Monday, August 22, 2011

John Tylly

John deserves recognition for several reasons, not the least of which is that no account of Thomas' and Margaret's arrival and subsequent time at Cape Ann can be complete without mentioning John. We'll look at his background which seems to be as unknown as Thomas' might be. We also know that John was killed in 1636 at the time of the Pequot War.

John was in charge of the fishing effort. There has been much written about Cape Ann, including White's little Plea. Some, including White, cast aspersions on those who were there. Others have offered a more reasoned view, as we see depicted in this chapter on the Fisher Plantation and this report to the US Treasury, 1853.

Rev. Hubbard on
Tylly and Gardner
By the way, William Hubbard (1621-1704), in his retrospective, was the first to mention John and Thomas. One can envision those in that later 17th century time asking what happened; that is, what were the real people doing during the time; that is, those who did not spawn off countless words during their time here.


John and Thomas were part of the movement from Cape Ann to the Naumkeag area. Then, John seems to disappear. The Great Migration look (pg 1823) tries to make some sense. John was in the Dorchester area in the mid-1630s. He had a wife but no offspring.

John was active in coastal trade, seemed to go as far as Bermuda, and was killed in Connecticut as he tried to venture, despite warnings by Lion Gardiner, up the river to Hartford.


All sorts of questions remain to be answered, and old Rev White isn't here to say. How did these two men become leads in an effort that had such importance? And, then be pushed aside so easily? Ah, many, many more questions.

As said before, 'speculation' requires magical gains. In less than a decade, Massachusetts was shipping tons of fish to Europe. How could this happen in a year's time? Even with the Plymouth help (as they were there in Cape Ann, to boot, hence the conflict that Conant is supposed to have avoided), how could one expect for gains to accrue so quickly?

So much to deconstruct here. Thankfully, some have already started. Winthrop, and perhaps Rev White, wanted theocracy as a way of life. Though they were ahead of their time, John and Thomas were seen as 'irreligious' according to some. Actually, events 100 years in the future showed these two to be on the right path.

Hopefully, time and resources will get some of these types of things better answered.

Remarks: Modified: 03/21/2022

05/01/2012 -- Interest in the Old Planters is being assessed. Also, we'll do a sketch of John at this site

12/22/2012-- We need to differentiate between Old Planters of Beverly (see The Old Planters of Beverly in Massachusetts, 1930, Alice Gertrude Lapham, The Riverside Press) and the Old Planters of Massachusetts. One could even talk, Old Planters of New England.

10/11/2018 -- Some argument over who was first, in New Hampshire. Rev Hubbard was mentioned. As mentioned, he was the first one to mention Thomas Gardner. Too, his manuscript, though written in the 1600s, was not published until about one hundred and thirty years later. And, we almost lost it due to the mob rioting and doing damage to Hutchinson's dwelling, which, btw, was the Governor's mansion. So,  the good Reverend the Rodney Dangerfield of his time?

01/07/2019 -- Add snip from Rev. Hubbard's history that mentioned Tylly and Gardner.

03/21/2022 -- Our first post on John Tylly was on 22 Aug 2011 when we were newbies. We just did another post today under the name of John Tilley which is how the NEHGR identified him in an article in their Winter 2022 issue. In that post we link to research on the other Cape Ann families. 

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