Name: JOHN (MAYFLOWER) HOWLAND
Birth: ABT 1599 in probably Fenstanton, Huntington, England
Death: 24 FEB 1673 in near Plymouth, MA
Burial: Burial Hill, Plymouth, MA
Occupation: Surveyor of Highways, Selectman, Deputy to the General Court
Change Date: 11 DEC 2011
13TH SIGNER OF THE MAYFLOWER COMPACT
SERVANT TO GOV. JOHN CARVER
DEPUTY TO THE GENERAL COURT, 1652, 1659, 1661-1668, 1670
A BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN HOWLAND, by Laurence Overmire, Dec. 2011:
Mayflower passenger John Howland was a manservant to Governor John Carver. During the voyage, he accidentally fell overboard, but was rescued. Governor Bradford tells the story: "...in a mighty storm, a lusty young man called John Howland, coming upon some occasion above the gratings was, with a seele of the ship, thrown into the sea; but it pleased God that he caught hold of the topsail halyards which hung overboard and ran out at length. Yet he held his hold (though he was sundry fathoms under water) till he was hauled up by the same rope to the brim of the water, and then with boat hook and other means got into the ship again and his life saved. And though he was something ill with it, yet he lived many years after and became a profitable member both in church and commonwealth."
John Carver took ill and died in the spring of 1621. His wife died soon after. It is believed that John Howland inherited their estate.
John's brothers, Arthur and Henry, arrived in America a few years later. Both were Quakers.
John married Elizabeth Tilley who also came on the Mayflower, her parents having died that first winter. He was very active in public affairs serving as Committeeman and Deputy to the General Court at various times.
John died in 1673 and is buried on Burial Hill in Plymouth, MA.
THE MAYFLOWER COMPACT, 11 NOV 1620, by Laurence Overmire, Dec. 2011:
The Mayflower Compact was an agreement signed by 41 of the male passengers of the Mayflower, just before going ashore, and called for a just system of government to be instituted in the new colony. The first listing of the compact's signers appeared in 1669 in "New England's Memorial" by Nathaniel Morton, secretary to the Colony Court. Most historians believe the list does not represent the sequence of signing by the individuals, contending, for example, that it is highly unlikely that John Alden, a hired cooper, would have been invited to sign ahead of more esteemed members of the party such as Samuel Fuller or Richard Warren.
"In ye name of God, Amen.--We whofe names are underwrtitten, the loyall subjects of our dread and foveraigne Lord, King James, by ye grace of God, of Great Britaine, France, & Yreland king, defender of ye faith, &c., haveing undertaken for ye glorie of God, and advancemente of ye Christian faith, and honour to our king and countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by thefe prefents solemnly and mutually in ye prefense of God, and one of another, covenant and combine ourfelves togeather into a civill body politick, for our better ordering & prefervation & furtherance of ye ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof to enacte, conftitute, and frame fuch just & equall lawes, ordinances, Acts, conftitutions, & offices from time to time, as fhall be thought most meete & convenient for ye generall goode of ye Colonie, unto which we promife all due submiffiion and obedience. Yn witnefs whereof we have hereunder subfcribed our names at Cap-Codd ye 11. of November, in ye year of ye raigne of our soveraigne lord, King James, of England, France, & Yreland ye eighteenth, and Scotland ye fiftie fourth, Ano: Dom. 1620."
DESCENDANTS OF JOHN HOWLAND AND ELIZABETH TILLEY
Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, First Lady Barbara Bush, Alice Hathaway Lee (Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt), Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., Nathaniel Gorham (Continental Congress President), Lt. Col. Ebenezer Sproat (Revolutionary War), Gen. Henry Hastings Sibley (First Governor of Minnesota), Philip Brooks (wrote "O Little Town of Bethlehem"), poets Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Florence Earle Coates, astronomer Maria Mitchell, Esther Allen Howland (produced the first American Valentines), Joseph Smith (founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints), writer Ambrose Bierce, John Bartlett (of Bartlett's Quotations), and actors Humphrey Bogart, Lillian Russell, Maude Adams, Anthony Perkins and the Baldwin brothers (Alec, Stephen, and Billy) are descendants. First Lady Edith Kermit Carow may also be a descendant.
WARNING: Some show John born in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England 16 Jan 1603.
NOTES AND SOURCES:
John Howland was buried on Burial Hill in Plymouth.
"JOHN, Plymouth, of the ever honored passeng. wh. came in the Mayflower 1620 the latest surviv. exc. John Alden, among the adult males; tho. a minor d. of lsaac Allerton, Mary, wh. m. Elder Thomas Cushman, liv. more than 78 yrs. after the landing. He was a serv. or attend. of Gov. Carver, yet he is in rank the thirteenth signer of the Covenant, 11 Nov. and was reckon. as part of the fam. of Gov. Carver, wh. gave occasion, no doubt, to the vain tradit. prevail. for the last century and a half that his w. Elizabeth was d. of the Gov. who, perhaps, never had a ch. certain. brot. none. Both the Gov. and his w. d. in the first season, and Howland, at the time of their arr. 28 yrs. old, m. Elizabeth d. of John Tilley (wh. with his w. a. soon after landing, leav. only this ch.), we are hardly permit. to doubt, early in 1621, as his ch. John, b. 24 Feb. 1627, and Desire are nam. at the div. of cattle 1627, and he seems to have counted as many heads at the partit. of lds. 1623-4. For correction of the long prevalent error, that he m. a d. of Gov. Carver, we are indebted to Bradford's Hist. formerly part of the N. E. Library of Prince, in the tower of O. s. ch. at Boston, discov. 1855, in the Library of the Bp. of London at Fulham. He was an assist. 3 yrs. so early as 1633-5, and often a rep. and d. 23 Feb. 1673, aged more than 80, and his wid. d. 21 Dec. 1687, aged 80. His will, of 29 Mar 1672, names ten ch. we may hope in the order of b. of each sex, but we are ign. of the exact dates or sequence of any, exc. that John is by it call. eldest, and Isaac, youngest, Jabez, and Joseph; Desire, wh. was the first ch. m. 1643, John Gorham and d. 13 Oct. 1683 Hope, w. of John Chipman, as early as 1646; Elizabeth m. 13 Sept. 1649 Ephraim Hicks, and 10 July 1651, John Dickenson; Lydia, w. of James Brown of Swanzey; Hannah, m. a Bosworth, Nathaniel, as by the scrupulous writer of the life of the late John Howland, p. 11, is said and in his will she is nam. Bosworth; and Ruth, m. 7 or 17 Nov. 1664, Thomas Cushman, s. of the Elder." --James Savage, Genealogical Dictionary
"John Howland was born about 1599, probably in Fenstanton, Huntington. He came on the Mayflower in 1620 as a manservant for Governor John Carver. During the Mayflower's voyage, Howland fell overboard during a storm, and was almost lost at sea--but luckily for his millions of descendants living today (including Presidents George Bush and George W. Bush, and Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt) he managed to grab ahold of the topsail halyards, giving the crew enough time to rescue him with a boathook.
It has been traditionally reported that John Howland was born about 1592, based on his reported age at death in the Plymouth Church Records. However, ages at death were often overstated, and that is clearly the case here. John Howland came as a servant for John Carver, which means he was under 25 years old at the time (i.e. he was born after 1595). William Bradford, in the falling-overboard incident, refers to Howland as a "lusty young man", a term that would not likely have applied to a 28-year old given that Bradford himself was only 30--Bradford did call 21-year old John Alden a "young man" though. Howland's wife Elizabeth was born in 1607: a 32-year old marrying a 17-year old is an unlikely circumstance. Howland's last child was born in 1649: a 57-year old Howland would be an unlikely father. All these taken together demonstrate that Howland's age was likely overstated by at least 5 years. Since he signed the Mayflower Compact, we can assume he was probably about 21 in 1620, so the best estimate for his birth would be about 1599.
John Howland had several brothers who also came to New England, namely Henry Howland (an ancestor to both Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford) and Arthur Howland (an ancestor to Winston Churchill)." --Caleb Johnson, Mayflower History Website
BIO AND TIMELINE OF JOHN HOWLAND BY THE PILGRIM JOHN HOWLAND SOCIETY:
John Howland was the son of Henry Howland and was born about 1592/3. He died at Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, February 23, 1672/3. Plymouth Colony records state:
?The 23th of February Mr. John Howland Senir of the Towne of Plymouth Deceased?Hee lived until hee attained about eighty yeaes in the world?and was the last man that was left of those that Came over in the ship Called the May flower, that lived in Plymouth hee was with honor Intered att the Towne of Plymouth on the 25 of February 1672.?
On Burial Hill is a monument to John Howland erected in 1897 with funds raised by Mrs. Joseph Howland. This replaces a stone erected about 1836 by John and Henry Howland of Providence, Rhode Island. The earlier stone was buried under the new one. This earlier stone stated that John Howland?s wife was ?a daughter of Governor Carver?, but after the discovery in 1856 of Governor William Bradford?s manuscript Of Plimoth Plantation, it was known that he married Elizabeth Tilley, daughter of John and Joan Tilley who were also passengers of the Mayflower.
John Howland boarded the Mayflower in England in September 1620, arrived in Provincetown Harbor, November 21, 1620 and, although called a man-servant of Governor Carver, he was the thirteenth signer of the Mayflower Compact in Plymouth Harbor on December 21, 1620.
Within a few years he married Elizabeth Tilley, built a house on First Street and gradually as land was allotted to each family, he acquired four acres on Watson?s Hill, Plymouth and considerable acreage in Duxbury. February 2, 1638/9 he bought from John Jenny the property called Rocky Nook (Kingston). Some of this land is still owned by our Society.
He served in the General court of Plymouth as Committeeman in 1637, 1639-1652 and as Deputy 1652, 1659, 1661-1668 and 1670.
He had two brothers, Arthur and Henry who arrived a few years later. Arthur Howland married Margaret Reed, settled in Marshfield and had five children. Sir Winston Churchill, an honorary member of the Pilgrim John Howland Society, was one of his descendants. Henry Howland married Mary (Newland) and lived in Duxbury. They had eight children. Both brothers joined the Society of Friends. For many generations the descendants of these two men remained Quakers, many settled around Dartmouth, MA where they became very prosperous.
1620 ? John Howland and Elizabeth arrive on the Mayflower.?1632 ? They went to Maine.?1638/9 ? Bought the Rocky Nook farm.?1670 ? Jabez Howland bought the house at Plymouth. John and Elizabeth winter there.?1672/3 ? John Howland died in the Plymouth home of his son.?Circa 1675 ? The Rocky Nook Farm house burned to the ground. Elizabeth makes her home with Jabez' family.?1680/1 ? Jabez sells the Plymouth house. Elizabeth signed the deed and moved to Swansea to live with her daughter, Lydia Brown.?1687 ? Elizabeth Tilley Howland died and was buried in the Brown Family plot.
Notes on this copyrighted website are authored by Larry Overmire, unless noted otherwise. Permission of the author is required to reproduce elsewhere.
1) Pilgrim John Howland Society Website, Dec 2011
2) A Brief Genealogical and Biographical History of Arthur, Henry, and John Howland & their Descendants, of the USA & Canada, By Franklyn Howland, First Edition, New Bedford, MA: Published by the author 1885
3)"History of Plimouth Plantation," by William Bradford, 1912 ed., Massachusetts Historical Society, page 151.
4) Fuller Database
5) "Sail 1620," Society of Mayflower Descendants Website
6) Laura Hardy Database
7) Bob Carroll Database
8) Burial Hill in the 1990's, Website
9) Photo of the grave of John Howland
10) Pilgrim Hall Museum, bio of John Howland
11) Drawing, The Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor
12) Mayflower Compact
13) Mayflower History Website, by Caleb Johnson, Copyright 1997-2003
14) Harry C. Hadaway Jr., 18 Sep 2003
15) Mayflower Increasings for Three Generations Mayflower Descendent. Bowan, George E., by Susan E. Roser 1989 (birthdate and place)
16) A Genealogical Dictionary of The First Settlers of New England,
Before 1692, By James Savage, Volume #2
17) False and Faked Mayflower Genealogy, by Caleb Johnson, 1998
Father: Henry * Howland b: Abt 1562-1568 in Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England
Mother: Alice Margaret??? !!! * Aires??? b: 1567 in Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England
ELIZABETH (MAYFLOWER) TILLEY b: BEF 30 AUG 1607 in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England
ABT 25 MAR 1623
- Change Date:
24 JUN 2005
- Note: 20:51
- Desire (Longfellow, Bartlett, Baldwin Ancestor) Howland b: 13 OCT 1625 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA
- John (Bierce, Smith, Lee Ancestor) Howland b: 24 FEB 1627 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA
- Hope (Bush, Emerson Ancestor) Howland b: 30 AUG 1629 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA
- Elizabeth Howland b: 1631 in Plymouth , Plymouth Co., MA
- Hannah Howland b: ABT 1637 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA
- Ruth Howland b: 1640 in Rocky Nook, Kingston, MA
- Capt. Joseph (Plymouth Militia) Howland b: ABT 1640 in Rocky Nook, Plymouth, MA
- Jabez Howland b: 1644
- Isaac Howland b: 15 NOV 1649 in "Rocky Nook", Kingston, Plymouth Co., MA
- Lydia Howland b: FEB 1635 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA