Love and Wrestling

Mary and William Brewster, passengers on the Mayflower, had five children: Jonathan, Patience, Fear, Love, and Wrestling. Their descendants included Julia Child, Bing Crosby, Richard Gere, Katharine Hepburn, and Thomas Pynchon.

Robert W. Weir (photograph courtesy Architect of the Capitol) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Pilgrims who travelled from England to America to establish the Plymouth Colony were a funny lot for many reasons, but I am especially delighted with their naming conventions, which often eschewed names in favour of random nouns and adjectives.

Consider the following: Oceanus Hopkins (because he was born on the ocean), Resolved White, Humility Cooper, and Remember Allerton. But the best names came from Mary and William. Their firstborn, Jonathan, got away with a normal name. The next three got virtues for names: Patience, Fear, and Love. And finally, little baby Wrestling. I have no idea why they would name a child Wrestling – I guess they just really liked wrestling?

Only two of these children actually came over on the Mayflower: Love and Wrestling. Wrestling died young; Love had many children and their children and grandchildren spread throughout America. Today there are thousands of Brewster descendants, including actors such as Gere, Hepburn, and Ashley Judd; authors such as Pynchon and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; astronauts, a president, and one of the founders of the ACLU. Not too bad a record for Mary and William.

2 Replies to “Love and Wrestling”

  1. Jacob wrestled an angel. The scene showed up a lot in dutch paintings.

    1. Ah nice, yes that makes sense. Although it’s still funny that they went with “Wrestling” and not “Jacob” or “Israel” or “Penuel”…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s