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John Ellis (abt. 1620 - abt. 1677)

Lt John Ellis
Born about in Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married about 1644 in Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died about in Sandwich, Plymouth Colonymap
Profile last modified | Created 25 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 8,303 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
John Ellis migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
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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.[1]

Disputed Origins

A previous version of this profile claimed, without source, that he was the son of John Brooke (sic) Ellis and Ann "Belinda" (sic) Masterson. The theory may originate with the fact that the marriage banns of Richard Masterson of Leiden were witnessed by his brother-in-law John Ellis on 23 Nov 1619.[1][2]
Some have speculated this could be the same John Ellis who was later of Sandwich, Massachusetts.[3] In fact, there is no evidence to link the John Ellis and Belinda (Masterson) Ellis, who were related with Richard Masterson (of St. Peter's parish in Sandwich, Kent, England and Leiden), with John Ellis of Sandwich, Massachusetts.[1][2] These parents have been detached.
For such an association to be correct, the following conflicting information would need to be resolved. Paulick wrote a published article concerning Richard Masterson, John Ellis and Belinda Masterson of Sandwich, Kent. He noted the following facts:[2]
  1. John Ellis, who married Belinda Masterson, was about 50 years old in 1619.[4]
  2. John Ellis and Belinda Masterson were married 30 Apr 1594.[5]
  3. John Ellis had a son named John Ellis who was baptized on 4 Feb 1598/9 in Sandwich, Kent.[6]
John Ellis, son of John Ellis and Belinda Masterson, is not a good match for John Ellis of Sandwich, Massachusetts because he was born about twenty years too early. He would have been about 66 years old when his last child was born (about 1665). Brownson and McLean estimated his birth date to be about 1620 and not later than 1627.[1]

Sandwich, Massachusetts

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.[7] A list of men age 16 to 60 able to bear arms dated 1643 also contains the name John Ellis.[1] This gives us a basis for an estimate of John's birth (not after 1627 and probably about 1620).[1]

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.[1] The birth of the child which caused this commotion was not recorded.

Married before 20 Aug 1644, Sandwich, Plymouth Colony.

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.[1]

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"[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

Lt. John Ellis was dead by 23 March 1676/7 at which time the widow presented two documents to the court. [1]

  • "An inventory of the Estate of Lieft. John Ellis of Sandwich, deceased, taken by us whose names are underwritten this 23 day of March 1677 and exhibited to the Court at Plymouth the 5th day of June 1677 as foloweth on the oarth of Mistris Elizabeth Ellis, widdow:" consisted of cloths, household good, military weapons etc., bookes, animals, some lumber and timber valued at £46 11s 0d. Taken by Richard Bourne, John Smith and Thomas Tobey.[1]
  • "An inventory of John Ellis Junr. at Sandwich exhibited before the Court holden att Plymouth the 5th June 1677 on the Oath of Mistris Elizabeth Ellis, widow." The inventory contained cloths, animals, tools, a boat. The inventory was valued at #46. 08s 0d and taken by the same men that took the Sr's inventory.[1]

Questionable information

b. 14 SEP 1622/3 St Butolph, Bishops Gate, London[citation needed]
Christening 4 Nov 1623 Warbleton, Sussex[citation needed]
Parents [citation needed]


John Ellis' children. Possibly John by a previous wife. Others by Elizabeth Freeman, daughter of Edmund: [8]

  • John, b. abt 1637 - not proved - maybe born in England by a prior wife
  • Elizabeth, b. c. 1645, m. 1664 Samuel Briggs. He was an original settler of Scippican, held land in common with William Ellis, andnamed two daughter Elizabeth and Bennet, after her mother and grand mother
  • Bennet b. 27 Feb 1648/9; m. c 1668 Obadiah Eddy
  • Mordecai b. 24 Mar 1650/1
  • Deborah b. c 1652; d. Rochester 21 Jun 1711; m. Joseph Dotey
  • Joel b. 20 Mar 1654/5; died young.
  • Matthaias b. 2 June 1657
  • Manoah b. about 1659
  • Freeman Ellis, had land which belonged to Widow Ellis first.[1]
  • Gideon Ellis, had land which belonged to Widow Ellis first and is called son of Elizabeth in the town records[1]
  • William, Elizabeth calls him son in a Plymouth County Deed (Vol II p 83)[1]

Research Notes

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.[9]

"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."[10]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 Brownson, Lydia B. (Phinney) and McLean, Maclean W. "Lt. John and Elizabeth (Freeman) Ellis of Sandwich, Mass." New England Historical Genealogical Register 119:161. (1965) link at AmericanAncestors ($). Cites Plymouth Col. Records; Sandwich and Bourne Colony Records.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Paulick, Michael R., Richard Masterson, John Ellis, Christopher Verrall and The Sandwich Separatists 1603-1620, The New England Historical & Genealogical Register (NEHGS, Boston, Mass., 2000) Vol. 154, Page 355.
  3. Lay research self-published by Edward Dale Ellis, August 12, 2008, accessed 28 Nov 2020. Available on
  4. Dexter, Henry Martyn and Morton. The England and Holland of the Pilgrims. 1978, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore. p. 612.
  5. England, Kent, Canterbury Parish Registers, 1538-1986, database with images, FamilySearch : 12 March 2020, John Ellys, 30 Apr 1594; from " Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Parish Registers Browse, 1538-1913," database and images, findmypast ( : n.d); citing Marriage, Sandwich St Peter, Kent, England, United Kingdom, page , Citing Canterbury Cathedral Archives, England.
  6. England, Kent, Canterbury Parish Registers, 1538-1986, database with images, FamilySearch : 12 March 2020, John Ellis, 4 Feb 1598; from " Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Parish Registers Browse, 1538-1913," database and images, findmypast ( : n.d); citing Baptism, Sandwich St Peter, Kent, England, United Kingdom, Citing Canterbury Cathedral Archives, England.
  7. Andrews, H. Franklin, The Hamlin Family, a Genealogy of James Hamlin of Barnstable, MA (Exira, IA: Published by the Author, 1902), p. 12.
  8. Brownson, Lydia B., Grace W. Held, Doris V. Norton, comp., Genealogical Notes of Cape Cod Families, Vol 19, (Duxbury, Massachusetts: 1966). P. 279, referencing New England Historical and Genealogical Registger.
  9. Anna Neuzil, "Women in Plymouth Colony, 1633-1668", The Plymouth Colony Archive Project, University of Virginia, 1998
  10. R.A. Jr. Lovell, Sandwich A Cape Cod Town (Sandwich, MA: Town of Sandwich, MA, 1996), p. 123.

See also:

  • "Mayflower Families in the N E H G Register," (n.d.) (Vol. 2. pp. 573-585). n.p.
  • S9 Cooke, F. (2000). General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations. (Vol 12). General Society of Mayflower Descendants

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Comments: 36

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There is a 2020 NEHGR article listed at the bottom. Could someone please check it and see what it says about this family? Thank you.
posted by Jillaine Smith
I can't find anything related to Ellis? p. 189-90 is a review of books including:

Finding Early Connecticut Vital Records: The Barbour Index and Beyond, by Linda MacLachlan

Benjamin Franklin’s Family: Volume I, English Ancestors, by Michael J. Leclerc

The Colonial Records of Kings Chapel, 1686–1776, ed. by James B. Bell and James E. Mooney

posted by Chris Hoyt
Hi Jillaine,

I drafted new biographies for John Ellis Sr. (abt.1569-aft.1629) and his wife Blandina (Masterson) Ellis (bef.1580-bef.1629) that summarizes the 2020 paper written by Paulick in NEHGR. Paulick has written other articles about this John Ellis to show his associations with the Pilgrims from Sandwich, Kent and Leiden, Holland.

posted by Laurence Mohr
edited by Laurence Mohr
Well, as long as I have your attention. I'm just starting on the Ellis family. I have John Jr.'s father as John (1596-1675) and his mother as Blandyna ( or Anne Masterson ). Her brother Richard may have brought John Jr. to America on the Mayflower 1629 (different boat. John Sr. was from Tewkesbury, England and died in Plymouth.

Here is one source I found (interesting gives another person who thought Ellis was on the Mayflower) Will need to stalk him.

"John ‘O’ Ellis is reported by James Geer Jr., Columbia, S. C. as having come to America first in 1620 as a sailor on the Mayflower, then sailed back to England on the ship Fortune after a year’s stay in Plymouth, only to again return to Sandwich on the ships Ann and Little James. This during the 8th through 26th Novembe 1623." (I don't see him on the passenger list)

posted by Ellen Altenburg M.D.
edited by Ellen Altenburg M.D.
This is a profile for the alleged father (1596-1675) He needs some serious research and sourcing to prove that he is the father of this John. They've been disconnected once already for lack of proof. There isn't much about him that's been found. Glad to have you working on him. Avoid the "junk" sources like Ancestry and Family Search indexes and of course unsourced "family trees" don't count.

If you get to the point where you think there is valid sourcing or good evidence, just put a comment on either of the profiles, PGM will get notified.

posted by Anne B
Also bear in mind that there are other John Ellises, so not everything you find will belong to these two men.
posted by Anne B
From a really quick read... It looks from that article that Ellis-58 is conflated. One man brother in law of Masterson in Holland and the other man John Jr who's inventory was presented by Elizabeth Freeman.
posted by Anne B
I am particularly interested in following this line. I'm trying to trace the antecedants if Richard Ellis, b. 9 September 1686, Massachussetts, possibly Boston who showed up with several other Ellises in Stonington, New London Connecticut, got baptized, 8 August 1697, and married Mary Jelson 22 January, 1705,there and generated a family line I can follow to the present day. Part of my trouble is that it is tempting to tie him onto the Richard Ellis who is described as "the first settler in ???, Massachussetts, but I can't justify that or even believe it. The appearance of the an Englishman named Richard Ellis is tempting, but I need help to sort this out.

Let me know how I can help with this research

posted by Betsy (Gray) Mickey
Hi Betsy,

I see you're fairly new to WikiTree. Welcome.

Please note the comments above indicating there is ongoing research by the Puritan Great Migration project. Also the the note from the project at the top of the profile about there being more than one John Ellis in New England during this time period.

Care must be taken, and is being taken by the PGM project to bring the latest and most dependable research to this profile. Many times, the most resent research is found at American Ancestors, which can only be searched by paid subscribers.

Cheryl Skordahl PGM Leader

Yes, Cheryl, I am well aware of how easy it is to find yourself sitting in someone else's tree. I am new to WikiTree but not new to genealogy. I was simply expressing interest in anything found by someone else working on these early Ellises if they ran across something that might lead to a solution to my search.

I am a long physical distance from New England, and our Tulsa Library's Genealogical Branch is, like so much during the Covid crisis, shut down, so although their collection of reference material is extensive, it is not available right now. Sorry if I spoke out of turn, Betsy

posted by Betsy (Gray) Mickey
no need to apologize, Betsy. It was your "temptation" comment that caused me to respond above.

No conflict intended on my part.

Have a nice day,

Cheryl PGM Leader

His father John Ellis (1596-1676) may have been "Ely" a seaman on The Mayflower 1620. Has anyone seen this?
posted by Ellen Altenburg M.D.
No, never. Is there a source for this?
posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
Weak sources unfortunately.

Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691, (Ancestry Publishing, Salt Lake City, UT, 1986) pp. 21, 289

____ Ely: A Mayflower seaman who was contracted to stay for a year, which he did. He returned to England with fellow crewman William Trevor on the Fortune in December 1621. Genealogist Dr. Jeremy Bangs believes that his name was either John or Christopher Ely (or Ellis), both of whom are documented in Leiden, Holland.[68]

posted by Ellen Altenburg M.D.
I think that it's a long stretch from Bang's comment that "Ely" might be John or Christopher Ellis in Leiden, to making a claim and proving that he's the father of John Ellis of Sandwich. Neither Anderson or Caleb Johnson have connected "Ely" to the Ely/Ellis in Leiden and certainly not connected him to Ellis of Sandwich.

MQ 51:59 with Bangs' comment is not online at AmerAnc. so I wasn't actually able to look at that, although I do have Stratton.

posted by Anne B
As I said, weak sources. That is why I posted this in the first place. To see if anyone had heard this. Of course as an OCD amateur genealogist, I tracked down Dr. Bangs in Leiden, Netherlands so I could ask him myself. His reply:

If at some point I said something that you interpreted as an indication that I "thought 'Ely' could be" your ancestor, John Ellis, that points to some misunderstanding. Of course Bradford's "Ely" might be someone named "Ellis" because names are not always given with a consistency that we'd appreciate for our purposes. So "could be" is a very broad agreement that some possibility exists until disproven. There's nothing to go on, however, so "could be" is just as strong as "but might not be."

posted by Ellen Altenburg M.D.
Good for you for finding him and reaching out. If that's OCD, I want some of that!

I did not know he was even still alive! And what a great response. Love the last sentence!

posted by Jillaine Smith
So in my little mind, I AM a Mayflower descendant!
posted by Ellen Altenburg M.D.
Ellen, you're so very close. Your ancestor [Morton-165| George Morton] was among the next wave of pilgrims to Plymouth. He was on the Anne in 1623.
posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
Ditto what Jillaine said..... including the part about not even knowing he was alive.
posted by Anne B
Mr. Bangs is still publishing, he wrote several articles last year in the NEHGR.
posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
Is there a source for John's supposed first wife Mercy Mary (whose LNAB should probably be Unknown, anyway, not Mary)? I only find info leading to an unknown first wife, mother of John Jr., and then Elizabeth Freeman. Perhaps the first two wives should be merged into Unknown-300091.
posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
From what I can tell (NEHGR 119:161), the English origins of this John Ellis are unknown and his parents should be disconnected. It is 19th century speculation which has become fact on the internet. The marriage banns of Richard Masterson of Leiden were witnessed by his brother-in-law John Ellis. It was speculated that this could be the same John Ellis later of Sandwich. In fact, there is absolutely no reason to think this is true.
posted by Joe Cochoit
I find a reference that states John Ellis was in Sandwich by 1641:

I can't yet locate the list in the Sandwich town records where he found this list of householders.... working on it.

posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
Chris, Lovell's history of Sandwich disagrees with you, says Lt. John married Elizabeth Freeman (see my "research notes" section). I'll keep digging and see what he says about John Jr.

Also ... he lists these as his sources for that paragraph:

  1. the McLean & Brownson article in NEHGR 119:116
  2. Ellis, Ernest C., "Reminiscences of Ellisville", Plymouth 1973
  3. Freeman II:72, 133.

[Edited to add:] He makes no further mention of son John Jr.

posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
RE: Anne B's query: In 1658, John Ellis Sr. and John Ellis Jr. both owned land at Sandwich, assuming jr. was at least 20 - born by 1638 or so - then his father seems to have existed.,barnstable,+ma&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiM1OmrlJLbAhWJzFMKHdvaCK4Q6AEIMzAC#v=onepage&q=john%20ellis%20Sr.%20%2Cbarnstable%2C%20ma&f=false

Most of this bio seems to be related to son John Jr. who married Elizabeth Freeman.

posted by Chris Hoyt does not contain any records for Sandwich. The vital records of Barnstable and Sandwich are available on Ancestry.
posted by Bob Keniston Jr.
Andrea, the link you posted goes to a page with a number of people with the surname "Man" on it. How do those records relate to this profile, please? Thanks.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Massachusetts Vital Records

Listed 1700's Marriages

ELIS Prissilla, of Nantucket, and Jesse Couet, int. Oct. 20, 1764. Vol. 19, Page 154
ELLIS Mary, of Midleborrow, and Josiah Jenkins, int. Sept. 4, 1737. Vol. 33, Page 170
Ellis, Jonathan, of Nantucket, and Thankful Lewes, int. Aug. 26, 1749. Vol. 31, Page 81
Ellis, Meriah, of Rochester, and Nathanael Jenkins, int. Mar. 7, 1752. Vol. 31, Page 8
Ellis, Mercy, of Harwich, and Joseph Blossom, int. Jan. 7, 1758. Vol. 25, Page 129
Ellis, Elizabeth and David Blachford, int. Sept. 21, 1765. Vol. 19, Page 155
posted by Andrea (Stawski) Pack
Questioning the attached parents and the wife Mercy/Mary,
posted by Anne B