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Descendants of GEORGE SOULE

Generation No. 1

1. GEORGE1 SOULE was born 1595 in England, and died Bef. January 22, 1678/79 in Duxbury, MA. He married MARY BECKETT Bef. 1626 in Plymouth, P, MA.

Emigrant - Mayflower
Servant to Edward Winslow
Society of Colonial Wars recognize George for volunteering as to serve as Chaplain, June 7, 1637 to fight the Pequot.

History, Biography and Genealogy of the Families Named Soule, Sowle and Soulis, Volume I

Author: G.T. Ridlon Sr.

Call Number: CS71.S72 V.1

This book is the first volume of the history and genealogy of the Soule, Sowle and Soulis families of Connecticut.

Bibliographic Information: Ridlon, G.T. SR. Soule, Sowle and Soulis History Vol. 2. Journal Press. Maine. 1926
the Pilgrim,

Was an Englishman.

THERE have been but few persons early settled in New England, with the exception of those identified with official positions, whose name has been so frequently mentioned and so much written about as that of this George Soule, one of the Pilgrim band who came over in the Mayflower in 1620. Prolonged discussion concerning his nationality and place of nativity has been indulged in and much confusion produced in consequence. A small faction interested in this man's early history has exerted themselves to make of him a Frenchman, a Huguenot, who fled from his native land and sought an asylum in the wilderness of the New World. One man in this country was largely, if not wholly, responsible for this confusion. Had Pierre Soulé remained in France, the land of his nativity, none of the American families descended from George Soule, would have adopted the final vowel and have changed their names to Sou-la. It was no proof that the Pilgrim was of French nativity because another person who was born in France bore a resembling name. That George Soule was born somewhere in England there is every reason to believe and no reason to doubt. George was an English name and very rare in France. English families named their children for their King, as many families in America named their children for their Presidents. Recent investigation has corroborated this assertion for, contemporary with him Soules in England seemed to abound with this "Christian" title. But, best of all, is the fact that the Pilgrim himself wrote his name "George Soule Senr." His autograph found in early documents was clearly inscribed and leaves no reason for doubt. See department under caption "The Origin and Mutation of Surnames."

For the further elucidation of this subject the reader is referred to the deductions of Col. Charles E. Banks, whose recent investigations in England have brought much documentary evidence to light. These researches prove that the branch of the Soule family to which he is supposed to belong was one of prominence, wealth and education. Robert Sole (Soule) of London, evidently the head of this line, had acquired wealth and educated his sons under the most erudite tutors in the institutions of highest standing then in England; and those of his successors, who were not in professional life, were designated "Gentleman" in contemporary documents.

The name of George Soule does not appear in any known list of those who joined the Mayflower company from Leyden, and there are very strong reasons for believing that Winslow found him somewhere in the vicinity of London. Nor can we believe the association of the Pilgrim with him was accidental. He was probably well known and esteemed for his learning and selected to become the instructor of his children while on the voyage. Here we come across another interesting feature in the traditionary (?) history of George Soule. The statement has persisted in the Soule families for many years that the Pilgrim wrote down in a "Diary" some events that occurred while on the voyage, and after persistent inquisition the author of this work has become satisfied of the truthfulness of the story. In the first place there must be found some reason for the existence of the tradition itself. No explanation of the widely disseminated report has been given and we fail to discover any motive that some descendant of the Pilgrim could have had for such a fabrication and forgery. Inquiry by correspondence of Mrs. Kahn, who wrote the poem on the "Diary of Pilgrim Soule," shows that she had never seen the fragment and used the "poet's license" in the statements she made; but she borrowed the thoughts expressed from lingering stories extensively circulated. By tracing the tradition, the author was led to communicate with a Soule family in Ohio originally from Massachusetts; and while the information received at that time has been overlaid or lost the author remembers quite distinctly the substance of the letters received. From what was then gathered it was evident that George Soule left with his son John with whom he passed his last days, some important private papers and these, with his "library," were distributed among his surviving children. Among these papers, so the story goes, there was the fragment of a Diary or Journal in which this scholarly young man wrote down such events as he thought worth preserving and had kept this record of the voyage as a sacred document for his posterity. By much use and handling this small manuscript-booklet had become reduced to only a few leaves. It seems that this relic fell into the hands of Josiah Soule who removed early to Youngstown, Ohio, and as the correspondence between the author and a member of that family is remembered, this old manuscript was claimed by a maiden lady in that family who treasured it with jealous care; seldom permitting any person to even see it or examine it. It seems that by the reason of curiosity, excited from a knowledge of the existence of this interesting souvenir of the Mayflower voyage, the owner secreted it and absolutely refused even to permit any person to see it; and it was suggested that any who wished to behold the treasure must patiently wait till it passed into other hands. Many years have elapsed since the correspondence was carried on, and owing to the failing memory of one who has passed, by three years, the four-score years allotted to some men, he will decline to assume any further responsibility on this subject.

Pilgrim Soule's Diary

Written on the Mayflower.
It lies upon the library desk,
A diary brown and old;
The leathern back is torn away,
The pages blurred with mould;
But still a sentence here and there
Is left by time to show
The hopes and fears of Pilgrim Soule
Who kept it long ago.

Page 184

In what a stiff, old-fashioned hand
His solemn thoughts were penned;
And how the Mayflower must have rolled;
For half the letters blend.
And here he entered "Grievous sick,"
And here "A child was born,"
And later on--"A sailor died
This holy Sabbath morn."

He mentions too a mistress Anne
He left across the sea;
In some old garden hedged with box
And haunted by the bee;
And if you hold the tattered leaf
Between you and the light
You still can see the Pilgrim's tear
That blistered "land in sight."

In stately tomb and simple mound
The Pilgrim Fathers sleep--
Forgetting in their final rest
The perils of the deep.
The Mayflower with her oaken ribs
Is nothing but a name--
But, Pilgrim Soule, your little book
Outlived your sturdy frame.

We shall now devote our attention briefly to a kindred subject with that of the lost "Diary." There appears good reason for believing that George Soule, the student and scholar, brought with him a library from his English home. It will be noticed that there was an item in the Inventory of his estate denominated "Books." Passing on to the Will and Inventory of John Soule, eldest son of the Pilgrim, we shall find an item stated as a "libery" (library) which evidently was that of the "booke" before mentioned. Still pursuing our search, we shall find in the settlement of the estate of George Soule 2d, the Pilgrim's son, an item of "Books;" probably a part, at least, of the original library brought across the Atlantic. Shall we look a little farther into this subject? Where could these books have come from unless brought over by George Soule? Books were very rare in the New England settlements long after the original Plantation at Plymouth and seldom, if ever, owned by any except clergymen and magistrates. There were no publishing houses or book marts in the wilderness of the "New World," as this country was early called. If George Soule of Plymouth owned a collection of books they were certainly purchased before he embarked on his ocean voyage; and we must be permitted to take a moment's retrospect and fancy this young student dallying along the Strand looking for books. With what carefulness must he have selected them. Probably with limited means he would make choice of such works as were standard at the time; and we can imagine his feelings of pride as, with his precious parcel under his arm, he wended his way toward the rendezvous. "Once a student always a student!" And with fancy free shall we not find this adventuresome young man, when the Mayflower did not roll too badly, spending an hour pleasantly employed while poring over his books? But what of the short winter days and the long winter evenings while living at Plymouth and Duxbury! What more entertaining diversion from his toils when procuring the supply for family existence than to spend an hour gaining knowledge through the medium of literature! Let the reader draw a picture of the evening scene and supply the figures for the family circle. For this there need be no especial elasticity of the imagination, for such domestic groups were seen daily at Plymouth.

After the settlement of George Soule in New England, his ability and scholarship were recognized by his fellow-citizens and he was called to fill some very important positions in the town and Colony. His home and lot were near Eel River at first, but he had subsequent grants at "Powder Point" and at "Ye watering place." He sold these estates to Hicks and Southworth; and in 1645 with his old friend Miles Standish and some other special friends, he crossed the bay and founded a new home in the town of Duxbury, locating himself at "Powder Point." There he resided the remainder of his life-- 38 years. Here he served as one of the earliest selectmen and civil magistrates and was frequently re-elected to fill the office. He was also the Representative to the General Court, or Legislature of Plymouth Colony in 1642; 1645; 1646; 1650; 1651; 1653; and 1654. He had for colleagues during his official career such distinguished men as Alden, Southworth, Peabody and Starr. When Bridgewater was set off from Duxbury he was one of the original proprietors of that town, but soon disposed of his property there and afterwards became one of the earliest purchasers of Dartmouth and Middleboro. The former estates descended to his sons George and Nathaniel; the latter properties he bequeathed to his daughters Patience and Elizabeth. He thus became an original proprietor in the founding of four new settlements, an evidence of his enterprise and thrift, which were his most distinguished traits of character.

During the troubles with the Pequot Indians (1637) he was a volunteer and five years afterwards, when the plot of Miantonomah was discovered, George Soule was appointed on the committee "for offensive and defensive Warr," indicating his willingness to fight as well as pray for the prosperity of the settlement in the wilderness.

George Soule was not a litigious man, for during his long life he appeared in court but once as party to an action, and then it was to convince the jury of the righteousness of his case; and he obtained a verdict. This was in January, 1637, when he sued and was sued by Nathaniel Thomas to obtain the control of some cattle. On March 1, 1658-9, Goodwife Mary Soule, his consort, was indicted for being absent from church; but that was not an uncommon transaction in court and signifies nothing out of moral rectitude.

Without enumerating the minor official positions filled by George Soule, it may be sufficient to allude to the one important duty to which he was called: as a collaborator with Governor Prince, Winslow and Constant Southworth, in the revision of the Colonial Laws. This position was one of great responsibility and required the exercise of superior ability. Few were the men in the settlement at that time who were possessed with the scholarship and judgment equivalent to such a task; and the result was evidence of his erudition and application.

In the history of Duxbury, Windsor says of George Soule: "Though not a man distinguished in the government of the colony, yet he was of essential service in his town, holding positions to which he would not have been called had he not been a man of integrity and probity." Another historical writer has stated, "Among the early settlers of this town were some of the ablest men in the colony, including John Alden, William Brewster, Thomas Prince and George Soule." In an article on the "Standish House" published in 1876, Harper's Monthly, it was stated, "Into this house on Captain's Hill, Miles Standish removed after his second marriage, and here he drew around him a devoted class of friends, among them being Elder Brewster, John Alden and George Soule."

George Soule and his wife, Mary Beckett, had at least eight children, all born before 1650. In that year it was stated, "George Sowle is still living and hath 8 children." The order of their births is not certainly known; some writers assigning John as being the oldest son, while others make Zachariah the first born. The author believes there were more than four sons in this family. Mary Soule died in 1677, and his death occurred in 1680, being "very aged," as the records of the Colony prove. See his will.

George Soule outlived nearly all of the passengers of the Mayflower, his old friend, John Alden, surviving him more than seven years. The only memorial of him known to exist is a gourd-shell once belonging to him, preserved in the Hall at Plymouth.

Emigrated: 1620, Mayflower

More About M
Emigrated: Bef. July 31, 1623, Anne
Children of GEORGE SOULE and M
  i.   ZACHARIAH2 SOULE, b. May 1627; d. Bef. December 01, 1663; m. MARGARET.
2. ii.   JOHN SOULE, b. 1632, Plymouth, P, Massachusetts; d. Bef. November 14, 1701, Duxbury, Massachusetts.
3. iii.   NATHANIEL SOULE, b. 1637, Duxbury, Massachusetts; d. Bef. October 12, 1699, Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
4. iv.   GEORGE SOULE, b. 1639, Duxbury, MA; d. 1704, Dartmouth, MA.
5. v.   SUSANNA SOULE, b. 1642, Duxbury, MA; d. Aft. 1684, Kingstown, RI.
6. vi.   MARY SOULE, b. 1644, Duxbury, Massachusetts; d. Aft. 1720, Plymouth, P, Massachusetts.
7. vii.   ELIZABETH SOULE, b. 1645, Duxbury, MA; d. Woodbridge, NJ.
8. viii.   PATIENCE SOULE, b. 1648, Duxbury, MA; d. March 11, 1705/06, Middleboro, MA.
  ix.   BENJAMIN SOULE, b. 1651, Duxbury, Massachusetts; d. March 26, 1676, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Killed by Indians in King Phillip's War

Page 34 of 603

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