Peter Browne was born 24 January 1594 in Dorking, Surrey, England, United Kingdom to Thomas Browne (1533-1590) and Joan Gabb (1539-1628) and died 1633 Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Martha Weighte (1589-1630) 1624 in Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. He married Mary Browne (c1600-) 1630 in Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

Early Mayflower passenger and immigrant to America who settled Plymouth Colony in 1620.

Vital Statistics[]

  • Birth - probably born in January 1594 in Dorking, Surrey, England to William Browne.
  • 9-Nov-1620 - Arrival on Mayflower to Plymouth_Colony
  • 1626 1st Marriage to Martha Ford
  • 1630 2nd Marriage to Mary (?)
  • 1633 Death


He was baptized in the local parish on January 26, 1594. While his brothers John (who joined him in 1632 in Plymouth Colony), Samuel, and James became weavers, his vocation is believed to have been a carpenter, machinist, or similar. In 1619 or 1620 he was likely enlisted by William Mullins, as part of the "London contingent," whose trades and skills were necessary for the voyage of the Mayflower and the Speedwell and the creation of the colony.

Not one of the Leiden Seperatists, so Peter was therefore one of the Strangers to accompany the pilgrims to America in 1620. Not much known about his background.

  • 1633 - found on Freeman list.
  • 1-Jan-1633, fined three shillings for not appearing in court. Fined similarly again the next day.
  • 7-Jan-1633, dispute between him and Samuel Fuller is referred to court.

Probably died in the 1633 sickness, his inventory is taken on 10-Oct-1633. He had two surviving children with each wife.

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, Peter was the 33rd of the 41 signers on this document.

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.

1621 Lost in the Woods[]

An interesting incident (from Mourt’s Relations pg 27) regarding Peter Browne took place in January 1621 while the Pilgrims were building their settlement of Plymouth.

On January 12 Peter Browne, John Goodman (c1595 -1621) and others had entered the forest some distance from the Pilgrim plantation in order to find material for roofing thatch. Sometime around noon, Browne and Goodman wandered further into the forest while the other men stayed behind to make up the thatch into bundles.

After these men had done that work, they tried to locate Browne and Goodman in the forest, but they could not be found. These men went to the settlement and informed others that the men could not be located. This caused about 10-12 armed men to search for them, in fear they were captured by Indians. As it happened, Browne and Goodman were eating lunch when their dogs starting chasing a deer and they were soon lost.

According to records, “they wandered all that afternoon being wet, and at night it did freeze and snow, they were slenderly appareled and had no weapons but each one sickle.” At night they thought they heard “lions” in the forest and climbed a tree for shelter. They stayed by the tree that night in case they had to escape to safety. The next day they finally climbed the highest hill they could find, were able to see their harbor and find their way back to the settlement. After the searchers had given up hope of finding them, Browne and Goodman finally arrived in Plymouth quite cold, frost-bitten, tired and hungry, having survived their first experience alone in the New England forest.

In the Plymouth settlement of 1620, the house of Peter Browne was near that of John Goodman and was close to the harbor on the south side of the village street.

Marriage & Children[]

1st Marriage: Widow Martha Ford[]

Sometime after the 1623 Division of Land, Peter Browne married the widow Martha Ford, arriving in November 1621 on the ship Fortune as the only recorded woman on board. Her husband Mr. Ford apparently died on the voyage or just after arrival. Martha gave birth to a son the day of arrival but he died soon after. Per Banks, Mourt’s Relations (p. 63) records this event: “the good wife Ford was delivered of a sonne the first night shee landed, and both of them are very well.”

Widow Martha Ford received four lots (shares) in the 1623 Division of Land, to which she was entitled by this family count. In those records, she is listed as “Widow Foord.”

Peter married Martha Weight, the widow of a Mr. Ford, in 1626 and had two daughters before her death in 1630.

Children of Peter and Martha Browne:

  1. William Browne (1625-1694) born about 1625 and died 7 April 1694 in Eastham, Mass. He married Mary Murdock (1625-1694) and they had at least 5 children: Mary Brown (unmarried?) (1650-1693), George Brown (1651-1721) married Mrs. Mulford and Mrs. Knowles, William Brown (1654-1685) married Susannah Harding (1675-1769), Samuel Brown Sr (1656-1691) married Martha Harding (1662-1692), and John Brown (1658-1730)
  2. Mary Browne (1626-1689) was born about 1626 and died after November 1689. She married Ephraim Tinkham in Plymouth by October 27, 1647 and had nine children. A deed dated October 27, 1647 notes that Ephraim Tinkham and wife Mary sold to Henry Sampson land in Duxbury which was one-third of the land belonging to Peter Brown, deceased.
  3. Priscilla Browne (1628-1697) was born about 1628 and died after February 17, 1697/8. She married William Allen in Sandwich on March 21, 1649 and had eight children. On June 8, 1650 William Allen of Sandwich and wife Priscilla sold to John Brown of Duxbury, weaver, land in Duxbury which was one part of three belonging to the children of Peter Brown, brother of John Brown. On April 15, 1668 William Allen sold to Henry Tucker a one-third share of land in Dartmouth which was granted to Peter Brown as a Purchaser of 1626.

2nd Marriage: Peter Brown[]

Mary (maiden name and parentage unknown),[25] married about 1630 or 1631 and had two children

Two surviving children

  • Rebecca Browne - and later married William Snow - children
  • second child died young


Offspring of Peter Browne and Martha Weighte (1589-1630)
Name Birth Death Joined with
William Browne (1625-1694) 1625 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 7 April 1694 Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts Mary Murdock (1625-1694)
Mary Browne (1626-1689) 1626 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 1689 Middleborough, Plymouth County, Massachusetts Ephraim Tinkham (1606-1683)
Priscilla Browne (1628-1697) 1628 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 1691 Sandwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts William Allen (1627-1705)

Offspring of Peter Browne and Mary Browne (c1600-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Rebecca Browne (1631-1699) 9 June 1636 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 1699 Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts William Snow (1624-1708)
Child Browne (1633-1647) 1633 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 1647 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts


Famous Descendants[]

Though often stated in biographies of John Brown, the renowned 19th century abolitionist, it has been definitively proven that the Brown family of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut are not descendants of Peter Browne the Mayflower Pilgrim

Vital Records[]

Pilgrim Monument[]


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.