MARBLEHEAD CHRONICLES: The town’s Mayflower connection

Pam Peterson
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Isaac Allerton came to the New World on the Mayflower in 1620 and was originally a part of the Pilgrim Colony at Plymouth. He left Plymouth due to conflicts resulting from his inclinations to speculation and personal free trade, strictly forbidden by the Mayflower Compact.

Allerton came to Marblehead with the intent of establishing a fishing enterprise, and he did. He worked for the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Matthew Cradock. Moses Maverick of Marblehead was also part of the early fishing enterprise.

Together, Allerton and Maverick built what was to become Marblehead’s extremely prosperous fishing industry. Their success was based on a series of smart business decisions.

Maverick and Allerton owned their own ships and built warehouses and fish flakes. Some of the fishing was undoubtedly done by seasonal fishing vessels, which increased the number of fish that were caught. They worked hard, under, under extremely primitive living conditions.

But by 1632, Marblehead was able to send off an entire shipload of cured fish. This was promising enough to attract more settlers, most of them fishermen from the eastern coast of England and the Channel Islands.

Allerton left Marblehead in 1635 and handed over all his property at that time to Moses Maverick. Maverick went on to be one of Marblehead’s most important founding fathers, building the fishing trade and serving the town of Marblehead. He became a selectman when the town was established and served for many years.

Popularly known as a ‘Bible Box,’ these slant lid boxes were used in colonial times to store important documents and other valuables, including bibles. This box belonged to Remember Allerton, whose father Isaac Allerton came to the New World on the Mayflower. Remember Allerton married Moses Maverick of Marblehead.

Allerton’s daughter, Remember, married Moses Maverick, and it is through her that the “Bible Box” came to be in Marblehead. Family tradition states that the box came over on the Mayflower. It was an early gift to the Marblehead Historical Society.

Pam Peterson, the chair of the Marblehead Historical Commission, is a regular Marblehead Current columnist.

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