HOWLAND, John - I27771

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John HOWLAND

Howland Family Crest
The Scotch word howe, meaning hollow or dell, may be the origin of the name. Among the names of "those who came over first in the Mayflower in the year 1620, and were, by the blessing of God, the first beginners and founders of the Settlements and Colonies of New England, with their - families" the names being "written down, A. D. 1650," there were, according to Governor Bradford's History of the Plymouth Settlement (337), just quoted: John Carver; Katharine, his wife; Desire Minter; Two men servants, John Howland and Roger Wilder; A boy, William Latham; A maid servant; A child who was put under his charge, called jasper More Goodwin, in The Pilgrim Republic (59), comments:

"For instance, Howland is mentioned as 'servant' to Carver; but a man of Howland's character and standing would hardly have 'served' except as secretary or general man of affairs. . . . So Brewster is described by Bradford as having been in youth the 'servant' of Davison, by which is clearly meant what we should call a 'private secretary.' "

I. John HOWLAND, some historians have claimed, was a son of John Howland, "gentleman and salter" of London[1] ; but the majority, and with perhaps better reason, trace his origin to County Essex, where there were five John Howlands, "any one of whom may have been the Pilgrim's father." It has been ascertained that the name Howland is found in no other county in England than Essex, and originally in no other locality in that county than at Newport.[2]

“One who investigates in person the records of Essex, England, and of London, should emerge fully convinced that the John, Arthur, and Henry Howland named in the will of Humphrey Howland of Saint Swithin's parish, London, proved 10 July 1646, were the testator's three brothers in New England; also that those Howlands derived from the Howlands of the Wood, or of the Stone, adjacent to Newport, Essex."[3]

The will referred to was that of Humphrey Howland, a "citizen draper" of London, in which he left to his brothers, Arthur, Henry, and John, respectively, £8, £4, and £4, "out of a debt due from Mr. Ruck of New England," a fact which goes far to identify the brothers as those of the Old Colony. Another of these brothers, was George, of Saint Dustan's, in the East of London.[4] Henry Howland was of Duxbury, Massachusetts, and Arthur Howland of both Duxbury and Marshfield[5], and both are recorded as having come to the Plymouth Colony in 1633, and settling in those places. That they had resided in London for a period prior to coming to New England, and that they had, possibly through their brother Humphrey there, or otherwise, gained recognition and confidence, is, evident from a notation found in the notebook of Lichford, noted genealogist: "John Floyd, of London, and wife Anne, put their son Thomas in charge of Arthur Howland of Duxbury in New England."[6]

Herald's College, London, records a grant of coat of arms confirmed to "Richard Howland, D. D., son and heir of John Howland, of London, Gent., and allowed to him and all the posterity of John Howland, father of said Richard, under the hand and seal of Robert Cook, Clarencieux, King of Arms, by patent dated 10 June 1684. Act 27, Elizabeth." [7] It is asserted that the Bishop Howland to whom the coat was issued performed the obsequies of Mary, Queen of Scots.[8] "He beareth sable, two bars argent, on a chief of the second three Lions rampant of the first, and for his Crest on a wreath of his colors a Lion passant Sable. By the name of Howland."[9] Tradition says that this coat of arms was brought from England by some member of the Howland family, soon after the coming of the Mayflower, Reverend T. Howland White, of Shelburne, Nova Scotia, a grandson of Joanna, granddaughter of John Howland, the Pilgrim, had it in his possession in 1865. It had been in the possession of General Winslow, also a descendant of John Howland, as evidenced by writing on its back.

Be this tradition as it may, it is true that the great body of early immigrants to this country took no pains to make clear to their descendants an account of their own origin, or place, or standing. They seemed desirous of throwing off, with the yoke of their oppression, all memory of the days when it had galled, and to face life anew, high with hope and courage, and unhandicapped by paraphernalia and records of their past existence.

Mayflower

In 1620, John Howland set sail with the other passengers on board the historic ship, Mayflower, from Leyden, Holland, where they had found sanctuary for several years from the
Mayflower.png
persecution of the English conformists.

This young man was at that time twenty eight years old, and unmarried. Just bow, when, and under what conditions he bad joined the Pilgrims in their Leyden home, is shrouded in the mystery of the past, but we find him there, young, vigorous, alert, ready to assist in all the varied tasks incidental to the grave undertaking of establishing a new home in a far off, untried, and but dimly perceived country. So they committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed. In sundrie of these stormes the winds were so fierce and ye seas so high as they could not beare a knote of saile, but were forced to hull for diverce days together. And in one of them, as they thus lay at hull in a mighty storme, a lustie young man (called John Howland, coming upon some occasion above ye grattings, was, with a seale of ye shippe, throwne into ye sea; but it pleased God that he caught hold of ye tope saile hallards which hunge over board and rane out at length; yet he held his hould (though he was sundrie fadomes under water) till he was hald up by ye same rope to ye brime of ye water, and then with a boat hooke & other means got into ye shippe again & his life was saved; and though he was something ill with it, yet he lived many years after, and became a profitable member both in church and comonewealthe. [10]

John Howland Overboard in Storm
As they neared the end of their journey, a council was called, and an agreement reached in regard to their association after they should land. This memorable "Compact," a progenitor, perhaps, of the several liberal agreements reached by New England pioneers, if not indeed a forerunner of the revered Constitution of the United States itself, is of particular interest here, since its spirit of fraternity, equality, and close cooperation has come down through the generations as a rich treasure of heritage.

The adult males were summoned to the Mayflower's cabin, the neces , sities of the case explained, and. the following document was drawn up and signed by all the men of the company: In Ye Name of God, Amen! We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dead soveraigne Lord, King James, by ye grace of God, of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland, king, defender of ye faith, etc., having undertaken, for ye glorie of God and advancement of ye Christian faith, and honour of our king and countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia doe by these presents solemnly and mutually in ye presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves togeather into a civill body politik, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of ye ends aforesaid: and by vertue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equall lawes, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for ye generall good of ye Colonie, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.</blockquote>

Signing of the Compact

In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at CapCodd, ye 11 of November, in ye year of ye raigne of our soveraigne Lord, KING JAMES, of England, France & Ireland, ye eighteenth, and of Scotland ye fifty fourth. Ano. Dom. 1620.

Of the forty one names attached to the compact, John Howland's appears as the thirteenth signature. Ten of the "principal men" of the Mayflower, while the little ship was still in Cape Cod harbor, were sent out in a boat manned by eight sailors, to select a spot upon which the weary band might establish their new homes. John Howland was one of this committee[11], and so helped to decide the location of the new Colony, which location, it may be added, was chosen partly through the accident of being driven ashore in Plymouth harbor by a sudden storm. The spot looked good to them, winter was imminent, and so the important decision was made, the brave little band disembarked 11 December 1620, and the new Colony became a reality. The "lustie young man" whom the Mayflower people fished out of the sea with a boat hook, soon became a leader. He was Assistant, Governor of the Colony in 1633, and as late as 1670 was serving his 17th year as Deputy from Plymouth to the General Court. He is credited with a military turn, and in the Hocking affair, showed himself a chivalrous commander.

Plymouth Rock

As in the height of the Quaker troubles he was dropped from the General Court, there is reason to think that he, like the other Howlands, was found too liberal for the times. Yet his high standing in their Church was shown at Cotton's ordination in 1669, when four visiting clergy conducted the exercises, and Elder Cushman was the preacher, while the church members appointed Howland as their proxy to join in the laying on of hands.[12]

In the witchcraft delusion and the persecution of the Quakers which left such a blot upon the old New Englanders' memory, John Howland leaned far towards liberality and tolerance. In this he doubtless reflected but a family trait, for it is of interest to know that his brothers, Henry and Arthur, as well as some of his nephews, frequently gave offense to the ruling authorities by expressing tolerant views, contrary to the prevailing opinions. In 1657, Henry Howland was arraigned for harboring non resident Quakers, and two years later was disfranchised for continued violations of the stern "Quaker laws." He was repeatedly fined for permitting these persecuted people to come from abroad and hold meetings in his house. For neglecting to attend public worship he and his wife were fined, and their son Zoeth, was "set in the stocks" for speaking disrespectfully of the clergy.[13]

Arthur Howland, younger brother of the Pilgrim, turned a constable out of his house when he came there to arrest a Quaker preacher, and he was later duly arrested and taken to trial before John Alden, Collier, Winslow, and others. Ordered to give bonds, he refused, and was put in charge of the Colony marshal, Lieutenant Nash. "He was eventually fined four pounds for harboring Tuchin, and five pounds for resisting an officer. He immediately sent the General Court an indignant protest against its anti Quaker measures, and then he was arrested for contempt. However, he was released, the court deciding his estate would not bear further fines, and he was too old and infirm to be whipped." This decision is thought to have been reached because of the eminent position and influential standing in the Colony of his brother John, whose liberality in such cases undoubtedly helped later to bring about a more tolerant state of affairs when the excitement had died away.[14]
Plymouth pilgrams.png

John Howland was on the list of Plymouth's early freemen. In the list of members in the governor's council, composed of seven prominent men of the Colony, his name is third. It is often preceded by the title "Mr." "a distinction," points out Hutchinson in History of Massachusetts Bay, "which was not lightly or carelessly bestowed in those days. Not more than half a dozen gentlemen in Massachusetts Colony took the title of 'Esquire,' or, in a list of 100 freemen, not more than four or five were distinguished by a 'Mr.,' although they were generally men of substance."[15] He was in the "first encounter" with Indians, at Great Meadows Creek, 1620, and in command of Kennebec's Trading Post, in 1634.[16] Was on the "jewry" in 1636, a "selectman" in 1666, and a deputy from Plymouth to General Court in 1652 6, 1658, 1661, 1663, 1666 7, and 1670, being nearly eighty years of age at the last named date. He is recorded as a “godly man, and an ancient professor in the ways of Christ."

Elizabeth TILLEY

His marriage with Elizabeth TILLEY, who, with her father John and stepmother, was also a passenger on the Mayflower, occurred 14 August 1623[17], and in the division of land in 1624, their names were coupled together. Theirs was one of the early marriage ceremonies performed in the new Colony and took place soon after the arrival of the ship Anne.[18] Elizabeth had been in her early teens at the time of the historic voyage, and had been left an orphan that first winter, when almost half of the Pilgrim band succumbed to the ravages of "the first sickness."

For a discussion of the popular belief that she was a descendant of Governor John Carver, see the Tilley biography by clicking this link. That her mother, a first wife of John Tilley, was a daughter of Governor Carver, is a position still tenaciously held by many. As one writer puts it: "A family tradition as complete and decided as the one which claims Howland's connection by marriage with Carver's family, coming to us through every branch of the family, and in one instance through but four generations from the Pilgrim, is deserving of most exhaustive investigation."[19]

Elizabeth Howland was a worthy help meet for the sturdy Pilgrim, being a woman of superior natural abilities and devoted Christian faith. According to the records of Swanzey, Massachusetts, where she passed the last years of her widowhood with her daughter Lydia, wife of James Browne, she died 21 December 1687, "aged 80 years," which indicates her birth year as being 1607, and therefore she was but thirteen years old when first she stepped on Plymouth Rock. Only three of the Mayflower passengers survived her: Resolved White, who died in 1690; John Cook, who died in 1694; and Mary (Allerton) Cushman, last living link between us and that far off past, who died in 1699.

Elizabeth Howland's will, dated December 1686, declaring herself to be seventy nine years of age, is indicative of a strong Christian hope, a portion running, thus: ". . . and calling to Remembrance ye uncertain Estate of this transitory life, and that all flesh .,..may yield unto Death when it shall please God to call. . . . being penitent and sorry for all my sirms past, most humbly desiring forgiveness for ye same, I give and committ my Soule unto Almighty God, my Savior and Redeemer, in whom and by ye meritt of Jesus Christ I trust, and believe assuredly, to be saved, and to full remission and forgiveness of all my sins, and that my Soule, when my Body, at the general Day of Resurrection shall rise again with joy, and show ye meritts of Christ's Death and Passion, possess and inherit ye Kingdom of Heaven prepared for his Elect and Chosen. . . . and I will and Charge to all the Children that they walke in ye Feare of ye Lord."[20]

Before 1665, John Howland made his last move, going to Rocky Nook, in Kingston, where he spent the closing days of his life, and where he died 23 February 1672, “old Style reckoning 1673, New.Style."[21] There is a house still standing in Plymouth, however, which is more nearly associated with the Pilgrim than any other now existing. It is, known as the "Carver House," on Sandwich Street, and was

"originally a six or eight foot post house. For full description see Massachusetts Magazine (Salem) for July, 1911, 145 6. "The rafters indicate that the roof has been raised three times, and it is now quite modern in appearance. The house was erected by Jacob Mitchell, probably between 1665 and 1679, as he married, in 1666, and bought the lot In 1667. He sold it to Jabez, son of John Howland, undoubtedly before the latter's death, and it is not difficult to believe that the aged Pilgrim John, and his wife Elizabeth, were frequently entertained beneath its roof. The main room of the old house remains in nearly its original condition, and if its walls could speak, they could doubtless repeat words of John and Elizabeth Howland."[22]

John Howland & Elizabeth Tilley Marker on Burial Hill
The earliest burials of the Plymouth Colony were on Cole's Hill, but later "Burial Hill" was used, some time before John's death. So many of his descendants are buried there, it was concluded that his ashes must, also be mingling with that dust, and so in 1836, a memorial stone was there erected by their descendants, to the memory of John and Elizabeth Howland. The inscription which carries the age old tradition about Elizabeth's lineage, reads:

Here endeth the pilgrimage of John Howland and Elizabeth, his wife. She was the daughter of Governor Carver. Ihey arrived in the Mayflower December 1620. They had four sons and six daughters from whom are descended a numerous posterity 1672, February 23, John Howland, of Plymouth, deceased. He lived to the age of 80 years. He was the last man that was left of those that came over in the Mayflower that lived in Plymouth. [23]

Davis, in his Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth[24], expresses the opinion that "it is more probable that he was buried on his estate, where, in the cultivation of his fields, his grave was long since leveled, and all signs of it were obliterated." Elizabeth was buried in Swanzey, Massachusetts.[25] It would be difficult to present a complete list of the many descendants of John and Elizabeth Howland who have won, distinction, or performed marked services for our country. Besides the two that have been named in the Huckins and Chipman chapters, Rutherford B. Hayes, Ex-President of the United States, and General A. W. Greeley, Arctic explorer, the following might be mentioned Reverend Phillips Brooks, bishop of Massachusetts; Edward Herbert Noyes, journalist and traveler, and private secretary to Honorable John Lothrop Motley, United States ambassador to the Court of Saint James; Reverend Thomas Clap, fourth president of Yale College; Doctor Ira Hart Noyes, of Providence, prominent in overseas duty in the World War; the late Henry Billings Brown, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; Mr. A. Howard Clark, editor of the Smithsonian Institution Magazine; Honorable Henry Cabot Lodge, of Massachusetts, Chairman of committee on foreign relations, and the Revolutionary soldiers, John Howland, long the honored president of the Rhode Island Historical Society, and Lieutenant Nathaniel Chipman, United States senator, and chief justice of Vermont.[26]

CHILDREN:

  1. Desire born 1624; died 13 October 1683, Barnstable. She married 1643, Captain John Gorham, son of Ralph, baptized at Benefield, Northamptonshire, England, 28 January 1621, and who died 5 February 1675.
  2. John, born 24 February 1626; married 26 October 1651 to Mary, daughter of Robert Lee. He was a lieutenant, and the father of three sons and seven daughters, the two first born at Marshfield, and the others at Barnstable. It is interesting to know that this man is an ancestor of Joseph Smith, the husband of Emma Hale, and a more extended sketch of him may be found at this link.
  3. Jabez, born probably about 1628; married Bethia Thacher, of Yarmouth; died in Bristol, Rhode Island.
  4. Hope, born 30 August 1629; married John CHIPMAN.
  5. Elizabeth; married (1) 13 September 1649, Ephraim Hicks, of Plymouth, who died 2 December 1649. She married (2) 10 July 1651, John Dickerson (or Dickinson), of Plymouth, whose first wife had been Elizabeth, a sister of Ephraim Hicks.
  6. Lydia; married James, son of John Browne, the assistant governor, commissioner of the United Colonies, magistrate, and brother of the Peter Browne of the Mayflower. James was brother of John Browne, who married as her first husband, Lydia Buckland, who became, through her second marriage to William Lord, of Saybrook, Connecticut, the ancestress of Emma Hale Smith. James was born in 1623, and died to October 1710. They lived in Swanzey, Massachusetts, and their home became the home of Elizabeth Howland in her declining years.
  7. Ruth; married 17 November 1664, Thomas Cushman, of Plymouth, born 16 September 1637, and died 23 July 1726, buried at Plympton. Ruth died, and he married (2) 16 October 1679, Abigail Fuller, of Rehoboth.
  8. Hannah; married 6 July 1661, Jonathan Bosworth, whose father was a brother of Mary, wife of William Buckland, of Rehoboth, ancestors of Emma Hale Smith through the line mentioned above Jonathan was born, probably in Hingham, in 1639. They lived in Swansea.
  9. Joseph; died January 1704. Married in 1664 Elizabeth Southworth. They lived in Plymouth.
  10. Isaac; born 15 November 1649; died 9 March 1724. He married Elizabeth Vaughan. Their home was in Middleborough.

Hope HOWLAND

II. Hope HOWLAND, born 30 August 1629, married in 1646, Elder John CHIPMAN.

For continuation of this family line please see the CHIPMAN biography.
  SOURCE:  The Ancestry & Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale by Audentia Smith Anderson (1926)

John HOWLAND

II. John HOWLAND was born in Plymouth, 24 February 1627, and was married on 26 October 1651, to Mary, daughter of Robert and Mary LEE, and soon removed from Plymouth to Marshfield, and in 1658 became a resident of Barnstable.[27]

In a list of those “Males Able to Bear Arms” at Plymouth in 1643, is found the names of both father and son Howland.[28] “He possessed a great deal of energy, was a systematic business man, and highly respected in the Colony. In 1674 he was appointed by the Court ‘Ensigne of the Milletary comanie of Barnstable,’ and in 1689 he was chosen one of the selectmen of that town.”[29] He is usually termed “lieutenant” in the early records, and saw service in conflicts with the Indians. Of his children, the first two were born in Marshfield, and the others at Barnstable.

CHILDREN:[30]

  1. Mary; married John Allen, and had three sons and one daughter.
  2. Elizabeth, born 17 May 1655; married December 1673, John son of John and Joanna Bursley, born 11 April 1652; died 1726. She bore seven daughters and three sons, and after her death he married (2) Elizabeth ????.
  3. Isaac, born 25 November 1659; married 27 December 1686, Anne Taylor, and had four sons and two daughters recorded at Barnstable.
  4. Hannah, born 15 May 1661; married Jonathan CROCKER.
  5. Mercy, born 21 January 1668.
  6. Lydia, born 9 January 1665; married October 1694, Joseph Jenkins, and had five daughters and two sons.
  7. Exerience, born 28 July 1668.
  8. Anne, born 9 September 1670; married 18 September 1691, Joseph Crocker, and had two daughters and one son recorded at Barnstable.
  9. Shubael, born 30 September 1672; married 13 December 1700, Mercy, daughter of Peter Blossom. One daughter and two sons are recorded.
  10. John, born 31 December 1674; married 1705 Mercy Shove, who bore him one son and three daughters. He married (2) 18 Jun 1719, Mary Crocker, and had two sons recorded at Barnstable.


Hannah HOWLAND

III. Hannah HOWLAND, born at Barnstable, Massachusetts, 15 May 1661, was there married, on 20 May 1686, to Jonathan, son of John and Mary CROCKER.

For continuation of this line see the BARNES biographical sketch.

  SOURCE: The Ancestry & Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale by Audentia Smith Anderson (1926)

Footnotes

  1. (New England Historical and Genealogical Register 34: 192 4; Pilgrim Republic, Goodwin, 508)
  2. (Brief Genealogy and Biographical History of Arthur, Henry and John Howland, and Descendants, Franklyn Howland, 1885, 16.)
  3. (Boston Transcript, 26 February 1923.)
  4. (Franklyn Howland, 18.)
  5. (Pilgrim Republic, 488)
  6. (New England Historical and Genealogical Register 40: 272.)
  7. (Franklyn Howland, 27.)
  8. (Boston Transcript, 10 January 1923.)
  9. (Howland Genealogy, Franklyn Howland, 28.)
  10. -History of Plymouth Settlement, Bradford, 63.
  11. (Franklyn Howland, 316)
  12. Pilgrim Republic, Goodwin, 507.
  13. (Ibid,. 488 9.)
  14. (Ibid. 488 9.)
  15. (Franklyn Howland, 316.)
  16. (General Register Society Colonial Wars, 1899 1902, 673.)
  17. (Smith with Collateral Lines, Barnes, 29)
  18. (Women of the Mayflower, Ethel J. R. C. Noyes, 1921, 129.)
  19. (New England Historical and Genealogical Register 34: 192.)
  20. (Franklyn Howland, 323.)
  21. (Ibid. 3,18.)
  22. (Franklyn Howland 320.)
  23. Plymouth records.
  24. (134)
  25. (Women of the Mayflower, Noyes, 186.)
  26. (Women of the Mayflower, Noyes, 189 194.)
  27. (Mack Genealogy, Sophia S. Martin, 2:1553)
  28. (New England Historical and Genealogical Register 4:255.)
  29. (John Howland, a Mayflower Pilgram, Compiled 1926 by William Howland for the Pilgrim John Howland Society, 27.)
  30. (Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth, Davis, Genealogical Section, 151; New England Historical and Genealogical Register 2:194, 315; 3:136; Mack Genealogy, S. S. Martin 2:1553-4.)