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John Howland of the Mayflower

John Howland was born in Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, about 1592/3 (his parish Church of Sts. Peter and St. Paul still stands). He came to Plymouth on the 1620 Mayflower as a servant to John Carver. During the Atlantic voyage, he was swept overboard and rescued, in a dramatic incident recounted by William Bradford. He also served as a member of the party that explored Cape Cod before the landing in Plymouth.

Once established in the Colony, Howland quickly rose to a position of responsibility and respectability.  He was one of the 8 Plymouth "Undertakers" who assumed the colony’s debt. He also served as an Assistant to the governor, as a member of many committees and was placed in charge of the Colony’s fur trading post at Kennebec, Maine. Howland was also an important person in the Plymouth Church.

John Howland married Elizabeth Tilley, a fellow Mayflower passenger, before 1627. They had 10 children.

Howland died on 24 February 1673, aged 80. Click here for his will and the inventory of his estate. We do not know the site of his grave, but there is a Howland Monument erected by his descendants on Plymouth’s Burial Hill.

Elizabeth Tilley died at the home of her daughter Lydia Howland Browne at Swansea in 1687. Her will is recorded in the Bristol County (MA) Probate Records. Click here for her will.  She is buried in the Little Neck Cemetery in East Providence, Rhode Island.

The Pilgrim John Howland Society maintains the homestead property at "Rocky Nook" in Kingston and operates the "Howland House" (33 Sandwich Street, Plymouth, MA 02360). The Howland House was the home of Jabez Howland, son of John and Elizabeth Tilley Howland.

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75 Court St, Plymouth, MA 02360 | Phone (508) 746-1620