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The Knowlton Brothers
Early Ipswich, Mass Pioneers - 1640

John Knowlton
The Oldest Brother

"John Knowlton was born in England about 1610. Came to Nova Scotia about 1632-34 with his parents, then to Hingham, Mass. He was a shoemaker, became a citizen in Ipswich, Mass in 1639, and a freeman June 9, 1641. On Dec 19, 1648, he subscribed to the fund for the pay of Major Dennison to whom had been entrusted the defense of the townships against the assaults of Indian and other enemies.

From the records of sales and transfers of property in Ispwich, it would appear that John had accumulated considerable property at the time of his death, Oct 8, 1654; his will was written Nov 29, 1653. John married Margery Wilson, who was from England. She survived him by only a few months; her  will, dated Feb 20, 1653/4, was probated March 28, 1655."

He and Margery had John, 1633; Abraham, 1635; and Elizabeth, 1639. John was likely born in England, Elizabeth in America.

William Knowlton
The Most Prolific Brother

William was a bricklayer, and resided in Ipswich. He was a member of the the First Church of Christ (Congregational), and a freeman in 1641/2. He was given commonage, with pasturage for one cow, and a share in Plum Island. On December 12, 1643, he conveyed to Edward Bragg of Ipswich a house and lot which he had purchased of John Andrews. He died in 1655, his estate being inventoried July 17, and estimated at 27 pounds /14/1.

He left his wife, Elizabeth ________, with seven children, ages two through fourteen, to raise. They were Thomas, Sr., William, (III)., John, Samuel, Benjamin, Joseph and Mary.

This is the branch we descendants of Benjamin and Hannah (Knowlton) Baldwin are descended from, as Thomas Knowlton, Sr, was Hannah's father. I believe that Thomas, Sr is the Thomas Knowlton that was fined 10 shillings for his wife overdressing. Although it's kind of hard to tell, with so many Thomas Knowltons running around.

Thomas "Deacon" Knowlton
The Childless Brother

Thomas "Deacon" Knowlton was a cordwainer in Ipswich, Mass., and also a shoemaker, for he is so called in a deed in which John Knowlton, his brother, and John Baker join him as grantors. He was in Ipswich in 1642, and took a prominent part in the civil affairs of town, and was Deacon of the old First (Congregational) Church.

Having no children, he sent William's "boys to scool from the age of 5 to 8, and a girl from 1 1/2 till she was married," and he also took Nathaniel, his nephew, to live with him. His nephew Thomas, styled "Thomas, Jr." (early in life, then Thomas, Sr after his son, Thomas, Jr, was born) was given a bequest December 3, 1688, and he conveyed the bulk of his remaining property to his nephew, Nathaniel, by a deed of gift, dated December 5, 1688, for which the said Nathaniel executed a bond of even date for he faithful performance of his trust. As this will and bond expressly declare the legattes to be the children of his brother William, this evidently settles in the negative the disputed question as to whether Deacon Thomas had children. He left a silver vessel to the church, and the rest of his property as mentioned in the Appendix (of Stockings 1897 "Genealogy of Knowltons in England and America")

His wife, Susannah died Nov 20, 1680, and he married second, Mary Kimball, born in England in 1625. She died on November 20, 1688. Deacon Thomas died on April 23, 1692. He was the last of the brothers to pass on.

Samuel Knowlton
The "Mystery" Brother

Samuel was a mariner (as was his father). He is commonly supposed to have remained in England, but he certainly was in Hingham prior to September 22, 1755, on which date the inventory of his property was taken by his brother John, as administrator, and who died the following October. We don't believe Samuel Knowlton had descendants.


Generally:Knowltons in England and America, Rev Charles Stocking, 1897. Also: A Genealogy of Sherwin-Shedd and Allied Families in American, Alyce Adams Burrell, Gateway Press, 1990, Pg 238-239.

Related Links:
Return to the Knowlton Home Page.
Read the Story of First Day in Canterbury, Conn of William Knowlton's granddaughter's family: Benjamin and Hannah (Knowlton) Baldwin.

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