Edward Leister was one of two servants Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644). Since he was a signer of the Mayflower Compact we can assume he was over 18 or 21 years of age, but as servant he was almost certainly under the age of 25. This would place his birth at somewhere between 1595 and 1602.
Plymouth Colony Duel
He, along with fellow servant Edward Doty, proved to be somewhat on the rowdy side at Plymouth Colony. They were the last two men to sign the "Mayflower Compact," which has led some to speculate they may have been originally unwilling to sign and required some persuasion.
In June 1621, The two servants committed the second offence in the colony, a duel fought “upon a challenge at single combat with sword and dagger", both wounding each other before the fight was broken up. They were sentenced by the Company to have their head and feet tied together for a full day, but the sentence was commuted after an hour due to their apparent suffering and the plea of their master Stephen Hopkins for their release.
Move to Virginia
Leister was enumerated in the 1623 Division of Land, but disappears by the time of the 1627 Division of Cattle. William Bradford (1590-1657) indicates that as soon as his contract was up, he headed off to Jamestown, Virginia, where he later died.
His name does not appear, however, in either of the two lists of Virginia inhabitants compiled in February 1623/4 and February 1624/5.
Bradfords Passenger List
From Gov Wm Bradfords 1651 record of Mayflower passengers:
"Mr. Steven Hopkins, and Elizabeth, his wife, and 2 children, caled Giles, and Constanta, a doughter, both by a former wife, and 2 more by his wife, caled Damaris and Oceanus; that last was borne at sea; and 2 servants caled Edward Doty and Edward Lister.
Edward Doty and Edward Lister, the servants of Mr Hopkins. Litster, after he was set at liberty, went to Virginia, and ther dyed. But Edward Doty, by a second wife hath 7 children, and both he and they are still living."
National Monument to the Forefathers, commemorates the Mayflower Pilgrims, (including this person) who came to Plymouth Colony in 1620 on the Mayflower. Dedicated on August 1, 1889, it is thought to be the world's largest solid granite monument. Located on an 11 acre hilltop site on Allerton Street in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
- Edward Leister - MayflowerHistory.com
- Edward Leister - AmericanAncestors.com
- Edward Leister - Plimouth History.