JOHN HOWLAND, (a son of Humphrey Howland,[1] a draper of London), was born in 1592. He was one of the younger men who came to America on the "Mayflower" in 1620.

Speaking of the voyage Governor Bradford says:

   "In sundrie of these storms the winds were so feirce, & ye seas so high, as they could not bear a knote of saile, bu were forced to hull, for diverce days togither, and in one of them, as they thus lay at hull, in a moighty storme, a hustie younge man (called John Howland), coming upon some occasion above ye grattings, was, with a seale of ye shipe thrown into [ye] sea; but it pleased God yt he caught hould of ye top saile halliards, which hunge overboard, & rane out at length; yt he held his hould (though he was sundrie fadomes under water) till he was hald up by ye same rope to ye brime of ye water, and then with a boat hooke & other means got into ye shipe again & 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 & comonewealthe."

He was the thirteenth signer of the famous "Compact" which was executed in the cabin of the Mayflower, Provincetown harbor, November 21, 1620.

He was a member of Gov. Carver's family. Later events showed that Gov. Carver's high estimate of the man was well placed, for John Howland afterwards took a prominent part in the affairs of the Colony. John Howland settled at Plymouth at a place called "Rocky Nook."

Prior to 1624 he was married in Plymouth to Elizabeth[2] Tilley (daughter of John Tilley). She was born about 1607.

Gov. Bradford, after referring to Gov. Carver, says:

   "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 doughter hath 4 children. And ther 2 doughter, one, all living; and other of their children mariagable. So 15 are come of them."

In 1633 and 1634 he was Assessor, and in 1635 a member of Governor Bradford's Council. In 1636 was on the "Jewry," and in 1666 Selectman. He was a Deputy to the General Court in 1652 to 1656, and in 1658, 1661, 1663, 1666, 1667 and 1670.

His will is dated May 29, 1672, and probated March 5, 1673.

He died Feb. 23, 1672-3, in his 80th year. His widow died in Swanzey, Mass., at the residence of her daughter Lydia Brown, on Dec. 21, 1687, aged 80 years.


  1. Desire
  2. John, born Feb. 24, 1627
  3. Jabez
  4. Hope, born Aug. 30, 1629; m. Elder John Chipman.
  5. Elizabeth
  6. Lydia
  7. Ruth
  8. Hannah
  9. Joseph
  10. Isaac, born Nov. 15, 1649

Copies of the wills of John Howland and his wife are given in the Howland Genealogy, pp. 319 and 323. The inventory of his estate is given in the Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 2, p. 73.

SOURCE: The Tucker Genealogy, A Record of Gilbert Ruggles and Evelina Christina (Snyder) Tucker; by Tyler Seymour Morris; Chicago 1902; pp. 101-102


John Howland
Created August 24, 2001
Copyright 2001
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