Find records: birth
m. Abt 1631
Facts and Events
Identity of Wives
Source:Glover, Anna. Glover Memorials and Genealogies : An Account of John Glover of Dorchester, Massachusetts and His Descendants, with a Brief Sketch of, in a footnote on p. 165, suggests this John Smith had three wives: first the Mary Ryder who was listed as his wife in the passenger list of the James, then a second wife named Mary who was mother of "several sons and daughters", and third wife, widow Katherine Pelton. Under this scenario, it is impossible to tell which children go with which wife, the popular dividing line between Mary#2 and Katherine being between Waitstill in 1658 and Deliverance in 1661. Fortunately for our sanity, all of this spousal speculation is probably incorrect!
It should be noted that there are some fairly obvious inconsistencies in the Glover Genealogies which makes it a questionable source to start with. But some or all of this arrangements appears in many sources describing Quartermaster John Smith. A thorough analysis by Anderson refutes most of it.
Note: none of the birth/baptism records give the name of the mother. In 1636, John and Dorothy Smith are named as members of a church, and the name Katherine is known from John's will and various probate documents. Other than this, there is no record of the name of John Smith's wives.
John and first wife are mentioned as immigrating with daughter Mary in 1635, so the existence of the first wife and approximate marriage time is confirmed, if not her name. It is known that John remarried about 1654 because of church records mentioning his recent marriage, and the baptism of another daughter named Mary would be unlikely if it wasn't a different wife.
Since church records clearly name John's wife as Dorothy in 1636, there is no choice but to assume that Richard Mather's mention of Mary in 1635 referred to the daughter. Thus the first wife was Dorothy, not Mary, and there wasn't ever any evidence given to support Ryder as a maiden name.
There is no evidence that the death record found in Boston (i.e., not Dorchester) for "Mary wife of John Smith" on 11 Jan 1658 applies to Quartermaster John. This is the only basis for thinking there was a second wife Mary.
The maiden name of Katherine is not known, and Pelton appears to be based on early assumptions that the younger of the two daughters named Mary that are mentioned in John's will must have been a step-daughter.
The above analysis represents the simplest interpretation of known facts. Many aspects of this presentation raise doubts and make it clear we don't have the whole picture yet. For example, the eldest daughter Mary was born 24 years before the second daughter Mary, with no known children inbetween. The most likely motive for naming two daughters Mary would seem to be having a second wife with that name.