Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and hope this blog will help with that. I am not an expert and I consider most of my research as a work in progress. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My Mayflower Ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, John Howland.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reverend John Mayo ca 1598-1676 England-Eastham-Boston-Yarmouth

Although Mayo is an Irish name, this family was from England. Reverend John Mayo was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, the son of a commoner. He came to Boston 1638 and was in Barnstable in 1639, where he was ordained a teaching elder to assist Rev. John Lothrop. He was a freeman in 1640.
Magdelen College, Oxford, 19th century source: www.oldukphotos.com

John Bakke wrote in 2009 that John was in Holland in 1618, where he married Tamisen Brike, a native of Leiden. He returned to England from Leiden, where he was ordained in the Church of England but he preached according to Puritan beliefs for nearly two decades. At that point it became too difficult or dangerous to continue, so he immigrated to the new world.

John and Tamesin’s children were all born England: Hannah, Samuel, John, Nathaniel, and Elizabeth. None of his sons became ministers.

He took charge of the Eastham Church in 1646 and continued until 1655, when he went to Second Church in Boston (later called Old North Church).

The first meetinghouse in Eastham was 20 foot square, with a thatched roof and holes on all sides for firing muskets. It was located near the old burial ground in Eastham. John may have left because of a fledgling town lacking the ability to support a minister.
Cove Burying Ground, Eastham, sign marking the site of the original Congregational Church in Eastham source:capecodgravestones.com

Soon after John left Eastham for Boston, the Congregational leadership in New England implemented a policy discouraging the theft of the most promising pastors from small, rural parishes to larger, wealthier, urban ones.

In Boston he was likely overshadowed by Increase Mather, who worked there as a teacher. Mather was assertive and slightly obsessive, while Mayo was a mild-mannered, peace-loving man who was loathe to split hairs.

John was the first pastor there and served until 1673, when at an advanced age he went to Barnstable and spent time there, Eastham and Yarmouth for the remainder of his life.

Of course the original Second Church building does not survive, but the current church was built in 1723 is the oldest surviving church building in Boston. It is famous for its role in history--on the eve of the American Revolution in 1775 the church sexton held two lanterns in the steeple as a signal from Paul Revere that the Red Coats were coming by sea to march on Lexington and Concord.
Old North Church, Boston

In Boston he lived in a house owned by Bart. Bernard on the south side of Fleet Street and then bought a house on the west side of Hanover (Middle) Street between Parmenter and Prince Streets. He also served as an overseer of Harvard College.

From The Old North Church records (in the handwriting of Increase Mather) in the beginning of 1672:

"Mr. Mayo, the Pastor, likewise grew very infirm, insomuch as the congregation was not able to hear and be edified." The congregation therefore desire a new minister and he consented. "On the 15th of the 2d month (April) 1673, removed his person and goods also, from Boston to reside with his daughter in Barnstable where (and at Yarmouth) since he hath lived a private life, as not being able through infirmities of old age to attend to the word of the ministry. The day of the 3d (May) month 1676 he departed this life at Yarmouth, and was there buried."

Mather’s unpublished diaries show how much Rev. Mayo influenced him.

Rev. John Mayo died in May 1676 in Yarmouth.  Amos Otis writes he was a man of prominence as a minister and in 1658 preached the annual election sermon. His wife Tamosin/Tamsen died in Yarmouth in 1682.

On 7 June 1676 "Mr. Hinckley, Mr. Freeman and Mr. Huckens are appointed by the Court to take course about the estate of Mr. John Mayo, deceased, to make devision and settlement of the said estate, both with reference unto his wifes pte and amongst his children, and therin to acte, if it may be, be theire satisfaction; and incase they can not, then to make report therof to the next Court, that soe further maybe taken for settlement therof." (Plymouth Col Records 200)

The inventory of Rev. Mr. Mayo's personal estate, taken 1 June 1676, by Edmond Hawes and Thomas Huckins, amounted to 111 pounds, 4 shilling, including 10 pounds for books. On 15 June 1676 his heirs settled his estate by agreement, which was signed by Tamsen Mayo, widow, John Mayo, son, Joseph Howes, son-in-law, and by Thomas Huckins in behalf of Hannah Bacon, daughter. John Mayo and Joseph Howes were administrators. There were three grandchildren mentioned: Samuel Mayo, Hannah Mayo and Bathsheba Mayo, children of his son Nathaniel Mayo, deceased.

The sum total of his inventory was somewhat small but equal to the average at that time in the Colony. His widow Tamisen was allowed to keep all of the property she bought into the marriage.

I descend from John Mayo through his son Samuel Mayo who married Tamsen Lumpkin   and daughter Elizabeth Mayo who married Joseph Howes. Samuel was a mariner who lived in Barnstable in the original Mayo home which was built in 1638.


Enoch Pratt, A Comprehensive History of Eastham, Wellfleet and Orleans, Barnstable Co., Mass from 1644-1844, WS Fisher Publishing, Yarmouth, MA, 1844.

Amos Otis, Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families, being a reprint of the Amos Otis Papers, originally published in the Barnstable Patriot, revised by CF Swift, Volume 1 and 2, Barnstable, MA, The Patriot Press, 1888.

James W. Hawes, Esq., Thomas 1 Howes of Yarmouth, Mass., and Some of His Descendants, Together with the Rev. John Mayo, Allied to Him by Marriage, Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, No. 31, CW Swift Publisher, Yarmouthport, MA, 1917.

Josiah Paine, Eastham and Orleans Historical Papers, pamphlet no. 55 in the Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, CW Swift Publisher, Yarmouthport, Mass., 1914.

John Bakke, Pastors of the Early Eastham Church, Cape Cod Genealogical Society's Bulletin, Fall 2009.

Philip Tillinghast Nickerson , NEHGR, vol 95, (1941), p 39-49, and 100-108, Rev. John Mayo, First Minister of the Second Church in Boston, Mass., and More About Rev. John Mayo of Cape Cod and Boston, NEHGR, vol 103 (1949), pg. 32-42.



  1. Thank you for sharing this. I just found out today that Reverend John Mayo is my 10th Great Grand-father.

    1. Hello David! Rev. John Mayo is my 10th Great Grand Father also. I am linked to him from the Sears family.

  2. Hi David: Congratulations on your discovery! Rev. Mayo is an interesting man to research. Chris

  3. Hello, wonderful site, Rev. John Mayo is my 9th great grandfather. Rev. John Lothrop is my 11 great grandfather. It is exciting to know the two men knew each other. I come thru John Mayo 1630. When I first started looking at this line, I was surprised that so many researchers connected my Nathanial Mayhew to the Martha's Vineyard Mayhew's. After reading everything I could find, I realized our Mayo line started showing up as Mayhew among others. Anyone wishing to contact me on research can at burby9@yahoo.com Roger

  4. Hi Chris I want to thank you for all your hard work in researching Rev john.He is my husband's 11thgreat grandfather. what an interesting man.

  5. Thank you so very much for this GREAT info! Rev John Mayo was my 10th Great Grandfather. I love reading about my family history! What a blessing....again Thank You!!

    1. Veir: Thanks for your kind words! Chris

  6. Thank you for doing such a great job on this page, I appreciate the effort it took. I am the 14th generation male heir of Rev John Mayo.

    1. Thanks, Matt. That is so neat to have the Mayo surname for 14 generations! Chris

  7. Reverend John Mayo is my eighth great grandfather and I appreciate the brief synopsis