1291. Documentation for Elizabeth Tilley
(1607 to 21 Dec 1687)
mother of Desire Howland
(1625/6 to 13 Oct 1683)
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(The following was taken from John Howland of the Mayflower Volume I The First Five Generations Documented Descendants through his first child Desire Howland and her husband Captain John Gorham by Elizabeth Pearson White.)
Elizabeth Tilley was born in 1607 in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England, the daughter of John Tilley and Joan Rogers.(1) John Tilley and Joan Rogers were married September 20, 1596.(2) John Tilley was baptised in Henlow Parish, Bedfordshire, England, on December 19, 1574.(3)
Elizabeth Tilley was christened on August 30, 1607 in Henlow, Bedford, England.(4) She died on December 21, 1687, in Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts, at 80 years of age, in the home of her daughter, Lydia Browne.(5) [See Will of Elizabeth Tilley Howland at APPENDIX ONE after REFERENCES section.]She was buried in December 1687 in Brown Lot, Little Neck Cemetery, Riverside, Rhode Island.(6)
Elizabeth spent her childhood in Holland, and spoke Dutch as well as English.(7) After the deaths of her parents in the first Plymouth winter, she lived with Governor Bradford's family until her marriage to John Howland.(8) Elizabeth Tilley counts among her descendants such notables as Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and George W. Bush, actor Humphrey Bogart, Mormon church founder Joseph Smith, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.(9)
Elizabeth was the only child of her parents recorded as coming with them to America.(10) On or about what was then New year's Day, 25 March 1623 (old style), John Howland married his fellow Mayflower passenger, Elizabeth Tilley.(11) At the time of her marriage she was not quite sixteen years of age.
The early records of the Colony of New Plymouth contain an account of the Division of Land in 1623, in which John Howland, as head of a household, received four acres "on the Sothside of the brook to the woodward." According to one researcher, John Howland was given one share (or acres) in his own right and three shares for his wife, Elizabeth Tilley, and her deceased parents, John and Joan Tilley.(12)
But Franklyn Howland, author of The History of Arthur, Henry and John Howland and Their Descendants, states that Governor Carver's family consisted of John Carver, himself, his wife, Kathrine, John Howland, Desire Minter, a man servant named Roger Wilder, a boy, Jasper More, a boy, William Latham, and an unnamed servant maid. When Elizabeth Tilley's parents, John and Joan Tilley, and her uncle Edward Tilley, died the first winter, Elizabeth became part of the Carver household. Roger Wilder died the first winter. Governor Carver died a few months later, in April 1621, and his wife died in May 1621. The boy, Jasper More, died 6 December 1621, and the servant maid died soon after. That left John Howland as the head of the household containing four people, the other three being Elizabeth Tilley, Desire Minter and the lad, William Latham.(13)
Desire Minter, one of the members of John Howland's household, had come in the Mayflower with the Carvers. Desire must have been no more fifteen years of age when she arrived in Plymouth. She was the daughter of William and Sarah (Willet) Minter, members of the group of Separatists living in Leiden. Her father, William Minter, died before 1618 and her mother, Sarah, married Roger Symondsen in Leiden 18 August 1618. Roger was accompanied to his wedding by his friends, Daniel Fairfield and John Carver.(14)
It was this same John Carver in whose care Desire Minter sailed in the Mayflower for Plymouth in 1620. Desire's mother was widowed a second time and, before 10 May 1622, she married her third husband, Roger Eastman. On that date Roger and Sarah Eastman signed an agreement with Thomas Brewer, the philanthropist who had supported Elder William Brewster's printing press in Leiden. In the agreement Thomas Brewer of Leiden was entrusted with 1,900 guilders to be invested, out of which he was to pay 120 guilders annually for the benefit and support of Desire Minter, Sarah's child by her first husband. Payment was to continue until the child reached the age of twenty-one. The contract was drawn up in the presence of John Kebel and William Jepson.(15)
Thomas Brewer returned to England where he was arrested for his support of the Pilgrim Separatists. On 20 October 1623, Roger Eastman, Sarah's third husband, authorized John Kebel and William Jepson to collect Desire Minter's money from Thomas Brewer, who was in prison at this time.(16)
This would seem to indicate that Desire Minter was about fifteen years old when she traveled to Plymouth with John Carver and his wife, Kathrine, in 1620. She was still a minor when her mother and step-father, Sarah and Roger Eastman, signed the second contract in Leiden in 1623. Therefore she was still under twenty-one, when she was living in the household of the newly married John and Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland at the time the Division of Land was made in 1623.
A few years later, Desire Minter returned to England, perhaps to claim her inheritance. She may have rejoined her mother and stepfather there for, on 1 December 1623, Roger and Sarah Eastman obtained a notarized statement of good character from Thomas Nashe and William Jepson, when they were planning to leave Leiden.(17)
John and Elizabeth Howland were very fond of Desire Minter and named their first child "Desire," in her honor.
In 1626 John Howland became one of the forty-two colonists who assumed Plymouth Colony's debt of L1800 owed to the Merchante Adventurers of London. In order to pay off this mortgage, a monopoly in the Colony's trade was granted to William Bradford, Isaac Allerton and Myles Standish, who chose John Howland as one of their partners, or undertakers, in the project. Later they established a trading post far to the northward, on the Kennebec River, at the present site of Augusta, Main. John was put in charge of the trading post and a brisk trade developed there in beaver, otter and other furs gathered by the Indians.(18)
John's family may have spent some time with him in Maine, and some of his children may have been born there.
When the Division of Cattle was made 1 June 1627, (new style), only forty-two of the original group of ninety-nine people who reached Plymouth in the Mayflower were still living there. All of the members of each family were listed in the records, including John and Elizabeth Howland, who now had two children, Desire and John, Jr.(19)
Eight more children were born to them in the ensuing years, whom they named Hope, Elizabeth, Lydia, Hannah, Joseph, Jabez, Ruth and Issac.(20)
Children (Howland), first three probably born in Plymouth, Mass., next three possibly born in Maine, last four born in Rocky Nook, now Kingston, Mass.(25):
i. Desire, born probably in 1625.
ii. John, born 24, 2, 1627 [24 April 1627].
iii. Hope, born 30 August 1629.
iv. Elizabeth, born about 1631.
v. Lydia, born about 1633.
vi. Hannah, born about 1637.
vii. Joseph, born about 1640.
viii. Jabez, born about 1644.
ix. Ruth, born about 1646.
x. Isaac, born 15 November 1649.
ORIGINAL SOURCE MATERIAL to support the RELATIONSHIP between
ELIZABETH TILLEY and her daughter DESIRE HOWLAND
1) White, Elizabeth Pearson, John Howland of the Mayflower, Volume 1, The First Five Generations Documented Descendants Through his first child Desire Howland and her husband Captain John Gorham, pages 30-33.
2) Nantucket Vital Records to 1850, Marriages, 555, Gorham, Shubael, b. Yarmouth, s. Capt. John of Plymouth (b. England, s. Ralph of Benefield, Northhampshire, Eng.) and Desire (d. John Howland of the Mayflower and Elizabeth (Tilley)), and Puella Hussey, d. Stephen and Martha (Bunker), May ___, 1695,* P.R.38.
3) Mayflower Descendant 2:70-77; Plymouth Colony Wills and Inventories 3:1:49-54 (John Howland).
4) Mayflower Descendant 1:148-54. When the Division of Cattle was made 1 June 1627, (new style), all of the members of each family were listed in the records, including John and Elizabeth Howland, who now had two children, Desire and John, Jr.
5) Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families, being a reprint of the Amos Otis Papers, originally published in The Barnstable Patriot, revised by C. F. Swift, Volume 1, Barnstable, Mass.: F. B. & F. P. Goss, Publishers and Printers. [The “Patriot” Press.] 1888.
6) Starbuck, Nantucket, 743, 807, 827; Lydia S. Hinchman, Early Settlers of Nantucket, 2d ed. (Philadelphia: Ferris and Leach, 1901.
7) Henry Barnard Worth, "Nantucket Genealogies. 1608-1910" (MS, Nantucket County Historical Association, Nantucket, Mass.); microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and available as Family History Library [FHL] film 906,499. This work is helpful for clues but must be used with discretion and in conjunction with court records.
8) Wm. C. Folger, "A Record of Births, Deaths, and Marriages on Nantucket, Beginning in 1662," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 7 (April 1853),; reprinted in Mayflower Source Records.
1. Will of Elizabeth Tilley Howland, 17 December 1686, declared age was 79. Bowman, George Ernest, “Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland’s Will”, Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 3, No. 1, Jan 1901, pgs. 54-57. Also see, Bradford, W., Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647. Modern Library College Editions, New York, 1981; White, E.P., John Howland of the Mayflower vol. 1, Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 3rd printing, 1999; Stratton, E.A., Plymouth Colony, Its History & People 1620-1691, Ancestry Publishing, Salt Lake City, UT, 1986; Howland, F., A Brief Genealogical and Biographical History of Arthur, Henry and John Howland and Descendants of the United States and Canada, published by F. Howland, New Bedford, MA, 1885.
2. MD 1:11-14; Robert Leigh Ward, "English Ancestry of Seven Mayflower Passengers," The American Genealogist [hereafter TAG] (Oct. 1976) 52:203.
3. Robert Leigh Ward, The Genealogist (TG), The American Genealogist (TAG); TAG 52 (1976), Henlow Parish register and Bishop's Transcripts. John Tilley 19 Dec 1574; also Edward (called Edmond) Tilley on 27 May 1588.
4. The Tilley's of England, Part 2: St. Mary the Virgin Church; published in The Howland Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 2, June 2006.
5. White, E.P., John Howland of the Mayflower vol. 1, Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 3rd printing, 1999.
7. Genealogical notes from Mildred Wellborn, derived largely from: (1) Macy Genealogy (2) Elizabeth of the Mayflower, by Myrtle Jameson Truchsel.
8. Bradford, W., Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647. Modern Library College Editions, New York, 1981.
8. MD 1:11-14; Robert Leigh Ward, "English Ancestry of Seven Mayflower Passengers," The American Genealogist [hereafter TAG] (Oct. 1976) 52:203; also see Forster, Joy, “The Lost Children of Bedfordshire's Pilgrim Fathers: The Tilley family of the Mayflower”, The Mayflower Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 4, Nov 1999.
11. White, E.P., John Howland of the Mayflower vol. 1, Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 3rd printing, 1999.
12. MD 1:227-28; Mayflower Quarterly [hereafter MQ] (Feb. and May 1974) 40:8-13, 55-62.
13. Franklyn Howland, 321-22.
14. Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, "The Pilgrims and Other English in Leiden Records: Some New Pilgrim Documents," New England Historical and Genealogical Register [hereafter NEHGR] (July 1989) 143:209.
16. Bangs, "Jonathan Brewster in Leiden Documents," MQ (Feb. 1986) 52:13.
17. NEHGR (July 1989) 143:209.
18. Franklyn Howland, 317-18; Bradford, 278, 280, 452-56, 478-79; Willison, 263, 278, 286-88; MQ (May 1981) 47:57-65.
19. MD 1:148-54.
20. Ibid. 2:70-77.
Last Will & Testament of Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland, 1686
In ye Name of God Amen I Elizabeth Howland of Swanzey in ye County of Bristoll in ye Collony of Plymouth in New Engld being Seventy nine yeares of Age but of good & perfect memory thanks be to Allmighty God & calling to Remembrance ye uncertain Estate of this transitory Life & that all fflesh must Yeild unto Death when it shall please God to call Doe make constitute & ordaine & Declare This my last Will & Testament, in manner & forme following Revoking and Anulling by these prsents all & every Testamt & Testamts Will & Wills heretofore by me made & declared either by Word or Writing And this to be taken only for my last Will & Testament & none other. And first being penitent & sorry from ye bottom of my heart for all my sinns past most humbly desiring forgivenesse for ye same I give & Committ my soule unto Allmighty God my Savior & redeemer in whome & by ye meritts of Jesus Christ I trust & believe assuredly to be saved & to have full remission & forgivenesse of all my sins & that my Soule wt my Body at the generall Day of Resurrection shall rise againe wt Joy & through ye meritts of Christs Death & passion possesse & inheritt ye Kingdome of heaven prepared for his Elect & Chosen & my Body to be buryed in such place where it shall please my Executrs hereafter named to appoint And now for ye settling my temporall Estate & such goodes Chattells & Debts as it hath pleased God far above my Deserts to bestow upon me I Do Dispose order & give ye same in manner & forme following (That is to say)
First that after my funerall Expences & Debts paid wc I owe either of right or in Conscience to any manner of person or persons whatsoever in Convenient tyme after my Decease by my Execrs hereafter named I Give & bequeath unto my Eldest Son John Howland ye sum of five pounds to be paid out of my Estate & my Booke called Mr Tindale's Workes & also one pair of sheetes & one pr of pillowbeeres & one pr of Bedblanketts,
Item I give unto my son Joseph Howland my Stillyards & also one pr of sheetes & one pr of pillobeeres
Item I give unto my son Jabez Howland my ffetherbed & boulster yt is in his Custody & also one Rugg & two Blanketts yt belongeth to ye said Bed & also my great Iron pott & potthookes
Item I give unto my son Isaack Howland my Booke called Willson on ye Romanes & one pr of sheetes & one paire of pillowbeeres & also my great Brasse Kettle already in his possession
Item I give unto my Son in Law Mr James Browne my great Bible
Item I give & bequeath unto my Daughter Lidia Browne my best ffeatherbed & Boulster two pillowes & three Blanketts & a green Rugg & my small Cupboard one pr of AndyIrons & my lesser brasse Kettle & my small Bible & my booke of mr Robbinsons Workes called Observations Divine & Morrall & allso my finest pr of Sheetes & my holland pillowbeeres,
Item I give unto my Daughter Elisabeth Dickenson one pr of Sheetes & one pr of pillowbeeres & one Chest Item I give unto my Daughter Hannah Bosworth one pr of sheets & one pr of pillowbeeres,
Item I give unto my Grand Daughter Elizabeth Bursley one paire of sheets and one paire of Pillowbeeres Item I give & bequeath unto my Grandson Nathaniel Howland (the son of Joseph Howland) and to the heires of his owne Body lawfully begotten for ever all that my Lott of Land with ye Meadow thereunto adjoyning & belonging lying in the Township of Duxbury neare Jones River bridge, Item I give unto my Grandson James Browne One Iron barr and on Iron Trammell now in his possession,
Item I give unto my Grandson Jabez Browne one Chest
Item I give unto my Grand Daughter Dorothy Browne my best Chest & my Warming pan
Item I give unto my Grand Daughter Desire Cushman four Sheep,
Item I give & bequeath my wearing clothes linnen and Woollen and all the rest of my Estate in mony Debts linnen or of what kind or nature or sort soever it may be unto my three Daughters Elisabeth Dickenson, Lidia Browne and Hannah Bosworth to be equally Devided amongst them,
Item I make constitute and ordaine my loving Son in Law James Browne and my loving son Jabez Howland Executors of this my last Will and Testament,
Item it is my Will & Charge to all my Children that they walke in ye Feare of ye Lord, and in Love and peace towards each other and endeavour the true performance of this my last Will & Testament In Witnesse whereof I the said Elizabeth Howland have hereunto sett my hand & seale this seventeenth Day of December Anno Dm one thousand six hundred Eighty & six.
The mark of Elisabeth E H Howland
Signed Sealed & Delivd
in ye prsence of us Wittnesses