Friday, July 31, 2015

Holbrook line: Roger Mowry 1610-1666

There's so much information about Roger Mowery (Mowery, Mawry, etc.) that some of it has to be wrong.  He was born in London, or he was born in Brimpton, Dorset, England.  His parents were Thomas and Anne, or they were Thomas and Elizabeth.  He came to Massachusetts in 1628, or1630, or 1632.  Some of these statements may not be contradictory.  Obviously he had one birth place and one set of parents.  But he could have come to Massachusetts more than once.  "The Great Migraation Begins" gives a migration date of 1630 so that is close enough, and another source says he came with Gov. Winthrop's fleet in 1630.

When Roger came to America, he was first at Plymouth colony, at the same time as Roger Williams.  He then moved at about the same time as Roger Williams to Salem, a little north of what was then a very small Boston.  In fact, Salem, at the time, was used as a seaport more than Boston, and may have been a little larger.  If a record of his marriage exists, it's not well documented and some have suggested he may have married more than once.  This may be based on the idea that in late December, 1637, he was granted three quarters of an acre of marshland near Salem, and at that time had a household of five.  So he may have had children from an earlier marriage, or there may be more children than we know about, or he could have had relatives living with him.  At any rate, his recognized wife is Mary Johnson, daughter of John Johnson, and they were married by 1637, when the first of at least 11 children were born. 

Roger and Mary stayed in Salem for several years.  At least their first four children, Jonathan, Appia/Bethiah, Mary, and Elizabeth were born there, and it is likely that is where Nathaniel, Mehitable, John, Joseph and Benjamin were born, since Benjamin was baptized at Salem on May 20, 1649.  Thomas and Hannah were born at Providence, Rhode Island. 

There are suggestions in several writings that Roger Mowry and the famous Roger Williams were somehow related, but their friendship could just as easily have been based on religious beliefs.  At any rate, the two Rogers lived near to each other for much of their lives, and it seems reasonable to suppose that Roger Williams' religious teachings influenced those of Roger Mowry. 

We know that Roger was educated well enough that he could write his name, but beyond that we know nothing of his education.  He would have had land to farm, both in Salem and in Providence, as he was given or earned it by right of being a freeman and an early settler.  In addition, in Salem he was a "neat herd", which was an early form of "cow herd."  He was responsible for getting the town cattle to their pasture each morning and bringing them back each night, and probably for their safety during the day.  This would not have left much time for other activities.  He held this post for at least 5 years, from 1636 to 1641, but there is no further mention of that occupation.  We know he was on the Esses County petit Jury on January 24, 1641.

Sometime before July of 1652, the Mowry's had moved to Providence, Rhode Island.  Salem may have become too restrictive, or they may have missed the fellowship with the Williams family, or they may have moved for economic reasons.  He was an inn-keeper (which also means tavern-keeper) at Providence by 1653.  This home/business was standing as late as 1900, and was known as the Olney House.  (You can Google Roger Mowry tavern, Providence and find a fascinating story and picture of the building itself, and about how it was used when Roger owned it.  Good stuff!) 

Roger was a constable in Providence in 1655, one of six men chosen to hear cases in Providence by 1662, and frequently a Providence juryman.   This seems to be a rise in status from that of "neatherd".

Roger died in Providence January 5, 1666/7, possibly from smallpox.  His widow, Mary, married John Kingsley of Rehoboth, and when she died in January of 1678/9, she was buried at Rehoboth. His will and inventory did not survive King Philip's War, when all but five buildings in Providence were burned, the Tavern being one that was spared.

The line of descent is:

Roger Mowry-Mary Johnson
Nathaniel Mowry-Joanna Inman
Joanna Mowry-Walter Phettiplace
Sarah Phettiplace-Elisha Eddy
Enos Eddy-Sarah Brown
Enos Eddy-Deborah Paine
Joseph Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Their descendents