Abraham Howe
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Abraham Howe (aft. 1598 - bef. 1676)

Abraham Howe aka How
Born after in Hatfield, Broad Oak, Essex, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of and [uncertain]
Husband of — married 1623 in Hatfield, Essex, Englandmap
Husband of — married about 1650 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died before in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts Bay Colonymap
Profile last modified | Created 6 Jun 2011
This page has been accessed 4,100 times.
This profile is part of the Howe Name Study.



The Puritan Great Migration.
Abraham Howe migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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While it has been demonstrated that Abraham and James Howe were brothers, and both sons of a Robert Howe of Hatfield, Broad Oak, Essex, England, it has not yet been confirmed which Robert Howe, nor has their mother been identified.

From an old account book kept by Abraham How, son of James How of Ipswich, Mass., and used by such of his descendants as have held the homestead in Linebrook, Ipswich, Mass., to record births, etc, we learn the following:-"

Robbart How lived in Old England in Essex in ye Town-of hatfield Brodoak wher Sir francis Barinton lived in Woodrow Green. James How senr. son of sayd Robbart lived in bishop Starford in Old England in a place called hockerill in ye happy and gracious Rain of king James ye first My mother dyed 21 clay of January 1693/4 My brother James dyed 15 day of Febuery 1701. my father dyed 17 day of May 1702."

There has been a long-standing tradition that Abraham How of Roxbury, and James How of Ipswich, were brothers. Owing to the intelligent and laborious investigation of Mr. Fisher Howe of New York, a descendant of James, and Mr. Edward Willard Howe, of Boston, a descendant of Abraham How. a clue which proves to be of the highest importance has been found in the Court House in Boston, in the records of the proceedings in the Supreme Court of Mass., numbered in the Archives as 1951, upon the claim of John How of Topsfield, Mass., against Richard Cailicott and Nathaniel Greenwood, executors of the estate of Hester Sears, who, as the widow of Henry Mason had wed John Sears.. Briefly stated the Records show the following facts:

The claim was filed September 7, 1680. In the answer filed by the executors, they mention the claimant as "Cosen How" the controversy did not involve any question of the relationship between the claimant and the decedent Hester, but the undisputed evidence shows conclusively that they were related, and that they were probably first cousins. In his own testimony the claimant stated that he was a relative of Hester. Another witness, Thomas Tower, testified to a conversation with Hester in which she spoke of the claimant as "her Cousin John How." Another witness, Sarah Gold, testified that Hester and John the claimant were own cousins."

After the examination of all data and theories as to the relationship of the two families, and there are some other facts, outside of the mere, fact Hester and John were cousins, that would confirm this solution. The ages of Abraham and James were neither so far apart, nor so close together as to preclude the possibility of their being brothers. Indeed their respective ages would strengthen rather, than weaken the theory that they were brothers, both came from England probably about the same time, and both settled first, and at about the same time in Roxbury, Mass., and considering that great certainty is rarely obtainable in proving ancient genealogical facts, with the facts that we now have, it would seem to establish a reasonable certainty for the conclusion that James How of Ipswich, Mass., and Abraham How of Roxbury, Mass., were brothers.

Credit for nearly all of the following pages is due to Dr. Oliver Hunt Howe of Cohasset, Mass., and his cousin, Mr. Edward Willard Howe of Boston, who have expended a vast deal of time and labor in examining old town, church, probate and land records, and also various family records, and who have rendered very valuable assistance in compiling the records of various Howe lines other than those of their ancestor, Abraham Howe of Roxbury. Many of the biographical sketches were prepared by them.


Without much doubt Abraham Howe of Roxbury was probably the son of Robert Howe of Hatfield, Broad Oak, in Essex, England, and it is now generally conceded that he was a brother of James Howe of Ipswich, Mass.

He settled in Roxbury about 1637 or 38, and was admitted a freeman at Roxbury May 2, 1638,[2] a year after brother James, and his name was included in the list for taxation there between 1634 and 1643.[3]

On May 23, 1639, he and others were given permtssion by the General Court to continue in their houses at Roxbury though above a haif a mile from the meeting house, He and his wife were members of the Rev. John Eliot's Church at Roxbury.

He signed a covenant dated Aug. 31, 1645, to assist in establishing a free school in the town of Roxbury. An earlier covenant, as stated by Rev. John Eliot, was destroyed by fire in April 1645. The school has had a continuous existence since 1645 and is now [1895] known as the "Roxbury Latin School."[4] The original covenant is still in existence and bears the signature of Abraham How, of which the following is a facsimile [appears in original text].

His land in 'Roxbury was south of the old road to Dedharn (now Center St.) and east of Stony Brook, lying on both sides of the "road leading from the road to Dedham to Rocky Swamp." The road just named is now represented in part by Amory St. and School St. Mr. Edward Willard Howe ( a descendant) thinks it safe to assume that the homestead of Abraham How was on the southerly side of School St. between the corner of Amory St. and a point opposite Arcadia St.

Later we find him located in Dorchester, where he was appointed a fence-viewer on 8 Dec 1651. He signed a Dorchester petition to the Governor and General Court 19 Oct. 1664, and his name appearsfrequently in Dorchester Records to as late as 1670.

He married first Elizabeth ____, b. c1611, d. 7 Dec 1645. He married second Sara, who d. 25 Nov 1675


By his first wife:

  1. Abraham Howe+ b. c 1628, d. 21 Nov 1683
  2. Sarah Howe b. c 1630
  3. Hester Howe b. c 1634, d. 14 Aug 1680
  4. Elizabeth Howe b. c 1635, d. 6 Jun 1657
  5. Mary Howe b. c 1638, d. 28 Nov 1667
  6. Isaac Howe b. 24 Jun 1639, d. 11 Sep 1714
  7. Deborah Howe+ b. 4 Sep 1641, d. 15 Apr 1711
  8. Israel Howe b. 5 Jul 1644

He lost his first wife by death 7 Dec. 1645, and he evidently married again, as he was granted in 1660 a lot of land in the Milton division of Dorchester lands, and on 18 March 1669, he (called a weaver) with his wife Sara, sold this lot to Robert Badcock.

An attempt has been made to locate the Dorchester homestead but without absolute proof. It is very probable that it was the estate which Abraham's grandson Isaac, (the son of Isaac senior) received by inheritance as stated in his will. This estate Isaac gave to his son Thomas in 1760. It was located in that part of Dorchester (later Hyde Park, and afterwards annexed to Boston), and was on the northwest side of River street, between Winslow St. and Glenwood Ave. An ancient gambrel-roofed house, the home of several generations of Howes, stood in the situation just named until about 1870.

Dorchester Records contain the marriage of his daughter Deborah, 25 Feb. 1673, and the death of Sarah How, probably his second wife, 25 Nov. 1675. Soon after he seems to have left his Dorchester estate in charge of his two sons Isaac and Israel, who were both married, and, perhaps having become enfeebled by age, went to Iive with his daughter Hester, who was the wife of Henry Mason a maltster of Boston, and died there in 1676, a few months after making his will, which was dated the 26 May 1676; the date of filing the will in the Suffolk Probate Court was Nov. 1676, showing that the date of his death must have been between those two dates.

The will is recorded in Boston,[5] where the original will is on file. In the same records (Vol, 12, p. 102) is found an inventory of his estate taken 23 Oct 1676, and there is as another inventory of his estate "which was at Boston!' As copies of these ancient documents are interesting not only to the descendants of Abraham, but are of general interest as specimens of old time documents of that period, exact copies certified by the Probate Register are given. As there is no doubt that Abraham could write, the fact that he subscribed his mark, instead of his signature to his will, must be attributed to his probable bodily infirmity at the time of its execution.

Last Will & Testament

In the name of god, Amen the twenty sixt of may in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred seuenty six.

I Abraham how of boston being sick and weake of body but of sound and parfect memory praised be almity god for the same knowing the unsartenty: of this present Life, and being desireous to setell that outward estate the Lord hath Lent mee I Doe this my Last will and testament in manner and forme following; that is to say first and principally I Commend my Soule unto almity god my Creator hopeing to receiue full pardon and remission of all my Sins and Salvation through the alone merits of Jesus Christ my redeemer and my body to the earth to be buried in such desent maner as to my execetors hereafter named shall be thought meet and Conuenient and as touching such worldly estate as the Lord hath lent mee my will and meaneing is the same shall be imployed and bestowed as here after in and by this my will is exprest. Imprs I do hereby revoake renounce and make voide all wills by me formerly made qnd declare and appoint this my Last will and testament.

Item I give to my eldist sun Abraham how living at Roxbery all that right in housing and Land which I have at Roxbery which is now in the possession of the said abraham to have and to hold forever and also I give to my son abraharn an acer of salt marsh at dorchester near goodman tolanans old house

Item 3 giue to my son israell the east end of my dwelling house and shop to it with d l the apurtenanses belonging to the shop and the orchard aioyning thare unto.

Item I give to my sun Isaaclc the west end of my dwelling house with an orchard aioyning to the well and the well lieing comon to them both.

also I giuve unto my two suns Israell and Isaack all my out housing Joyntly betwen them both protiided each of them shall make good his part in repaiering or pay for it and in case that Isaack shall be willing to sell his part his brother Israell shall haue the refusall of it and shall haue it as three indiferant frinds shall Judge meet such as they shall Chuse.

Item I giue unto my daughter hester mason a parseii of medow two acers more or less lying near mr minots which was beniamin twichels marsh to haue the yous of it Dureing har life and har husbands and after thare death to return to the rest of the Cildren which are then Liueing.

Item I giue to my daughter elizabeths Children twenty shillings a peis to as many as shall be Liueing one year after my death.

Item I giue to my daughter Sarah Children to wit to har son Joseph five pound when he shall Cum to the age of twenty years or when his time is out with his uncle.

also I giue to har son Is@ and har daughter Sarah twenty shiiings a peis if they be liueing one year after my death.

Next of all my will is that all my Just debts being paid and funeral Charges and Security for the Legeses giuen.

Item I giue the rest of my estate unto my four children that is to Say Israell Isaack hester and deborah to be equaly deuided among them ondy deborah to have fiue pound deducted out of har part and to be e q d ydeuided betwen I s d and Isaack which is for what she has had allredy and I Doe apoint my louing sun Israell and thomas pears execetors of this my Last will and testement and I desire my louing frinds thomas tilestone senior and thomas toleman senior to be over seears of this my last will and testement this is my true intent and my Last will as witnes my hand and sde.

Abraham X how
Sined seled and
deiivered in the
presens of us
Richard Collarcott
Esdras Reiade


Richard Collacot & Esdras Read made Oath in Court Nov. 2nd 1676 that they were present on the day of the date of this instrum t & did see & heare Abraham How Signe Seale & publish the same to bee his last Will & Testamt & that hee was then of a disposeing mind to their best understanding. as attest Is" Addington Cler.

COPY OF FIRST INVENTORY An Inuentory of the Estate of Abraham How Deceased as followeth takm by us whoes names are underwritten agd daye of Octobr 1676.

Dwelling house with two orchards & Bame & out
housing 060~0-00
upland within fence 1oo-0090
Saltmarsh meadow o60-00-00
Out Lands 02090-00
Eight cows & two Oxen 03290-00
fiue Swine 003-1 5-00
foure Hors kinde oo~-00-00
The half of a smd Crop of Carnc in the Barn 003-06-00
in Haye in the Barne ao5-00-00
Cart Wheeles cops Rope yoak plowes hors fetters beetie rings wedges 001-10-00

in housholds st& oo;rso-00

289-1 1-00
Thomas Tilston
Samuel Robinson.

COPY OF SECOND ' INVENTORY. an inuantary of part of the estat of abraharn how desesed which was at bostan

on bead and bolster to pilos o2-oo-oo
on hate and a parsel of cloths o1s5-00
four payer of old sheits 0140-00
for fiuepilobeirs to shrts to napkins
for on tabel Cloth 01-10-00
prised by us
Richard CoUacott
Daniel Turell
Ieraell How & Tho: Pearse made Oath in Court, md Nov. 1676, that

theese two accots. contain a just & true Inventory of the Estate of Abraham How to thetre best knowledge & that wn they know more they will discover the same.

as Attests. Is' Addington Cler.


  1. Daniel Wait Howe, Howe Genealogies, NEHGS, Boston, 1929, Vol. 2, pages1-5
  2. 2 Savage G. D. 473;5 N. E. H. & G. Reg. 40
  3. 2 N. E. H. & G. Reg. 53.
  4. See Hist. of Grammar School by C. K. Dillaway. See also New England Magazine (1895) Vol. 18, pp. 388-406, Illustrated Art Roxbury Latin School by James De Normandie.
  5. Suffolk Probate Records, Vol. 6, p. 138

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Comments: 9

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Recent place name change from "Boston" to "Dorchester (now part of Boston)". Please Note that parenthesis ( ) cannot be used in place fields. If I'm reading the bio right, he left Dorchester before his death, in addidtion his will says of Boston. Wouldn't that mean he died in Boston, not Dorchester?
posted by Anne B
His estate was in Dorchester at a location that is now probably part of Hyde Park and his will was probated in Boston for the Dorchester land. Dorchester was a separate town at the time. much later incorporated into the city of Boston. Since he described himself as "of Boston" he may have been living at an unknown location in Boston at the time of his death. None of his children were living in Boston at the time, as far as I can tell. I will restore Boston as the place of death, although his land holdings remained in Dorchester.
posted by Walter Howe
Howe-8519 and Howe-1110 appear to represent the same person because: same parents and similar dates, dates are estimates
posted by Robin Lee
Wow, this profile is so well done. So careful with every detail. Excellent work.


I've approved the merge. Seems to be waiting for the PM of the other dupe. Walter, I'm hoping you can help clean up the result, reflecting your recommendations. Some things are sourced. Some not. Thanks.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Howe-3237 and Howe-1110 appear to represent the same person because: While these appear not to match well, they still should be merged to eliminate duplication. This Abraham Howe-3237 is a confusion of Abraham Howe-1110, born in England about 1600 and arrived in Roxbury about 1636 and his son Abraham Howe-1119, who married Alice Mattocks. This should be merged with Howe-1110 to eliminate duplication, but the result carefully edited to reflect the correct information. The references included here as attachments are generally correct, except the New Hampshire reference (see Howe-3237) incorrectly lists the Abraham Howe who married Hannah Ward as the son of the first Abraham Howe.
posted by Walter Howe
This Abraham Howe-3237 is a confusion of Abraham Howe-1110, born in England about 1600 and arrived in Roxbury about 1636 and his son Abraham Howe-1119, who married Alice Mattocks. This should be merged with Howe-1110 to eliminate duplication, but the result carefully edited to reflect the correct information. The references included here as attachments are generally correct, except the New Hampshire reference incorrectly lists the Abraham Howe who married Hannah Ward as the son of the first Abraham Howe.
posted by Walter Howe
It is generally accepted that Abraham Howe of Roxbury and James Howe of Ipswich are brothers. They both arrived about the same time in the 1630's from England and both initially settled in Roxbury. The most convincing evidence occurs in the records of a claim processed in the Massachusetts Supreme Court by John Howe of Topsfield, son of James Howe of Ipswich against the estate of Hester Sears, born Hester Howe to Abraham Howe. The claimant, the executors of the estate and several witnesses all referred to Hester and John as cousins in the proceedings. The court Archives number the record of the proceedings as 1951. This information is detailed in the Howe Genealogies by Daniel Wait Howe et al, NEHGS, 1929 in a footnote on pages 1 and 2.
posted by Walter Howe
Abraham Howe died between 26 May 1676 and 23 October 1676. His Will was signed on 26 May 1676 and probated on 2 Nov 1676. The Probate record refers to inventory taken on the Estate of Abraham How Deceased on 23 Oct 1676.These documents are on file in Suffolk Probate Records, Vol 6, p. 138 (for the will) and Vol. 12, p., 102 (for the inventory), This information is drawn from the Howe Genealogies by Daniel Wait Howe et al, published by NEHGS in 1929.
posted by Walter Howe