Friday, February 17, 2017

Holbrook line: "Oulde" John Mott 1570-1656, Immigrant

Most of what is known of "Oulde" John Mott comes from articles published in The American Genealogist back in 1942-43.  Nothing here is my own research, and there are certainly a lot of questions that I can't answer.  However, we have this much, and it's enough to let our imaginations soar, perhaps.

John Mott was born about 1570 in Saffron Walden, Essex, England, probably the son of John Mott and Francis Gutter.  Saffron Walden appears to have been a town larger than a mere village.  There was an old castle there at the time, and at least one house from medieval times stands there even now.  So there would have been more opportunities to make a living than just farming, although we don't know what John did for a living.  He was apparently married several times, to Elizabeth, Catherine, and possibly Mary.  We apparently descend from Elizabeth.

John was already an old man when he came to the New World.  Apparently son Adam came first, and then John came.  He was made a freeman at Aquidneck in 1638, the year of its founding, so at that time he must have been relatively healthy.  Aquidneck is the large island of the state of Rhode Island, and some of the most interesting people lived there, such as Anne and William Hutchinson and John Dyer. It would have been a collection of free-thinkers, Quakers, and others who were not welcome or comfortable in  Massachusetts.  John Mott had land in 1639, but by 1644 the town of Portsmouth was providing for his care.  He was apparently desperately ill in 1652 when the town ordered that a stone house be built for the "more comfortable being of ould John Mott in the winter".  The house was not enough so on January 23,1654/55 the town shipped him off to Barbados Island with the admonition to the ship owner to bring him back if he "cannot be received there".  He was brought back, and son Adam was to provide him with a cow and a supply of corn, in addition to what the town supplied. 

John died about 1656.  I have so many questions about him.  First, I'd like to know something of his life in England.  Second, I'd like to know why he decided, as a man in his late 60's, to come to the New World and then to settle in what was wilderness, and even then on an island.  Was he a free-thinker, or a Quaker, or someone fleeing from some kind of persecution in England?  Was he healthy when he came to America, and was there a disease such as consumption or cancer that slowly took his life?  Why was Adam not responsible for his father's well-being?  Was he poor or/and sick himself?  He died just five years after his father. 

We can identify a lot of potential answers to these questions, but quite possibly, most or all of them would be wrong.  I must say, however, that because of his neighbors, this is one ancestor I would love to meet in his time and place, on the island of Aquidneck.  I'd love to hear John's story in his own words, and his testimony, if he had one.  And I'd love to talk to his neighbors, too!

The line of descent is:

John Mott-Elizabeth
Adam Mott-Elizabeth Creel
Elizabeth Mott-Edward Thurston
Sarah Thurston-John Thornton
Benjamin Thornton-Mary possibly Gurney
Sarah Thornton-Stephen Paine
Nathan Paine-Lillis Winsor
Deborah Paine-Enos Eddy
Joseph Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants