Note: !John Howland was a manservant to John Carver and a passenger aboard the Mayflower when it landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts in December of 1620. He married, in Plymouth, on March 25, 1623, Elizabeth Tilley, the daughter of John Tilley whose entire family were also passengers on the Mayflower. In Governor William Bradford's account of the Mayflower crossing an entry was made on September 6 that discussed the repair of the ship and other events: Governor Bradford noted: "And as for the decks and upper workes they would caulk them as well as they could, and though with the workeing of the ship they would not longe keepe stanch, yet ther would otherwise be no great danger, if they did not overpress her with sail. So they committed them selves to the will of God, and resolved to proceede. In sundry of these storms the winds were so feirce, and the seas so high, as they could not beare a knote of saile (not make any headway), but were forced to hull (to head into the wind, under a minimum of sail, in order to avoid being drivin under by the wind and waves), for diverce days together. And in one of them, as they thus lay at hull, in a mighty storme, a lustie younge man (called John Howland) coming upon some occasion above the gratings, was, with a lurch of the shipe throwne into the sea; but it pleased God that he caught hould of the top-saile halliards (ropes for raising and lowering the sails), which hung over board and ran out at length; yet he held his hould (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 a boat hooke and other means got into the shipe 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." It could be asked how much this event, if it had gone the other way, could have altered the path of American history. John Howland was the 6th great- grandfather of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But even more important than that, he was the 4th great-grandfather of Lucy Mack, mother of the Prophet Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. God saw it in His eyes to spare this servant boy, and, in his place, took one of his descendant sons from a Carthage jail more than 200 years later. - Michael F. Mather John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley Biographies John Howland As there is no record of his residence in Leyden, he is credited to the London group of Pilgrims for the reason that John Carver was in England for some considerable time before the sailing of the Mayflower and undoubtedly obtained the services of Howland in that city prior to the departure from England. The Howland ancestry is probably of Essex origin. The will of Humphrey Howland, citizen and draper of St. Swithin's, London, in 1646, mentions his brothers, John and Arthur, which are known Christian names of this family in New England, at the date of the will. There was a John Howland taxed at Canfield Parva, Essex, 1623, and the name also occurs earlier at Newport Pagnall in the same county. In London a John Howland was living in the parish of St. Marys, Whitechapel, in 1596, and in 1600 another John belonged to the parish of St. Botolph, Billingsgate. Jeffrey Howland was taxed in 1625 in the parish of St. Botolph, Aldgate. These parishes are all close to or part of the Pilgrim quarter of London. An original letter from a genealogist in England, in 1879, mentions "the extraordinary fact that I find the surname of Howland in no other county in England than Essex, and originally in no other locality in that county except at Newport and Wicken and their immediate vicinity. Wherever at later periods I have found Howlands in other counties, as Hertfordshire, Surrey, Berks, etc., I have invariably traced them back to Newport and Wicken. It is clear that several families of the name were living there contemporaneously and equally so that they were all in some way connected . . . at the period of the birth of John Howland of the Mayflower, there were living then no less than five John Howlands . . . " In two of these lines, the Howland name terminated in heiresses, one of whom, Elizabeth by name, bequeathed the Streatham Estates to her husband, the Duke of Bedford, who then acquired the additional title of Baron Howland. John Howland of the Mayflower was born in 1592, the son of Henry Howland, of Fen Stanton, Huntingdonshire (near Newport, County Essex). He had at least four brothers, Arthur, George, Henry and Humphrey. His brothers Arthur and Henry came to America about 1623/4 and later joined the Society of Friends. Early records reveal that Arthur, whose home was in Marshfield, was fined many times for "pmitting of a Quaker's meeting in his house." When he refused to pay the fines, he was sent to jail. Henry was fined for entertaining Quakers, at the Court of March, 1658. In mid-Atlantic, during a violent storm, John Howland was almost drowned when a mountainous wave swept him overboard. Grasping a halyard which was trailing astern of the Mayflower, although at first he was several fathoms under water, he finally managed to haul himself to the surface. He was then rescued, by means of a boathook along with the rope, etc. By November 11, 1620, he had sufficiently recuperated from his oceanic adventure to be the thirteenth signer of the Mayflower Compact. And a few days later, December 6, he was one of the ten chosen to make the third exploration along the shore. On this occasion, they were attacked by the Indians at Eastham, Cape Cod. In Bradford's History, we learn that the mast of the shallop broke during a sudden squall, and the sail was lost overboard. "The weather was very cold, and it froze so hard...the spray of the sea lighting on their coats, they were as if they had been glazed." John Howland was one of Governor Carver's household. Both Governor Carver and his wife were among the fifty Pilgrims who died during the first few months of the struggle for survival at Plymouth. It is believed that John Howland inherited John Carver's estate, as the Carvers had no children of their own. About 1623 John Howland married Elizabeth Tilley. She had come on the Mayflower with her parents, who, like the Carvers, were victims of "the sickness" during the first winter. In 1626, John Howland was one of those (including Bradford, Brewster, Standish, etc.) who assumed the Colony's debt to The Merchant Adventurers, £1800. At least as early as 1633-35, he was an Assistant or member of the Governor's Council, and from 1641 to 1670 was frequently a deputy or representative to the General Court. In 1634, he commanded the Pilgrim's Trading Post at Kennebec (Maine.) "The 26th of February 1672 Mr. John Howland senir of the Towne of Plymouth Deceased: hee was a Godly man and an ancient Professor in the wayes of Christ hee lived untill he attained above eighty yeares in the world, hee was one of the first Comers into this land and proved a usefull Instrument of Good in his place & was the last man that was left of those that Came over in the shipp Called the May Flower, that lived in Plymouth hee was with honor Intered att the Towne of Plymouth on the 25 of February 1672." (Plymouth Colony Vital Records.) Elizabeth Tilley The Mayflower brought Edward Tilley with his wife Ann and John Tilley with his wife Joan and daughter Elizabeth. The brothers lived in Henlow, Bedfordshire. Henlow Parish Records show a John Tilley, bapt. 19 Dec. 1571, married 20 Sept. 1596 to Joan (Hurst) Rogers. Elizabeth was baptized there 30 August 1607. (In her will written December 17, 1686 Elizabeth Howland says she is seventy-nine years of age which places her birth date about 1607.) While she was the youngest of 5 children she was the only child to accompany them. She was the only member of her family to survive the first winter. It is believed that Elizabeth then lived in the Carver household. John Carver died in the spring of 1621 and his wife Katherine died that summer. There is no record of the date of marriage between John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley. We know that with the Division of Cattle in 1627 they were married with two children, Desire and John. If Desire was born in 1624 or 1625 it would seem John and Elizabeth were married in March 1623 when Elizabeth was almost 16. After John's death Elizabeth lived in Plymouth, with her son Jabez. When that house was sold in 1680 she lived with her daughter Lydia (married to James Brown), in Swansea (now a section in East Providence, Rhode Island.) She died there on December 21, 1687. In 1949 Our Society erected a monument to her memory in the Brown lot, at Little Neck Cemetery, Riverside, East Providence, RI.
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