John Howland

(say about 1599 - 24 February 1672)

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Relationship10th great-grandfather of The 3 Tracys
Family Group:Ohlheiser
Trees14 Generations of Our Ancestors
Our Ohlheiser Family Pedigree
FatherHenry Howland (c. 1564 - 17 May 1635)
MotherMargaret Alice Aires (1567 - 30 Jul 1629)

Birth - Marriage - Death

ChildJohn Howland was born say about 1599, in Fen Stanton, Huntingdonshire, England. His birth date is frequently given as c. 1592 based on his age as given in the Plymouth Church Records recording his death, "above 80 yeares". However, that age is not particularly specific and many genealogists and historians believe his birth date was closer to 1599 based on other factors: primarily that he was said to be the servant of John Carver and laws regarding indentured servants would have meant that he must have been under 25 years old in 1620 - and so born after 1595; and since he signed the Mayflower Compact, he must have been at least 18 years old - and so born by 1602; that it would have been unusual for a man of 32 years of age to marry a girl of 17, even in the unusual circumstances of the colony's population; and, Bradford's referring to him as a "lusty young man" would not likely be a description that a 30 year old (at the time) Bradford would have applied to a 28 year old Howland.1
ChildHe was christened on 16 January 1602/3, in Holy Trinity Church, Ely, Cambridgeshire, England.
GroomHe married Elizabeth Tilley, daughter of John Tilley and Joan Hurst, on 25 March 1623 in Plymouth, Plymouth Colony, New England. "John Tillie and his wife both dyed a litle after they came ashore; and their daughter Elizabeth maried with John Howland, and hath issue as is before noted."2
DeceasedHe died on 24 February 1672 in Rocky Nook (Now Kingston), Plymouth Colony, New England.1

Children with Elizabeth Tilley:

Immigrant Ancestor

On 11 November 1620, John Howland arrived in Plymouth, Plymouth Colony, New England, on the Mayflower. John was almost lost at sea-- during the Mayflower's 66 day voyage, he was washed overboard during a storm:
     "In sundrie of these stormes the winds were so feirce, & ye seas so high, as they could not beare a knote of saile, but were forced to hull, for divers days togither. And in one of them, as they thus lay at hull, in a mighty storme, a lustie yonge man (called John Howland) coming upon some occasion above ye grattings, was, with a seele of ye shipe throwne into (ye) sea; but it pleased God yt he caught hould of ye top-saile halliards, which hunge over board, & 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 of ye brime of ye water, and then with a boat hooke and other means got into ye shipe againe, and 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 & comone wealthe."
          -- William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, (Chap.IX, pg.92.)3

Some Life Events of Interest

John was almost lost at sea-- during the Mayflower's 66 day voyage, he was washed overboard during a storm:
     In sundrie of these stormes the winds were so feirce, & ye seas so high, as they could not beare a knote of saile, but were forced to hull, for divers days togither. And in one of them, as they thus lay at hull, in a mighty storme, a lustie yonge man (called John Howland) coming upon some occasion above ye grattings, was, with a seele of ye shipe throwne into (ye) sea; but it pleased God yt he caught hould of ye top-saile halliards, which hunge over board, & 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 of ye brime of ye water, and then with a boat hooke and other means got into ye shipe againe, and 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 & comone wealthe.
          -- William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, (Chap.IX, pg.92.)4

Occupation

Bradford, in his History of Plimoth Plantation, refers to John Howland as Mr. Carver's servant, but there is much speculation that John was more than a mere indentured servant and was more probably Governor Carver's asssistant/secretary or perhaps his apprentice. (Speculation based on such circumstantial evidence as, he is listed as the thirteenth signer of the Mayflower Compact and being capable of signing his name implies he was schooled at a higher level than usual for a servant; that he assumed John Carver's position as head of household of upon Carver's death suggests a level of capability above that generally found in a servant.)
     M r. Carver and his wife dyed the first year; he in ye spring, she in ye somer; also, his man Roger and ye litle boy Jasper dyed before either of them, of ye commone infection. Desire Minter returned to her freinds, & proved not very well, and dyed in England. His servant boy Latham, after more then 20. years stay in the country, went into England, and from thence to the Bahamy Ilands in ye West Indies, and ther, with some others, was starved for want of food. His maid servant maried, & dyed a year or tow after, here in this place.
     His servant, John Howland, maried the doughter of John Tillie, Elizabeth, and they are both now living, and have 10. children, now all living; and their eldest daughter hath 4. children. And ther 2. daughter, 1. all living; and other of their children mariagable. So 15. are come of them

     In addition to his civic duties, John was, of course, well occupied in establishing his own homestead3

Sources - Citations

  1. [S547] Mayflower Births and Deaths: From the Files of George Ernest Bowman at the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants: vols. 1 & 2 (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company Inc., 1992), pg. 103 gives date of death and estimate of birth year.
  2. [S641] William Bradford, Bradford's History "Of Plimoth Plantation" From The Original Manuscript. (Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Co., State Printers, 1898; electronic reprint, Wentham, Massachusetts: Secretary of the Commonwealth, 2002). Electronic Version Prepared by Dr. Ted Hildebrandt, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984, March 1, 2002, pg. 537.
  3. [S641] William Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, ppg. 531 & 535 (Appendix.).
  4. [S641] William Bradford, Plimoth Plantation.
Last Edited28 Dec 2017

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