Catherine White Leggatt Carver was born 1572 in Sturton-le-Steeple, Nottinghamshire, England to Alexander White (1550-1596) and Eleanor Smith (c1550-1599) and died 16 May 1621 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. She married George Leggatt (c1550-) in England. She married John Carver (1565-1621) 1615 in England.


Scrooby Separatists


Scrooby Separatists were a mixed congregation of early English Protestants / non-conformists founding living in the border region of of South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. They were called "Separatists" because of their rebellion against the religious authority of the Church of England, the official state religion. In 1607/8 the Congregation emigrated to Netherlands in search of the freedom to worship as they chose. Shortly after that they were the basis of the group to sail in the Mayflower to the New World.

Death in Plymouth Colony 1621

In April 1621, after working in his field on a hot day, Governor Carver complained of a pain in his head. He returned to his house to lie down and soon fell into a coma. Within a few days, not long after April 5, 1621, he was dead. William Bradford was “chosen” to replace him, but as he was still recovering from illness, Isaac Allerton was chosen to be his Assistant.[33][34][35]

Bradford ((Ford) 1.216) wrote in April 1621 “whilst we were bussie about their seed, their (Gov. John Carver) came out of his feild very sick, it being a hot day” he complained greatly of his head, and lay downe, and within a few howers his senses failed, so as he never spake more till he dyed, which was within a few days after…he was buried in the best maner they could, with some vollies of shott by all that bore armes; and his wife, being a weak (frail or depressed), dyed within five or six weeks after him.” [1]

After all the secret burials that were performed all winter, the settlers wished to bury the governor with as much ceremony as they could possible – “with some volleys of shot by all that bore arms.” Carver’s wife Katherine, in possible grief over her husband’s death and in weak condition already, died about five weeks later. John Howland (1592-1672), the Carver’s only surviving male servant, was left without a master or mistress and in addition to being a free man, may have inherited some of Carver’s estate. This may have helped make Howland the prominent Plymouth citizen he later became.[33]

Marriage and Family

John Carver (1565-1621) married secondly sometime before May 22, 1615, Katherine (White) Leggatt, widow of George Leggatt and eldest daughter of eight children of Alexander White and his wife Eleanor of Sturton-le-Steeple, Nottinghamshire. Mayflower genealogist Robert S. Wakefield spells her name as Catherine, but seventeenth century documents use Katherine. Alexander White was a wealthy land-owner who, when he died about 1595, owned 160 acres of land in the Sturton area. Sturton is noted as the birthplace of historic Separatist Leiden pastor John Robinson, husband of Katherine’s sister Bridget. Katherine was a witness to the 1617 betrothal of Robert Cushman, he soon being the chief agent for the Leideners in London and associated with her husband in Mayflower voyage preparations. It is believed she died probably sometime in May 1621, some 5–6 weeks after her husband’s death.

The will of Katherine’s mother Eleanor White as a widow, on April 7, 1599, named “daughter Leggatt (Katherine)” and “to my sonne (son-in-law) Leggatt and his wife (Katherine) 10 (pounds) and to their daughter Marie ten (pounds) for her best advantage when she comes to age of 10.” This indicates that Katherine White Leggatt Carver had a daughter Marie by her husband George Leggatt, and she was not yet ten years old in April 1599. There is no further information on her. She did not accompany John and Katherine Carver on the Mayflower and so may have died young or been married by that time and/or not been a member of the Separatist church.[32] John and Katherine Carver buried a child at St. Pancras in Leiden November 11, 1617.[4]


Offspring of John Carver and Catherine White (c1565-1621)  ¢
Name Birth Death Joined with
Unnamed child (1617-1617)



Vital Records

Cole's Hill Memorial


A large monument was erected in 1921 on Cole's Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts to honor the many pilgrims who came to Plymouth Colony in the Mayflower but died during the first terrible winter and were buried here. This person is one of those person's listed thereon.

John Carver was buried at Coles Hill Burial Ground in Plymouth. The burial place of his wife Katherine is not recorded but may have been where her husband was buried. Their names are memorialized on the Pilgrim Memorial Tomb on Coles Hill in Plymouth as “John Carver and Katherine his wife.”


Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General
  • Catherine and her husband John Carver did in fact survive the first winter. They both died in the following Spring. All best from 11th generation Mayflower descendant.


¢2 Children 2
  • Buried at St Pancras in Leiden, 1617