John Carver, c.1576–1621, first governor of Plymouth Colony. A wealthy London merchant, in 1609 he emigrated to Holland, where he soon joined the Pilgrims at Leiden. His excellent character and his fortune, of which he gave liberally to the congregation, served to make him a leader. Carver, the chief figure in arranging for the Pilgrim migration to America, secured the backing of merchant friends in London, enlisted a number of capable settlers who came directly from England, and hired and provisioned the Mayflower for the journey. After the signing of the Mayflower Compact he was elected (1620) governor for one year and was probably responsible for the choice of the site at Plymouth. On his death, William Bradford succeeded him.
See G. F. Willison, Saints and Strangers (1945).
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