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John Briggs (abt. 1609 - bef. 1690)

John "of Portsmouth" Briggs
Born about in Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married about 1641 in Rhode Islandmap
Husband of — married about 1662 in Portsmouth, Colony of Rhode Islandmap [uncertain]
Descendants descendants
Died before in Portsmouth, (now Newport Co.), Rhode Islandmap
Profile last modified | Created 13 Dec 2010
This page has been accessed 4,807 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
John Briggs migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Discuss: pgm


Disputed Origins

John Briggs-397 is a merged profile where the parents were in major conflict. The conflicting parents were removed before the profiles were merged. The speculative but unproven parent sets are below:

Parent Set I
Henrie Briggs-235, Mary Hinckes-2[citation needed]

Parent Set II
John Briggs-414, Mary (Scott-745) Briggs[citation needed]

Parent Set III
Williaml Briggs-395, Sarah Gore-54 (associated with a christening of 18 Nov 1610 in Braithwell, York, England[citation needed])


That he was born about 1609 is suggested by his own testimony 20 Feb 1673, when he called himself "sixty-four years or thereabouts."[1]. Therefore he was NOT John Briggs supposed christened 8 Apr 1618 in St. James, Clerkenwell, Essex, England. (Not clear which of parent sets above this date is associated with - Henry see image att.)

We would then expect him to have married by the mid 1630s. Therefore he may have had an earlier wife before Sarah Cornell whom he married about 1641.

He married second about 1662 Constant Mitchell widow of John Forbes.[2]

He was one of the signers, in 1638, of the compact of the settlement of Aquidneck. He played a prominent part in the government of the town serving as juryman, constable, town councilor, surveyor of lands, special commissioner, and Deputy to the General Assembly. In 1662, John Dunham, one of the original 34 purchasers of Dartmouth, conveyed for 42 pounds, his whole share to John Briggs.[3]

John was a Commissioner to the Rhode Island Court from 1654 to 1656, again in 1659, and from 1661 to 1663.

On 20 Feb 1673, he testified against his nephew Thomas Cornell, son of his sister (in-law) Rebecca.

"He had a dream and saw a woman at his bedside "whereat he was much affrighted and cryed out, in the name of God, what art thou!" The apparation answered 'I am your sister Cornell' and twice said 'see how I was burnt with fire!' To mention sentencing any man to be hanged on dream evidence would cause any lawyer of any subsequent period in U.S.A. to express amazing horror and unbelier of its happening. We therefore dismiss John Briggs."[4]

He lived in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and had six children. Some of them lived in Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton, Rhode Island and Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

Last Will & Testament

The will of John Briggs of Portsmouth, dated 19 Apr 1690, proved 17 Nov 1690, mentions wife Content Briggs; sons Enoch Briggs, John Briggs eldest, Thomas Briggs, William Briggs, and Job Briggs; and daughters Susannah Northway and ____ Momony.[citation needed]


  1. John Osborne Austin, The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, Albany (1887), pgs 24-25
  2. U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700 for John Briggs
  3. The Howland Heirs, p. 37 - More details about this source are sought
  4. Austin, op cit., page 25

See also:

  • David Joyce cites Nellie M. C. Beaman, "Abstracts of various RI towns," Rhode Island Genealogical Register, various volumes 2-8, (1980-1985) as the source.
  • David Joyce cites Justin Winsor, History of the Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts, with genealogical registers, Crosby & Nichols, Boston, 1849 as his source.
  • Wilbour, Benjamin Franklin Little Compton Families, published 1967. Reference page 57

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Comments: 22

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Moved Samuel and Sarah.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Ok. Can't speak to Elizabeth and Stephen but it looks like Samuel and Sarah belong to Briggs-257
posted by Jillaine Smith
It's quite possible that those children belong to another John Briggs. We've had past merge problems where two different men were merged incorrectly. While we've sorted the Johns out, we clearly haven't resolved the children. But let's not detach them until we find the correct father for them...
posted by Jillaine Smith
Little Compton Families lists his children as John, Thomas, William, Susannah, Job and Enoch:

The Briggs Family lists the same children with the exception of William.: What is the source of Samuel, Sarah, Elizabeth and Stephen being his children?

posted by S (Hill) Willson
Ruth, you're writing about John Briggs of Sandwich. See rejected merges below. Different man.
posted by Jillaine Smith

I have a problem with the John Briggs presented here. Savage lists him at the age of 20 coming on the Blessing in 1635, making the birth date at 1615. He was at Lynn until 1637 then to Sandwich where he died in 1641. His widow's name is listed as Catherine. He never went to R.I. Help me out here, seems we have several John Briggs who are intermixed. Thanks, Ruth Proffett

posted by Ruth Proffett
I've removed the parents.
Hinkes-1 and Briggs-397 appear to represent the same person because: Although there is a dispute to the last names the other information is the same, if his father's last name was Briggs then his last name should be Briggs not Hinkes.
posted by Cindy (Ramsey) Barnett
Briggs-3398 and Briggs-397 do not represent the same person because: Different birth years...
Briggs-3398 and Briggs-397 appear to represent the same person because: The sparse information in profile Briggs-3398 seems to be a match: same name, wife is the same name, year of birth is within a few years (close for this time period). There are no sources and no other links on the profile to be merged.
posted by Star Kline

Unmerged matches › John Briggs (1609-1690)John Briggs (1609-)
Rejected matches › John Briggs (abt.1615-1641)

B  >  Briggs  >  John Briggs

Categories: Puritan Great Migration