Name: Alice (MULLINS)
Birth: 1570 in Sanderstead, Co. Surrey, England
Death: 1621 in Plymouth, MA
Change Date: 5 JUL 2012
Esther Littleford Woodworth-Barnes, comp., Alicia Crane Williams, ed., Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: Volume 16, Part 1, Family of John Alden; General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1999, p. 16.
Alice's maiden name is not known. Claims that she was Alice Atwood, daughter of Nicholas Wood-Atwood and Olive Harman, derive from a mistake published by Elijah Francis Atwood (author of Ye Atte Wode Annals and article on the Atwood family in the Boston Transcript's genealogical column), which he later discarded when chronological evidence proved the connection could not be correct. Likewise, the source for the entry in Clarence Almon Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700, which lists Alice's surname as "[Poretiers]?," cannot be found.
Because we have no marriage date for William and Alice and no baptismal dates for the children, we cannot prove that Alice was the mother of his children, but in the absence of other evidence, we are assuming that she was the mother of all the children.
Caleb H. Johnson, "The Probable English Origin of Mayflower Passenger Peter Browne, and His Association with Mayflower Passenger William Mullins," vol. 79, no. 3, July 2004, pp. 176-177.
SOME THEORIES ON THE WIFE OR WIVES OF WILLIAM MULLINS
One of the most vexatious mysteries surrounding William Mullins is the identity of his wife or wives. Two widely published but undocumented claims exist about the identity of wife Alice, who accompanied him on the Mayflower. The most common of the two claims is that she was Alice Atwood. Since there is no documentation to support this claim, it is anyone's guess how it may have originated. Perhaps someone noted the "goodman Wood" in William Mullins's will, and, knowing that there was a Wood/Atwood family in early Plymouth, jumped to a conclusion. Or perhaps someone saw but failed to examine fully the will of John Wood of Dorking, and assumed that Mullins must have married one of John Wood's daughters. But John Wood of Dorking did not have a daughter named Alice, so that squashes that theory.
Another claim that has been thrown around is that William Mullins's wife was named Alice Poretiers. This appears in Clarence Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Nobody has ever been able to discover what Torrey used as a source for this claim. One possibility may be that he encountered the 1601 marriage of Thomas Wood to Alice Peeter (sometimes Porter) at Abinger, Surrey, a neighboring parish to Dorking. If Alice Wood were widowed, she would make a potential second wife for William. Unfortunately, there are literally dozens of potential candidates in Dorking named Alice, in spite of the absence of baptisms records there between 1572 and 1578.
One very interesting candidate for a wife of William Mullins would be Alice, the widow of Thomas Browne. Widowed in 1597, she could reasonably have remarried William Mullins around 1604. If this premise is correct, it would make her the second wife of William Mullins, and not the mother of his children. It would also apparently make her the aunt of Mayflower passenger Peter Browne, and would provide the family connection explaining his association with the Hammon Family.
It was suggested earlier that William Mullins may have removed from Dorking for a time, to the vicinity of the parishes of Stoke-near-Guildford, and Holy Trinity, Guildford. Following William Mullins's name on the 1596 muster list for Stoke-near Guildford is a man named Thomas Hammon. And at Holy Trinity, Guildford, there is an interesting marriage for a William Coolman to Annes Hammon on 15 November 1562--a marriage which resulted in a child named Priscilla Coolman baptized on 9 March 1578/9 at that church. Because of the name Priscilla and her connection to a Hammon family, she might make an interesting candidate for a first wife of William Mullins. No will for William Coolman was found in the Archdeaconry of Surrey.
Holy Trinity, Guildford, has another interesting family, headed by a James Gardinar. The will of James Gardinar of Guildford, butcher, dated 27 November 1596 and proved on 11 May 1597, names (among other) a servant Alice Dendy. The will was witnessed by George Hammon. James Gardinar's son William married Alice Dendy on 26 September 1597 at Holy Trinity. Another of James Gardinar's children, James, married Sarah Hammon in November 1601 at Holy Trinity. And James Gardinar's daughter Elizabeth married John Mason there on 28 May 1604. The Dendy, Hammon, and Mason surnames all occur together at Holy Trinity, Guildford, and those families all appear to be associated with each other in Dorking as witnesses and overseers of the wills of Jane Hammon and John Wood. If it is a coincidence, it is certainly a bizarre one.
James Gardinar also had a son named Richard Gardinar, baptized on 2 February 1587 at Holy Trinity, Guildford, who was bequeathed 40 pounds in his father's will. There was a Mayflower passenger of the same name who has usually (but tentatively) been identified as the Richard Gardinar baptized on 12 February 1582 at Harwich, Essex, son of John and Lucy (Russell) Gardinar -- based on the fact that Lucy Russell was step-aunt of Mayflower master Christopher Jones. Richard Gardinar is reported by William Bradford to have become a seaman after leaving Plymouth Colony. This Guildford Richard Gardinar, however, if he has ties to other Mayflower passengers such as William Mullins and Peter Browne, might also make a reasonable candidate.
Caleb H. Johnson, in "The Mayflower Quarterly", vol. 78, no. 1 (March 2012) published an article titled "Investigating the Origins of Alice Mullins" which provides some very interesting background material and hypotheses about her identity.
William MULLINS b: ABT 1572 in Dorking, Co. Surrey, England
- Joseph MULLINS b: in England
- Sarah MULLINS b: in England
- William MULLINS b: in England
- Priscilla MULLINS b: ABT 1602 in England