The Tilleys and Howlands

I don't know as much about the pilgrims as I do the wagon and handcart trails of Nebraska and Wyoming and I apologize for that. We've been to Plymouth a couple of times and we're planning on going again in 2006 (note: we had to change our plans to 2007). I'm sure it will mean more to us this time around.

You're descended from John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley. I'm descended from William Brewster, so my descendants get a double-dose of pilgrim ancestry.

There's a good summary of each of the pilgrim's lives at http://members.aol.com/calebj/passenger.html. Of course you can always Google or Yahoo or Ask and get more information.

John Tilley and his wife Joan Hurst Rogers and their youngest daughter Elizabeth were part of the Mayflower Company. John and Joan were among the 51 pilgrims that died during that first winter in 1621. Elizabeth would have been 13 years old, since she was born in 1607. I'm not sure what arrangements were made for Elizabeth's care after that.

Elizabeth married John Howland about 1624. She died in 1687.

John Howland was born in either 1592 or 1599. The 1599 year is more probable. He died in 1672.

John was a servant to John Carver in 1620. The usual period of servitude was until age 25 so that fact alone casts the 1592 date of birth into question. During the voyage he fell overboard in a storm and was miraculously saved.

John and Elizabeth had a good life together. Their wills (see the link above) list several properties that they owned and left to their descendants (sorry, but over the past nearly 400 years the holdings have been divided and sold a few times, so we don't own them anymore). John was apparently well educated and held a number of offices including assistant governor.

I have to add this last just for my daughter Laurel, who likes President Bush about as much as I like Al Gore. Among John and Elizabeth's descendants are both the Presidents George Bush, and First Lady Edith (Carrow) Roosevelt (Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt). Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford are descendants of John Howland's brother Henry. Winston Churchill is descended from John Howland's brother Arthur. Looks like Republicans are a family tradition. So the next time President Bush sends you a personal letter (I've received several, always letting me know how the campaign is going and asking if I can't send some money), you can know that it's all in the family.

Drop us a line Dennis@heartslinked.com