About John Cann, Sr.
From: The Flagon and Trencher - Colonial Tavernkeepers, Volume IV
John Cann 1645-1694
Innkeeper, New Castle, Delaware
John Cann was born 1635-1645 in Bristol, England; died in Philadelphia, Pa. 2 May 1694. He married Mary (-). He emigrated to America on the Griffin in 1675.
John Cann is believed to have been the son of Sir Robert Cann (See notes), Mayor of Bristol, England, and his wife Diliverance Cann, daughter of John Cann, noted preacher, publisher and translator of the Bible.
The first record of John Cann in the colonies is on 21 November 1682 when he was granted a "lott of ground" in the town of New Castle.1 He was also a justice of the Peace2 and in 1684 was appointed the first Registrar of Wills in Delaware and became a member of the General Assembly.3 He also served on the Town Council of New Castle.
One reference to John Cann and his descendants4 states that he served on many juries, was commissionned a Provincial Judge in 1686 and served as such until his death. He appears to have been an important figure in the economic, judicial and political life of the colony. He was never a follower, but an aggressive leader. In official records he wa variously listed as Deputy Surveyor, Constable, planter, merchant, innkeeper and tailor.5
Cann is reputed to have owned some 900 acres of land. At the time of his death in 1694 an inventory of his estate listed a house and lot in New Castle, materials on the dock and a plantation in White Clay Creek, land which presently is known as the Delaware Park Racetrack.6
- Katherine Parkins Robison
- 1. Records of the Court of New Castle on Delaware, Vol. III, 1681-1699 (Colonial Society of Pennsylvania, 1935)
- 2. Ibid., 23, 165
- 3. History of Delaware, by Bevan and Williams. 1929. Vol. III: 214
- Inventory of the County Archives of Delaware, No. 1, New Castle County: 76 (Public Archives Commission, 1941)
- 4. Story of John Cann, by Cann & Eliason, 1967. 10, 12, 21
- 5 Ibid., 12
- 6 Ibid., 12
- Wills, Philadephia Administration Book A: 184 (cited in Claypoole Family in America, by Bracken, 1971. p. 23)