Saturday, November 22, 2014



JOHN HOWLAND was born in Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England around 1591. He was the son of MARGARET and HENRY HOWLAND, and the brother of HENRY and ARTHUR HOWLAND, who emigrated later from England to Marshfield, Massachusetts. Although Henry and Arthur Howland were Quakers, John himself held to the original faith of the Puritans.



JOHN HOWLAND was a passenger on the Mayflower. In the book “Of Plymouth Plantation” by William Bradford, John Howland was said to be the man servant of JOHN CARVER, the first Governor of Plymouth.  In another book “Mayflower and Her Log, Complete” by Azel Ames, it is stated that John Howland was more likely to be a steward or a secretary rather than a servant.



JOHN HOWLAND became the assistant to Governor Carver and was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact, the first written constitution for North America.



The first winter in North America proved deadly for the Pilgrims as half their number perished. The Carver family, with whom JOHN HOWLAND lived, survived the winter of 1620-21. However, the following spring Governor Carver died. Katherine Carver died soon after her husband. The Carvers' only children died while they lived in Leiden, Netherlands before they sailed on the Mayflower. It is possible that JOHN HOWLAND inherited their estate. After Governor Carver's death, JOHN HOWLAND became a freeman. In 1624 he was considered the head of what was once the Carver household when he was granted an acre for each member of the household including himself, ELIZABETH TILLEY, DESIRE MINTER, and a boy named WILLIAM LATHAM.


Over the next several years, he served at various times as selectman, assistant and deputy governor, surveyor of highways, and as member of the fur committee. In 1626, he was asked to participate in assuming the colony's debt to its investors to enable the colony to pursue its own goals without the pressure to remit profits back to England. The "undertakers" paid the investors £1,800 to relinquish their claims on the land, and £2,400 for other debt. In return the group acquired a monopoly on the colony's fur trade for six years.



In Plymouth the Howland’s lived on the north side of Leyden Street. They lived for a short time in Duxbury and then moved to Kingston where they had a farm on a piece of land referred to as Rocky Nook. The farm burned down in 1675. By that time, John Howland had died and his wife, Elizabeth moved in with her son, Jabez.


JOHN HOWLAND died February 23, 1672 at the age of 80, having outlived all other male Mayflower passengers except John Cooke, son of Mayflower passenger Francis Cooke. John Cooke died in 1695.


JOHN HOWLAND is buried in Burial Hill Cemetery in Plymouth, Mass.


ELIZABETH TILLEY HOWLAND who was born in August 1607 outlived her husband by 15 years. She died at the age of 80 in December 21, 1687, in the home of her daughter, Lydia Brown, in Swansea, Massachusetts, and is buried in a section of that town which is now in East Providence, RI.


JOHN HOWLAND and ELIZABETH TILLEY had 10 children, my family is descended from the third child, Hope.


  • DESIRE was born about 1624 and died in Barnstable October 13, 1683. She married John Gorham in Plymouth by 1644 and had eleven children. She was buried at Cobb's Hill Cemetery, Barnstable, Mass.


  • JOHN was born in Plymouth on February 24, 1626/7 and died in Barnstable after June 18, 1699. He married Mary Lee in Plymouth on October 26, 1651 and had ten children.


  • HOPE was born in Plymouth about 1629 and died in Barnstable on January 8, 1683. She married John Chipman about 1647 and had twelve children. She was buried at Lothrop Hill Cemetery, Barnstable, Mass.


  • ELIZABETH was born about 1631 and died in Oyster Bay, New York in October 1683.

Elizabeth married:

Ephraim Hicks on September 13, 1649. He died on December 12, 1649.

John Dickerson in Plymouth on July 10, 1651 and had nine children.


  • LYDIA was born about 1633 and died in Swansea January, 1710/11. She married James Brown(e) about 1655 and had four children.


  • HANNAH was born about 1637. She married Jonathan Bosworth in Swansea on July 6, 1661 and had nine children.


  • JOSEPH was born about 1640 and died in Plymouth in January 1703/04. He married Elizabeth Southworth in Plymouth on December 7, 1664 and had nine children.


  • JABEZ was born about 1644 and died before February 21, 1711/12. He married Bethiah Thatcher by 1669 and had eleven children.


  • RUTH was born about 1646 and died before October 1679. She married Thomas Cushman in Plymouth on November 17, 1664 and had three children.


  • ISAAC was born in Plymouth on November 15, 1649 and died in Middleboro on March 9, 1723/4. He married Elizabeth Vaughn by 1677 and had eight children. He was buried at Cemetery At The Green, Middleboro, Mass.







Philbrick, Nathaniel (2006). Mayflower: a story of courage, community, and war. New York: Viking.


Bradford, William Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647, ed. by Samuel Eliot Morison, The Modern Library, (New York: Random House, 1967


Ames, Azel.  “Mayflower and Her Log, Complete”.  2006 (EBook #4107)5

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