||John Ellis migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).|
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Research Note There were (at least?) two contemporary John Ellises in the Puritan Great Migration, this man who settled in the Plymouth Colony and another, John Ellis, who first appeared in Dedham and settled in Medfield. They are now in separate profiles; in future contributions, be sure you have the right John Ellis. Halsey Bullen
John Ellis was born around 1620, probably in England.
The first list of settlers in Sandwich, then part of Plymouth Colony, was dated 3 April 1637. No one by the name of Ellis appears on this list. However, John Ellis' name does appear by 1641 among other settlers from Lynn, Duxbury and Plymouth. A list of men age 16 to 60 able to bear arms dated 1643 also contains the name John Ellis. This gives us a basis for an estimate of John's birth (not after 1627 and probably about 1620).
20 Aug 1644, John was accused of fornication, witnesses were called to court to testify in John Ellis and his wife's case. Eventually he was fined 5li for his "long and tediuos delayes occasioning much trouble and charge to the countrey, for that he would not confess the truth untill the present." He was publicly flogged for fornication, as his wife Elizabeth, was sentenced to watch. Apparently, she delivered their child too soon. The birth of the child which caused this commotion was not recorded.
In 1651, John Ellis served on the Grand Enquest. He was part of a group who laid out a convenient way from Sandwich to Plymouth. He was approved as a Lieutenant of the military company at Sandwich 9 Jun 1653.
Sandwich is on the coast of Cape Cod Bay and in 1653 John and two others made an agreement with the town "to have ye whales yt come up withing ye limits & bounds of Sandwige and for ye sd whales they are to pay to ye town £16 apiese"
1st of March 1654, John and three others engaged themselves to build a mill. Leftenant Elllis agreed in 1655 to contribute toward building a public meeting house. In Feb 1657/8 he owed the town and was appointed to build and work on the meeting house, which he accepted. He had some trouble "tumultuous carraiage" with a meeting of Quakers at Sandwich, for which he was admonished and fined but later was found no to be as guilty as thought.
The Proprietors Records in the Sandwich Town Hall contain a land survey listing 17 Jan 1658, that contains 20 acres belonging to John Ellis Junr. bordered by the fence of John Ellis Sr. and 20 acres etc. belonging to John Ellis Senr. Which of these is Lt. John Ellis and who is the other one. Both died intestate and the widow Elizabeth Ellis presented both inventories on the same date. Both inventories had the same appraisers. There are several possible scenarios, the most likely being that John Ellis Jr, was a son to Lt. John Ellis, by a first unknown wife. Logic tell us he was not a son of Elizabeth Freeman.
1659 and 1660 John Ellis was allowed by the court to keep an ordinary for the entertainment of strangers and travelers. He was to take care that townsmen did not stay drinking unnecessarily at his house. He and some others laid the line between Barnstable and Sandwich (13 Dec 1659) He agreed to contribute 17 pounds of oil. He engaged to train the militia company of Sandwich.
In the years following, he was to finish the town dock, pay 20s for part of a whale, had his oxen break down the fence and damage the corn of an Indian called William, chosen rater, and was given 20 acres beginning at his cow yard, going down to the beach, etc.
As Indian attacks increased related to King Philip's War (1675) he was to "make provision for the inhabitants to come to safety into the garrison of Town Neck in times of danger." 10 May 1676, he and some others were empowered to hire scouts to keep watch. There is no documentary evidence, but it is not unlikely that Lt John Ellis Sr and John Ellis Jr. were deceased due to some activity of King Philip's War.
Lt. John Ellis was dead by 23 March 1676/7 at which time the widow presented two documents to the court. 
John Ellis' children. Possibly John by a previous wife. Others by Elizabeth Freeman, daughter of Edmund: 
June 4, 1645 (PCR 2:85-86) John Ellis, of Sandwich, for abusing himself with his now wife by committing uncleaness with her before marriage, is censured to be whipped at public post, and Elizabeth, his wife, to stand by whilst execution of the sentence is performed; which was accordingly done. And the said John Ellis, for his long and tedious delays, occasioning much trouble & charge to the country, as he would not confess the truth until the present, is fined vli.
"Lieutenant John Ellis came to Sandwich early with a son John Junior by a previous marriage. He settled in the Sagamore Highlands area near Plymouth line and became active in town affairs, especially in the militia and in construction projects. He made an excellent marriage to Elizabeth Freeman about 1644 and had a large family, descendants of which remain today in Sandwich and throughout the country. His son Mordecai kept the original house, but its location is not yet known. John's son Matthias inherited much of the original Freeman farm. John's other sons left Sandwich for Rochester and Harwich. After the death of Lieutenant John in 1677, his intrepid widow moved to the new settlement of Rochester and became a large landowner in her own right."
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