John Allin (1623 - 1715) MP

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Nicknames: "John Allen"
Birthplace: Denton, Wrentham, Suffolk, England
Death: Died in Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey
Occupation: Minister, physician, alchemist
Managed by: Erica Isabel Howton, (c)
Last Updated:

About John Allin

The Chymical Cleric: John Allin, Puritan Alchemist

John Allin, the son of John Allin of Wrentham, Suffolk (c1605-1671) and his wife Margaret (died 1653), was born on 13 October 1623. His father, who was a puritan, left England for New England in 1636 and was appointed minister of Dedham, Massachusetts in 1638. John graduated from Harvard in 1643 and subsequently returned to England; he was presented to the vicarage of Rye in 1653 but was ejected in 1662 under the terms of the Act of Uniformity. His wife had already died by 1662 leaving three children - John, Elizabeth and Hannah.

John Allin was ejected as Rye’s vicar after the restoration of Charles II and the Act of Uniformity because he was a Dissenter so moved to London where he practiced medicine and pursued the dream of an alchemist to discover ‘the philosopher’s stone’ (by transmutation of metals to gold).

Allin, like Jeake, was an astrologer, and their correspondence contains "accounts of those blazing stars which were looked upon as so ominous."

From Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University: In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Volume 1 (Google eBook) Massachusetts Historical Society, 1873. Page 93:

Until the middle of the nineteenth century all efforts of modern inquirers to trace Allin after he graduated were unsuccessful. The discovery of his manuscript letters, and the investigations by Cooper and Lamson, as seen by the extracts which have been made, bring his history down till after the plague, but fail to follow it further. From documents recently brought to light, however, it appears that he returned to America.

In a letter to Jeake, dated London, 11 May, 1680, Allin's son John says: "My ffather was gone a weeke before I came, and I have heard nothing of him since." It appears from Whitehead, that previously to this the settlers of Woodbridge, in New Jersey, after numerous unsuccessful attempts to obtain a minister, had "turned their eyes towards England.

January 1, 1681, the records say: "We the freeholders and Inhabitants of Woodbridge (New Jersey) having sent to England to have an honest, able, godly minister to Come over to vs to preach the word of God sinserly and faithfully — And Mr. John Alin by the providence of God being for that End Come amongst vs, and we having had Sum Experience of his good Abilities: are willing and doe hereby make Choise of him to be our Minister and desire to put ourselfs under his ministry According to the Rules of the Gospel." February 13 he was admitted a freeholder, and a houselot of ten acres was granted him. March 10, Seth Fletcher, of Elizabeth Town, was visited by "Mr Allen." May 24, 1681, Abraham Pierson writes to Increase Mather a letter, in which he introduces "the bearer hereof, Mr. John Allin, son to Mr. Allin of Deadham disceased, whom the Lord in great pity and mercy sent ouer from England the last summer, to our neighbours att Woodbridge, in this Prouince, who sent to England for supply. The Lord hath graciously looked on the condition of that people, and sent a man to them who doth industriously seek their eternal welfare. ...

"In September, 1682, a request was directed to be presented to the Governor and Council to induct" Allin formally into office, "in order that all the immunities of the station might devolve upon him." After this the records contain no allusion to him or to the meetinghouse till January, 1686, when, or before, his ministry must have terminated, as a committee was then chosen to negotiate with Archibald Riddell to preach. He subsequently, however, appears on the records as a resident of the town. He died before the close of the century, but when or where I have not ascertained.

The Reverend George Clark Lucas, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Woodbridge, writes: "After a careful examination of the Inscriptions in the two Burying Grounds, I am unable to find his name, and the inference is that he was not buried here."

From First Presbyterian Church of Woodbridge Retired 1685. Died Jan 19, 1715. Married 3rd wife, Deliverance Potter, Oct 24, 1707, by Pastor Nathaniel Wade. 2 sons, 2 daughters.

Notes

"Rev. John Allin was a widower when he left Rye, but we have no information relative to his wife's death, or his marriage. Her maiden name was Smith; for he mentions his brother Peter Smith "at y? Sword-in-hand Cornehill," London, who died of the Plague in 1665; also, his " sister Elizabeth ffowler of Woolwich," who, in 1630, was residing in Throgmorton Street, and who, I take to be his wife's sister. By his wife he had three children, John, Elisabeth, and Hannah, whom he left at Rye under the care of friends, and who became a source of affectionate anxiety to him during his exile. "I am afflicted," he writes, in respect of them, "especially since my brother Peter's death, who had some Trust reposed in him, about 200", to be given my children by my father Smith's Will, which now what will come of it I know not." Later again, he is trying to find some place for his daughter Hannah; "my ayme is for a sempstresse, by which it may please God shee may hereafter obtaine a livelyhood;" he would, moreover, writing to Mr. Fryth, have them "religiously as well as handsomely brought up;" and alludes to his cousin in Suffolk, "who is studying to doe mee and mine further good; he hath at present sent me 30"" Of this cousin I can give no further account, nor of the ultimate fate of his children."

Bibliography

  1. See Dr T M W Smart 'A notice of Rev John Allin, Vicar of Rye, AD 1653-1662; an ejected minister' SAC 31 123-156 (1881). Many of the letters were printed by William Durrant Cooper 'Notices of the last Great Plague, 1665-6, from the letters of John Allin, &c, in a letter of Sir Henry Ellis' Archaeologia 37.

Sources 

  1. History First Presbyterian Church, Woodbridge, New Jersey 300th Anniversary May 25, 1975 (1975). Page 7. "Some time in 1685 the good Mr. Allin severed connections with the Woodbridge congregation. Perhaps his health suffered; the records do not say. He was married 3 times; his last wife was Deliverance Potter."
  2. http://www.chemheritage.org/about/contact-us/staff-and-scholars/beckman-center-for-the-history-of-chemistry/donna-bilak.aspx Bilak’s dissertation, “The Chymical Cleric: John Allin, Puritan Alchemist in England and America (1623–1683),” examines the life and times of an unknown Harvard-educated Puritan minister, physician, and alchemist who operated on both sides of the Atlantic.
  3. England's Culture Wars: Puritan Reformation and Its Enemies in the ... By B. S. Capp. Page 232. "John Allin, vicar of Rye from 1653, had grown up in Puritan New England ... he was recruited through the agency of the town's MP, William Hay."
  4. Sussex Archaeological Collections Relating to the History and Antiquities of the County, Volume 31 (Google eBook) Sussex Archaeological Society., 1881 - Archaeology.  "A NOTICE OF REV, JOHN ALLIN, VICAR OF RYE, A.D. 1653-1662; AN EJECTED MINISTER. By Dr. T. WM. WAKE SMART. 1880."
  5. Memorials of the graduates of Harvard university, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, commencing with the first class, MDCXLII. By John Farmer ... Published: Concord, N.H., Marsh, Capen and Lyon, 1833. "John Allin"
  6. Allen, William F. "Rev. John Allen, or Allin, The First Minister of Dedham", in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society), pp. 41:68-9. Scheme of Nativity at Wrentham found in Sussex Archaeological Collections, Vol. 31: "Joannes, filius Joannis et Margareta Allin, nates est apud Wrentham, Suffolciae Oct. 13o, 15h. 14'. 00. 36'. p.m. Anno 1623". Baptism in Parish Register of Wrentham: "John Allen, son of Mr. John Allen of Denton and Margaret his wife", Oct. 24, 1623.
  7. Sketch of Rev. John Allin of Dedham, Mass.
  8. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J3NC-7Q5 : accessed 16 Jan 2014), John Allen, 24 Oct 1623.
  9. ARCHIVE OF THE FREWEN FAMILY OF BRICKWALL IN NORTHIAM Letters from the Rev John Allin to Dr Philip Frith and Samuel Jeake, both of Rye 
  10. The Chymical Club: John Allin, Samuel Jeake, Philip Frith and the Pursuit of Alchemy in 17th century Rye and London by  Donna Bilak:
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Rev. John Allin, of Rye & Woodbridge's Timeline

1623
October 13, 1623
Wrentham, Suffolk, England
October 24, 1623
Wrentham, Suffolk, England
1707
January 24, 1707
Age 83
1708
1708
Age 84
Woodbridge Township, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States
1715
January 19, 1715
Age 91
Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey
????
Rye, East Sussex, England
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Rye, East Sussex, England
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Rye, East Sussex, England
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