Arthur Howland

Arthur HOWLAND (1607 – 1675) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather; one of 4,096  in this generation of the Shaw line.

Henry Howland - Coat of Arms Granted in 1584 by Queen Elizabeth, beginning with Bishop Howland

Arthur Howland was born about 1607 in in Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England. His parents were Henry HOWLAND and Margaret AIRES.    The name of his first wife is not known.

Fenstanton High Street

He possibly came to New England with his brother Henry nearly twenty years after their brother John arrived in Plymouth on the Mayflower.  He soon moved to Marshfield where he became a major landholder.  He married the widow Margaret Walker  before 6 Jun 1648 when John Walker was called his son-in-law. Arthur died 30 Oct 1675 in Marshfield, Mass.  Arthur’s brother John HOWLAND is also our ancestor.

Marshfield Founder's Monument - Arthur Howland

Margaret Walker was born in 1605 in Mancester, Lancashire, England.  Her parents were Thomas Walker and Margaret Bardsley.   When she married Arthur, Margaret was the widow of [__?__] Reed, though the marriage must have been very short.  Margaret died 22 Jan 1682/83 in Marshfield, Mass.

Children of Arthur and Margaret:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Deborah Howland ca. 1627
John Smith
4 JAN 1648/49
Plymouth, Mass.
16 OCT 1665
Dartmouth, Mass.
2. Mary Howland 1629
Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England
Timothy Williamson
6 JUN 1653
26 AUG 1690
Marshfield, Mass
3. Martha Howland 19 DEC 1632 John Damon
Peter Bacon
9 Feb 1671 in Hingham, Plymouth, Mass
4. Arthur Howland ca. 1633 England Elizabeth Prence (Daughter of Gov. Thomas PRENCE)
12 SEP 1667
2 APR 1697
5. Elizabeth HOWLAND ca. 1634 in England John LOW
ca. 1660
12 Oct 1683

Arthur was living in Marshfield, Mass. by 1643. He was granted 50 acres of land and some meadow at North River in 1640. He bought an additional three hundred acres of land for 21 pounds sterling, 13 pounds in money and the balance in corn and cattle.

22 Dec 1657 – Arthur, his brother Henry and Henry’s son Zoeth were called before the Plymouth court to answer for entertaining a Quaker, and suffering and inviting sundry to hear said Quaker.  They were fined for using thier homes for Quaker meetings.’   The families of Arthur Howland and his brother  Henry, were two Plymouth families most identified as practicing Quakers. The families ceased attending Plymouth religious services and allowed their homes for the conduct of Quaker meetings.  Throughout his life, Arthur’s brother John HOWLAND (also our ancestor)  remained faithful to Separatist belief and practice, but his compassion for Quakers is not known.

1659 –  Arthur Jr.’s freeman status was revoked and in 1684 he was imprisoned in Plymouth.

1669 – Arthur was arrested for neglecting to pay his minister-tax; due to his advanced age and low estate he was excused from paying.

Will: Last Will and Testament of Arthur Howland deceased exhibited to the Court holden att Plymouth the seaventh of March Ann Dom. 1675 and ordered by the said Court here to be Recorded:

In the name of God amen: I Arthur Howland, of marshfield in the collonie of new Plymouth in New England, yeoman, being weake of body but of sound and perfet memory, praised be Almighty God for the same, Knowing the uncertainty of [man’s life] this short life and being desirous to settle that outward estate that the Lord hath lent mee, I doe make this my last will and testament in maner and form following: That is to say, first and principally, I Comend my soule to Almighty God my Creator, expecting to receive full pardon of all my sinnes, and salvation by Jesus Christ my Redeemer, and my body to the earth To be buried in decent maner as to my executrix, hereafter named, shalbe thought meet and Convenient, and as concerning such worldly estate which the Lord hath lent mee, my will and meaning is the same shalbe Imployed and bestowed as hereafter in and by this my will is expressed.

Imprimus: I doe revoak, Renounce all and make void all [former] wills by mee formerly made and declare and appoint this to be my last Will and Testament.

Item: I will that all the debts that I justly owe any maner of person or persons whatsoever, shalbe well and truely payed or ordained to be payed in Convenient time after my decease by my executrix hereafter named, except only the debt, thirty shillings, which I owe to Edward Wanton, which said debt I will that the same be payed by Timothy Williamson in maner [and time] hereafter expressed.

Item: I give and bequeath unto my son Arthur Howland, his heires and assignes for ever, fifty acres of upland and alsoe meddow sufficient to keep six head of Cattle which said Land is now in the tenure and occupation of my said son Arthur, and lyeth next unto John Moshers land, and Runneth fron the boundary marke that the Jury made, which the land of the mee the said Arthur Howland and the said John Mosher To the Ridge Northeast and southwest.

Item: I give and bequeath unto my grandchild Assadiah Smith the full sume of five pounds to be payed to her by the heires, executors, and administrators or assigns of my deare wife margarett Howland Imediately after her decease.

Item: I Givc and bequeath unto the three brothers of the said Assadiah the sume of five pounds to be equally divided betwixt them and to be payed unto them by the heires, executors, Administrators and assignes of my said wife Imediately after her decease and incase any of the said Children die before by said Wiffe, my will is that the said sume shalbe equally devided betwixt the survivers of thern.

Item: I give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary Williamson the sume of ten pounds To be payed to her by the heires, executors, Administrators or assignes of my said wife imediately after her decease.

Item: I Give and bequeath unto my daughter Martha, Damon the sume of ten pounds To be payed unto her by the heires, executors, administrators or assignes of my said wife Imediately after her decease.

Item: I give and bequeath unto my daughter Elizabeth LOW the sume of ten Pounds to be payed To her by the heires, executors, administrators or assignes of my said wile Irnediately after her decease.

Item: I Give and bequeath unto my wifes Grandchild Mary Walker the full sume of ten poonds to be payed unto her by the heires, executors, Administrators or assignes of my said wife Imediately after her decease.

Item. I Give and bequeath unto my Grandchild Timothy Williamson, his heires and assignes for ever, after my said wifes decease a Piece of meddow in the Township of Marshfeild aforesaid Containing f[ive?] acres be the Same more or lesse that lyetb between a Certaine Creek that comes out of the River there and a Great Rocke that stands in the Marrsh, hee paying unto Edward Wanton, his executors or assignes, for the term of three years next after hee comes to enjoy the said meddow the sume of ten shillings per annum.

Item: I Give and bequeath the full Remainder of Reall and personall estate whatsoever it is or whatsoever it may he found unto my deare and welbeloved wife Margarett Howland and to her heires, Executors, Administrators and assignes for ever, And doe hereby Nominate, Constitute and appoint my said wife the sole executrix of this my last will and testament, In Witnes whereof whereof I, the said Arthur Howland, have hereunto sett my hand and seale the third day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred seventy and foure, Ann. Regni Regis, Caroli Secundi nunc Anglia.

Arthur Howland senior
Signed, sealed and published by Arthur Howland
And a seale as his last will and Testament in the presence of us
And was att the time of the ensealing
Edward Pelhams acknowledged before
Resolved White* Josiah Winslow Govnor.

“Certain Comeoverers”  Crapo, Henry Howland  New Bedford, Mass.: E. Anthony & Sons, 1912; p152

“Arthur Howland, who came over with his brother Henry, settled in Marshfield. Three hundred  acres of upland in Marshfield were granted July 2, 1638, to Capt. Myles Standish and Mr. John  Alden, “lying on the north side of South River, bounded on the east by Beaver Pond, and on  the west by a brook,” which later for a conUsideration of £21 sterling was conveyed to Arthur Howland.

In 1640, fifty acres additional was granted to him. On this farm he lived and died, as did five generations  of his descendants. Arthur Howland had married the “widow Margaret Reed,” who outlived him. Arthur  died and was buried on his farm at Marshfield, October 30, 1675. His second child was Deborah, who  married John Smith, Jr., of Plymouth, and from whom Phebe Howland, through the Russells, descended


1. Deborah Howland

Deborah’s husband John Smith was born 1618. John died 15 Mar 1692 in So Dartmouth, Bristol, Mass.

After Deboraah died, he married by mid-1666 to Ruhamah Kirby, dau. of Richard Kirby and his wife Jane, of Sandwich, Mass. Richard Kirby first appears in the New England records in 1636 as an inhabitant of Lynn, Mass. In 1637, together with others he removed to Cape Cod, and began the settlement of the Town of Sandwich. When the Society of Friends, or Quakers, first appeared in New England, Richard was “sympathetic” to them although there is no record of his becoming an actual member of that Society…

The primary background regarding John Smith of the Town of Plymouth and later Dartmouth, Mass. was first published in 1898 by Melatiah Everett Dwight in “An Account of Some of the Descendants of Richard Kirby of Sandwich Massachusetts,” with reference to John O. Austin’s “One Hundred and Sixty Allied Families.” Included in Dwight’s book is a genealogy of “Lieut. John Smith, Jr.”, based on a manuscript by H.H.H. (Humphrey Henry Howland) Crapo Smith, a son-in-law of one of John Smith’s descendants. Unfortunately, the portion concerning John Smith contains more errors of substance and corrections to dates than this memorial can encompass.

The principle errors regarding “Lieut. John Smith, Jr.” are that as a Quaker he never was a Lieut., and he was not knowingly the son of a John Smith. He was called John Smith, Jr. at Plymouth only because he was the younger of two John Smiths that resided at Plymouth for many years, and both Mr. Crapo Smith and Melatiah Dwight badly confused them. He was called John junior only in the records of the Town of Plymouth, Mass., but when he resettled at Dartmouth, Mass. he was known simply as John Smith.

Who John Smith’s parents were is unknown. He died testate at Dartmouth, Mass. on the “15th, 1st month (March), 1692, in (his) 74th y.”, latter shorthand for “in the 74th y. of his age” (DVRs). This record indicates he died Aetatis 74, and 73 years old, b. on or after Mar. 15, 1618/19. He is purportedly interred at what is now known as the private Smith Family Burying Ground located behind a private residence in South Dartmouth, Mass. But, in the 1600s as Quakers frowned on erecting gravestones as symbols of personal vanity, no actual gravestone marks his internment. There are gravestones of Smith descendant family at this burial ground, but they are 5 generations later when Quakers were permitted to erect small plain gravestones with minimal personal detail.

Peter Rounds’ brief summary of John’s will, dated June 8, 1691, proved Nov. 12, 1692, contains a material error. The subsequent estate record follows:

• Wife Ruhamah. Six sons: Judah, Gershom, Eliazer, Hezekiah, Deliverance Smith & one son not named [i.e., youngest son Eliashib]. Daus. Hassadiah wife of Jonathan Russell, Mehitabel wife of John Russell, Hannah Smith, Sarah Smith & Deborah Smith. Grand children: James son of my son Eliazer Smith, James Russell son of Jonathan Russell & Mic[hael] son of my son Hezekiah Smith. Seth Pope & my brother-in-law Recompense Carby [Kirby], Execs. (sic) Witns.: Benjamin Howland & Vallentine Hudelston. [Bristol County PR 1:55].

NOTE: the actual will names son Deliverance and wife Ruhamah as co-executors; Pope and Kirby as overseers, who both later refused to serve. Pope was a prominent Congregationalist. By the time John Smith’s will was probated, brother-in-law Recompense Kirby, a Quaker, had already or soon moved to Quaker dominated Burlington County in the then Province of West Jersey.

• Receipts for legacies from the Estate of John Smith, dated Jan. 10, 1693/4, by daughter Hassadiah Russell & husb. Jonathan Russell, by dau. Mehittabell & husb. John Russell and by daus. Hannah Smith & Sarah Smith. [Ibid, 1:161/2].
• An acct. [final] of Deliverance Smith, Exec. of the Estate of John Smith of Dartmouth, dated Dec. 1, 1696, was filed of record [based on the estate inventory filed in 1693]. Mentions wife Ruhamah, son Deliverance Smith, daus. Hassadiah wife of Jonathan Russell, Mehitabel wife of John Russell, Hannah Smith, Sarah Smith & Deborah Smith (latter under age). [Ibid, 1:161/2].

John Smith was twice married. He m. 1) on Jan. 4, 1648/9 at Plymouth, Mass., Deborah Howland, dau. of Arthur Howland and his wife Margaret, the former widow Reed. The date of Deborah’s birth is unknown, but she is presumed to have been b. either at Plymouth or Marshfield, Mass. and was at least 18 years of age when she married. She. d. at Dartmouth, Mass. by 1666. Deborah’s paternal uncle was John Howland, the 1620 Mayflower passenger, but her parents did not arrive at Plymouth until the late 1620s.

2. Mary Howland

Mary’s husband Timothy Williamson was born 1621 in England. His parents were George Williamson and [__?__]. Timothy was killed during King Philip’s War and buried  6 Aug 1676 in Marshfield, Plymouth, Mass.

It is not known on what day he was killed, but presumably, he fell on the last day of July or on one of the first days of August, perhaps in one of the skirmishes at Bridgewater. He was buried 6 August 1676, in what is called the Ceder Grove Cemetery, at Marshfield.

In a deposition dated 1668 Timothy Williamson, aged 47 or thereabouts, stated that he came to Marshfield about 26 years earlier with the Rev. Edward Bulkeley. In 1657 he was made a freeman of Marshfield, where he had already been a surveyor of highways and a constable. He was licensed to keep an ordinary in Marshfield in 1674, which his widow continued in 1678.

The will of Timothy Williamson Sr. “being called to serve in the warr against the enimie,” dated 20 June 1676, exhibited 2 November 1676, left all his property at his wife’s disposal “while she lives and that it be by her equally divided amongst them children att her decease,” except 40 acres to son Timothy. The inventory was exhibited 4 November 1676 by Mary Williamson, widow. In March 1680, the will was declared invalid, but in the face of pleas made in July 1681 by Robert Stanford and his wife on the one part, and Samuel Sprague in behalf of the children on the other, its conditions were recognized. On 17 September 1690 Timothy’s land was given in equal partnership to the now surviving sons, they to pay equally their seven [sic] sisters, daughters of Timothy.

An inventory of the estate of Timothy Williamson Deceased taken the 20th of October 1676.

£ Sh. Pe.
Item his mony and apparell at 07 04 06
Item his Neate Cattle 30 00 00
Item 1 mare 01 10 00
Item his swine att 04 00 00
Item 2 beds in the westerly chamber and furniture 09 10 00
Item 1 spinning wheele with other Lumber 00 10 00
Item in the Parlour 1 trundle bed and beding 01 10 00
Item Table linnine and other linnine 02 15 00
Item 1 New Table and forme att 01 06 00
Item 1 Chest and 5 chaires with some other things 00 15 00
Item 1 bed in the other Chamber 03 00 00
Item his bookes att 00 15 00
Item his Armes and Ammunition 01 10 00
Item 4 yardes of New Cloth and other smale things 01 00 00
Item his pewter att 03 00 00
Item veselles of brasse 01 15 00
Item Iron potts and other vessells 01 10 00
Item severall thinges in the Kitchen 01 14 00
Item in the Leanto 1 bed and other thinges 04 00 00
Item beer vessells & other things in the cellar 00 12 00
Item 20 pounds of sheeps woole 00 15 00
Item his tooles att 03 05 00
Item his Cart and Plow and tackling 02 08 00
Item in the Mault house his haire cloth 02 00 00
Item other lumber in the Mault house 01 00 00
Item bagges and course tecking att 01 00 00
Item his English and Indian Corne 12 00 00
Item Debts due to the estate 02 10 00
Item his housing and land 100 00 00

This inventory was exhibited to the Court held att Plymouth the 4th of Novenber 1676 on the oath of Mary Williamson, widdow; Anthony Snow John Carver Josiah Snow.

3. Martha Howland

Martha’s first husband John Damon was born 11 Nov 1621 in Kent, England. His parents were John Damon and [__?__] Gilson. He first married 16 Jun 1644 in Scituate, Plymouth Colony  to Katherine Merritt.  Katherine was the daughter of Henry Merritt and Deborah Buck, daughter of Lt. Isaac Buck, also from Kent.  John died 3 Oct 1676 in Scituate, Plymouth, Mass.

John Damon came over to Plymouth Colony at about the age of seven sometime before 1628 with his sister, Hannah, who was about five, and his mother’s brother William Gilson, and his wife, Frances. Gilson was also John and Hannah’s guardian. Gilson was from Feering, Essex in England. He and his wife Frances were childless. We don’t know the circumstances of why he took on his sister Hannah’s children and went to Plymouth.

In 1630, John, his sister Hannah, his Uncle William and Aunt Frances settled in Scituate with other “Men of Kent” who laid out the village with “great regularity” for “mutual defense” (4 acres per lot). Old records record Gilson as a “man of education and talents.” He was, as an “assistant to the government,” a member of the Governor’s Council in 1633, 1634, and 1636-1638. With the help of his nephew John, built and erected the first windmill (for grinding corn) in the New World, suggesting that he could have been a miller by trade. According to colony records of 1633, Gilson was a contractor, with others, at a very early date to “improve the navigable passage at Green’s Harbor, near Governor Winslow’s, in Marshfield (then called Rexham). We can only imagine that John, as a young man, was helping and learning from his uncle as he would have from his father.

Gilson and his wife Frances, in addition to taking care of John and Hannah, were also looking after Priscilla Brown, daughter of Peter Brown of Plymouth, who had died and left his widow with a large family of children. By all accounts, they were “devoted to their young kinspeople.”

After Gilson died, a fairly young man, in 1639, his will provided well for both John and Hannah, and dictated that “his nephew John Damon should receive my lot on the third cliff, after the next crop is taken off.” John “succeeded to his uncle’s residence, on Kent Street.” When Frances died ten years later, in 1649, Hannah and John were made sole heirs. All evidence suggests that, as the Plymouth Colony Records state, “although he had no children of his owne, yet that he had two of his sister’s children, which he looked upon as his own.” Susan Collamore Damon, Davis’ sister, in a journal entry on October 1897, quotes Colony Records of 1649: “John and Hannah Damon are allowed by the Court to be lawful heirs of William Gilson, it being proved by divers (diverse) persons that Mr. Gilson had often said that he intended to make these (his sister’s children) his heirs.”

In 1666, John Damon was appointed to command the Scituate Company of “Colonial Soldiery under Captain Miles Standish, commander of all of Plymouth Colony’s Militia, and served there until 1669.

There are many stories illustrating John Damon’s unselfishness and genuine interest in the welfare of others. As well, his service to the settlement, as demonstrated by his selection as Deputy to the Colony Court, Council of War, and Selectman, further showed his devotion, integrity, and willingness to take risks in order to ensure fairness and stand up for things he believed in. Another story as recorded by Early Planters of Scituate by Harvey Hunter Pratt, brings together many of our emigrant ancestors: John Damon, John Bryant, John Turner, and Lt. Isaac Buck. Suffice it to say that there was a disagreement about whether Elder William Hatch could claim a share in the town’s common land. “It has been told elsewhere in these pages that the Colony Court had permitted the freemen of Scituate to make division of these lands among the freeholders. In doing this, there had been trouble. Two factions had sprung up, and the town had delegated the privilege to a committee. While the magistrates did not approve of this, they sanctioned it for a time, and then re-established the bench in the performance of the duty by appointing a committee of its own choice from the townsmen made up however of the leaders of each faction.” You see the trouble a-brewing, when the committee assigned the task of resolving the issue is made up the very men on opposite sides of the issue. One one side of the issue–Capt. James Cudworth, Cornet Stetson, Isaac Chittenden, and Lt. Buck–who did not want Elder Hatch to be able to receive a plot of land. Lt. Buck was John Damon’s first wife’s grandfather. On the other side, advocating for Hatch, were John Damon, John Turner, Sr., John Turner, Jr., and John Bryant, Sr. We are descended from ALL of these men–John Damon, John Turner, and John Bryant. How funny they were on the same side. Except for Buck, who, incidentally, Damon was able to sway over to his side, thereby securing the majority (although he lost Bryant, he gained Chittenden and Buck) for Hatch to receive his “layout,” and swapping out one of our ancestors (Bryant) for another (Buck).

Strong circumstantial evidence indicates that John of Scituate and Deacon John of Reading were probably more or less distantly related in England, as it seems that both came from County Kent.

John Damon served in the local militia according to Deane’s History of Scituate. On page 118, “We observe in 1665 Cornet Robert Stetson, Serj. John Damon, etc.,” and on page 119, “Serj. John Damon is commanded to take comand until further notice.”

In an inventory taken on October 23, 1676, John Damon had few debts, many animals, and much prized food. The big value items included 7 oxen, 10 cattle, 6 score and 12 bushels of Indian corn, and 25 sheep tied with 20 loads of hay.

On 3 Oct 1676, Martha Damon petitioned the court to take inventory of the estate of Serg. John Damon. (Note: On the same date Daniel Damon, aged about 23 years, requested the court to take inventory of the estate of John Damon Jr.) The inventory of the goods and chattels, and that of the land (including improvements) of Serg. John was recorded by the court 23 Oct 1676. (The inventory of the goods and chattels of John Jr was recorded on the same day.)

The goods and chattels of Serg. John totaled 202 pounds 7 shillings and 11 pence; the land totaled 170 pounds 10 shillings. Letters of administration were granted to Martha 3 Jul 1677. The disposition of the estate was recorded 18 Oct 1677. The widow received her third-67 pounds 9 shillings and 4 pence from the goods and chattels; and 56 pounds 16 shillings and 8 pence of the real estate.

The childrens’ share of the goods and chattels was 134 pounds 18 shillings and 7 pence. Out of this was allowed 9 pounds for bringing up the weak one (Ebenezer) and 3 pounds 11 shillings 8 pence for bringing up the youngest (Martha). These sums were over and above the normal portion which they should receive.

Each of the ten youngest children received 20 pounds, and Daniel, the oldest son, received 40 pounds. 2 Mar 1679-80, the court was satisfied that Martha had paid to Daniel, and to the three other children which he had by his first wife, the sums which were due to them.

Also on 2 Mar 1679-80, the court ordered that the four daughters, Silence,\ Margaret, Hannah, and Martha, the daughters of the said John Damon, shall have each of them, 10 pounds in current country pay, payed to them and to every each of them when they come of age or be married. (The record does not state whether this was in addition to the 20 pounds previously ordered or instead of it.)

The third of the real estate which Martha received was hers as long as she remained a widow. The court, on 1 Jun 1680, noting that Martha had remarried, ordered her to vacate the premises, but she was still to have one third of the profits thereof.

Zachary received the lot of the land on the cliff as his 20 pound portion-he paid Martha 3 pounds as she had made some improvements on it, and received the whole lot. Ebenezer’s share in Conihasset was to go to Peter Bacon and Martha his wife, also 3 pounds 10 shillings out of John’s land on the cliff, if they bring Ebenezer up to be 21.

Martha’s second husband Peter Bacon 30 Mar 1642 in Hingham, Suffolk, Mass. Peter died 9 Aug 1694 in Hingham, Plymouth, Mass.

4. Arthur Howland

Arthur’s wife Elizabeth Prence was born about 1645 in Duxbury, Mass. Her parents were Gov. Thomas PRENCE and Mary COLLIER. Elizabeth died xx.

1657 –  Arthur Howland Jr., an ardent Quaker, was brought before the court.  Elizabeth Prence, daughter of Gov. Thomas PRENCE (also our ancestor)  and Arthur Howland Jr., fell in love. The relationship blossomed and matrimony seemed inevitable. However, it was illegal and punishable by court sanction for couples to marry without parental consent. Thomas Prence urged Elizabeth to break off the relationship, but to no avail. He then used powers available to him as Governor. Arthur Howland, Jr., was brought before the General Court and fined five pounds for

inveigling of Mistris Elizabeth Prence and making motion of marriage to her, and prosecuting the same contrary to her parents likeing, and without theire mind and will…[and] in speciall that hee desist from the use of any meanes to obtaine or retaine her affections as aforesaid.”

2 Jul 1667 – Arthur Howland, Jr., was brought before the General Court again where he “did sollemly and seriously engage before the Court, that he will wholly desist and never apply himself for the future as formerly he hath done, to Mistris Elizabeth Prence in reference unto marriage.” Guess what happened! They were married on December 9, 1667 and in time had a daughter and four sons. Thus a reluctant Thomas Prence acquired a Quaker son-in-law, Quaker grandchildren and innumerable Quaker in-laws of Henry Howland.

In 1666 this provision concerning courtship was the law of the colony:

“Whereas divers persons unfitt for marriage both in regard to their yeoung years as also in regard of their weake estate, some practiseing the enveigleing of men’s daughters and maids under guardians (contrary to their parents and guardians liking), and of mayde servants without leave and liking of their masters. It is therefore enacted by the Court that if any shall make any motion of marriage to any man’s daughter or maydbe servant not having first obtained leave and consent of the parents or master so to doe, shalbe punished either by fine or corporall punishment or both, at the discretion of the bench and according to the nature of the offense.”

Young Howland and Mistress Prence were enamored of each other. They were not “unfitt for marriage” within the meaning of this statute, both being of age and the former possessed of fifty acres of land in Duxbury which had been granted him by the colony court.

“There was however one grave and insuperable objection. Howland was a Quaker. His father, at first a sympathizer, had been frequently prosecuted before Prence, who was then Governor, for the entertainment of Quakers and assisting in the promulgation of their faith, and had finally embraced it. The Governor was rabid in his opposition to the sect and the marriage of his daughter to one of them was intolerable. The young woman was the third child of his second marriage. Her mother was a sister of William Collier, as prominent and persistent in his persecution of the Quakers as was the Governor himself. Both parents forbade the courtship which in spite of their joint efforts continued. No other means availing, recourse was finally had to a criminal prosecution against Howland under the law which has been above quoted.

On March 5, 1666-7 Howland was brought before the Bench on which his accuser sat as the presiding magistrate and charged with: “inveigling Mistris Elizabeth Prence and makeing motion of marriage to her, and prosecuting the same contrary to her parents liking, and without theire consent, and directly contrary to their mind and will.” He was sentenced to pay a fine of five pounds, to find sureties for his good behavior: “and in special that he desist from the use of any meanes to obtaine or retaine her affections as aforesaid.” (Plymouth Colony Records Vol. III Page 140, 141).

“Here Arthur’s brother-in-law, John Damon came to the assistance of his friend. He became surety for that good behavior which the Court required. He also apparently counseled the action which was taken four months later when Howland “did solemnly and seriously engage before this Court, (Governor Prence still presiding) that hee will wholly desist and never apply himself for the future, as formerly hee hath done, to Mistris Elizabeth Prence, in reference unto marriage.”

However solemn this agreement may have been, it was not serious on the part of young Howland; nor did Mistress Prence agree that the action either of the Court or her lover was final. The courtship continued and was consummated in a marriage later. The daughter was never forgiven. The bitterness which Prence showed toward General Cudworth for the latter’s leniency toward the Quakers was greatly increased in the case of his daughter because of her successful rebellion to his stubborn will. Although he disinherited her, he lived to see her surrounded by a contented brood and the Scituate planter who had become the surety for the good behavior of the parent the Godfather of his children.”.

5. Elizabeth HOWLAND (See John LOW‘s page)


From Annis Spear, 1945 by Walter Goodwin Davis


This entry was posted in 13th Generation, Dissenter, Immigrant - England, Line - Shaw, Storied, Violent Death and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Arthur Howland

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