The World of Grandpa Don

 Mayflower Ancestors


Alden James Copeland was my father. His first name is a clue to our ancestry and connection to John Alden of Mayflower fame.  This page describes the connection of the family to the early Plymouth Massachusetts Colony and to the Mayflower voyage.

This is their story, as I know it.

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When I discovered my birth families in 2015, my siblings on my father's side (Copeland) informed me that he, and we, were descendants of John Alden and Pricilla Mullins. My father and indeed, his great grandfather had both been named "Alden" in John Alden's honor. And so we were delighted to have two Mayflower passengers in our family line, John Alden & Pricilla Mullins. It wasn't until years later that I realized that Pricilla who was 18 years old at the time, had sailed with her family and so her parents were also Mayflower passengers and are also our ancestors.

The Alden/Mullins Passengers

These were the first of this august group of whom we were aware. I start by introducing David Copeland and revealing his ancestors from their migration to New England.

David Copeland 1738 - 1779

David Copeland was born in Milton, MA on May 14, 1738 David is known to have served in the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. He is the first of our Copeland line to be a citizen of the newly established United States of America. All his ancestors can be traced back to the earliest colonial times with one branch having claim to arriving with the original colonists on the Mayflower in 1620. This page is dedicated to those colonists, particularly the first to arrive on these Massachusetts shores.

I have provided an ancestor tree which includes all the family members discussed on this page and their relationship to David Copeland for your convenience. You may print it for future reference or you may leave it's window open and refer to it as you read about our first American colonists. By "our" I mean those in my particular family line. We will concentrate only on the earliest arrivals to these shores.


Click the button for the tree in pdf format
 David Copeland Ancestors

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The Copeland Family in America

Lawrence Copeland was born in England reportedly in 1599. He sailed to Plymouth Colony in America in about 1635 settling in the town of Braintree where on October 10, 1651 he married Lydia Townsend. Lydia's parents* had arrived in America just prior to her birth in 1630. They had two children while living in England and four in Massachusetts.

Lawrence and Lydia were the parents of five boys and three girls. Lydia died on January 8, 1688 and Lawrence on December 30, 1699 at "an advanced age". His Tombstone records his age as 100.

From" Records of the Town of Braintree, Massachusetts, 1640 to 1793" p. 695
Laurence Copeland a verry aged man born in the Reign of our Gracious
Soverreigne Queen Elizabeth of Blessed memory December ye 30th.1699

Lawrence and Lydia Copeland were great-grandparents of David Copeland through William Copeland (grandfather), and David Copeland (father).

The "OneWorldTree" and other sources list Lawrence's father and mother as Lawrence and Ruth Copeland who lived in Dolphin Leigh, Dolphinholme, Yorkshire, England. They had ten children between 1599 and 1627.

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John Bass was baptized at Saffron Walden, Essex, England on 18 September, 1630. He came to the American colony in Massachusetts with his parents Samuel and Anne (Savell) Bass. Samuel was born in 1600 in Safron, Walden, Essex, England and died at the age of 94 in Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts on Dec 30, 1694.. Anne was born on October 15, 1598 at Saffron Walden,, Essex, England and reportedly lived to the age of 95 having died in Braintree on September 5, 1693.

In February of 1657, in a ceremony officiated by Mr. (John) Auldine, John Bass married Ruth Alden, the daughter of John and Pricilla Alden (See below). Ruth was born about 1637 in either Plymouth or Duxbury, Ma and died October 8, 1674 at the age of 37. John and Ruth were the parents of seven children; John, Samuel, Ruth, Joseph, Hanna, Mary, and Sarah.

After Ruth's death, John married Hannah, the widow of Samuel Sturtevant in a marriage which took place on September 21, 1675. We have no substantiated information on her maiden name nor the children of  her earlier marriage. She became the step-mother to the young Bass children. John and Hannah had no children from this marriage.

John Bass was a wheelwright and farmer. He served as a Viewer of Fences in 1695 and a Titheing Man in 1701. He refused the office of Constable in 1710. He died at the age of 86 on September 12, 1716.

John's parents could qualify as our first American Bass ancestors but I have found no information about them other than that reported here.

Of further interest here is the fact that a daughter of John and Ruth, Sarah, married Ephriam Thayer. Jennie Thayer, married to Harvey Louis Copeland was my grandmother. We have not researched a possible connection.

The information for this ancestor was gleaned from the publication Mayflower Families Through Five Generations published by the General Society of Mayflower descendants, 2002. There are many internet entries for John Bass which list him as being born in Plymouth Colony which is obviously incorrect.

John and Ruth Bass were great-grandparents of David Copeland through Mary (Bass) Copeland (grandmother), and David Copeland, his father.


Relationship Chart

For additional information about this family and others of Plymouth Colony visit the following web sites;

  John & Pricilla    John Alden    Mayflower Families

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John Bent was born at Penton-Grafton, England in November 30, 1596. His Parents were Robert Bent and Agnes Gosling.

Martha Blanchard was born in England about 1598 at Hampshire, England. and Baptized on 24 Sep 1598 at Wayhill, Hampshire. John and Martha married at Weyhill in about 1624.

While still in England their children Robert, William, Peter, Agnes, and John were born. The family sailed to the American colony on the ship Confidence. Their children Joseph and Martha were born here.

From E. C. Felton's article "The English ancestors of John Bent, of Sudbury":

"John Bent, the first of the surname in New England, settled in Sudbury, and shared in the first and second divisions of land there in 1639 and 1640. He is said to have been one of Maj. Simon Willard's troopers in the fruitless expedition against Ninigret in October, 1654. His name appears in 1656 as one of the petitioners to the General court for a grant of land which subsequently formed the town of Marlborough. he died in Sudbury, 27 September, 1762, and seems to have been a prosperous and public-spirited man. His descendants settled during the seventeenth century in Marlborough, Framingham and Milton. ..."

Also from from; "Francis Cooke, Early MA & New England Families":

"Peter, his oldest son lived upon the land granted to him by John his father. In King Philip's war his houses were burned and Peter's son, Zacheus was killed and scalped by the Indians. Peter then went back to England were he died."

John died on 27 Sep 1672 and Martha died on 15 May 1679 both in Sudbury, Middlesex, MA  John and Martha Bent were the 2nd great grandparents of David Copeland through Joseph Bent (great-grandfather),  Joseph Bent (grandfather), and Elizabeth (Bent) Copeland, his mother.

For mare details of this family see ...
New England Families    Pane - Joyce Genealogy

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2015 Discoveries

In the spring of 2015 I was researching the Carpenter Family branch of my Copeland ancestors. My 2nd great grandmother on my father's (Copeland) side was Harriet E Carpenter. Little was known of her father, Cyrus. Laura Certer-Wasielewski, a researcher with ties to the Carpenter family provided new information and together with my sister Marilyn and Laura's sister, Tami, we identified Eliza Hunt as Harriet's mother and then identified Eliza's father and grandfather, William and Jasper Hunt. Laura stated that she had heard, or read that Jasper had links to Mayflower passengers. Further investigation revealed that indeed he did.

Jasper Hunt (1745 - 1792)

Jasper Hunt was born 02 Jun 1745, the 4th of 7 children of Jonathan Hunt and Ruth Cushman. They lived in Lebanon, New London County, Connecticut. He married on 08 Nov 1770, Sarah Frink, daughter of William and Abigail Frink. The couple had 7 children between 1772 and 1791. The first child was born at Lebanon and the rest at Halifax. CT. Jasper died there in 1792 and Sarah followed in death a year later. They were my 5th great grandparents.

Nothing more is known of this family but Jasper in known to be the descendant of 7 Mayflower passengers.

See Jasper Hunt Pedigree Chart


Data Notes

The Family line from Lawrence Copeland as well as from John Alden to the present was provided by my sister Marilyn Copeland and has been thoroughly researched and authenticated. The rest of the lineage was found using internet sources and not independent research or documentation. Where conflicting data was encountered, obvious errors were not used and the most logical information selected.

With apologies to serious genealogists, I have not used standard genealogical nomenclature but present the information as a narrative. This is done to accommodate the lay person and make it more interesting to my relatives and friends, particularly my grandchildren and the children of my relatives.

I welcome corrections, additions and comments. I may  be contacted using the link at the bottom of the page.

Grandpa Don Plefka
aka Harry Ronald Cecora


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My Family

The Copeland - Mayflower Connection

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