Joseph Howes was born ca 1630 in England, the eldest of the three sons of Thomas and Mary (?Burr) Howes. He was a young boy when his parents left England, first settling at Salem and then coming to Yarmouth with the first group of white settlers. The area of Yarmouth where they lived later became Dennis. I wrote about Thomas and Mary here.
Joseph married Elizabeth Mayo in Yarmouth likely between 1653 – 1656. Elizabeth was born 1630, the daughter of Rev. John Mayo and his wife Thomasine Brike.Joseph and Elizabeth had nine children, likely all born Yarmouth. Their births are not recorded there, but they are all named in Joseph’s will.
Samuel born about 1653, married his first cousin Rebecca Howes
Mary born 1659, married John Hallett
Joseph born 1660, married Mary Vincent and Hannah Snow
John born 1664, married Elizabeth Paddock and Mary Matthews
Nathaniel born 1671, married Esther Ryder
Amos born about 1672, married Susannah Hedge
Elizabeth born about 1675, married Joseph Merrick
Hannah born about 1676, married William Matthews
Thomas born about 1680, married Content Smith
I descend from Thomas as well as Samuel.
Joseph Howes and 13 other men were listed as Yarmouth freeman in 1658. In 1676, Joseph was taxed 7 pounds, 11 shillings towards the late war. He served on a jury in 1681 and grand juries in 1661 and 1681. On 7 June 1665 Joseph was named constable of Yarmouth. On that same date he was appointed one of three people to lay out the 100 acres of land granted to William Nickerson at Monomoy/Chatham and nine other grantees.
On 6 March 1665/6 Thomas complained that Thomas Starr had opposed him and used threatening language against him in the execution of his office of Constable. Starr was found guilty by a jury and fined five pounds.
He served as a Selectman in Yarmouth beginning in 1666. At that time, the Selectmen would hear cases under 40 shillings, observe townspeople who do not attend public worship, provide for the poor, encourage enducation, as well as hear and determine difficulties between English and Indians about damage done to cornfields by cows, swine or other beasts.
On 30 June 1667 Thomas Howes signed a paper to the General Court in favor of the Rev. Thomas Thornton against an attack by Nicholas Nickerson. On 5 June 1671 he was appointed surveyor of highways and served again in 1672. In 1679 Joseph Howes and two others were appointed to collect the residue of the salary due the minister.
In February 1680 the town agreed that Joseph, Samuel and Jeremiah Howes would secure for the town all whales that cast up between Sawsuit Harbor mouth and Yarmouth Harbor, for four pounds a whale. To learn more about shore whaling, I recommend Cape Cod Shore Whaling: America's First Whalemen by John Braginton-Smith and Duncan Oliver.
|Image showing the use of a windlass to bring a whale on shore from above mentioned book|
Joseph was a cooper by trade, making him an important person in the village as he made the wooden barrels and buckets that stored so much of the colonists’ goods. I recently visited the Harlow Old Fort House in Plymouth and learned about the cooper’s work which was very interesting.
Joseph’s death is recorded in Yarmouth Vital Records: Mr. Joseph Howes Sr. of Yarmouth died upon the 19th day of Jan 1694/5 and was buried upon the 21st day of said Jan 1694/5. “Mr.” as a title was rarely used at that time, indicating he was a well-respected man. It is likely he is buried in an unmarked grave at the Howes Burial Ground in Dennis.
|Howes Burial Ground, Dennis, MA|
The will of Joseph Howes of Yarmouth was transcribed in the Mayflower Descendant. On 17 January, 1694/5, Joseph Howes, of Yarmouth, made his will. Bequests were as follows:
To "Son Samuel Howes all those Lands I have formerly given him as his Childs portion"
To "Son Joseph Howes all those Lands both upland and meddow which I have formerly given him as his Childs portion"
To "Son John Howes I do confirm all those Lands which formerly gave unto him both upland and meddow"
"To my other three Sons Nathaniel Thomas and Amos Howes I do give All ye Rest of my lands to be Equally divided between them .... with this provizo that if my Loving wife Elizabeth Shall have occasion for it Shee Shall have liberty during her widdow hood to make use of one third part of it and if Eather of these my three Sons Shall dy before they Come of Age Such part Shall be divided Equaly between all my Surviving Sons And as they come to ye Age of twenty one years So they Shall possess their part only Except as here after Excepted"
"To my Daughter Mary Hallett" 20 shillings "in houshold goods
"To my Daughter Elizabeth mirrick" 20 shillings "in houshold goods"
"To my Daughter Hannah Howse" £30, "to be paid her by my Executors on her marriage or at ye age of twenty one years"
To ever one of my Grand Children which I now have A Bibble to be paid them by my Executors Soone after my Death"
"I do give my house and home Stead Lands Chattels plate money and all other my Estate .... to .... wife Elizabeth .... During her widdowhood And If Shee Live and dye a widdow to be by her disposed to my Children as Shee Shall See meet but if Shee Shall marry againe .... then one third part of it to be her own proper Estate: and ye Rest to be Equally divided between all my Children
"wife Elizabeth" and "Son Joseph Howse" were appointed executors, and "my Loving brother Jeremiah Howse and John mayo to be overseers".
The witnesses were Jonathan Russell, Thomas Sturgis and John Paddock. "The Reveernd" Jonathan Russell, Thomas Sturgis and John Paddock made oath to the will, 7 February 1694/5.
The inventory was taken at Yarmouth, 30 January, 1694/5, by Joseph Hall and Samuel Eldred. The real estate was "the Dwelling house" £40; "the Barne" £30; "ye home Lott" £32; "the great field in ye Neck and ye meadow Adjoyning" £140; "ye Land and meadow at Simkinses Neck" £30; "meadow at Grays Beach 6 pounds and at South Sea 10 pound".
"ms Elizabeth Howse" made oath to the inventory, 7 February, 1694/5.
[p. 110] On 12 February, 1694/5, administration was granted to "ms Elizabeth Howse Relict of sd deceased And mr Joseph Howse Son of sd deceased"
Elizabeth Mayo Howes died 12 March 1700/01 and was buried 16 March. The will of widow Elizabeth Howes dated 7 Feb 1694/5, proved 1 April 1701, gave her dwelling house, barn and homestead to her sons Nathaniel, Thomas and Amos, and the rest of her estate to be divided between all her surviving children. She made her sons Samuel and Joseph executors. Inventory dated 26 March 1701, by her sons Lieut. Samuel Howes, Joseph Howes, Thomas Howes, and Amos Howes, amounted to 125 pounds 19s 10d in personal property. Items included:
One pair oxen 7 16 0
Other cattle 27 17 0
Four horses 5 15 0
16 sheep 6 10 0
8 swine 2 2 0
a silver cup 3 15 0
a gun 0 15 0
a cutlas 0 8 0
a rapier 0 6 0
a bible 0 5 0
other books 0 7 6
Sources Not Listed Above:
Robert Howes, Genealogy of the Howes Family in America, Descendants of Thomas Howes of Yarmouth, Mass., 1637-2004, 2006
Charles Swift, History of Old Yarmouth, 1884
Reid, Nancy Thacher, Dennis, Cape Cod from Firstcomers to Newcomers, 1639 – 1993, 1996
James Hawes, Thomas 1 Howes of Yarmouth, Mass., and Some of His Descendants, Together with the Rev. John Mayo, Allied to Him by Marriage, pamphlet in the series called Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, No. 31, 1917