Plymouth County Biographies

Part of the Massachusetts Biographies Project

George Soule

George Soule, immigrant ancestor of most of the families of this surname in this country, was born in England, and came in the "Mayflower" company. He was the thirty-fifth signer of the famous Compact. His name was variously written in the early records Soul, Sole, Soal and Sowl, while the present spelling was less common. He was entered on the passenger list as an apprentice of Governor Edward Winslow, but as early as 1623 he was granted in his own right an acre of land at Plymouth "on the south side of the brooke to the baywards;" and in 1627 in the division of cattle, was allotted "one of the four black heyfers" 1358 that came in the "Jacob," "caled the smoothe horned Heyfer and two shee goats." In 1633 he was admitted a freeman and was a taxpayer. He was a volunteer for the Pequot war in 1637 . His house and lot was near Eel River at first, but from time to time he had grants of land at Powder Point and "ye watering-place". In 1638 he sold his property at Plymouth , and, with Myles Standish and others, removed across the bay to Duxbury, and was one of the founders of that town. He was one of the earliest selectmen and often chosen to that and other town offices. He represented the town in the General Court of Plymouth colony in 1642-45-46-50-51-54. When Bridgewater was set off from Duxbury he was one of the original proprietors; but soon afterward sold his rights. He subsequently became one of the earliest purchasers of Dartmouth and Middleborough. The Dartmouth property descended to his sons, George and Nathaniel, who are ancestors of a large and respectable family in the vicinity of New Bedford. The Middleborough estate went to his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth. He was, it should be noted, an original proprietor and founder of four important towns in Plymouth colony. For five years he served on the committee "for offensive and defensive wars" at the time of the plot of Miantonomah in 1642 and afterward. His wife "Goodwife" Mary Soule was indicted March 1, 1658-59 , for absence from church, but that was a common charge against the saints of those days, and means nothing. He was a commissioner of court in 1640. He was on the important committee for the revision of the Colony laws with Governors Prince, Winslow and Constant Southworth, and must have been a man of superior intelligence and education to have filled that position. Winsor mentions him among the ablest men of the colony. He married Mary Beckett, who came in the ship "Ann" in 1621, in company with Barbara Standish, Patience and Fear Brewster. Governor Bradford tells us that in 1650 he had eight children. Their order of birth is not known. His wife Mary died in 1677. He died in 1680, being very aged, outliving nearly all of the Pilgrims. A gourd belonging to him may be seen in Memorial Hall. Plymouth. His will was dated August 11, 1677 , and proved March 5, 1670-80. Children: Zachariah, perished in the Canada expedition about 1663, leaving a wife but no children; Mary, married John Peterson; George, apprenticed to John Winslow, settled in Dartmouth; Susanna; John, married Hester Delanoy; Nathaniel, mentioned below; Elizabeth, married Francis Walker; Benjamin, killed by Indians at Pawtucket , March 26, 1676 .

Source: Cutter, William Richard. Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation. New York, NY: Lewis Publishing Company, 1911.