John Tilley

John TILLEY (1571 – 1620 or 1621) was one of the settlers who traveled from England to North America on the Mayflower and signed the Mayflower Compact. Tilley died shortly after arrival in New England.  John was Alex’s 12th Great Grandfather; one of 8,192 in this generation of the Shaw line.

St. Mary the Virgin Church, Henlow, Bedfordshire, England

John was christened 19 Dec 1571 in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England . He was the eldest child of Robert TILLEY and Elizabeth [__?__]. He had four sisters (Rose, Agnes, Elizabeth, and Alice) and three brothers (George, William, and Edward or Edmund).   Tilley’s paternal grandparents were William and Agnes Tylle, his great-grandparents were Thomas and Margaret Tylle, and great-great-grandparents were Henry and Johann[a]? Tilly, all of Henlow. John died 10 Apr 1621 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass

Church Record Book at St. Mary Church, Henlow, showing the Tilley entries

John married Joan HURST Rogers on 20 Sep 1596 in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England.  John and Joan had five children between 1597 and 1607. At least one child died young.

John Tillie was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact, though he didnt live through the first winter in Plymouth

Joan Hurst Rogers was baptized 13 March 1568 in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England.   Her parents were William HURST and Rose MARSHE.   Joan had married first Thomas Rogers, [unrelated to the Thomas Rogers on the Mayflower] 18 June 1593 in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England.  Joan had had one daughter from her previous marriage.

Thomas and Joan’s child is:

1. Joan Rogers, baptized 26 May 1594 in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England, married Edward Hawkins 27 Jun 1620 at St. Paul’s Church, Bedford, Bedfordshire, England..

Children of John and Joan:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Rose Tilley 23 Oct 1597
Henlow, Bedfordshire, England

Henlow, Bedfordshire, England
2. John Tilley 26 Aug 1599
Henlow, England
Edith [__?__]
1634 Dorchester, Mass
Oct 1636
Saybrook, CT
3. Robert Tilley 25 Nov 1604
Henlow, England
Mary Hawkins
St Pauls,  Bedfordshire, England
Swansea, Bristol, Mass.
4. Elizabeth TILLEY 30 Aug 1607
Henlow, England
1623, Plymouth, Plymouth Colony
21 Dec 1687
Swansea, Bristol, Mass.

In September 1620, John and Joan embarked on the Mayflower along with their teenage daughter Elizabeth and John’s brother Edward Tilley and his wife Ann or Agnes (Cooper) Tilley. Edward and Ann brought along Ann’s relatives Henry Sampson and Humility Cooper. They left behind their older children, who were married by this time. They arrived at what would become Plymouth in November. John and brother Edward were amongst the men who signed the Mayflower Compact.

Caleb Johnson found that unlike most Mayflower families, the Tilleys and Hursts had significant land, social status and inheritances. See his article in The Mayflower Quarterly, Vol 76, No. 2, June 2010.

Unfortunately, the first winter after their arrival was extremely difficult and a number of the settlers died. Amongst these were John, wife Joan, brother Edward, and sister-in-law Ann. William Bradford reported,

“…Edward Tillie, and his wife both dyed soon after their arrivall; and the girle Humility their cousen, was sent for unto Ento England, and dyed ther But the youth Henery Sampson, is still liveing, and is married, & hath .7. children. John Tilley and his wife both dyed, a litle after they came ashore…”

This left daughter Elizabeth the only surviving member of the Tilley family in America. The orphan was taken in by John Carver but he and his wife both died that spring. Elizabeth married John Howland, Carver’s former servant, in 1623/24 and left many descendants including us!

The only known contemporary references to the parentage of Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland are found in Bradford’s History. In the list of the Mayflower Passengers he mentions her three times, as follows:

“John Tillie, and his wife; and Eelizabeth their doughter…”
“John Howland maried the doughter of John Tillie, Elizabeth, and they are both now living;…”
“John Tillie, and his wife both dyed, a little after they came ashore; and their daughter Elizabeth maried with John Howland… “


2. John Tilley

John’s wife Edith [__?__] was born 1603 in England. Edith died in 1647

3. Robert Tilley

Robert’s wife Mary Hawkin was born 1610 in Bedfordshire, England. Mary died in England.

Robert served as an apprentice to a tailor.

4. Elizabeth TILLEY (See John HOWLAND ‘s page)

Shallop Elizabeth Tilley

Shallop Elizabeth Tilley

The Pilgrim John Howland Society has constructed a Shallop Elizabeth Tilley named after John and Joan’s daughter .


Wikipedia – John Tilley (Pilgrim)


This entry was posted in 14th Generation, First Comer, Historical Church, Immigrant - England, Line - Shaw, Pioneer, Storied, Wikipedia Famous and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to John Tilley

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