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John Miller (1604 - 1663)

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Reverend John Miller
Born in Ashford, Kent, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married (to ) in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts Baymap
Profile last modified | Created 22 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 707 times.

Categories: Puritan Great Migration.

The Puritan Great Migration.
John Miller migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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Discuss: pgm



John Miller was baptised on 21 October 1604 in Ashford, Kent, England, the son of a weaver, Martin Miller, and his wife Susan Hicks.[1]

At age 18, he matriculated at Caius College, Cambridge University in 1624, receiving financial help from the college, and earning a B.A. in 1627-8.[2]


John married Lydia ____, in England about 1630, as their first child was baptised in March 1631.

Who was the wife of Rev. John Miller? The parents and birth date and birth location of Lydia, the wife of Rev. John Miller are not known.

John emigrated to New England by 1634 with his wife and son John. He was Elder in the church at Roxbury, 1634, and made freeman in 1639. He preached in Rowley 1639-41. He was a proprietor and had a grant of land in Sandwich, 1641, and in Newbury, 1642. In 1642 he was asked to go as a missionary to Virginia, but declined "because of bodily weakness." He preached in Yarmouth, 1646 to 1662. "Lydia, wife of Mr. John Miller of Yarmouth," died in Boston, Aug. 7, 1658. In 1662 or 1663 he was called to Groton and preached there until his death: Mr. Jno. Miller, minister of Gods holy word died. June 12th 1663. He was succeeded there by Samuel Willard (son of Simon), who was the seventh president of Harvard College. It was said of him, "He was a man of low stature but high literary attainments."He was one of the few University graduates among the early settlers.[3][4]

The earliest documents relating to any inhabitant of Groton, found among the files of the Middlesex County Probate Office, are those belonging to the estate of the Reverend John Miller, the first minister of the town. Power of administration was granted to his son John Miller, on July 3, 1663; and his library was appraised at £6 5s 7d.[4]


  1. John, b. 02 Mar 1631, England[5]
  2. Mehitable, b. 12 Jul 1638, Roxbury, Suffolk, Mass. Bay Colony (Rowley VR 1:245).[6]
  3. Lydia, b. 02 Feb 1640/1, Rowley, Essex, Mass. Bay Colony (Rowley VR 1:138).[6]
  4. Hannah, b. ca. 1642 (based on birth of last child in 1687), named as daughter of Rev. John Miller, wife of Joseph Frost[7]
  5. Faith, b. ca. 1645 (d. 1729 in her 85th year)[8]
  6. Susanna, b. 24 Aug 1647, Roxbury, Suffolk; d. Charlestown 14 Oct 1669, unmarried (Rowley VR 1:245).[6][8]
  7. Elizabeth, b. 13 Oct 1649, Yarmouth, Barnstable, Plymouth Colony.[9]
  8. Mary, b. ca. 1653 (d. 28 Aug 1731, "aged about 78"), probably in Yarmouth where her father was located that year.[10][11]

Also given in a previous version of this profile, but without source:

9. Hannah Miller, b. Abt 1636, Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, d. Abt 1644 – Age: ~ 8 years

Research Notes

Robert Charles Anderson profiled a John Miller in his Great Migration series.[12] He was an immigrant to Dorchester who was granted 2 acres of meadow on 18 Feb 1635/6 [DTR 15] and then 2 acres and 20 rods in the Neck on 18 March 1637/8 [DTR 31]. On 26 Aug 1639, William Read sold Dorchester properties including those "which were anciently John Miller's," 3 acres at the six-acre lots, and "all the commons which belong to John Miller's lots being 6 acres and 46 rods of both in every division and two acres of meadow in the second fresh marsh." Some have taken the disappearance of this John Miller from Dorchester and the simultaneous appearance of Rev. John Miller in Rowley as evidence they were the same man.

Anderson concludes that there are "serious doubts" this John Miller was identical with Rev. John Miller of Roxbury, Rowley and Yarmouth. Anderson discusses the evidence, noting that the man at Dorchester was never "accorded the title of respect, 'Mr,' that the minister receives immediately upon his appearance at Roxbury and at all later residences" Also, if the minister were at Dorchester, we would expect that he would have joined the church there and that he would also have been admitted to freemanship at Dorchester. In addition, another man named John Miller took the oath of fidelity in 1639 at Yarmouth [PCR 8:185] and was granted one acre at Sandwich on 16 Apr 1640 [PCR 1:150]. He may have been the Dorchester man or a third man. "Curiously, these records are in Yarmouth and vicinity, where the minister did reside many years later."[12]

John Miller's Dorchester record is confounded with the Rev. John Miller by Pope and others [Pope 314]. Savage 3:209 included the Dorchester records, but was not convinced they were the same man [Savage 3:209]. Others who covered the Rev John Miller do not include the Dorchester records at all [Wyman 673 and Rowley Families 242].[12][13]

Great Migration Newsletter includes an article by Patricia Law Hatcher titled "Focus on Rowley and Ezekiel Rogers' Company." John Miller is briefly covered among the early settlers of Rowley. He was the son of Martin Miller, baptized on 21 October 1604 at Ashford, Kent, and he received his BA from Calais College in 1627/8.[14] John Miller and his wife, Lydia (Lidea), joined the Roxbury church in early 1638 (members #180 and 181), and on 22 May 1639, John Miller was made a freeman at Roxbury. He then removed to Rowley where he was town clerk and recorded the town's first birth on 28, 8 mo. [October], 1639.[15]


  1. Kent Archaeological Society, Ashford, Kent, Index of all known births, marriages and burials c. 1570-late 1800s
  2. John Venn, Alumni cantabrigienses; a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge Part 1, Volume 3, p. 189. (Cambridge University Press, 1924)
  3. Belle Preston, Bassett-Preston ancestors; a history of the ancestors in America of Marion Bassett Luitweiler, Howard Murray Bassett, Preston Rogers Bassett, Isabel Bassett Wasson, and Helen Bassett Hauser, children of Edward M. and Annie (Preston) Bassett (New Haven, CT: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Co., 1930) p. 189, citing "History of Cape Cod," Frederick Freeman, 1860; "Pope's Pioneers," 1900; Colonial Dames, Mass., 1927; NEHGR 31:69.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Samuel Abbott Green, Early Church Records of Groton, Massachusetts, 1761-1830..., (Groton, 1896), p. 186
  5. William R. Librarian of the Woburn Public Library Cutter, "Miller, Cook, Clark, Hall, Crosby & Smith," NEHGR Vol. 51 (Jan. 1897), p. 33-34.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Essex Institute, compiler, Vital Records of Roxbury, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1926) Vol. 1, pages 138, 245.
  7. Records of the First church in Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1632-1789 (D. Clapp & Son, Boston, 1880), p. 15.
  8. 8.0 8.1 James Savage, compiler, A Genealogical Dictionary of The First Settlers of New England, Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, on the Basis of Farmer's Register (Little, Brown & Co., Boston, 1861) Vol. 3:209.
  9. George Ernest Bowman, "Yarmouth, MA, Vital Records," Mayflower Descendant Vol. 16:122.
  10. Historical Society. Watertown Mass., Vital Records of Watertown, 1630-1825 (Boston, MA: Online database: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2007), original publish date 1894-1906), Vol. 2:99
  11. "Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001." FamilySearch, Middlesex > Watertown > Births, marriages, deaths 1630-1851 > image 255 of 336; town clerk offices, Massachusetts.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Anderson, Robert Charles. "John Miller," Featured name. Great Migration 1634-1635, M-P, Vol V. (NEHGS, 1995) Vol 5, Pages 117-19.
  13. entered by Bobbie Hall, based on another researcher's findings: "Nicholas Miller of Wrotham was Sheriff of Kent in 1631, died 1640. He made a will the year he died naming only his son Nicolas. His son Nicolas died in 1658. grandson Humphrey died in 1709. His great grandson Borlase died in 1714. Could not find Rev John Miller or John's father Martin in any of the documents."
  14. Hatcher citing Venn 3:189
  15. Hatcher, Patricia Law. "Focus on Rowley and Ezekiel Rogers' Company." Great Migration Newsletter, V.1-20. (NEHGS, 2018.) Vol. 18:21, citing GMN 6:25, Venn 3:189.

See also:

  • Hatcher, Patricia Law. "Members of the First Church of Roxbury." Great Migration Newsletter, V.6. (NEHGS, 1997) Vol 6, Page 25.
  • Local and Family Histories: New England, 1600-1900s. FTM Disk #449 [Novata, Calif.: Broderbund]; Learning Co., c1998. 1 CD-ROM. F 3 L63 1998 ?]
  • Seward, Josiah. A History of the Town of Sullivan, New Hampshire, 1777-1917, Vol II. (the author, Keene, NH, 1921) Vol. 2, Page 983.
  • Thwing, Walter Eliot. History of the First Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts, 1630-1904. (W.A. Butterfield, Boston, 1908) Page 42.
  • Pane-Joyce Genealogy (no parentage, limited info on John or Lydia)
  • Pane-Joyce Genealogy (no parentage, limited info on John or Lydia)
  • NE Marriages Prior, Torrey, Clarence A. , pg 508. (Does not name parents, nor spouse)
"MILLER, John & _____ _____; by 1647; Yarmouth {MD 15:26}"

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No known carriers of John's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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On 4 Sep 2018 at 15:18 GMT Cynthia (Billups) B wrote:

Hi Bobbie,

I think you're correct. I was in too much of a hurry yesterday and didn't thoroughly look at the profile. My apology (deleting my earlier message to avoid confusion). Thanks!

On 24 Jul 2018 at 00:41 GMT Bobbie (Madison) Hall wrote:

Have removed "Combs" as his wife's surname in the bio. Lydia Coombs married a different John Miller, see that profile for Lydia Coombs.

On 24 Jul 2018 at 00:28 GMT Bobbie (Madison) Hall wrote:

Miller-3642 and Miller-1149 appear to represent the same person because: Failing any sources for the parents shown on the profile for Miller-1149, the two profiles should be merged as they clearly represent the same person: same birth & death dates and locations, spouse is the same in the bio, bio info (limited on Miller-1149) relate to the same man.

On 24 Jul 2018 at 00:26 GMT Bobbie (Madison) Hall wrote:

I find no difficulty in the merge, Cheryl, because the only actual discrepancy between the two profiles are the parents, which are unsourced. In fact, the only real source on this profile is Pope, all others are completely unrelated to this couple. The information in the bio is simply copied off the site, which sites Pope and Torrey, who, bless him, doesn't even name Rev. Miller's wife.

I've re-set the merge. Would the two PMs for Miller-1149 like to add any relevant sources for the parents shown?

On 23 Jul 2018 at 18:53 GMT Cheryl (Aldrich) Skordahl wrote:

Miller-3642 and Miller-1149 are not ready to be merged because: It was difficult to choose between unmerged match and rejected match. I chose unmerged match because these two profile need further research to determine if they do actually represent the same person.

Anderson in his Great Migration has a John Miller who was not the same as the Rev. John Miller. They were in the same area of New England at about the same time, but where two different people. See here under comments:

On 23 Jun 2018 at 01:58 GMT Bobbie (Madison) Hall wrote:

Miller-3642 and Miller-1149 appear to represent the same person because: Same man, but please see the bio info on Miller 3642 for correct parents.

On 6 May 2018 at 03:22 GMT Bobbie (Madison) Hall wrote:

Cynthia: I can't find a source, and do not have her as "Coombs" in my own database. Pope's The Pioneers of Massachusetts does not give her a surname. Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700 does not give her a surname. I believe that there has been some confusion with a different John Miller, (1669-1727) of Middleboro, who did marry a Lydia Coombs.

On 6 May 2018 at 02:39 GMT Bobbie (Madison) Hall wrote:

Miller-1149 and Miller-3642 are not ready to be merged because: Parents on Miller-1149 incorrect per Alumni cantabrigienses. Parents need to be detached before merging.

On 16 Mar 2018 at 02:34 GMT Cynthia (Billups) B wrote:

Would like to approve the merge, but the parents attached here do not belong to Rev. John Miller of Ashford, Kent Eng., Roxbury, Rowley and Yarmouth, Massachusetts.Please see sources in Miller-3642

Might they belong to a different John Miller? or should they be detached? Thanks!

On 16 Mar 2018 at 02:18 GMT Cynthia (Billups) B wrote:

Anyone know the source of wife's maiden name as "Combs"? Thank you!

more comments

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