John Carver was probably born in England, perhaps around 1585. He and hs wife Catherine were members of the Leiden Separatist community and first definitively appear in the records of LeIden in 1615. Apart from the name of Catherine, his wife’s identity is not certain. They had no surviving children, although they may have buried two infants in Leiden, one in 1609 and one in 1617.

John Carver was a deacon of the Leiden congregation. He was one of the prime organizers of the Mayflower voyage, arrangements for which were begun as early as 1617.

He and his wife both voyaged to Plymouth on the Mayflower. John Carver was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact and, immediately thereafter, he was elected first governor of the Colony. He took part in the exploring expeditionon Cape Cod which resulted in the "First Encounter."

John Carver died in April 1621 and his wife shortly thereafter. We do not have wills or inventories for either. The memorials written to John Carver note that he had considerable personal wealth and had spent most of his estate in furthering the interest of the Plymouth experiment.

Pilgrim Hall Museum holds two artifacts that relate to John Carver : the Carver chair and the Carver sword.

How do we know about John and Catherine Carver?  
From the written records of the 17th century. 
For a look at the 17th century records that pertain to John and Catherine Carver, click HERE.

Updated 18 May, 2005