John Tilley and Joan Hurst brought their daughter Elizabeth on the Mayflower voyage, leaving their other four children behind. If they planned to send for the rest of them after they were settled, they never had the chance. Both John and Joan died during that first difficult winter in Plymouth, leaving young Elizabeth as an orphan in a strange land. John’s brother Edward Tilley was also a Mayflower passenger, dying in that first sickness that claimed so many lives.
The Tilleys were “saints,” having left England for Leiden for religious freedom years earlier. In Holland John was a silk weaver. They were originally from Henlow in Bedfordshire. John was born about 1571, the son of Robert and Elizabeth Tilley. Joan was born circa 1568, daughter of William and Rose Hurst. They were married at Henlow on 20 December 1596. Joan had married first Thomas Rogers, unrelated to the Mayflower passenger of the same name.
Caleb Johnson found that unlike most Mayflower families, the Tilleys and Hursts had significant land, social status and inheritances. See his article in The Mayflower Quarterly, Vol 76, No. 2, June 2010.
The Pilgrim John Howland Society has constructed a Shallop named after John and Joan's daughter Elizabeth Tilley Howland.
|Shallop Elizabeth Tilley|
The society's Elizabeth Tilley Mission Statement:
To provide outreach and education on John Howland, maritime history, and the Pilgrim story throughout New England. To allow people to experience "living history" when they sail on the Elizabeth Tilley. To be an ambassador to other Mayflower families and the general public for increased knowledge of the 1620's.
I descend through Elizabeth Tilley and John Howland. I posted my line of descent on Monday's post, which can be seen here: http://massandmoregenealogy.blogspot.com/2011/07/mayflower-ancestors-pt-5-john-howland.html.