Tonight I’m writing away from home and hearth. I’m sitting at my desk at the Space Education Center reading about our 9th Great Grandfather as our weekly Space Camp is waged about me. The Space Center has five futuristic starship simulators, each running tonight fully crewed with 5th and 6th graders from Lehi, Utah. I’m hearing explosions and the wailing of the alert klaxons as I try to focus on life in early Plymouth MA. My brain is anchored in the 17th Century while my ears are firmly attached to the 23rd.
My 9th Great Grandfather’s name was Lt. John Ellis. To see his place on the Family Tree click here. Follow these simple steps.
Shrink the image by clicking on the “-” magnifying glass at the bottom of the page.
- Click on my mother Luella
- Click on her mother Violet
- Click on her mother Vesta
- Click on her mother Isabel
- Move up the tree to Emira Swift, then Phineas Swift to Judah Swift to Jeddah Benson then to Jerusha Ellis to William Ellis
- Finally to Lt. Ellis Jr.
The following is a quick snapshot of his life and accomplishments.
Thanks for Reading!
John Ellis Jr.
Born-14 September 1623 at St. Budolph, Bishop’s Gate, London, England.What we know: Before John was born-His parents were in Leyden, Holland in 1619 according to records.
At 21 years old-“As soon as he arrived at the age of 21 he took the oath of a freeman, June 2, 1641 in Boston…”
Around the age of 24-Before August 20, 1644, John Ellis married Elizabeth Freeman at Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts.
At 30 years old-June 5, 1651 John was chosen to be a member of "the Grand Enquest."
At 32 years old-The General Court of Plymouth Colony, sitting at Plymouth June 9, 1653, commissioned JOHN ELLIS to be the Lieutenant, (then Commander) of the Military Company at Sandwich.
At 32 years old-November 7, 1652 he and five others were selected to buy all the fish offered by the Indians; to provide casks, and to prepare the fish for use by the Town.
From age 31 to age 33-February 24, 1652 he and others were selected by the General Court to survey and build a road-on the most convenient line-from Sandwich to Plymouth, which task they completed satisfactorily and so reported to the General Court, June 20, 1654.
At age 33-December 13, 1653 he and two others were given a monopoly on whales captured within the water line of Sandwich, under condition that they pay 16 pounds apiece for each whale.
At around age 39-In 1659 he and others were appointed to take charge of extraction of oil from whales and fish for the public use.
At age 39-As the Lieutenant commanding the Military Company he was allowed, June 6, 1660 two pounds of powder for his command on "Training Day," which was the first Wednesday in July, 1660.
At age 50-July 6, 1671 the Town of Sandwich gave him (Lieut. ELLIS) 20 acres of land from his then-owned land down to the beach. .July 13 he as Lieutenant, with four others, was selected as "Tax rater." Aug. 26, 1671 "JOHN ELLIS, Senior" and one other surveyed a parcel of fund, on the order of the town.
At age 54-February 28, 1675 he, Lieutenant, and BENAMIN HAMMOND, Constable, called a Town Meeting to make arrangements for protection of lives and property and to make new land available for cultivation because of the dangers incident to King PHILIP'S War.
At age 55-May 10, 1676 he as Lieutenant and THOMAS TOBIE, Sen. and STEPHEN SKIFF as agents of the Town, were obligated to form "Sandwich Town Scouts," to hire as many men as they chose for that purpose, and the Town promised to pay all such engagements.
At age 56-He died previous to May 23, 1677 as the inventory of his estate was taken by RICHARD BOURNE, JOHN SMITH, and THOMAS TOBEY May 23, 1677 and exhibited to the Court held at Plymouth June 5, 1677, on the oath of his widow, ELIZABETH ELLIS.
An interesting side note was the charge of fornication against our Great Grandfather John.
At the court held on 20 Aug. 1644 he was accused of fornication, and the record shows that "A warrant was set forth to bring in the bodies of Jonathan ffish & Mary his wife; Nathaniell ffish; Jane the wife of William Wood; Rose the wife of Joseph Holly; the wife of Richard Kerby; the wife of Michael Turner & Joanna Swift, widdow, to give evidence in John Ellis and his wife's case" (Nathaniel B. Shurtleff ed., Records'of the Colony of New Plymouth,* vol. 2, p. 75. 4 June 1645 "John Ellis of Sandwich ... and his now wife. . ..is censured to be whipt at publicke post and Elizabeth his wife to stand by whilst execucon of the sentence is pformed; which was accordingly done. And the said John Ellis for his long and tedious delayes occasioning much trouble and charge to the countrey, for that he would not confess the truth untill the present, is fyned 5 li" (ibid., p. 85).
It has often been observed that neither the colony nor the ecclesiastical courts of the period were apt to view with favor the possibility of a premature birth. In this instance the stubborn refusal-of Ellis to admit guilt may have been based on some other argument. The prominence of the Freeman family may have played a part in the case. It would be interesting to read a transcript of the testimony presented by the young couple and their neighbors.
Whatever may have been the merits of the case, it is clearly of interest genealogically speaking that the marriage almost certainly took place before 20 August 1644 and that the first child by EIizabeth Freeman was born about that date. Yet the first recorded birth, that of "Benet Elles" (no parents listed), took place in 1648-1649.