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John Taylor (abt. 1605 - aft. 1645)

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John Taylor
Born about in Haverhill, Suffolk, Englandmap [uncertain]
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Windsor, Connecticutmap [uncertain]
Descendants descendants
Died after in at sea enroute from New Haven to Londonmap
Taylor-642 created 13 Sep 2010 | Last modified
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Categories: Puritan Great Migration.

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


Disputed Origins

There is no found proof that John Taylor of Connecticut was the son of John Taylor and Margaret Willmote. Therefore, he has been detached from them.


John was born about 1605 and was lost at sea shortly after he made his will in 1645. He came to Windsor, Connecticut in 1639, , where he was a farmer. There, he served as a juror, arbitrator & as Captain in the local militia.

John Taylor wrote a will in 1645 (not proved until after the 1694 death of his widow Rhoda), in preparation for a sea voyage. In 1646 John left his family behind & set sail with others from his colony for England to secure a charter. The ship was never heard from again.

On November 24, 1645, being "fully intended and prepared for a voyage for England." he made a will, leaving his "daughters in-law," (Rhoda's daughters) to be equally divided among them, "all my land that lyes on the east of the great river (this is site of the present South Windsor) in lieu of my engagement with them upon my marriage and that my wife shall trayne them up until they come to the age of eighteen years and said wife to have the benefit of ye sd land until yt time." He gives to his wife and two sons, his house and all residue of his lands in the town of Windsor, and all of his personal property; his wife to have the use of it until she marry, or the sons come of age.[citation needed]
There is no proof that:
  • John immigrated to America aboard the flagship "Arbella" which landed at the Massachusetts Bay Colony on June 12, 1630.
  • he had a first wife and two children who died at sea en route to New England.
  • he was the John Taylor who took the Freeman's Oath on 18 May 1631 giving him the right to vote
  • he was the John Taylor, pewtersmith, who lived first in Lynn, Massachusetts.[C.B.R. (what is "CBR"?), p 168].
  • he was one of two brothers who left England in 1639. One returned to England soon afterward and the vessel was never heard from again after leaving New York. [C.B.R. p 99]. The other brother, John settled at Windsor and married a widow.

Whether he had a first wife and family or not, he married Rhoda, a widow. That she had two daughters by her first marriage is supported by John's will which leaves them land. By Rhoda, John and Rhoda had two sons:

  1. John Taylor [Jr.], b abt 1640, d. 13 May 1704 in pursuit of Indians, while acting as Captain of the Hampshire Troops; he m. at Northampton, Mass., 19 Dec 1662, Thankful Woodward, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (___) Woodward. They had 13 children.
  2. Thomas Taylor, b abt 1645; m. at Norwalk, Conn., 14 Feb 1667/8, Rebecca Ketchum, daughter of Edward and Sarah (____) Ketchum of Stratford, Conn. Thomas was Deputy for Danbury 1702, 1706, 1707, and Ensign of the Danbury Trainband in Oct. 1696. He had ten children.

Who was John Taylor's Wife?

Robert Charles Anderson, in his Great Migration Begins of Simon Hoyt, does not identify a maiden name for the wife of Walter Hoyt (Simon's son), who was known to be widow of John Taylor.[1]

Writing about the same time, however, researcher Douglas Richardson argued for her being Rhoda Tinker, daughter of Robert Tinker:[2]

RHODA TINKER, bp. 16 Jun 1611 as "daughter of Robert Tinker"; m. at New Windsor, 1 Nov. 1631, THOMAS HOBBS. By the 1623 will of her father, she was to inherit tenements and lands in Berkhamsted, Herts, following her mother's death or remarriage. In 1633, Thomas [Hobbs] served as a witness to the will of Rhoda's stepfather, Humphrey Collins.
This author [D. Richardson] believes that Rhoda (Tinker) Hobbs immigrated to New England, where she m. (2) John Taylor of Windsor, Conn., and (3) Walter Hoyt of Windsor and Norwalk.[fn #36:]
"The reasons for this identification are as follows: First, it is known that Rhoda Taylor had a previous marriage, for John Taylor in his will dated 1645 bequeathed a tract on the east side of the Connecticut River in Windsor to his wife's daughters (see Mary Walton Ferris, Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines (1943), pp 785-787). Secondly, the given name Rhoda appears repeatedly among the descendants of Rhoda Tinker's brother and two sisters in New England, suggesting that Rhoda TInker herself came to New England and that subsequent Rhodas in the family were named for her. Finally, Rhoda's second husband, John Taylor, and Matthias Sension (husband of Mary Tinker) both owned homelots in the Palisado in Windsor, and her third husband, Walter Hoyt, owned a farm in Windsor opposite that of John Tinker. Both Hoyt and Sension subsequently removed to Norwalk and there were intermarriages of their children. In an effort to identify Rhoda Taylor's children by her first marriage, this writer searched the Windsor land records to locate and trace the tract bequeathed to them by their stepfather, John Taylor. The search revealed that Taylor obtained his property on the east side of the river by exchange with John Rockwell (Windsor Deeds, I:10 and IA:8, not dated, FHL microfilm 6,188). Rhoda Taylor, then a widow, conveyed this same tract to Beggat (or Baggat) Eggleston, along with John Taylor's homelot and other Windsor land holdings (ibid., I;23, IA:19), before her daughters came into possession of it, and thus it cannot be used to identify them.

Therefore, this WikiTree profile is going with Rhoda (Tinker) (Hobbs) (Taylor) Hoyt.

Family Tradition

From Temple and Sheldon's History of the town of Northfield, p. 553:

There is a tradition in the family that, soon after making this will John Taylor sailed for England in the New Haven "Phantom ship" the vessel never heard from again, except for in the manner narrated below; Rev. James Pierpont, a minister at New Haven (CT) in 1684-1714, giving an account of a wonderful vision seen there, some half century before. This letter incorporated in Mather's Magnalia written 1695/6. Pierpont says, the ship sailed in January 1647; a date accepted, so far as we know, by all subsequent historians; but recent investigations show that the date of departure was certainly, January 1645/46.
Pierpont writes: "I now give you the relation of that apparition of a ship in the air, which I have received from the most credible, judicious, and curious surviving observers of it. In the year, 1647, besides much other lading, a far more rich treasure of passengers (five or six of which were persons of chief note in New Haven) put themselves aboard a new ship built at Rhode Island, of about 150 tuns; but so walty, that the master (Lamberton) often said she would prove their grave. In the month of January, cutting their way through much ice, on which they were accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Davenport, besides many other friends, with many fears, as well as prayers and tears, they set sail... In June next ensuing a great thunder storm arose out of the north-west; after which (the Hemisphere being serene) about an hour before sun-set, a ship of like dimensions with the aforesaid, with her canvas and colours abroad (though the wind northerly) appeared in the air coming up from our harbour's mouth, which lyes southward from the town, seemingly with her sails filled under a fresh gale holding her course north, and continuing under observation, sailing against the wind, for the space of half an hour. MANY were drawn to behold this great work of God; yea, the very children cryied out, 'Ther's a brave ship.' At length, crowding up as far as there is usually water sufficient for such a vessel, and so near some of the spectators, as they imagined a man might hurl a stone on board her, her main top seemed to be blown off, but left hanging in the shrouds; then her misen-top; then all her masting seemed blown away by the board; quickly after the bulk brought into a careen, she overset, and so vanished into a smoaky cloud, which in some time dissapated, leaving, as everywhere else, a clear air. The admiring spectators, could distinguish the several colours of each part, the principal rigging and such proportions, as caused not only the generality of person to say, 'This was the mould of their ship, and thus was her tragick end.' but Mr. Davenport also in public declared tot his effect, 'That God had condescended, for the quieting of their afflicted spirits, this extraordinary account of his sovereign disposal of those for whom so many fervent prayers were made continually.' "


John sailed in Longfellow's "Phantom Ship" the first ship built in the Colony and sailed from New Haven in January 1645 (morel likely 1646). There was never a name for the ship ever recorded, no trace of the ship was found, and no complete passenger list has ever been made.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
In Mather's Magnalia Christi,
Of the old colonial time,
May be found in prose the legend
That is here set down in rhyme.
A ship sailed from New Haven,
And the keen and frosty airs,
That filled her sails at parting,
Were heavy with good men's prayers.
"O Lord! if it be thy pleasure"--
Thus prayed the old divine--
"To bury our friends in the ocean,
Take them, for they are thine!"
But Master Lamberton muttered,
And under his breath said he,
"This ship is so crank and walty
I fear our grave she will be!"
And the ships that came from England,
When the winter months were gone,
Brought no tidings of this vessel
Nor of Master Lamberton.
This put the people to praying
That the Lord would let them hear
What in his greater wisdom
He had done with friends so dear.
And at last their prayers were answered:--
It was in the month of June,
An hour before the sunset
Of a windy afternoon,
When, steadily steering landward,
A ship was seen below,
And they knew it was Lamberton, Master,
Who sailed so long ago.
On she came, with a cloud of canvas,
Right against the wind that blew,
Until the eye could distinguish
The faces of the crew.
Then fell her straining topmasts,
Hanging tangled in the shrouds,
And her sails were loosened and lifted,
And blown away like clouds.
And the masts, with all their rigging,
Fell slowly, one by one,
And the hulk dilated and vanished,
As a sea-mist in the sun!
And the people who saw this marvel
Each said unto his friend,
That this was the mould of their vessel,
And thus her tragic end.
And the pastor of the village
Gave thanks to God in prayer,
That, to quiet their troubled spirits,
He had sent this Ship of Air.


  1. Robert Charles Anderson, Great Migration Begins..., Boston, MA: NEHGS (1995), p. 1030: Profile for Simon Hoyt: son of Simon Hoyt: "Walter... m. (2) by about 1652 Rhoda (______) Taylor, widow of John Taylor," citing FOOF 1:295; TAG 66:217-218
  2. Douglas Richardson, "Ancestry of John Tinker," in NEHG Register, 149 (1995):412

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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 31 Dec 2015 at 20:24 GMT Jillaine Smith wrote:

We've protected Tinker and I've proposed merges for the multiple Rhodas.

On 29 Dec 2015 at 19:29 GMT Vic Watt wrote:

It should either be Unknown or Tinker. I have no problem with Tinker. Vic

On 29 Dec 2015 at 13:41 GMT Jillaine Smith wrote:

Also, there is proof of only two sons-- John and Thomas. Therefore, Abigail and Edward need to be detached.

On 29 Dec 2015 at 13:40 GMT Jillaine Smith wrote:

PMs, I've reviewed the research, and think that D. Richardson makes a good enough case for his wife's identity as Rhoda (Tinker), widow of Hobbs, who subsequently married Hoyt. (See narrative.) I therefore propose we merge all the duplicates of Rhoda into Tinker-95. Any disagreement?

John is 16 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 15 degrees from Joseph Broussard, 18 degrees from Helmut Jungschaffer and 15 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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