Monday, March 21, 2022

John Tilley (Tylly, Tilly)

TL;DR -- John Tilley has been of interest from day one, as we learned about Cape Ann and its history. As with the others, what happened to John after Conant got the group to move to the to-be Salem area? Finally, we have a research report.  It confirms that John was at Cape Ann. His father was an investor in the Dorchester Company. He went back. Then, he married in England. The couple returned not long after Winthrop's arrival. The couple was in Dorchester, MA and Saybrook/Windsor, CT. John may have had a daughter. And, he was tortured and died in sight of his peers.  


According to Dr. Frank who was quoting Rev. Hubbard and Rev. Joseph B. Felt, John Tilley came with Thomas Gardner into the Cape Ann area to establish a colony. The former was the head of fishing endeavors; the latter was in charge of the planting aspects. The intent, by the way of the Dorchester Company, was to begin regular shipment of feedstuff back to the jolly old country. So, as a peer of Thomas, John Tilley got our attention early. And, we didn't know about any offspring. So, we added him to our not-to-be-forgotten list which included Joseph Gardner. 

But, the capitalists had expectations that were too high. And, they sent in Roger Conant to try to improve on matters which did not work due to the poor conditions at the chosen location among other things. Then, things went south. Conant move the colony to what was to become Salem. Some followed. Others had unknown fates. One of these was John Tilley. And, Thomas Gardner was not of the mix as he received no recognition with respect to what became the focus of the Old Planters of Beverly society. 

Conant was well documented by his family. We have lots of information about Thomas, some of it might be fictive (See the "What we know" post that needs to be updated). On the other hand, we did find their marriage. That is, Thomas and Margaret Fryer are noted to have married in Dorset. Also, after much digging, we think that Thomas and Margaret stayed in Cape Ann with their kids in the house until John Endicott arrived. There were other families at Cape Ann which we intend to research. 

This post is about the family of John Tilley which was featured in an article in the recent NEHGR by one of the consulting editors. His father was William Tilley.

Clifford L. Stott "Rev. William Tilley of Broadwindsor, Dorset, and His Sons in New England: John Nathaniel, and William" NEHGR, Winter 2022, page 40

William Tilley
father of John Tilley, Cape Ann
The Original 119 Members


John Tilley's father was an investor in the Dorchester Co. Investors (our post).  Roger Conant's brother was an investor, as well. (We know that a Gardner was married to a sister of Rev. John White MA (1574/5 - 1648) (our post). Frances Rose-Troup noted that he came over and went back and was buried there. So, some connection to an investor would not be out of the question.) 

John went back after the Conant move. And married. (see Paine sisters on people going back.) Then, the couple returned. Went to Dorchester. Later, they were in Windsor, CT.  

John was stated to have harsh words with Lion Gardiner. (Great) John went north as he stated that he would. On the way back, he was captured by the American Indians and tortured. That included having both of his hands and feet cut off, and other atrocities. The Indians said that John performed well (when men were men - BTW, this all happened within sight of his fort'd peers. How's that for leaving men behind?) 

There was no known connection established with John Tilley of the Mayflower.  

Tilley-954 has a good start on a Profile for John at WikiTree. He married Edith (Moorecock) Garland, a widow. In England. There is a probable daughter, Elizabeth Tilley who married Thomas Merrick. After John died, Edith married Nicholas Camp. 

The article provides information about the two brothers who came over.  

Several of the families of Cape Ann have been researched, such as the Woodbury family. But, do we have a good list of the families. Many lists are based upon families that went with Conant (see Families at Cape Ann) or are mentioned in work by the Old Planters Society started by Dr. Gardner and Col. Higginson. We attempt a survey to find out where there are missing pieces to look for.  

Remarks: Modified: 04/07/2022

04/07/2022 -- Change Native Americans to American Indians. 

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