporary document concerning the Hector prior to its sailing—a Petition submitted in January 1637—mentioned that the freighters had prepared all their provisions and passengers for the voyage, but also neither named them nor said how many. Of course, in addition to passengers the ship’s crew was also on the journey and two of them are named in the documents—the Master William Ferne or Fernes, and the Master’s Mate John Wood4—but we don’t include them here in the list of passengers. The contemporary evidence is therefore only definite about 5 passengers. In the absence of evidence that there were other passengers who weren’t mentioned, we should assume there weren’t any.

Fast forward 180 years and Trumbull apparently only mentioned the ship once, in passing—“the Hector of forty guns”—in his 1818 account of the 1745 siege of Louisburg, and mentioned no passengers.5 In any case, that 1745 vessel was probably different from the 1637 Hector, as was the one that transported Scottish settlers to Nova Scotia in 1773, a replica of which is now at Heritage Quay on the Pictou waterfront, Nova Scotia. Then in 1874 when Hotten published his book of original lists of emigrants from Britain to the American Plantations 1600-1700 he didn’t mention the Hector.

2. 1902: Atwater’s History of the Colony of New Haven

The next list of passengers on the 1637 voyage of the Hector found so far was in Atwater’s book of 1902,6 some 265 years after Winthrop’s list. It appears that Atwater was the first to suggest in writing that the Hector definitely brought more than just those 5 passengers across. But his list of names is supported by neither contemporary nor valid evidence, as we explain below.

Atwater devoted a whole chapter in his book to “The Voyage of the Hector” and set the scene for it in the preceding chapter. But he discovered no actual passenger list, and was doubtful one ever would be:

“If ever lists of the passengers in the Hector and her consort should be discovered …”7
“No documents have yet been found which indicate the day when the Hector and her consort sailed from London, or the manner in which the officers of the port discharged their official duty in examining the certificates of the passengers.”8

2.1. Imaginative narrative

Atwater used a narrative style of writing history, which aimed to tell an imaginative and readable story. This was common among historians at the time—and is today too among historical novelists, although not so much among academic historians. Atwater acknowledged that imagination was necessary regarding the Hector:

“None of the passengers in the Hector, or in the vessel which accompanied her, having supplied us with his journal, we must avail ourselves of diaries of contemporary voyages if we would see them in imagination pursuing their way down the Thames, through the Channel, and over the Atlantic.”9

and he proceeded at some length to conclude his chapter about the voyage of the Hector with vivid and dramatic tales of cross-Atlantic sailings by other ships as though they were the Hector.10

An effect of this imaginative narrative style is to make it difficult for the reader—and perhaps even the writer—to distinguish fact from fiction. This is not to say that Atwater’s narrative was entirely fictional. He gathered facts from various sources and interpreted them by including them into a larger imaginative story. He—or perhaps co-researchers—sourced and transcribed original documents, and thus did a great service to later researchers. But like everyone Atwater had his own presuppositions and motivations, and regarding the Hector some would probably have been religious, others perhaps genealogical or simply a product of his day and age. When you construct a history of your homeland referring to original documents you naturally try to make them fit with what your world view or philosophy of life lead you to imagine what took place. And it is the way in which Atwater’s own vision of past events imposed a framework on his presentation of the documentary evidence that later researchers need to try and recognize.

The mainstay of this framework upon which Atwater fashioned his narrative concerning the voyage of the Hector appears to have consisted of 2 imaginative—or imaginary—constructs that were mutually interdependent: the ‘company’ and its ‘chartering’ of the vessel. Intimately bound up with these 2 constructs was a 3rd element in the framework: a Jan 1637 Petition. This was not imaginary; it’s a document that survives today,and you can see an image of it below. However, Atwater’s interpretation of it was imaginative, indeed incorrect.

These 3 structural elements fashioned his presentation of the details of his narrative so completely that it can be difficult to see behind the finished facade. However, if we are to understand the later emergence of a ‘passenger list’ we have to try to unveil them. This is because these same 3 elements also provided the underlying structure of the picture painted by Atwater’s successor, Calder, who was the immediate precursor of an alleged actual passenger list for the Hector. She too wrote in an imaginative narrative style, and could be more imaginative.+Read More

But to be clear, calling these constructs of Atwater and Calder imaginative or imaginary is not to say that Davenport didn’t have followers in London. There’s good evidence that for a period he was the vicar of a church there with a congregation. Nor is it to say categorically that none of the people Atwater and Calder listed came to Boston with him and Eaton on the 1637 voyage of the Hector or the other ship. It’s possible, but apart from the 3 mentioned by Winthrop we can’t be sure if any of them did or didn’t. However, it is to say that neither Atwater, Calder, nor apparently any other source, have provided valid evidence that their ‘company’ or ‘group’ existed and acted as they said it did, or included any of the members they listed. And for this particular discussion that means that the alleged passenger list is based on invalid constructs. And in what follows we try to demonstrate this.

2.2. The ‘company’

Without unnecessarily criticising Atwater, whose account of the later colony seems to have been well-researched, one of the two major imaginative features of his narrative about the Hector—later to be developed further by Calder—was his way of asserting that she brought more than 5 passengers to Boston in 1637. This was Atwater’s construct of the ‘company’. He used it in two main senses:

  1. A collection of people that a leader gathered around him, with reference in this context to emigrants; once using the synonym ‘association’.12
  2. A legal entity, like one that had trustees, or feoffees, and purchased impropriations,13 or—using a synonym—a ‘joint-stock association’.
2.2.1. 9 examples of Atwater’s usage of ‘company’

The following 9 examples of both usages from Atwater’s narrative should suffice—a search for ‘company’ in the online version will show you others if you are interested.14 We cite them here in order of their occurrence in his book, highlighting relevant words. In several of the later examples you can see how he blurred the distinction between the two usages:+Read More

2.2.2. Names of members

A natural corollary to constructing a ‘company’ in England was to name some of its members. In addition to Davenport’s wife Atwater named various relatives of Theophilus Eaton, plus suggesting that several citizens of London joined the company. “Not all of them can now be distinguished from those who came from other parts of the kingdom,” he acknowledged, “but there is more or less authority for including in such a list the names of Stephen Goodyear, Richard Malbon, Thomas Gregson, William Peck, Robert Newman, Francis Newman, and Ezekiel Cheever.”25 But he didn’t cite his authority, neither more nor less. Calder later named some of these men in her lists of names, but not all of them. She didn’t cite authorities either, see below.

2.3. ‘Chartering’ a vessel

Intimately linked, or twinned, with his construct of the ‘company’ Atwater introduced the concept of them ‘chartering’ the Hector. This was the other major imaginative construct that shaped his narrative. And it’s necessary to unravel it, because once again Calder followed him and used the same concept, and from there it fed into to the notion of a passenger list. For the meaning of ‘chartering’ a vessel+Read More

The difference between Atwater’s construct of ‘chartering’ the Hector and his one about the ‘company’ is that unlike the ‘company’ there was actually a chartering of the Hector—in the sense just described, albeit not explicitly by the mention of the word itself. The company was imaginary, the chartering itself wasn’t imaginary, however it was Atwater’s interpretation of the chartering—and Calder’s after him—that was, as you can see next.

2.4. The Jan 1637 Petition

This Petition was a formal legal request to the Admiralty by the owners and freighters of the Hector to release it from impound.29 Petitions weren’t usually dated, and the “R: Jan . i636” between the right hand end of the title and the first line—‘R’ standing for ‘Received’ or ‘Recorded’—was inserted by a later hand, although there’s no need to doubt its accuracy:30

CO_1_9_39 Hector Calder n 90a date

It seems that Atwater, or someone for him, searched in the Archives in London and among the colonial papers for America and West Indies 1636-38 found and transcribed this original document, footnoting it as “Petition of the Owners and Freighters of the Good Ship called the Hector of London. State Papers: Colonial.”31 View an image of the whole Petition here:32

2.4.1. Overview

The owners and freighters of the Hector were petitioning the Admiralty. They—the owners and freighters—were parties to a contract for a cross-Atlantic sailing by the Hector, but it had subsequently been impounded by the Admiralty for its own services. This was their formal petition for its release. Their case was that much money had been invested in the enterprise, and some of the freighters in particular had invested their whole estates in the venture, which if the ship wasn’t released they stood to lose. They forecast that if the ship were allowed to proceed and returned safely, the import customs revenue of the goods she would bring back would come to at least £3000—a huge sum in those days.

What the freighters had done was to charter the ship from the owners. They had made a contract together. However, Atwater33—and later Calder34—implied that it was the passengers-to-be who had contracted, i.e. chartered, the ship and some had invested their whole estates in the venture. Atwater called them the ‘company of emigrants’ and Calder later called them the ‘group’, but they both evidently meant a network of future New Haven planters before they left England. This was the imaginary construct that Atwater created from the Jan 1637 Petition and that Calder later adopted. And it’s clear from the Petition that this was an incorrect interpretation:

Line 3 of the Petition said it was the “petition of the Owners and Freightors”.
Line 5 that “your Peticioners haveing contracted”.
Lines 7-9 that “The Freightors have made ready … And most of them therevpon engaged their wholl estates”.

The Petition shows that the owners, freighters and passengers were distinct entities. But by fudging the distinction between the two usages of the word ‘company’, as seen above, Atwater could also fudge the distinction between owners and freighters and passengers, and claim that it was his ‘company’ that chartered the vessel, invested their capital and petitioned for its release. But the Petition is clear: The owners and freighters—not the passengers—were the petitioners; the owners and freighters had contracted, i.e. chartered the ship—not the passengers; and most of the freighters—again not the passengers—had engaged their whole estates. According to the Petition, the passengers had nothing to do with any of it. Let’s look more closely at the whole Petition, crucial as it is to both Atwater’s and Calder’s narratives.

2.4.2. Summary and transcription of the Petition

Before considering Atwater’s narrative surrounding the Petition, here’s a fuller summary of it, keeping faithfully to the plain and obvious meaning of the text:
Lines 1-4: The owners and freighters of the Hector were petitioning the Admiralty
Lines 5-7: having made a contract for a voyage from London to New England for a plantation there and then on to other ports in the Straits.
Lines 7-8: The freighters had prepared all their provisions and passengers for the voyage and the plantation.
Lines 8-9: Most of the freighters had pledged their entire capital doing this and had already paid some instalments.
Lines 10-11: Subsequent to this contract and the preparations the ship had been impressed for the King’s service and was now prevented from sailing.
Lines 12-15: Therefore the petitioners’ suit was that since some of them stood to lose a lot of money because of this, if not be utterly ruined,
Lines 15-18: and since if the ship were allowed to proceed and returned safely, the import customs revenue of the goods she would bring back would come to at least £3000,
Lines 18-21: they requested a warrant for the release of the ship from the King’s service.

Notes:+Read More

And for a transcription of the whole document 40+Read More

As mentioned above, this Jan 1637 Petition, along with his 2 constructs of the ‘company’ and its ‘chartering’ of the vessel, formed the 3 fundamental elements of Atwater’s narrative of the emigration. Indeed the Petition was probably the main source of the 2 constructs, despite it not actually using either word. Be that as it may, it was central to his argument and needs to be looked at in detail.

2.4.3. Atwater’s narrative surrounding the Petition

Aside from Davenport’s and Eaton’s family circles, and his 7 citizens of London, plus an eighth called John Evance, Atwater didn’t—unlike Calder—suggest any other names of passengers. However, he developed a complex narrative surrounding this Jan 1637 Petition in which he argued that passengers were deliberately unnamed.

Regarding these unnamed passengers lines 7-9 of the Petition are the important ones:42

Petition re Hector 1636 lines 7-9

Here’s a transcription of lines 7-9 of the document and a summary of Atwater’s 5 interpretations of them:+Read More

Since this Petition was crucial to Atwater’s narrative of events—and to Calder’s after him48—it is necessary to analyse his 5 interpretations more closely. For details+Read More

In sum, enough should have been discussed in this section to show that Atwater was apparently the first to develop the notion that a sizeable number—or ‘company’—of future New Haven planters emigrated in the Hector in 1637, although he acknowledged that no passenger list as such had been found.

2.5. 1905: EJ Brockett

Atwater was writing at the turn of the 19th and 20th C when the drive to trace the origins of New England’s early settlers intensified, and other descendants of the founders of New Haven than Atwater were compiling their genealogies and wanting to find a passenger list of their ancestors’ arrival. For example, in the Historical Introduction to his book of 1905 EJ Brockett described the formation of the new plantation and how his ancestor John Brockett was a member of it.50 Then in a final extended note to it EJB collected and slightly paraphrased some of Atwater’s observations on the Hector, and although EJB didn’t state outright that John Brockett arrived on the Hector, the implication was that he did.51

Then a generation later the implications became stronger.

3. 1934: Calder’s The New Haven Colony

When Isabel MacBeath Calder published The New Haven Colony in 1934 the seed of an actual passenger list of the Hector‘s 1637 voyage was sown. As we shall see, Calder didn’t herself reproduce a ‘passenger list’ in the sense of a formal document drawn up by the officer of a ship or of a port of departure or arrival, as later writers implied; she only listed the members of the ‘group’ that she claimed emigrated. If she had located an actual passenger list during her researches in London archives, she surely would have reproduced and referenced it, but she evidently didn’t find one. Instead she collated a number of other disparate documents in support of her own composition of the ‘group’, and we analyze these below. Nonetheless, it was this detailed composition of hers of the ‘group’ that has become a passenger list. And now in all later accounts, references to, and quotations from, a Hector passenger list have their origin in the opening chapter of Calder’s book. Some may be to, from or via a later source like Lancour, Boyer, or Filby, but Calder is their ultimate source.

You might say this is splitting hairs, and ask: “What is the difference between on the one hand a detailed mention of all the names in a group of emigrants that chartered the Hector in London and arrived in Boston, and on the other hand a passenger list? Actual passenger lists themselves can get destroyed.” Aside from the essential difference between primary and secondary evidence, there might not be an unbridgeable difference if—and it’s a big if—there is valid contemporary evidence of the composition of the ‘group’ in London, of its chartering the ship there and of them all arriving in Boston. This is the crux of the matter: Valid evidence of all three of them would be equivalent to a passenger list. Unfortunately, careful research shows that there is valid evidence of none of these three. This webpage analyzes why.

As the title indicates, Calder’s book concerns the New Haven Colony. Eleven of its twelve chapters are situated in New England, with just Chapter 1 in old England. This first chapter narrates a pre-history of the planters in old England as an introduction to the subsequent history of their plantation in New England. In particular, Chapter 1 sets a Puritan context for the developing events in the rest of the book. It is entitled “St. Stephen’s, Coleman Street”, the name of a parish in the City of London where Rev John Davenport was some time vicar.52 Within Chapter 1, Calder’s portrayal of the contemporary political and religious environment in old England leads up to a dramatic climax in its final two paragraphs on pp 29-31 portraying a ‘group’ of politically and religiously like-minded people forming around Rev John Davenport and escaping a hostile situation in England by emigrating to begin a new life across the seas

3.1. The ‘group’

Where Atwater’s discussions of the nature of his ‘company’ were extensive and complex, Calder’s of her ‘group’ were brief and simplistic. Where Atwater’s names of the members of his ‘company’ were tentative and few, Calder’s of her ‘group’ were confident and many. Where Atwater was fairly transparent in his use of sources, Calder seemed at times deliberately obscure.

Atwater devoted a whole chapter and more to the Hector, Calder just 2 paragraphs. It’s as though Calder took Atwater’s narrative as fact, but without acknowledgement. Atwater named about a dozen members of his ‘company’, Calder named about 48 of her ‘group’. Atwater struggled to harmonize various sources, Calder footnoted incompletely and inaccurately.

But the similarities between the two narratives were greater than their differences. We saw how Atwater constructed his narrative upon 3 main foundations: the ‘company’, the ‘chartering’ and the Jan 1637 Petition, and how the first two were misinterpretation of the third. Calder did the same. She may only have mentioned the second two in passing—whether assumed as fact or obscured as awkward evidence—but they were foundations sure enough.

The essence of Calder’s narrative of the ‘group’ as told in the final 2 paragraphs of her Chapter 1 is as follows:

[Penultimate paragraph]
1. Davenport and Eaton organized a company to begin a plantation in the New World.
2. The nucleus of the group was composed of …  [16 names]
3. With this nucleus many … coalesced [13 names] …
4. Among others who … cast in their lots with the emigrants, were [19 names] …
[Final paragraph]
5. The group chartered the Hector …
6. On June 26, 1637, John Winthrop recorded the arrival of the group …

The penultimate paragraph focused mainly on names, the final paragraph on dates.

Let’s look at her narrative in more detail in what follows.

3.2. Calder’s Chapter 1 pp 29-31

What Calder actually said on pp 29-31 and the evidence she claimed supported it (her footnotes) can now be assessed. In particular there are 6 sentences that shape the climax of her narrative and are crucial to the composition of the ‘group’—and therefore subsequently of the passenger list. Since her book isn’t currently available on the internet, you can find this climax of her Chapter 1—these pp 29-31—with 6 sentences highlighted in bold in their wider context +Read More

It is this climax and final two paragraphs of Calder’s Chapter 1 and her construct of the ‘group’ that are analysed in more detail below by means of these 6 sentences as her proof statement. But first, to give more context to pp 29-31 here are some observations on Chapter 1 as a whole +Read More

3.2.1. Calder’s argument: the 6 sentences

In this and the next section you can find an analysis of Calder’s argument and evidence for her detailed composition of the ‘group’ of emigrants, in other words her proof statement for its formation and emigration. You will find the argument encapsulated in 6 sentences in the climax of chapter 1, quoted above, and her evidence in their associated footnotes. These are all quoted and analyzed—the sentences in this section, the footnotes in the next.

Sentences 3-4 provided the bulk of the names you will find on an internet Hector passenger list. They introduced two lists of 32 (13+19) names of emigrants who weren’t part of Eaton and Davenport’s family circles. Calder herself didn’t refer to these lists as a passenger list as such, but an abstract of all 6 sentences shows the progression of her ideas and leaves no doubt that she was supplying a list of passengers.

Sentences 1 & 2: “Unable to foresee the changes which the ensuing decade was to usher in in England, Davenport and Eaton organized a company to begin a plantation in the New World. The nucleus of the group was composed of the leaders and their families”.

For a commentary    Read More

Sentences 3 & 4: “With this nucleus many inhabitants of the parish of St. Stephen, Coleman Street, coalesced: [13 names] all with family names found in the accounts of the churchwardens of the parish. Among others who desired to begin life anew in the wilderness across the seas, and who cast in their lots with the emigrants, were [19 names] probably all from the neighborhood.”

For a commentary    Read More

Sentence 5: “The group chartered the Hector of London”.

For a commentary    Read More

Sentence 6: “On June 26, 1637, John Winthrop recorded the arrival of the group from London at Boston in New England.”

For a commentary    Read More

3.2.2. Calder’s evidence: her footnotes 81-93

At first sight the scholarly appearance of Calder’s 13 footnotes in little more than 2 pages of text inspires confidence. But on closer inspection, they are specious, every one of them. The main function of footnotes is to supply reliable evidence in support of an argument or discussion. Calder was arguing here for two propositions: the detailed composition of her ‘group’ of emigrants and their sailing from London to Boston, but not one of the 13 footnotes supplies reliable evidence. Nor can a single one of them be cited further as reliable evidence of a passenger list. Even the last one, the punchline no.93, is misleading: it certainly is a reference to Davenport, Eaton and Hopkins arriving in Boston on the Hector in 1637, but not, as Calder uses the reference, to the arrival of the large ‘group’ of 48 or so that she had constructed.

To justify this damning criticism, a comment follows each of the 13 footnotes quoted in this section, providing images where the source isn’t readily accessible. The focus here is on their relevance to the climax of the chapter, i.e. the formation and emigration of the ‘group’—and subsequently to the alleged passenger list. Since 6 sentences were highlighted above as encapsulating Calder’s overall argument, her evidence to validate it—these footnotes 81-93—don’t necessarily attach directly to one of these 6 sentences; they were her evidence to validate the overall argument.

Some are references to Massachusetts publications, mostly accessible online or to local readers in the States, others are to UK State Papers Domestic, not so generally accessible, and then there are several manuscript references, inaccessible to the general reader. In the ‘Bibliographical Note’ at the end of her book Calder provided details of where in England the records were located,63 but it took this researcher, familiar with UK archives, a long time to track them all down.

If you don’t have time to read the following analysis of all the footnotes, that of no.86 and no.90 are representative of their overall quality.

Calder’s book as a whole received largely unfavorable reviews, like those from contemporary colleagues at Harvard64 and Stanford.65 One said, “Her footnotes are repeatedly incorrect“.66

Footnote 81John Davenport, A Sermon Preach’d at The Election of the Governor At Boston in New-England. May 19th 1669 (1670), p.15, reprinted in Colonial Society of Massachusetts Publications, X, 6.67
Comment:+Read More

Footnotes 82-86:+Read More

Footnote 82: Frances Rose-Troup, The Massachusetts Bay Company and Its Predecessors, p.104.
Comment:+Read More

Footnote 83: Egerton MSS, 2648, fol.1.
Comment:+Read More

Footnote 84: William Fergusson Irvine, ed., Marriage Licenses Granted within the Archdeaconry of Chester in the Diocese of Chester, I, 117.
Comment:+Read More

Footnote 85: Harleian Society Publications, VIII, 65.
Comment:+Read More

Footnote 86: Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, 4th Series, VI, 344-345; State Papers, Domestic, Charles I, DXV, no.146i.
Comment:+Read More

Footnote 87: Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, 5th Series, I, 319-321.
Comment:+Read More

Footnote 88: State Papers, Domestic, Charles I, XVII, no.117.
Comment:+Read More

Footnote 89: Winthrop’s Journal, I, 181, 182; Massachusetts Colony Records, I, 176.
Comment:+Read More

Footnote 90: C.O.1:9, no.39; State Papers, Domestic, James I, CCXV, 138-139; Charles I, CCCXLIV, no.52i; CCCXLVII, no.10.
Comment 1: Method. One of the 5 elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard is: Complete and accurate source citations. +Read More

Comment 2: The 4 items. +Read More

Footnote 91: Ibid., CCCLI, no.100.
Comment:+Read More

Footnote 92: On May 10, 1637, Francis Kirby wrote to John Winthrop, “I wrote you lately per the Hector.” Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, 4th Series, VII, 19.
Comment:+Read More

Footnote 93: Winthrop’s Journal, I, 223.
Comment:+Read More

In sum, at first sight all these references in footnotes 81-93 appear to provide impressive evidence for Calder’s narrative on pages 29-31, which in turn was to become the source of the Hector ‘passenger list’. But you can see from this extended and careful analysis that in fact, except for her final footnote 93, not a single one of Calder’s footnotes supplied any evidence that the people she proposed for her ‘group’ sailed on the Hector in 1637. The Hector ‘passenger list’ is thus not based on any reliable evidence whatsoever.

4. 1938: Lancour’s Passenger Lists of Ships Coming to North America, 1607-1825

When Isabel MacBeath Calder published The New Haven Colony in 1934 the seed of an actual passenger list of the Hector‘s 1637 voyage was sown. By ‘actual passenger list’ we mean a formal document drawn up by the officer of a ship or of a port of departure or arrival. Calder herself didn’t say in so many words that she had had access to an actual list as such, but it would have been easy to infer from her primary-sourced lists of passengers in a context of an alleged ‘group’ of emigrants on a named vessel, that she had. And 4 years later the seedling emerged in Lancour’s 1938 book: Passenger Lists of Ships Coming to North America, 1607-1825. The simple appearance in a book of passenger lists gave Calder’s lists the status of an actual passenger list, and the way Lancour itemized it confirmed that status:

Lancour’s item 71 in his 'Passenger Lists of Ships' citing Calder p 29-31
For an analysis+Read More

5. 1977-80: Boyer and Filby

Thus it was that by the late 1970s and early 80s and the publication of Boyer’s Ship Passenger Lists and Filby’s Passenger and Immigration Lists Bibliography 1538-1900 the passenger list of the Hector had become a fully-flowering plant, thence to disseminate itself to other compilations and histories, and on from there into too many internet pages to count. For more details +Read More

6. Today: the internet list of names

For the passenger list exactly as found on, plus their few paragraphs of introduction:112   Read More

A comparison shows that this Olive Tree list of names exactly follows the order in Calder’s passage at the end of her chapter 1 as quoted above, except that it omits some names from Eaton’s family party, detailed by Calder. Thus Calder’s list had 48 names, and this Olive Tree list 40+. The introduction to the Olive Tree’s list says, “A passenger ship list for the trip from Massachusetts Bay to New Haven, Connecticut has not been located.” “Nor one from London to New Haven” should be added.

Based on no valid evidence, Calder’s own reconstruction of the names of her ‘group’ of emigrants who she claimed sailed to Boston in 1637 gained the formal status of a Passenger List, which is cited in subsequent indexes and compilations, and thence to numerous websites.

Please note that this discussion is not to be taken as discrediting the remaining chapters of Calder’s book, which may well provide a helpful summary of the New Haven colony’s history—as Judge Blue observed.113

7. Implications

The absence of a larger list of passengers than in Winthrop’s contemporary journal entry and the evident imaginary nature of Atwater’s and Calder’s narrative of the emigration make it extremely unlikely that John Brockett—or others not mentioned by Winthrop—came to Boston in 1637 on the Hector. No valid evidence has so far been produced to show that he or they did sail on it, or that he knew Davenport or Eaton in London beforehand. So statements like:

“The earliest known Brockett in America was a Puritan named John Brockett, who arrived in Boston 26 June 1637, with the Rev. John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton.”114

should be avoided. They are speculations without any evidence. One could more reasonably speculate that he joined the colony afterwards, as many others apparently did either from England later, or from elsewhere in New England. For example—assuming her evidence this time was sound—Calder herself mentioned how, “the New Haven colony attracted many settlers from Old England and New” and listed 14 men from Wethersfield who “soon joined the first arrivals at Quinnipiac.”115 Similarly she said, “During the second summer of the Davenport company at Quinnipiac, three ships sailing directly from London brought a great company from England to the new colony.”116 If correct, this would have been summer 1639, which is the date of the first record of John Brockett in New Haven.

The obvious implication of all this for those interested in researching the first John Brockett of New Haven is that it makes the date of his arrival in America uncertain. This has the positive effect of widening the search for his origins and parentage in England. He may well have had nothing to do with Davenport or Eaton there. He may not even have lived in London. A wider implication is that the same could well apply to others on the imaginary passenger list.

Page Last Updated: March 28, 2019


For full bibliographical details please see the sections Publications or Glossary.


[1] E.g. ( accessed 8 Sep 2017.

[2] New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary 1993 vol 2 p 204. The online Merriam-Webster dictionary is similar: 'an invented fact believed to be true because it appears in print'. Norman Mailer coined the term in 1973.

[3] Winthrop’s Journal, I, 223 (ed Hosmer c 1908) available online at (accessed 20 May 2018).

[4] Many thanks to Michael Wood for pointing this out, 28 Mar 2019.

[5] vol 2 p 279.

[6] Available at (accessed 12 Oct 2018).

[7] p 54.

[8] p 53.

[9] p 55.

[10] pp 55-57.

[11] p 35.

[12] pp 43-4.

[13] Ecclesiastical property placed in lay hands.

[14] (accessed 16 May 2018).

[15] p 22.

[16] pp 33-34.

[17] p 36, single inverted commas indicating his quote from the Petition.

[18] See Calder's 'sentence 3' below.

[19] p 41.

[20] p 45.

[21] pp 43-4.

[22] p 45.

[23] pp 51-2.

[24] p 52.

[25] p 41.

[26] Vol 1 p 376.

[27] (accessed 9 Jul 2018).

[28] NSOED; Mirriam-Webster at (accessed 20 May 2018).

[29] TNA CO 1/9 no.39.

[30] Reproduced by kind permission of the National Archives licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. Note that it didn't specify 19 January. 1636 was old style for 1637.

[31] Now TNA CO 1/9 no.39. Atwater's transcription is on his p 48, and footnote on p 36.

[32] Reproduced by kind permission of the National Archives licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

[33] His example 3 above.

[34] Her sentence 5 below.

[35] NSOED; Mirriam-Webster at (accessed 20 May 2018).

[36] State Papers Domestic Charles I CCCXLVII, p 444. Transcribed by Atwater p 49. See Calder's footnote 90d below.

[37] State Papers Domestic Charles I XVII no 117, microfilm SP16.16-18. See Calder's footnote 88 below.

[38] SPD Colonial Papers vol IX p 245 item 39.

[39] See below, and example 3 above of Atwater's construct of the 'company'.

[40] Line numbers have been added for reference. Otherwise the transcription is exact with normal abbreviations extended and spelling and punctuation (or mostly lack of it) as is.

[41] Noted in a later hand, see above.

[42] Reproduced by kind permission of the National Archives licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

[43] p 36. This is example 3 above of Atwater's construct of the 'company'.

[44] p 36.

[45] p 50.

[46] p 52. This is example 8 above of Atwater's construct of the 'company'.

[47] p 52. This is example 9 above of Atwater's construct of the 'company'.

[48] See the discussion of her Footnote 90a below.

[49] pp 36 and 48ff. His transcription was on p 48, and footnoted on p 36 as from State Papers: Colonial.

[50] pp 13-21.

[51] p 21.

[52] Calder, p 5ff.

[53] pp v and 272.

[54] Example 4 above.

[55] 1902 p 40.

[56] A search through BMD databases like FamilySearch and FindMyPast on 8 Jul 2018 only produced a number of Community Contributed IGI entries, back projecting a birth to 1613 or 1614 from a marriage in New Haven in 1638 or 39 to Ellen Lathrop/Lothrop.

[57] 1902 p 41.

[58] Boyd's Inhabitants Of London & Family Units 1200-1946 London, England, recorded by FindMyPast (accessed 7 Jul 2018).

[59] The only Banister found in a search of the baptisms, marriages and burials 1590 to 31 Mar 1635/6 ((Guildhall Library ms 4449 on microfilm).

[60] (accessed 8 Jul 2018).

[61] His example 3 of 9 above.

[62] His example 3 above.

[63] p 265.

[64] S E Morison in The American Historical Review, Vol 41, Issue 1 (1 Oct 1935), pp 155–156.

[65] B McAnear in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol 61, No.3 (Jul 1937), pp 345-348.

[66] McAnear, p 348.

[67] Available online at (accessed 9 Oct 2018). Many thanks to Susan Pemberton for help finding this reference.

[68] p 41.

[69] (accessed 8 Sep 2017).

[70] (accessed 20 May 2018).

[71] Hoadley vol 1 pp 9, 17.

[72] Hoadley vol 1 p 17.

[73] Hoadley vol 1 p 9.

[74] Hoadley vol 1 p 16.

[75] Atwater 1881 p 41, our bold font

[76] Available online at accessed 8 Sep 2017. Perhaps more commonly known as The Winthrop Papers. Many thanks to Susan Pemberton for this reference.

[77] SPD vol DXV p 587-9. The TNA reference to the original document is SP 16/515/2 ff 142-4.

[78] TNA SP 16/515/2 f 144v. Reproduced by kind permission of The National Archives.

[79] pp 9-11 and 17-19.

[80] Reproduced by kind permission of The National Archives. The letter covers both sides of TNA SP 16/515/2 f 142.

[81] Calder didn't mention this.

[82] TNA SP 16/515/2 f 143r.

[83] Summarized further on SPD DXV p 588, item 146.II.

[84] SPD DXV p 589, Item 146.I.

[85] TNA SP 16/515/2 f 144r. Reproduced by kind permission of The National Archives.

[86] (accessed 8 Sep 2017).

[87] p 535.

[88] p 127.

[89] Atwater p 127, following Hoadley's footnote on vol 1 p 39.

[90] Atwater 109.

[91] Hoadley vol 1 p 39.

[92] SPD for Charles I, vol XVII, p 212.

[93] TNA microfilm SP16.16-18 no 117. Calder's reference to vol XVII was incorrect.

[94] SPD for Charles I, vol XLV, p 530

[95] pp 181-2 (accessed 8 Sep 2017).

[96] By kind permission of the National Archives licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

[97] Now TNA CO 1/9 no.39.

[98] Sentence 5 above.

[99] Atwater's footnote to p 36.

[100] TNA SP14/215.

[101] pp 48-9.

[102] pp 49-50.

[103] Vol 351, p 544-5 entry 100.

[104] pp 23, 28.

[105] John Davenport, A Sermon Preach'd at The Election of the Governor At Boston in New-England. May 19th 1669 (1670), p 15, available online at (accessed 9 Oct 2018). Calder cited this document for a different purpose in her footnote 81, see above.

[106] e.g. pp 33-34.

[107] e.g. pp 5, 13-14, 16-17, 21-2.

[108] Winthrop Papers Digital Edition © 2019 Massachusetts Historical Society. Many thanks to Michael Wood for this reference, 28 Mar 2019.

[109] See Calder's Footnote 89 above, points 1 and 2.

[110] 1977-80 p 201.

[111] 1981 item 1064.

[112] (accessed 16 May 2018).

[113] 2015 p 256 n 10.

[114] Madsen 1983 p 129.

[115] p 67-8.

[116] p 70.