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Descendants of John Howland

1 John Howland 1515 - 1550
+Agnes Greenway
2 John Howland 1538 - Bef. 1609/10
+Emme Revell
3 Henry Howland
4 John Howland 1599 - 1672/73
+Elizabeth Tilley 1607 - 1687
5 Desire Howland 1624 - 1683
+John Gorham 1619/20 - 1674/75
6 Joseph Gorham 1652/53 - 1726
+Sarah Sturgis
7 Joseph Gorham
+Sarah Kirk
8 Mary Gorham
Daniel Munson 1707/08 - 1746
9 Daniel Munson 1745 - 1827
Mary Sears Abt. 1748 - 1833

For the rest of the MUNSON family information, go back to the Munson Family page!

Stories Behind The Connection!

I must thank Robert Vail for sending me some of these stories, which have also been published elsewhere! He has done a remarkable amount of research into the Mayflower families, and I am very appreciative of his sending the information to me for my records.

The Tilley Family

BAPTIZED: 19 December 1571, Henlow, Bedford, England, son of Robert and Elizabeth (---) Tilley. DIED: the first winter, between January and March, 1620/1, Plymouth MARRIED: Joan (Hurst) Rogers, 20 September 1596, Henlow, Bedford, England, widow of Thomas Rogers (no relation to Thomas Rogers of the Mayflower), and daughter of William and Rose (---) Hurst. *Note. Joan (Hurst) Rogers had a daughter Joan Rogers by her first marriage, bp. 26 May 1594, Henlow, Bedford, England. No further record of Joan has been found, however.

John Tilley and wife Elizabeth came on the Mayflower with their only child Elizabeth. Both John and his wife died the first winter at Plymouth 1620-21. Elizabeth married John Howland, another Mayflower Pilgrim. John's younger brother Edward Tilley and his wife Ann also came on the Mayflower. They both died the first winter at Plymouth. Robert Tilley and wife Elizabeth of Norfolk, England were the parents of John and Edward Tilley.

John Tilley was the 16th signer of the Mayflower Compact!

As for the older girls on the Mayflower: Mary Chilton, Constance Hopkins, and Elizabeth Tilley were all aged thirteen; and no doubt became good friends with one another on the two month voyage of the Mayflower. By the age of thirteen, these girls would have helped their mothers with the cooking, sewing and laundering--but there really was little "women's work" to do on the Mayflower and much of the day was spent simply trying to pass time. The voyage was long--sixty six days--and there were many storms which shook the ship violently and forced everyone to stay below deck in cramped quarters; sea sickness was a continuous problem , and would have affected many of the girls.

Mary, Constance and Elizabeth probably spent some of their time trying to avoid the hyper, aggressive and bullying Francis Billington, the 14-year-old boy who could not stay out of trouble on the Mayflower. Once, Francis even got ahold of his father's gun and shot it off inside the Mayflower, sending sparks flying everywhere and starting a fire. Francis' family was no role-model either, as his father would later be hanged for murder, and his older brother would run away into the woods and be captured by the Nauset Indians. Boys John Hooke, Samuel Fuller, and John Cooke were also about their ages, and they probably knew each other fairly well.

On November 13, 1620, just eight days after the Mayflower sighted land, the women were allowed on shore for the first time, to do the much-needed laundry. Mary, Constance, and Elizabeth came ashore (near the tip of Cape Cod) and helped their mothers do the wash. They were probably the first European females to set foot in New England since Freydis, the sister of Leif Ericsson. (Freydis was in America from 1002 to 1006 AD, on an expedition she herself organized and financed--nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus!)

John Howland

BORN: 1599-1602*, Fenstanton, Huntingdon, England, son of Henry Howland and Margaret (---) DIED: 23 February 1672/3, Rocky Nook, Kingston, MA MARRIED: Elizabeth Tilley, daughter of John and Joan (Hurst)(Rogers) Tilley of the Mayflower, bef. 1625

* The traditional date that has been ascribed to John Howland's birth is "about 1592", and this date has not been questioned, even in scholarly publications. I believe, however, that this date is significantly faulty for the following reasons: John Howland's wife was born in 1607, and it seems difficult to imagine having a first wife that is 15 years younger. Most men married first between the ages of 21 and 25. John Howland was married about 1624. This would put his birth range at 1599-1603. A first marriage at age 32 is most unlikely.

John Howland is called a "manservant" in William Bradford's passenger list, suggesting he was an apprentice in 1620. Apprentices (servants) were almost always under 25 years old, meaning Howland must have been born after 1595.

John Howland's last child was born in 1649. If the 1592 date is accepted, he would have been 57 years old, an unlikely condition. William Bradford writes in that John Howland was a "lusty young man" in 1620. It is unlikely that Bradford would call a 28-year old a "young man".

John Howland signed the Mayflower Compact, and to do so he would have had to be at least 18 years old, and probably 21. This means he was at least born before 1602.


"So they committed themselves to the will of God, and resolved to proceed. In sundry of these storms the winds were so fierce, and the seas so high, as they could not bear a knot of sail, but were forced to hull, for divers days together. And in one of them, as they thus lay at hull, 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 a 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 Gorham

John was baptized in Benefield, Northamptonshire, England, on 28 January 1620/1. The Northamptonshire branch of the Gorhams are supposed to have descended from Sir Hugh de Gorham and his wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir William l'Angevin. Sir Hugh de Gorham, in 1281, possessed the manor of Churchfield in the parish of Oundle, and land in Benefield which had belonged to his wife's father. More than 300 years later, the baptism of "John Gorram, son of Ralph Gorram" was entered in the Benefield register. [collectanea 5:342-43]

A John Gorham, perhaps this man, was a passenger on board the Philip, bound for North America, June 20,1635, with Richard Morgan, master, [Otis, Barnstable Families 1:407]. A Ralph Gorham was granted land in Plymouth on October 2.1637 for a house and garden. On March 5, 1637/8, he complained against Frances Sprague. Ayear later, "Ralph Gorham the older" was presented for breaking the peace. On September 1,1640 he sued Tristam Clark and John Crab for debt, [Gorham MS 1:3-4:N.B. Shurtleff, Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, Court Orders 1:66, 118; Judicial Acts 7:8]. He then disappeared from the Plymouth records. On March 8, 1648 Desire's father, John Howland, sold to his "son-in-law, John Gorham," half of the lands in Marshfield that he had bought from Governor William Bradford, [Shurtleff, Plymouth Colony Records 12: Deeds]. In 1672, Desire's mother Elizabeth Howland, "wife of Mr. John Howland, deceased, came into court and acknowledged that she freely gave and surrendered rights in the lands of her late husband lying in Namasket in the township of Middleboro to Mr John Gorum of Barnstable",[Thomas A. Weston, History of the Town of Middleboro, (Boston and New York 1906), 547].

John and Desire Gorham lived in Plymouth after the birth of their first child Desire, April 2, 1644, and then moved to Marshfield. Their great-grandson, Col John Gorham, in his "Wast Book", recorded that "John Gorum, alias Gorham - which Son after Having Marryed With an Howland and Had Secrall Children Went home to England and Returned Soone again to his family... Moved From Marshfield to Barnstable and Settled there in Ordr to begin a township Called Barnstable. Built Mills - tan fatts &c" [MD 5:177]. John Gorham's name was on a list of men able to bear arms in Plymouth in 1643. He was chosen constable in Marshfield in 1648. He was made a freeman June 4, 1650 and in 1651 he became a member of the Grand Inquest of Plymouth Colony. He and his family moved to Yarmouth, Massachusetts, in 1652, and then went on to Barnstable where he owned a grist mill and a tannery. He was, together with SGT Ryder, a deputy, to meet others from the several towns "to treat and conclude on military affairs." He was a surveyor of highways in 1654. The family homestead was built in the year 1670 was still in existence in 1921, at Barnstable. As a CAPT in the militia in King Philip's War, he took part in the Narragansett Swamp Fight in December 1675. He commanded the 2nd Company of Plymouth Volunteers. This was the last and greatest battle between the English and the Indians in New England and resulted in virtually wiping out the Indians there. He was wounded "by having his powder horn Shot and Split against his side," He died of the resulting fever and was buried in Swansea, February 5, 1676/7, [MD 5:179; see Gorham MS 1:2-9 for a long list of activities and court actions]. His widow, Desire, survived him for more than five years.

John died intestate. On March 7, 1675, Mistress Desire Gorum (sic) and her sons, James Gorum and John Gorum, were named administrators of the estate. The court appointed "Mr Hinckley, Mr Chipman and Mr Huckins" to take care of the estate of the youngest children until they came of age. the inventory, amounting to L710-43, was taken February 29, 1675 and sworn to March 7, 1675. It included the dwelling house, barn, upland, meadow, tan vats, a bark mill, and two housees and tools "belonging to the taning" In the division of CPT John Gorham's estate, dated Plymouth March 7,1676/7, widow Desire Gorham received her dower thirds. Son James received "the dwelling house he now lives in," with the barn and half of the upland. Son John Gorham received the tan vats, bark mill, tools, stock and the other half of the upland. Son Joseph was given forty acres of land next to Joseph Hallet's land, and some meadow. The rest of the estate was divided into five equal parts among the rest of the children, who were named as Jabez, Mercy, Lydia, Hannah and Shubael Gorum. Shubael was alloted L50 for the costs of his education, in addirion to receiving his share of the estate. three married daughters, Desire, Temperance and Elizabeth, had already received L40 each. If there should be an overplus, the married daughters were to share equally with the other children, except that James, the eldest son, was to have a double share. [MD 5:153-58: Plymouth Colony Records, Wills 3:162-64 (John Gorham).

Cause of Death: Died from an infection from a gunshot wound in the battle of Narragansett 1675.