LOTHROP, Reverend John - I30812

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LOTHROP[1]

John Lothrop.jpg
Lothrop.jpg


This name is spelled in early records in various ways - Lothrop, Lowthrop, Leothrop, Lathrop, Laythrope, etc. The family, so well known in early Massachusetts records, is definitely traced to John Lowthrop who lived in Cherry Burton, a parish about four miles from Lowthrope in the Wapentake of Dickering, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. In 1545 he was assessed twice as much as any other inhabitant of the parish, as shown on the subsidy rolls of that shire, under the order of Henry VIII. His grandson Thomas Lothropp was born at Cherry Burton, and there married Widow Elizabeth Clark, and died, being buried at Etton, 29 July 1574. [2]

The American immigrant of this family was John Lothropp, (which was the way he spelled his name), son of the Thomas and Elizabeth just mentioned. He was baptized at Etton, Yorkshire, 20 December 1584, and was educated at Queen's College, Cambridge, taking his B. A. degree there in 1605, and four years later a Master's degree.

One of his first pastoral charges was at Egerton, a parish about forty-eight miles southeast of London, in County Kent. Here he worked hard and faithfully as curate, for five years, the local church building being a quaint ancient structure dedicated to Saint James, which, located on a hill, may be seen from a great distance . It has a square tower and a beacon light in its turret.

John Lothrop

Quoting liberally from the compiler of the Avery pedigrees just mentioned, the following brief sketch of the celebrated religionist is printed:

Here Mr. Lothropp labored faithfully as long as his judgment could approve the ritual and government of the Church. When he could no longer do this, we find him conscientiously renouncing his orders, and asserting the right of still fulfilling a ministry to which his heart and conscience had called him. Accordingly, in 1623, his decision was made. He bade adieu to the church of his youth, and with no misgivings, subscribed with a firm band to the doctrines, and espoused with a courageous heart the cause, of the Place.

At that date the congregation of dissenters to which Mr. Lothropp ministered had no place of public worship, their worship itself being illegal. Only such as could meet the obloquy and risk the danger of worshipping God in violation of human statutes, were likely to be found in the secret gatherings. Yet, in goodly numbers, in such places as Southwark as they could stealthily occupy, they held together, and were comforted and instructed by the ministers of their choice.

For not less than eight years they so worshipped. No threats of vengeance deterred and no vigilance of officious ministers of the violated law detected them. Keen scented Church hounds traversed all nooks which could by any possibility serve as a meeting place for even a small company of the outlaws. One of the wiliest of these pursuivants of the bishop, Tomlinson by name, tracked Mr. Lothropp and his followers to their retreat. They had met for worship as had been their wont, little thinking that it would be their last gathering with their beloved minister. Their private sanctuary, a room in the house of Mr. Humphrey Barnet, a brewer's clerk in Black Friars, was suddenly invaded. Tomlinson and his ruffian band, with a show of power, above their resistance, seized forty two of their number, allowing only eighteen of them to escape, and made that 22d day of August, 1632, for ever memorable to those suffering Christians, by handing them over in fetters to the executors of a law which was made for godly men to break!

In the old Clink prison, in Newgate, and in the Gatehouse, both made for the detention of felons, these men "of whom the world was not worthy" lingered for months. In the spring of 1634, all but Mr. Lothropp were released on bail. He, their leader, the chief offender, was deemed too dangerous to be set at liberty. Like the gifted Hooker, it was felt that., his words and his example had "already more impeached the peace of our Church" than the church could bear. "His genius will still haunte all the pulpits in ye country when any of his scolers may be admitted to preach."

And so his prison, doors swing to, again, and seemed to leave him no hope of release or escape. During these months a fatal sickness was preying upon his wife, and bringing her fast towards her end. The New England's Memorial, by Nathaniel Morton, published in 1669, gives us these touching incidents of that. imprisonment. "His wife fell sick, of which sickness she died. He procured liberty of the bishop to visit his wife before her death, and commended her to God by prayer, who soon gave up the ghost. At his return to.prison, his children being many, repaired to the bishop at Lambeth, and made known unto him their miserable condition, by reason of their father's being continued in close durance, who commiserated their condition so far as to grant him liberty. who soon after came over into New England."

A record of 19 February 1634, filed among state papers in the New Record Office of Fetter Lane, London . . . was probably the order of the court which opened the way for the escape of Mr. Lothropp to America. At any, rate the year had not ended before the following record shows him to have become a free man in a land in which he rejoiced to find "A Church without a bishop, and a State without a King." The record is found in Governor Winthrop's journal, page 71, under date of 18 September 1634: "The Griffin and another ship arrived with about two hundred passengers . . . Mr. Lathrop and Mr. Sims, two godly ministers, coming in the same ship." On reaching Boston with that portion of his London flock which had accompanied him, he found already the preparations begun to welcome him to a new home in Scituate. At least nine pioneers had built their houses in that new settlement, and to it, with such of his people as were ready to accompany him, he repaired 27 September 1634.

The following record preserved for us in the handwriting of the Scituate pioneer, is perhaps the only record extant regarding his call and settlement in the ministry at Scituate: "Jann: 19 1634, att my house, uppon w'h day I was chosen Pastour and invested into office."

He was then a widower, but soon married again, as the following entry shows: "My wife and Bro. Foxwell's wife joyned having their dismission from elsewhere, June 14, 1635." "Isaac Robinson & My sonn Fuller joyned having their Letters dismissive from the Church at Plimouth unto us Novemb. 7, 1636."

This voluminous diary or record of Mr. Lotbrop's shows him methodical and efficient, and is deemed of sufficient importance as to have been copied not less than five times. One copy, made by Reverend Doctor Ezra Stiles of Yale College in 1769 is now among his manuscript papers in Yale Library. He removed to Barnstable with a large company, 11 October 1639, taking the crops raised in Scituate with them, and dedicating their adventure to the direction and mercy of God. Mr. Otis the historian says: "John Lothrop and his followers were held by, the people to be martyrs to the cause of Independency. No persecution, no severity that their enemies could inflict upon them caused him or one of his followers to waver. They submitted without a murmur to loss of property, to imprisonment in loathsome jails, and to be separated for two years from their families and friends, rather than to subscribe to the forms of worship that Charles and his bigoted prelates endeavored to force on their consciences.

"Whatever exceptions we may take to Mr Lothrop's theological opinions all must admit that he was a good and true man, an independent thinker, and a man who held opinions in advance of his times. Mr. Lothrop fearlessly proclaimed in Old and New England the great truth that man is not responsible to his fellowmen in matters of faith and conscience. Differences of opinions he tolerated. During the fourteen years he was pastor of the Barnstable Church, such was his influence over the people that the power of the civil magistrate was not needed to restrain crime. No pastor was ever more beloved by his people. None ever had a greater influence for good. To become a member of his church no applicant was compelled to sign a creed or confession of faith. He retained his freedom. He professed his faith in God, and promised that it should be his constant endeavor to keep His commandments, to live a pure life, and to walk in love with the brethren."

Again he says: "Mr. Lothrop was as distinguished for his worldly wisdom as for his piety. He was a good business man, and so were all of his sons. Wherever one of the family pitched his tent, that spot soon became a center of business, and land in its vicinity appreciated in value. It is the men that make a place, and to Mr. Lothrop's in early times, Barnstable was more indebted than to any other family." Mr. Morton who "thought meet in his Memorial to nominate some of the specialest" of the worthy ministers whom God had brought into New England, named as the fourth on the list, "Mr. John Lathrop sometimes preacher of God's word in Egerton," and elsewhere in the Memorial he testified to his former fidelity in London, in witnessing against the errors of the times. . . . He was a man of humble and broken spirit; lively in dispensation of the Word of God, studious of peace, furnished with godly contentment, willing to spend and be spent for the cause of the Church of Christ."

These lengthy extracts from the writings of others have been presented here in order to allow the reader to catch a glimpse of the character and the labors of this eminent and worthy ancestor of the man who, two hundred years later, suffered also imprisonment and persecution for conscience's sake, and, true to the intrepid spirit and example of that ancestor, would not lower one iota his standards of religious principle or opinions for the assurance of physical or material safety, comfort, or emoluments.

The name of Mr. Lothrop's first wife seems to have been lost in the obscurity of the past. She died early in 1634 in London, after having borne eight children. He married (2) in 1635, in Scituate, Massachusetts, Anna, said to be a widow, and the daughter of William Hammond of Watertown.

John Lothrop died at Barnstable, 8 November 1653, in his will mentioning eldest son Thomas, son John in England and Benjamin here,. daughter Jane and Barbara "to the rest of the children, both mine and my wife's, each a cow. To each child one book, to be chosen according to their ages, the rest of the library to be sold to any honest man who can tell how to use it, the proceeds to be divided," etc.

Mr. Lothrop's widow survived him many years, dying at Barnstable 25 February 1687.

CHILDREN, by first wife, all born in England:

  1. JANE baptized 29 September 1614; married .
  2. Anne, 'baptized 12 May 1616; buried 30 April 1617.
  3. John, baptized 22 February 1617; "probably died young" says our authority. If so, which was the "son John in England" mentioned in the father's will?
  4. Barbara, baptized 31 October 161.9; married 119 July 1638, John Emerson, her father recording the event - "My sonn Emmersonn & my daughter Barbarah marryed at Duxberry by Captain Standige." Mr. Savage supposes this John Emerson may have been of Ipswich, Massachusetts, who had come over in the ship Abigail, in 1635, entered on the ship's list as "baker, ae 20." Thomas, born about 1621; in Barnstable 1639; freeman 1656, and held several public offices. He was married "in the Bay" (Boston), 11 December 1639, to Widow Ewer, who was Sarah, the daughter of William Larned and widow of Thomas Ewer. They were the parents of five children, and he died in 1707.
  5. Samuel; married Elizabeth Scudder, of New London, Connecticut, in 1648; had five daughters and four sons.
  6. Joseph, born 1624; married by Thomas Hinckley 11 December 1650, to Mary Ansell, and was the father of eight sons and four daughters. His will was proved 9 April 1702.
  7. Benjamin; married in Barnstable, Martha ???? and had nine children.

CHILDREN by second wife:

  1. Barnabas, baptized at Scituate, 6 June 1636; married 1 December 1658, Susanna, daughter of Thomas and Susanna (Ring) Clarke, who was granddaughter of Thomas Clarke, mate of the Mayflower. He married (2) Abigail Dodson, widow, who died 21 December 1715, aged 72. He was the father of fourteen children.
  2. Child born and died 30 July 1638.
  3. Abigail, baptized at Barnstable 2 November 1639; married 7 October 1657, James, son of Thomas and Susanna (Ring) Clarke. They settled in Plymouth, whither the father, Thomas Clarke had come in the ship Anne in 1623.
  4. Bathsha, baptized at Barnstable, 27 February 1641; married Alexander Marsh, probably as his second wife. They had five children.
  5. John, born Barnstable 9 February 1644; married 3 January 1671/2, at Plymouth, Mary, daughter of James and Mary (Tilson), Cobb, of Scituate, where she was born 3 December 1653. On the marriage record his name appears as Laythrope, and she is called Mary Colsgain. After her death he married (2) 9 December 1695, Hannah, widow of Dr. John Fuller. He died 27 September 1727, aged 85, having been the father of six daughters and four sons by his first wife, and of two daughters and one son by his second.
  6. A son which died at birth, buried 25 January 1649.

Jane Lothrop

Jane Lothrop was baptized 29 September 1614, in her father's church at Egerton, County Kent, England, and came with her father's family to America in 1634, living in Scituate and Barnstable, Massachusetts, at which former place, on 8 April 1635, "ye 4th day of the weeke," she was married to Samuel Fuller, who had come to Plymouth on the Mayflower with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Fuller. This marriage ceremony was performed by Captain Myles Standish at the home of Mr. James Cudworth. See FULLER sketch for the biography and continuation of this family line.

  1. The Ancestry & Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale by Audentia Smith Anderson (1926)
  2. Warren Avery Park Lothrop Little etc., Family Pedigrees of Samuel Putman Avery, privately printed 1925, 51, 52, 54.