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John Charles (1608 - 1673)

John Charles
Born in Sanford, Devon, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married 23 Jun 1636 in Charlestownmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Branford, New Haven, Connecticut Colonymap
Profile last modified | Created 8 Apr 2011
This page has been accessed 2,579 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
John Charles migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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Early Years

Information from:
Freedoms call : the Charles-Weeks family and related names : history and genealogy by Nancy J. Wach. Publ. Greeley, Colorado : Wach, Nancy Jean, 1999. Book on Charles Family

Family Search gives this description:

The early Charles ancestor, John Charles (ca. 1560-1605) was born in Devon Co., England. Three grandchildren of John Charles immigrated to Charlestown, Suffolk Co., Mass. before 1636. Later they removed to Connecticut and by 1641 they were in New Haven, Conn. Abigail Charles (b. 1606) married 1637 in New Haven John Moss, Sr. (1604-1707) of London, London Co., England. John Charles married Sarah Geer in 1636 in Charlestown, Mass. and Mary Charles (chr. in 1629) married Martin Tichenor.[1]

John Charles, son of William was baptized 13 Apr 1608 in Sandford, Devon, England. This is supported by a Family Search Index[2]

Mary who is listed by previous sources as a child of John Charles, was found as a half sister of John, bpt. May 1, 1629 in Exeter, Devon.[3] This date is more logical, considering her 1651 marriage to Martin Tichenor. However, it defies custom, to leave part of an estate to a sister's children, when that a man had children and grandchildren.

Another sister came to New England with John and Mary Charles. Abigail would later marry John Moss, making Moss' statement that Charles was his brother, doubly true.

Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1636

John Charles was admitted as an inhabitant of Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1636.[4][5]

New Haven Colony 1638

Much excitement was generated at the discovery of the harbor at Quinnepiac (New Haven). John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, recent immigrants to New England, decided almost immediately, to view the area, with the thought that it would be a good place to settle. They found the area to be what they were looking for and left seven men to overwinter in 1637. When they left Boston to settle in Quinnepiac in the spring of 1638, many others, who were not part of the original group, decided to join them.[6] Such was John Charles.

The original planters of New Haven met June 4, 1639, and after prayer and deliberation, 63 men, including John Charles, signed the New Haven Fundamental Agreement.[7] About 1641, John was on a "tax" list. He had 4 persons in his family, an estate of L50, about 38 acres of granted division land and was taxed at 9s 6d.[8][9]

John must have been licensed to sell wine, because on 18 Feb 1639/40, he was forbidden to "draw" wine. The court record states "there hath beene much disorder by itt." Indeed if you look at the records for the session just before on the 5th, five persons were admonished for being drunk.[10]

In 1643, John and others were fined for not having ladders.[11] To modern persons, being fined for lack of a ladder makes no sense. But early New England houses had wooden chimneys. The ladder was used to tear down a burning chimney, to save the rest of the house. Fences were also a continual problem, but were needed to keep animals out of the crops. John had to pay damages caused when his fence was defective.[12]

John Charles was sued, in 1646, by John Evance, for damage to a vessel and it's cargo. The vessel was mishandled during a storm, causing the damage, but John Charles made the claim that he was not the master of the ship at the time. John Charles was charged L67 in damages to ship and cargo, and costs of court. Testimony can be read in the Colony records starting at pages 281-291. He was further charged L20 for contempt of court[13] and L50 to Mr. Evance for slander.[14]

Several interesting points come out in this testimony. John Charles didn't know how to read. John Moss called him "brother." As a master seaman, he was often away sometimes sailing to Virginia and England.

In 1652, James Rogers, of Milford, charged John Charles with taking his apprentice boy, Daniel Turner, away to Southold, Long Island, in his boat. This had been tried once in the Fairfield, Connecticut, court and found in favor of Charles, but the New Haven town court felt they could try it again if there was new evidence. They, however, ended up suggesting that an arbitration be set up in the matter.[15]

In 1657, some goods belonging to John Charles, were attached by Mr. Hudson and Henry Glover, who claimed them because of damages caused by Charles.[16]

John at some point sold land to his son-in-law (perhaps brother in law) Martin Tichinor, who in turn sold this (one house, land and meadow) to Henry Glover on 2 Oct. 1666.[17][18]

Branford, Connecticut

June 10, 1667, John Charles and other residents of Branford signed an agreement to "call" an orthodox Congregational minister, encourage the gathering of a church and supply maintenance.[19]

Saybrook, Connecticut ?

Several secondary sources claim that John Charles resided at Saybrook, Connecticut,[20] which would not be unusual for a mariner. This needs some corroborating evidence.[citation needed]


14 Sep 1673[citation needed] at Branford, New Haven, Connecticut Colony

An Inventory of the Estate of John Charles senior, late of Branford, was taken 15 October 1673. The estate was valued at L91.02.00, the sum of L6.12.06 was added later, and there were debts of L1.17.06. Debts due the estate were over L67.There was no real estate, and he had L54.15.00 in silver and gold.[17]

A distribution of the estate 12 November 1673, mentions John Charles, his only son, Jonathan Rose husband of Delivered, the only surviving daughter. L45 was paid to the children of William Backhus and his deceased wife Sarah (daughter of John). L3:10s was paid to John Peate who married another daughter of John also deceased. A silver tankard was given to John Rose, son of Jonathan Rose, and two best pewter platters were bequeathed to Lydia Rose, daughter of Jonathan. Martin Tichenor and his children were to receive "such portion, portions, or dues as shalbe allotted unto him, or them, after their case may be duly heard & Considered at ye next Court."[17] The residue was ordered, two-thirds to the son John, and one-third to the son-in-law Jonathan Rose.[17]


Older genealogies, all state that John Charles, probably married a sister of John Moss, since John calls him brother. Of course it could be that John Moss married Charles' sister.[21]

"Freedoms Call" states a marriage date of 23 Jun 1636 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, to Sarah (Moss) Geer, widow of John Geer, but cites no source for this marriage.[1]


  • ? Traditionally, John's daughter, but may be his half sister. Mary; m. 16 May 1651, New Haven, Martin Tichenor.[21]
  • Daughter; m. John Peat[21]
  • Delivered; m. Jonathan Rose[21]
  • Sarah , b. Oct 1637,[22][21] bp. Oct 1640; [22][21] m. William Backus[21]
  • John, bp. 20 May 1641 (according to Fam. of Ancient New Haven)[21] but probably 20 May 1649 in the indexed church records[21] because it's on the same page with similarly dated records. He d. 1690; of Branford, Stratford, & New Haven; m. (1) ----- (a runaway apprentice from Barbadoes; m. (2) 3 Nov 1684 in Stratford Abigail Wells; m. (3) Hannah ____[21]

See Also John Charles Bio with Sources


  1. 1.0 1.1 [ Catalog record,Freedoms Call
  2. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 Aug 2013), John Charles, 13 Apr 1608.
  3. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 June 2016), Mary Charles, 01 May 1629; citing SAINT JOHN,EXETER,DEVON,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 917,099.
  4. Frothingham, Richard. The history of Charlestown, Massachusetts. Boston: C.C. Little and J. Brown. 1845p 86
  5. Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692. Vol. I-IV. Boston, MA, USA: 1860-1862.
  6. Source: #Atwater general history chapters 4, 5
  7. Source: #Hoadley1 p. 17
  8. Source: #Hoadley1 p. 92
  9. Source: #Atwater p. 110
  10. Source: #Hoadley1 pp 28, 29
  11. Source: #Hoadley1 p. 121
  12. Source: #Hoadley1 p 153
  13. Source: #Hoadley1p. 296
  14. Source: #Hoadley1 p. 298
  15. Source: #Dexter1 p 146 p. 161 p. 230
  16. Hoadley, Charles J, MA. (editor) Records of the Colony or Jurisdiction of New Haven, From May 1653 to the Union. Hartford: Case, Tiffany and Company, 1858. p. 213
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Jacobus, Donald Lines. The Granberry Family And Allied Families: Including the Ancestry of Helen (Woodward) Granberry. Hartford, Conn.: E. F. Waterman, 1945. pp 192-194
  18. Dexter, Franklin Bowditch (editor) [Ancient Town Records Vol II. New Haven Town Records 1662-1684. New Haven: New Haven Colony Historical Society, 1919. Index beginning at page 445. land transaction p. 193
  19. Simonds, J. Rupert. A history of the First Church and Society of Branford, Connecticut, 1644-1919. New Haven, Conn., The Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Co., 1919 p. 37
  20. Source: #Atwater p. 149
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 21.7 21.8 21.9 Citation: Jacobus, Donald Lines (compiler). Families of Ancient New Haven, Vol I-VIII. and Index Vol IX New Haven: 1931. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1974, 1981, 1997. Originally published as New Haven Genealogical Magazine, Volumes I-VIII. Rome, NY and New Haven, CT 1922-1932.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Connecticut Church Records Index: New Haven First Congregational Church 1639-1937. Vol. A-I. Hartford: Connecticut State Library, 1947. see also Space:New Haven First Congregational Church
  • Source: [Atwater]Atwater, Edward Elias, and Lucy M. Hewitt, and Bessie E. Beach. History of the Colony of New Haven to Its Absorption Into Connecticut Meriden, Connecticut: 1902 & It's earlier 1881 version.
  • Source: [Hoadley1], Hoadley, Charles J, MA. (editor) Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven, From 1638 to 1649. Hartford: Case, Tiffany and Company, 1857.
  • Source: [Dexter1], Dexter, Franklin Bowditch (editor) Ancient Town Records Vol 1. New Haven Town Records 1649-1662. New Haven: New Haven Colony Historical Society, 1917.
  • Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692. Vol. I-IV. Boston, MA, USA: 1860-1862.
    "CHARLES, JOHN, Charlestown 1636, rem. to New Haven, there had Sarah, b. Oct. 1637, bapt. Oct. 1640; and John, bapt. 20 May 1649; rem. to Branford, was there join. in the compact of sett. 1667, and d. 1673. Other ch. are ment. as Mary, wh. m. 16 May 1651, Martin Tichenor; one d. w. of Jonathan Rose; ano. w. of John Peate; and Sarah m. William Backus."
  • Pope, Charles Henry. The pioneers of Massachusetts, a descriptive list, drawn from records of the colonies, towns and churches and other contemporaneous documents Boston, C.H. Pope 1900. p. 95
  • Source: S-1514722747 Repository: #R-1671645544 Title: U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 Author: Yates Publishing Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.Original data - This unique collection of records was extracted from a variety of sources including family group sheets and electronic databases. Text: John Charles married Sarah Moss.
  • Source: S-1514722845Millennium File Author: Heritage Consulting Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2003.Original data - Heritage Consulting. The Millennium File. Salt Lake City, UT, USA: Heritage Consulting.Original data: Heritage Consulting. The Millennium File. Salt Lake City, UT, USA: Text: Birth date: 1604 Birth place: New Haven, N-H, Connecticut, USA Death date: Nov 1673 Death place: Branford
  • Source: S-1514722847American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI) Author: Godfrey Memorial Library, comp. Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999. The AGBI Index cites: Holme's Directory below.
  • Holmes, F. R. Directory of the ancestral heads of New England families, 1620-1700. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1964 p. xlv. Text="Charles, John, at Charlestown, Mass., 1636; removed to New Haven, Conn., before 1640."
  • Source: S-1514722694 Badly Named Index called: Connecticut Census, 1790-1890 Author: Jackson, Ronald V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp. Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 1999.Original data - Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes. It is instead = John Charles, of Branford, New Haven, CT - 1667 Resident's list. indexed as "CT 1635-1807 Misc. Records"

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Comments: 6

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Charles-1328 and Charles-98 are not ready to be merged because: none of the data matches, not dates nor places, but could be poor sourcing on Charles-1328
posted by Robin Lee
Charles-1328 and Charles-98 appear to represent the same person because: This profile was created via GEDCOM and they missed the fact that there was already a profile His father and sister are also duplicates
posted by James Carr
Document all changes.
posted by Rena (Bocock) Donze
I have no problem with Anne working this profile.
posted by Robin Lee
Hi is it ok with everyone if I just clean this up? Objections? thanks for fixing Reverend.
posted by Anne B
? Reverend ? John sold wine, was a merchant, mariner, master of vessels. I haven't run into anything indicating that he was a minister. Is there a source, if not it should be removed.
posted by Anne B