Mayflower Hat Maker: Degory Priest

Are you a descendant of Mayflower passenger Degory Priest?
If you are, then please tell us your line.

Painting: “The Mayflower Compact, 1620,” by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
Painting: “The Mayflower Compact, 1620,” by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1899. Source: Library of Congress.

According to Wikipedia, Degory Priest:

was a hat maker from London who married Sarah, sister of Pilgrim Isaac Allerton in Leiden. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact in November 1620 and died less than two months later.


Searching in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I can easily find hundreds of articles about descendants of other Mayflower Pilgrims such as Thomas Rogers, Stephen Hopkins or Dr. Samuel Fuller – but, articles about Degory Priest descendants – not so much.

I only found six persons who mentioned their descent from him in their obituaries, such as this one for Patricia Sayward.

obituary for Patricia Sayward, Amesbury News newspaper article 17 March 2009
Amesbury News (Amesbury, Massachusetts), 17 March 2009

Patricia A. (Woodward) Sayward’s (1929-2009) obituary tells us that “she was a descendant of Degory Priest” and that she had two ancestors who fought at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. She was active in both the Mayflower Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Here are the other five individuals I found whose obituaries mentioned that they were descendants of Degory Priest:

If you are a descendant of Degory Priest – or any other Mayflower passenger – please tell us about it in the comments section.

Related Mayflower Genealogy Articles:


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19 thoughts on “Mayflower Hat Maker: Degory Priest

  1. Mr. Kemp,
    I knew a deceased member of our Pasco County Genealogy Society who was an descendant of Degory Priest from his daughter Mary (Mariah) who married Phineas Pratt. She left our society 5 notebooks of names of her ancestors. Because of your article, I checked it out and have traced her family back to when James Litchfield married Hannah Pratt on May 15, 1760 in Hingham. This set of books were her notecards, organized into families, has no sources, just names and dates. I am sure she had sources, but we do not have them. Her name was Charlotte Tower Litchfield, 1926 – 2004 and she always told us about her Degory Priest. If you would like more information or to see them, please email me.

    1. This is good news Virginia. Thank you for letting us know that Charlotte Tower Litchfield’s (1926 – 2004) genealogical notes and papers have been preserved at the Pasco County Genealogical Society’s research collections. See:

      Knowing that she was a descendant of Mayflower Pilgrim Degory Priest – will let her many ‘cousins’ use her papers as a road map to retrace, document and confirm her conclusions.

      Thank you for letting us know about this important resource.

  2. Charlotte Tower Litchfield was a descendant. If you want more information from Pasco County Genealogical Society who hold her papers, please email me.

  3. There are a large number of families in England who are direct descendants of Jean de Lanoy, kinsman of Philippe de Lanoy who became Recorder of New York in 1685 (I believe) and led to your great president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I have been tracing my own branch of this family, here in England since 1605. The records of the Huguenots here in England are very complete and I am surprised that many of your members do not know of the work that has been done here. So much more research yet to do!

  4. Thanks for alerting us Myma.
    Are you putting your research online?
    Please tell us where your research is online so we can learn more about our UK cousins.

    Thanks again.

    1. Phineas is my 7th great grand father and Degory is my 8th great grandfather. I didn’t realize there was a relation to Abe Lincoln

  5. Good work cousin Michelle.
    Looking at Phineas Pratt – I have his line down to your Myrtle Shockey that married Samuel Jackson Null (1881-1962). Thanks for the information – I’ll work on extending that line and adding the additional descendants to the tree.

    Thank you for responding to this post.


  6. Degory Priest
    Mary Priest m. Phineas Pratt
    Aaron Pratt
    Aaron Pratt
    John Pratt
    John Pratt
    Minot Pratt
    John Pratt
    John Pratt
    Marietta Pratt Baynard

  7. Hello. Thank you for organizing something for Degory. I wish we had something like the Brewster Society.
    I am a descendant of both Brewster and Priest. My line is as follows:
    Mary Priest -Phineas Pratt
    Mary Pratt – John Swan I
    John Swan II – Sarah Thompson
    John Swan III-Jean Parke
    Isaac Swan – Elizabeth Wedge
    Levi Swan and ?
    David Swan-Rhoda Blakesly
    Matthew Swan – Susannah Judd
    Nathan Swan – Mary Cannon
    Orin Alanson Swan – Sarah Ma Minnich
    Edwin Samuel Swan – Bessie Mae Hertz (the Brewster connection)
    Franklin Eugene Swan – Charlotte May Searle
    Cynthia Diane Martin – William Paul Martin

    The Swan name has held through quite a few generations, always down the male line. My siblings all have grandchildren, I do not, so it ends with my children at this point in my immediate family.

    I found Degory’s signature on the Mayflower Compact and he “misspelled” both of his names. I forgot what he did with Degory, (maybe it’s Digory) but he signed his last name as Preist. Such things were common then, I guess, but his stands out as unusual in that regard.

    I look forward to meeting any more Swan family line that comments here. Nice to meet you all, cousins!

  8. Hi Cousin – good to hear from you.

    A good way to extend your Swan family branches is to actively research your Swan relatives in GenealogyBank. Pull each one – document them and add each one to an online family tree.

    I see that your Edwin Samuel Swan is already on FamilySearch – along with other family members. By adding the details you find in GenealogyBank – and organizing your information online – you will be able to reach out to the current generation of the family.

    Get started and let us know what you find out.


  9. I am Henry Cushman Copeland (b. 1953), great grandson of Henry Whiting Cushman … descended from Thomas Cushman and Mayflower passenger Mary (Allerton) Cushman. If my analysis is correct, Degory Priest is also an ancestor, as follows:

    Degory Priest and Sarah Allerton had a daughter, Sarah Priest, who married John Coombs and with whom they produced John Coombs, II. John Coombs, II and his wife Elizabeth Royall had daughter Mary Coombs, who married Benjamin Eaton (descended from Francis Eaton). Their daughter, Sarah Eaton, married Benjamin Cushman and had a son, Thomas Cushman (b. 1730 d. 1777).

    As noted at the outset, I am descended from the Cushmans, including, in particular, the foregoing Thomas, via Thomas’s son Job, Job’s son Nathaniel, Nathaniel’s son Benjamin, Benjamin’s son Albert, Albert’s son Henry Whiting Cushman, Henry’s daughter Annah Cushman Philippi Copeland, and her son, my father, John Frederick Philippi Copeland.

    1. Good to hear from you cousin.
      Have you searched for news, obituary and similar articles about your ancestors in GenealogyBank?
      Do you put your family history information – with photos and details – online? If so, where do you keep your family online family tree? On one or multiple sites?

      Good to hear from you.

  10. I believe I descend from Degory Priest, but am still trying to verify everything.
    Degory Priest
    Mary Priest – Phineas Pratt
    Aaron Pratt – Sarah Pratt
    Henry Pratt – Hannah Wilson
    Ebenezer Pratt – Charity Besse
    Simon Pratt Jr – Martha Pratt
    Experience Pratt – Elisha Henson
    George Washington Henson – Samantha Dickinson
    Barnabas Henson – Cora Parsons
    Delbert Anthony Henson – Arra Nichols
    Delbert LaVerne Henson – Leona Simons
    and Me

    1. Good work Kim.
      Are you putting your family line – along with the documentation/sources on one of the online family tree sites?
      Using one of the online family tree sites: like (free site) – makes it easy to add your documentation to each person – so you can verify that each generation is correct.

      Look for each individual in GenealogyBank – to get the stories, details of their lives.
      Online family trees are another good place to preserve your old family photos.

      All the best with your research,

  11. Just starting to work on this line, not verified.

    Degory Priest
    Mary Marah m. Phineas Pratt
    Aaron Pratt m. Sarah Pratt
    Henry Pratt m. Hannah Wilson
    Sarah Pratt m. David Farrar
    Jonathan Farrar SR m. Lucy Tower
    Jonathan Farrar JR m. Pretania Loomis
    Onslow Watson Farrar m. Louisa Thayer
    Onslow Duane Farrar m. Mary Mullet
    Minnie Louise Farrar m. William F Lynch
    Walter Lynch m. Bertha Sadler

    1. Cousin Karen –
      That’s terrific.
      How are you preserving and documenting your family tree?

      Have you put your family tree online – on the major online family tree sites?
      What is your plan for preserving and passing down this information?


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