John "the Mariner" Wood, of Portsmouth (c.1590 - 1655) MP

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Nicknames: "Capt. John Wood"
Birthplace: Southwark, London or , Mitcham, Surrey, England
Death: Died in Portsmouth, Newport, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Occupation: Captain, Mariner
Managed by: Rachel Niebergal
Last Updated:

About John "the Mariner" Wood, of Portsmouth

John "Mariner" Wood

  • Birth: Circa 1590 - England
  • Death: Mar 1655 - Portsmouth, RI
  • Parents: Henry Wood, Margaret Dynnes
  • Wife: Margaret Carter,iElizabeth Hall

brief biography

He was the Masters Mate, or possibly Captain, of the Ship "Bacheler" according to a letter written about 1636 by Governor John Winthrop [2] p. 2. This letter also mentions John Wood’s sons Frederick and George by name. Winthrop placed a high degree of confidence in this family even though they had suffered from a previous ill fated voyage. In [2] p. 3 we find a 1637 letter transcript from Francis Kirby about John Wood, Masters Mate of the Ship "Hector"

John Wood had considerable dealings with land on or near New York (New Amsterdam). Clark [2] p. 4-7 details the reasons that she believes John’s wife Margaret and son Frederick died in the NY Maspeth Massacre of 1643 [6]. John also had considerable dealings with both Winthrop Governors and was favorably dealt with [2] p. 6.

Clark [2] p. 9 shows a letter transcript from John Wood to Mrs. Elizabeth Winthrop (probably the 2nd wife of Adam Winthrop). John takes considerable attention to explain and apologize on prices of goods, but mentions purchases he has made at her request.

In the N.E.H.G. Register [11] p. 60-61, there is a reference to an interesting petition by Jane Armitage of Lynn, to the Mass. Court. This petition was signed by a number of her fellow citizens including John Wood and Nicholas Browne, and is dated 26 Oct. 1643.

Of particular note is the daughter "Manchester". This is such an unusual name that we can very firmly connect Manchester Wood, her marriage to Samuel Jennings and also her connection to her father John Wood through the various documents of property transfer cited by Clark [2]. Also of curious interest is that John Wood had a daughter "Susannah" by each of his wives. This is sorted out by Clarke [2] p. 14 "John Wood had a daughter Susanna by each of his wives. The younger Susanna was probably born at about the time the older one was married. We have shown from Hugh Parson’s promissory note that Elizabeth’s daughter Susannah had married Josiah England, son of William, before 17 May 1675 – probably considerably before".

I believe that this firmly establishes the genealogy of John Wood the Mariner as being separate form the various John Wood/Atwood persons in the eastern Massachusetts area during the 1620 - 1655 time period. John Wood the Mariner had a son also named John who might be confused with other persons of the same name so I will endeavor to better establish his particular life.

Probate

On Mar 17 1655, the town council chose appraisers on his estate (he having died in intestate) viz: John Coggeshall, Thomas Cornell, Jr, James Babcock and William Hall. Inventory 130 pounds, viz: Land 45 pounds, In widow hands 50 pounds, In Thomas Wood's hands 20 pounds, Goods and Cattle 15 pounds. The council disposed of estate as follows.

  • To John Wood Jr, land in his present possession, he paying his sister Manchester 8 pounds.
  • To Thomas Wood, the land that was his father's.
  • Apr 1655, Being requested by the widow of John Wood(e), of Portsmouth, and the Wood(es) children, John Wood(s), Thomas son William, to take an inventory of his goods, the sons before named choose their mother, the late wife of their father John Wood, as administratix. She hath given unto his daughter Manchester a "ewe gotte" and to his son (in-law) Samuel Jennings a "ewe kid." John is to have land in his possession. Thomas to have the 40 acres next to Robert Spinkes' land. William to have the lands and house. John, Thomas and William are each to give to their sister Manchester, a "ewe goote."

Mar 17 1655 Inventory taken

========================================

JOHN WOOD OF PORTSMOUTH

And Some Clarifications About This Line

Also includes NEW 4 Sep 03 article "Ancestry of John Wood "Mariner"

By Larry Crandall-Wood

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The purpose of this article is to publish new research on the Descendents of John Wood of Portsmouth and to point out a few misconceptions about this line. The very early colonial period in the Massachusetts Bay colony kept few records and what we know about those times are largely from the diaries of such persons as Governors John Winthrop, both father and son, William Bradford and a few legal documents such as wills and land deeds. The science of genealogy largely relies on "Primary Source Documents", such as legal and civil records and sadly for the period from the Mayflower landing on 11 November 1620 to about 1700 life was so hard for these pioneers that our genealogy need for records far exceeds the availability of authentic records. To piece together many of the family histories for this era much work has been done but also many false starts and wrong turns have been made. The Wood family of this time and place is a very typical example of some early information being distributed which is now known to be in error. Once information is issued it becomes very difficult to correct family genealogies, but perhaps what follows will help prevent future researchers from repeating past mistakes.

The WOOD surname is about thirteenth on the list of most popular English names, just after SMITH and JONES, consequently there were and still are, many unrelated family groups. I will only focus on one WOOD family here and try to show where facts have gotten confused.

It is of historical note that some parts of Rhode Island such as Little Compton in Newport County were still part of Massachusetts until as late as 1747. Because of this many of these early records are still to be found among Massachusetts document repositories. Many researchers have missed valuable documents by not searching in the right place and this situation probably contributes to the current confusion on this time and place.

John Wood of Portsmouth Rhode Island and his descendents are the subject of this discussion. John Wood of Portsmouth is also known as John Wood "The Mariner" because of work done by both Bertha Winifred Clark and Dorothy Wood Ewers, Ph.D. Ewers [1] was a most careful genealogist documenting all of her work very meticulously. This is very evident in her many, although rare, books and her additional contribution as editor of Bertha W. Clarks’s definitive work on this Wood family. Bertha Clark’s work [2] was published posthumously by the efforts of Dr. Ewers, mostly because of their many years of close working relationships on this Wood family. I will refer to the Ewers and Clark conclusions in detail later in this article.

What we know about this John Wood follows:

John WOOD the Mariner was probably born about 1590-1600 in England, died Mar 1655 Portsmouth, RI [1] p. 16-17, parents unknown. Clark [2] p. 55 states "…From these circumstances we judge that our Woods, who came to America from London, were of Gloucestershire before going to London, and from the Bristol area. In the parish records of the towns just north of Bristol, and not over twenty-five miles from that city, we found Wood often spelled as Whood". Clark [2] further surmises that John was related to a Richard Wood, husband of Ruth Brock, from Gloucester. I have found in Waters [3] p. 159-164 an Anthony Wood (London England, Mariner) who had a brother John Wood. Anthony’s wife was Martha Rainborowe (born 23 Sep 1589), related to the Maritime Rainborowe family, who also had dealings with the Winthrop expedition. These possible connections are a fertile subject for future research.

1st marriage was probably on 28 Jan 1610/11 at St Savior’s in Southwark Eng. to Margaret CARTER [2] p. 2 & 11 [4].

2nd marriage to Elizabeth (Possibly HALL) [1][5] p. 778. Clark [2] p. 6 says 1st wife Margaret may have died in the Long Island NY 1643 Maspeth Massacre [6].

Children of John Wood the Mariner and Margaret:

i ? Frederick WOOD (If he existed, he was not alive in 1655) Clark [2] p. 6 says he may have died in the 1643 Maspeth Massacre. [6]

ii George WOOD born about 1614-18, died 1664 [2] p. 106 "due to witchcraft" m. at Saybrook CT in 1660 1st married Unknown 2nd married Ann,; who 2nd married Henry ROGERS [2] p. 16, after George died.

iii John WOOD Jr. born 1620 died 26 Aug 1704 "age 84" [7] 1st married Unknown in England 2nd married Anna 3rd married Mary PEABODY born 1639 or 1641 died 24 Jan 1719 "age 78" [7] in Middletown RI, daughter of John PEABODY of Newport RI [8]

iv Thomas WOOD Col. (King Phillip’s War British Service 1675-1676), born 1638, died 1703/4 Freeman of Portsmouth 1658 1st married Unk 2nd married Unk 3rd married Rebecca [2] p. 33-38

v William WOOD born about 1634 [2] p. 41 died 1695/6 1st married Martha EARLE daughter of Ralph EARLE and Joan SAVAGE (William’s will was will dated 1689 [2] p. 44). 2nd married Elizabeth, Widow of SMITH

vi Margaret WOOD born Unknown died 1693 married about 1649 [2] p. 13 to Thomas MANCHESTER

vii Manchester WOOD born unknown married 1655 to Samuel JENNINGS, freeman [9] p. 230-231

viii Susannah WOOD [5] p. 778 born about 1622 married about 1647 to Samuel JENNEY [2] p. 13. Samuel died 23 Mar 1670.

Children of John WOOD and 2nd wife Elizabeth (Possibly HALL)

ix Susannah WOOD born about 1647 died 1684 married 1st Josiah ENGLAND 2nd married on 3 Dec 1677 Ephriam CARTER [2] p. 14-15. Clark [2] p. 15 believes that Josiah ENGLAND and Ephriam's 1st wife were killed in King Phillip's War (1675-1676).

x Elizabeth WOOD married about 1672 [2] p. 16 to Isaac DOTY

Note: Many texts erroneously report Henry Wood who married Abigail Jenny as the son of John Wood the Mariner. Williams [10] p. 13 has Henry correctly reported as being Henry Alias Atwood of Middleborough (Plymouth).

Other things we know about John Wood the Mariner:

He was the Masters Mate, or possibly Captain, of the Ship "Bacheler" according to a letter written about 1636 by Governor John Winthrop [2] p. 2. This letter also mentions John Wood’s sons Frederick and George by name. Winthrop placed a high degree of confidence in this family even though they had suffered from a previous ill fated voyage. In [2] p. 3 we find a 1637 letter transcript from Francis Kirby about John Wood, Masters Mate of the Ship "Hector"

John Wood had considerable dealings with land on or near New York (New Amsterdam). Clark [2] p. 4-7 details the reasons that she believes John’s wife Margaret and son Frederick died in the NY Maspeth Massacre of 1643 [6]. John also had considerable dealings with both Winthrop Governors and was favorably dealt with [2] p. 6.

Clark [2] p. 9 shows a letter transcript from John Wood to Mrs. Elizabeth Winthrop (probably the 2nd wife of Adam Winthrop). John takes considerable attention to explain and apologize on prices of goods, but mentions purchases he has made at her request.

In the N.E.H.G. Register [11] p. 60-61, there is a reference to an interesting petition by Jane Armitage of Lynn, to the Mass. Court. This petition was signed by a number of her fellow citizens including John Wood and Nicholas Browne, and is dated 26 Oct. 1643.

This particular John Wood "the Mariner" has often been confused with 2 other John Wood persons in the early 1600s in New England. It is quite certain that he was NOT the John Wood who arrived in the Hopewell in 1635, with William Wood and Elizabeth Wood, Clark [2] p. 1. Nor was he the John Wood who came with Mr. Hull in 1633 [2] p. 1. Clark [2] makes the excellent point about how both of these are far to young to have had a son born in 1620.

Also confusing are the accounts in publications about John Wood Alias Atwood. These are also NOT our John Wood the Mariner as a very detailed explanation is provided by Williams [12]. Williams [12] p. 138 defines John Wood Alias Atwood as the husband of Sarah Masterson and he having died in Plymouth MA between 22 Nov 1675 and 7 Mar 1675/6 (will and probate). Williams [11] takes a rather critical view of the sources for both John Wood Alias Atwood and the other John Atwood (who married Ann) and who died between 20 Oct 1643 and 5 June 1644 (will & probate).

Since John Alias Atwood’s 1675 will left his entire estate to "wife Sarah" in Plymouth we can safely conclude that this was not our "Mariner". And since John Wood the Mariner is alive and well, living in the Portsmouth area after the death of the second "Atwood" we must assume that they too were different persons. Clark [2] p. 9 offers:

John Wood was a member of the town council of Portsmouth, Jan. 10, 1648.

He was sued by John Richman for trespass on June 7, 1643, in Newport, RI and in the settlement of his estate in 1655, it mentions "Elizabeth Wood, the late wife of the deceased shall be sole executrix." Elizabeth Wood the widow is called mother-in-law (step-mother) to George Wood, the eldest son. Susanna and Elizabeth were "the young children" the widow was to bring up and were perhaps the only children by her.

On Mar. 17, 1655, the town council chose appraisers on his estate (he having died intestate) viz.: John Coggeshall, Thomas Cornell, Jr., James Babcock and William Hall. Inventory 130 pounds, viz.: Land 45 pounds, In widow hand 50 pounds, In Thomas Wood’s hands 20 pounds, Goods and Cattle 15 pounds. The council disposed of estate as follows: To John Wood (Jr.), land in his present possession, he paying his sister Manchester 8 pounds. To Thomas Wood, the land that was his father’s.

Apr. 1655, Being requested by the widow of John Wood(e), of Portsmouth, and the Wood(es) children, John Wood(s), Thomas and William, to take an inventory of his goods, the sons before named choose their mother, the late wife of their father John Wood, as administratrix. She hath given unto his daughter Manchester a "ewe gotte" and to his son (in-law) Samuel Jennings a "ewe kid." John is to have land in his possession. Thomas to have the 40 acres next to Robert Spinkes’ land. William to have the lands and house. John, Thomas and William are each to give to their sister Manchester, a "ewe goote."

Of particular note is the daughter "Manchester". This is such an unusual name that we can very firmly connect Manchester Wood, her marriage to Samuel Jennings and also her connection to her father John Wood through the various documents of property transfer cited by Clark [2]. Also of curious interest is that John Wood had a daughter "Susannah" by each of his wives. This is sorted out by Clarke [2] p. 14 "John Wood had a daughter Susanna by each of his wives. The younger Susanna was probably born at about the time the older one was married. We have shown from Hugh Parson’s promissory note that Elizabeth’s daughter Susannah had married Josiah England, son of William, before 17 May 1675 – probably considerably before".

I believe that this firmly establishes the genealogy of John Wood the Mariner as being separate form the various John Wood/Atwood persons in the eastern Massachusetts area during the 1620 - 1655 time period. John Wood the Mariner had a son also named John who might be confused with other persons of the same name so I will endeavor to better establish his particular life.

view all 14

John Wood, of Portsmouth's Timeline

1590
1590
Mitcham, Surrey, England
1610
January 28, 1610
Age 20
Saint Saviour's, Southwark, London, England
1618
1618
Age 28
Stratford, On-Avon, Warwick, England
1620
1620
Age 30
Southwark, Surrey , England
1620
Age 30
London, Middlesex, , England
1633
1633
Age 43
Portsmouth, New Port, Rhode Island, United States
1634
July 1, 1634
Age 44
Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island
1640
1640
Age 50
England, Newport, Rhode Island, USA
1647
1647
Age 57
Portsmouth, Newport , Rhode Island
1655
March 17, 1655
Age 65
Portsmouth, Newport, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations