Branching Howland (how Ralph met Val)

This column was one of my Thanksgiving projects that had an unforeseen result.

My parents share common 17th century ancestors: Henry and Margaret Howland of Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England, parents of Plymouth Colony immigrants John Howland, Henry Howland, and Arthur Howland.  Henry and Margaret Howland are buried in the churchyard of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Fenstanton.

My father is a descendant of Mayflower passenger John Howland. My mother can trace her ancestry to John Howland’s brother Arthur Howland, who came to Plymouth Colony at a later date, first mentioned as a planter of Duxbury in 1640. He was a Quaker at a time when Quakers were subjected to much persecution.  Arthur Howland was buried at Marshfield on 30 Oct 1675.  His wife, Margaret Reid, a widow (maiden name unknown), was also buried at Marshfield, on 22 Jan 1683.  Arthur Howland is an ancestor of Winston Churchill.

My mother’s line from Arthur Howland is as follows, beginning with Henry and Margaret Howland:

(1) Henry & Margaret Howland (2) Arthur & Margaret Howland (3) Elizabeth Howland & John Low (4) Elizabeth Low & Walter Joyce (5) Bathsheba Joyce & Ebenezer Mahurin (6) Stephen Mahurin & Unknown (7) Samuel Mahurin & Unknown (8) Sarah Mahurin & Thomas Scott Sr. (9) Thomas Scott Jr. & America Stillwell (10) Rachel Jane Scott & Wilson Milton Vaughan (11) Eric Lyman Vaughan & Nora Ann McMillen (12) Hillary Lillian Vaughan & Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff (13) Valerie Berniece Jeffery Scarff & Ralph Vernon Chipman.

Above:  Memorial plaque for Henry Howland, father of Mayflower passenger John Howland, in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England.

Couple No. 13 are my parents.  Ebenezer Mahurin (d. 1755) was the son of Hugh Mahurin of Taunton, MA (d. 1718).  Hugh Mahurin’s only proven child is Ebenezer, but it’s known he had other children.  The Mahurins are presumed to be of Scots-Irish descent.

The most comprehensive study of the Mahurin family is “Hugh Mahurin Of Taunton, Massachusetts” by Francis H. Huron, in the January, April, and July issues of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register for 1982.  According to Walter E. Hazen, who summarized some points of the Huron article:

The earliest record of Hugh Mahurin that we have is in Taunton, Mass. March 1692/3. Possibly he initially came, or was brought, there to work in one of the forges or iron works.  This is conjecture, but his son Ebenezer was later called ‘collyer’ in New Jersey, a term applied to iron workers in that period. This also could explain why Hugh received a grant of land at Taunton half a century after the town was established (Taunton Proprietor’s Records, 4:296, Bristol County Registry of Deeds):

This 15th of March 1692/3 is voted and granted to Hugh Mehurin ten acres of land in the plain that lieth between Samuel Crossman’s and Hart’s meadow in a valley near Stage pond provided it be no way prejudicial to any highway or former grant.

On 26 July 1695 Charles Williams of Taunton “for and in consideration of five pounds in silver money to him in hand paid by Hugh Mahurin of Taunton” sold him two adjoining parcels of land, one of ten acres, the other of seven-and-one-half acres (Bristol County Deeds, 12:117). Hugh Mahurin’s land was in the northeasterly section of Taunton which in 1731 became the town of Raynham. He acquired additional small amounts, as evidenced in the follow extracts from a deed dated 19 March 1717/18 (ibid., 12:116), which also contains vital information concerning his family:

Know ye that I Hugh Mahurin of Taunton in the County of Bristol–for & in consideration of that Love and affection which I beare to my Eldest son Ebenezer Mahurin as also in Consideration of a bond given me by my said Son Ebenezer Mahurin for the payment of fifteen pounds to my other Children in manner as is Expressed in said bond–Have given granted–& confirm unto him said Ebenezer Mahurin Two parcels of land which lay adjoining together within the Limits and bounds of said Taunton on which my dwelling house stands which I bought of Charles Williams by deed dated the Twenty Sixth day of July one thousand Six Hundred and Ninety and five. The first parcel being Ten acres more or less–The second Parcel is seven acres and half more or less–Together with five acres of land granted by the Proprietors on January 8th 1695 to me said Hugh Mahurin to lay on the left hand of the way by my own land neare Titicut Pond & five acres on the Right hand of the way opposite to it Together with a Little Piece of land about one acre and half or two acres lying adjoining to my own land on the Easterly of the lay Rhoad granted on January 19th 1713/14–only my son Ebenezer may at Present Improve Two acres where his house now Stands and the whole after the decease of his Father, Excepting only that my present wife Mary if she survive me and while she Continues my Widow shall enjoyed my present dwelling house and half an acre of land where the house stands which runs towards my son Ebenezer’s Farm.
The deed was witnessed by Samuel Danforth and Ebenezer Campbel.

Hugh Mahurin died intestate. The inventory of his estate noted “A true Inventory of all and singular the goods & chattels and credits of Hugh Mahurin yeoman deceased seized at Taunton on the nineteenth day of May in the year 1718 & by John Leonard & Ebenezer Cambel & John King,” and itemized a list of household goods, farm tools, and livestock with a total value of LB45.17 (Bristol County Probates, 3:439). The account of Ebenezer Mahurin, administrator of the estate of his father Hugh Mahurin, dated 4 February 1722/3, listed additional receipts and the payment of a lengthy list of debts and disbursements (ibid., 4:110).

The above records prove Hugh Mahurin had more than one son, and at least three children.

The maiden name of Hugh Mahurin’s wife Mary is unknown, but may have been Campbell. She married second William Bassett 19 Feb 1719 in Bridgewater.

John Low, father of Elizabeth (Low) Joyce, has been alleged to be a son of Thomas Low by his second wife Susannah; the claim being Thomas Low had sons named John by both wives.  I queried Bingham J.F. Lowe, the expert on this family, and was informed that our John Low wasn’t a son of Thomas Low, as Thomas Low didn’t mention him in his bible. Therefore, John Low’s ancestry is unknown.  John Low died 26 Mar 1676 during an Indian ambush in King Philip’s War.

[p. 349 lists John Low of Marshfield as a member of Capt. Michael Peirse’s company.  On Sunday, 26 Mar 1676 Peirse was lured into an ambush on the bank of a river near Seekonk (evidently the Seekonk River) and surrounded by a large force of Indians.  Available as free download from Google Books.  Click on image to enlarge.]

It’s not always possible to identify wives of pioneers, but I did locate the marriage bond of Thomas Scott Sr. (son of Arthur Scott) and Sarah Mahurin (daughter of Samuel Mahurin) in Shelby County, KY:

Dr. George E. McCracken, FASG, wrote a brief article about Arthur Howland, including a transcription of his will and inventory.  Rather than re-invent the wheel, here it is:

Anthony Snow, an ancestor of my father’s, took the inventory.  Arthur Howland left my mother’s ancestress, Elizabeth Low, 10 pounds to be paid after the death of his wife.  Though McCracken gives the wife of Henry Howland of Fenstanton as “Ann,” Susan E. Roser and others call her “Margaret.”   You’ll note that McCracken complains about Franklyn Howland’s slipshod transcription.  I can sympathize—transcribing a document that old is hard work.

Revised Sep. 19, 2016

~ by Jeffrey Thomas Chipman on June 19, 2017.