Jason Seabury was an eighth-generation descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, the first people from Plymouth Colony to have a child in America.
| John Seabury | Samuel Seabury | | Grace (?) | Joseph Seabury |
| William Pabodie | Benjamin Seabury |
| John Alden | Constant Seabury | Phebe Smith | Elizabeth Alden | William Seabury | Rebecca Southworth | Pracilla Mullins Jason Seabury | Susanna Gray | Rhoda Woodman The Church of England was the official church, and the only church to which the people of England could belong in the early seventeenth century. However, several members thought change was necessary, they felt that the Church of England had not completed the work of the Reformation. Failing to introduce changes, some Puritans separated from the Church of England. They became known as Separatists. Now there was a new problem: leaving the church was not allowed. Therefore, the Separatists had to leave the country.
John Carver, a leader of the Separatist congregation in Holland, went to London to make arrangements for a ship to transport the Separatists to the New World, America. They would be the first European people to live in the new country, and would enjoy the freedoms they so eagerly sought. After the charter for the ship was confirmed, and after some mishaps and delays, the little ship Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, England on September 16, 1620. She was only 180 tons, had three masts, and had been built for the wine trade twelve years previously.
Mayflower carried 102 passengers, including hired help, among them Myles Standish, a professional soldier, and John Alden, a cooper hired by the London merchants who funded the Mayflower's expedition to the New World. The passengers and hired help lived on the lower gun deck in an area which had useable space less than seventy-feet long and a width of only twenty-four feet at the widest part. This gave each person a space equivalent to a square that was only four feet on a side. But much of that living space was taken up by the mast passing through the decks to the keel and by the capstan. One-hundred and two people, including three pregnant women, crowded into this small space. The voyage took sixty-five days; two people died.
Cape Cod was sighted on November 19, 1620. After unsuccessfully searching to the south for the land they had been granted from the London Company, Mayflower anchored at Provincetown two days later. This area was not the land granted to them, and they knew they had no legal right to settle in the region. Before anyone left the ship, they drew up the Mayflower Compact, creating their own government, signed by all men on board. After weeks of scouting for a suitable settlement area, Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock at the western shore of Cape Cod Bay on December 26, 1620. That winter proved to be deadly for the Separatists after their long and difficult voyage. During the winter of their landing, 1620 – 1621, half the colonists died within six months.
The Plymouth Colony was named for the port of Plymouth, England where the colonists embarked. Massachusetts is named for the local Native Americans living in the area, the Massachusett tribe. They lived in an area surrounding Massachusetts Bay from Plymouth to Salem. Their name Massachusett means “the area of the great hill” referring to Great Blue Hill ten miles southwest of Boston. Encounters with the Native Americans introduced the colonists to whaling. Grampuses, now known as pilot whales, washed up on the beaches dead. Their blubber was about two-inches thick, and the people of Plymouth Colony recognized the potential money the oil could bring to them. They did not see the whales as food or as a source for oil of their own consumption, but as income from Europe. When approaching through Cape Cod Bay, passengers on Mayflower noticed huge whales frolicking alongside the ship, probably right whales, as they were described as the best kind for oil and bone (baleen). The seeds were planted for New England whale fisheries.
One of the passengers on Mayflower was eighteen-year old Priscilla Mullins who traveled with her father, William Mullins, a Shoemaker from Dorking, County, Surrey, England, and her mother Alice. Her fourteen-year old brother, Joseph, was also a passenger. Her parents and brother died that first terrible winter. She was a teen-age orphan in an unknown land within a few months of stepping ashore.
John Alden, hired as a cooper for the Mayflower voyage, was an active and well-liked man. He was one of the settlers who signed the Mayflower Compact, the first laws in the new country, and founded Plymouth Colony. Plymouth Colony remained independent until 1691 when it became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, centered at Boston. John held various offices while at Plymouth Colony, including deputy governor of Massachusetts (1664-1667).
Miles Standish, also among the hired help, was a professional soldier and militia captain from Lancashire, England. He was hired by the Separatists as military advisor for their Plymouth Colony. Miles’ wife, Rose Standish, died the first winter on January 29, 1621, before the time Priscilla’s family died. After Rose’s death Miles very soon turned his eye to young Priscilla Mullins. That courtship was immortalized in 1858 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s largely fictitious poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish. Miles Standish wished to propose to Priscilla. He persuaded John Alden to speak to her father, William Mullins, for him, according to the custom of the times. John Alden spoke with William, telling him that Miles Standish wanted to visit Priscilla. William could have objected because Miles’ wife had died so recently, but he did not. He said his daughter Priscilla would have to be consulted, also. Priscilla was brought in and John Alden repeated the message from Miles Standish. She is said to have answered, “Prithee, John, why do you not speak for yourself?" He bowed and left the house, looking back at Priscilla as though thinking there were something more to be said. John returned a short time later on his own behalf and began courting Priscilla. They were married May 12, 1622.
The first child born to the settlers, and the first English child born in America, was Elizabeth Alden, daughter of John and Priscilla Alden, born in 1625. On December 26, 1644, at age nineteen, Elizabeth married William Pabodie. Although this was the day after Christmas, the Pilgrims did not celebrate Christmas because the exact date of Christ’s birth was not to be found in the bible. They understood and accepted the historical meaning, but would not join in joyful celebration that would interfere with solemn religious devotion. Anyone in New England who celebrated Christmas was fined. William was a yeoman, boatman, wheelwright and a land surveyor. He was active politically as deputy to the General Court at Plymouth 1654 - 1663, 1668, and 1671 - 1682. William and Elizabeth had a daughter, Martha, who grew up and married Samuel Seabury on April 4, 1667, at Weymouth, Massachusetts.
Samuel was the son of the first Seabury in America, John Seabury, from Boston, who died before 1662. John Seabury had a wife, Grace, and they had two sons John and Samuel; Samuel was born Dec. 10, 1640. The marriage of Samuel and Martha Pabodie was Samuel’s second marriage. In 1684 William and Elizabeth moved to Little Compton, Rhode Island where he had acquired land.
The town of Little Compton was founded by a band of explorers from Plymouth Colony. From its beginning Little Compton has been home to many people of Plymouth Colony. Other members of the Seabury family would soon move to Little Compton. Samuel Seabury and Martha had two children, Joseph and John. Joseph was born June 8, 1678. At age twenty-three Joseph moved to Little Compton and married Phebe Smith on September 25, 1701. Among their nine children was Benjamin Seabury, born January 20, 1708. Benjamin Seabury married Rebecca Southworth in 1733. They had nine children; the second youngest was Constant Seabury, born June 19, 1749. Constant lived in a house directly on the line between Tiverton and Little Compton, Rhode Island. He married Susannah Gray in Tiverton on December 19, 1771. Constant and Susannah had eight children including a son, William, born in Little Compton on May 23, 1780.
William married Rhoda Woodman on April 12, 1807, in Little Compton. Rhoda died on January 2, 1833. William then bought a house at 16 Bush in New Bedford and relocated there. He was a captain in the merchant marine service in the European trade. The first voyage he made after moving to New Bedford was as captain of merchant ship Hope bound for Holland. On this voyage he took his sixteen-year-old son, Humphrey, with him. After he returned from Holland he married Rhoda’s sister, Sally Woodman, in New Bedford on February 16, 1834.
William had nine children, all by his first wife. Andrew Jackson, born on May 17, 1826, died as an infant on September 22 of the same year. His other children were: Jason (1822-1853), Charles Pinkney (1820-1890), Humphrey Woodman (1817-1891), William Harrison (1813-1897), Edward W. (1810-1884), Otis (1808-1880), Julia Ann and Louisa. Louisa married Benjamin Cushman, another whaling captain, and they lived with William. Julia Ann never married, but stayed at home with her father caring for him. In 1845 Captain William Seabury lived in New Bedford at 50 Fifth, now Pleasant Street, and his sons, Charles P., Humphrey, and Jason boarded there with him. William H. was a trader at 2 Whaleman’s Slip, and his house was at 70 South Sixth. Otis owned a house at 44 Fourth while his brother and partner, Edward W., had a house at 26 Walnut. Sometime in 1850 Jason moved and boarded with his brother Edward W. at 26 Walnut.
Humphrey Woodman Seabury spent most of his boyhood in Little Compton. When he was sixteen-years old his mother died and his father moved to New Bedford. Seeing the wharves lined with whaleships and hearing tales of far-off corners of the Earth he soon decided what his career goal would be; he wanted to be captain of one of the great whaleships and share the successes and adventures of the captains and crews. He wanted to see the world’s strange lands and different people. He had sailed across the Atlantic with his father at the age of sixteen. At the age of nineteen he shipped on the whaleship Corinthian, Captain Leonard Crowell, sailing from New Bedford on November 8, 1835. By the time he arrived back in New Bedford on February 20, 1839, Humphrey was well on his way to his goal: he was promoted to Third Mate. His second whaling voyage was as First Mate of bark Coral, Captain James H. Sherman, sailing on June 15, 1839. He arrived home again on September 11, 1842, and realized his dream: he was made Captain of Coral on her next two voyages, both very successful. The first sailed November 11, 1842, exactly two months after arriving. His cargo was 1,900 barrels of sperm oil, 1,000 barrels of whale oil and 11,000 pounds of whalebone. His next voyage as captain of Coral sailed November 17, 1846, and returned June 11, 1850, with a cargo of 3,350 barrels of sperm oil. Sperm oil at that time was $1.19 per gallon, yielding a value of $125,575.
Jason Seabury, like his brothers and father, was of the same honest, strong, persistent, hard working stock of New England colonists who endured great hardship and suffering to not only survive, but to forge the beginnings of a great country. He was an eighth-generation descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. Some other descendants of John and Priscilla include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Jason Seabury was in good company and would live up to his proud name and heritage. Unfortunately, circumstances would shed a different light on him.