William Brewster (1568 A.D – 10 April 1644 A.D), leader of the Pilgrims and a founder of the Plymouth Colony, born probably in Scrooby, England. He studied briefly at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge. From 1584 A.D to 1587 A.D he was in the service of an English ambassador, William Davison, and after 1590 A.D he was bailiff and postmaster in Scrooby.
There he organized a group of religious dissenters, often called the Pilgrims, who in 1606 A.D separated from the Church of England. Two years later Brewster and some Pilgrims, to avoid persecution, moved to the Netherlands, settling in Leiden. He was the ruling elder of the sect, and he supported himself by teaching and by publishing religious books that had been banned by the English government.
With another Pilgrim leader, William Bradford, he returned to England in 1619 A.D and secured a patent from the Virginia Company for a tract of land in America. Brewster remained in England until September 16, 1620 A.D, when he boarded the Mayflower for the trip to America. He was a signer of the Mayflower Compact and of the constitution of Plymouth Colony, and he continued as a leader of the colony. Until 1629 A.D, when an ordained minister was appointed, Brewster was the only church officer at the Plymouth Colony.
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