"Elder" John Bowles

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John Bowles

Birthdate: (65)
Birthplace: Perhaps, Louth, Lincolnshire , England
Death: September 21, 1680 (61-69)
Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts (Run over by a cartwheel)
Immediate Family:

Husband of Dorothy Bowles; Elizabeth Anne Bowles and Sarah Bowles
Father of Isaac Bowles; Elizabeth White; Mary Gardner and John Bowles

Occupation: Elder in the church of Roxbury, 1640. One of the founders of the Roxbury Free School. Member of the Artillery Company.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About "Elder" John Bowles

Generation One

1. John Bowles; b. at England; m. Dorothy; 1st wife; m. Elizabeth Heath, daughter of Isaac Heath and Elizabeth Miller, 2 Apr 1650 at Roxbury, MA; 2nd wife; m. Sarah; 3rd wife; d. 1680; bur. 7mo 24 1680.

He was an Elder. He resided in 1639 at Roxbury, MA. He left a will on 22 Aug 1680; proven 5 Oct 1680.


John was in Roxbury in 1639, freeman 13 May 1640, ar. co. 1645, and ruling elder. He was killed by a cartwheel running over him.

Dorothy died on 3 Nov 1649; smallpox.

Elizabeth Heath was baptized on 7 Feb 1629/30 at Ware, Hertfordshire, England. She immigrated in 1635 to Roxbury, MA; ship 'Hopewell.' She died on 6 Jul 1655 at Roxbury, MA, at age 25.

Known children of John Bowles and Elizabeth Heath were as follows:

  1. Elizabeth Bowles, bap. 2 Jun 1651; m. Lt. John White.
  2. Isaac Bowles; baptized 18 Apr 1652 at Roxbury, MA; d. 3 Sep 1652.
  3. John Bowles; baptized 27 Jun 1653 at Roxbury, MA; m. Sarah Eliot, daughter of Rev. John Eliot, 16 Nov 1681; d. 1691. He was graduated in 1671 at Harvard College, Cambridge, MA. He was Speaker of the House in 1690.
  4. Mary Bowles; baptized 20 Apr 1655 at Roxbury, MA; b. 20 Apr 1655; m. Thomas Gardener Nov 1673.

Biographical notes

From The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 2  By Henry Fritz-Gilbert Waters. Page 193. "Bowles"

Mr. John Bowles, his grandfather, was an inhabitant of Roxbury before 1640» The Apostle Eliot says that in "1649, Nov. 3, our sister, ["Mrs. Dorothy "] Bowles, the wife of John Bowles dyed."

He was one of the founders of the "free schools in Roxburie," which was created "Out of their religious care of posteritie, in consideration how necessarie the Education of theire children in literature will be to fitt them for publicke service both in church and Commonwealthe in succeeding ages."| He was a member of the Artillery Company, in 1645.

His second wife was probably Elizabeth Heath. The Apostle Eliot incidentally records her death, thus. "1655, In the beginning of y' 5th moneth, God sent an Epidemical Sickness and faintness: few escaped, many were very sicke, several dyed, as Elizabeth Bowles* in our town, Mr. Rogers of Ipswich the Reverend Pastor there, Mr. Samuel Eaton, and his wife (late Mrs. Haines.)" And on the 7th of the same month he records the burial of "Elizabeth Bowles, daughter to Elder Heath."

  • Register, Vol II, p. 53. t Roxbury Church Records. t Town Records.

BOWLES, JOHN, is the first of the name found in this country; the exact time he came is not found; he with his wife Dorothy, were admitted to the church in Roxbury, in 1640, probably soon after they went to Roxbury. He had much to do with the free school at Roxbury, and one of its founders. The family refer back in Englan'd, to the 14th century, to find their ancestors, to Swineshead and Hough, in Lincolnshire, and to Oldfield Bowles, of North Aston, who m. Gertrude, daughter of Sir Richard Bamfylde, in 1768, for his 1st wife, and a daughter of Sir Ab’m Elton, Bart. of Cleardon Court Somerset, for his 2d wife, &c. This may be so, and John Bowles, of Roxbury, a descendant of the same family. He proved one of the best early settlers in Mass., as have many of his descendants since. He appears to have had no children by his wife Dorothy, she d. in 1649, and he soon after m. Eliz’th Heath, and had issue, Elizabeth, b. June 2, 1651; Isaac, b. 1652; John, b. June, 1653; and Mary, 1655; his 2d wife d. in 1665.

Farmer says “John Bowles, Roxbury, (Mass.,) freeman 1640; member of the ar. co., 1645. The name appears to be Bowelis in the Col. Records (of Mass.) John, perhaps son of John, graduated at H. C., 1671Representative, 1689_Speaker of the H. Rep., 1690, and d. 1691.”

origin notes

Bowles has twelve coats of arms in England.

Bolle alias Bolles, (originally of Belle Hall, and subsequently of Hough, Co. Lincoln: from this family derived the Bolles of Scampton, extinct Baronets, and the Bolles of Thorpe Hall, whose co-heirs were Elizabeth Bolle, wife of Rev. Thomas Bosvile, Rector of Ufford, and Sarah, m. to Henry Eyre, of Brnmly Hall.) “ Az. out of three cups or. as many boars’ heads couped ar. Cresl—-A demi boar wounded in the breast with a broken spear.”

There is also a different coat of arms. (Worthin co. Suffolk; granted in 1528.) (John Bur/c's Heraldry.) Bowles or Boles, one coat of arms. There is also one for Booles, Bolles or Bowles. (Suffolk and Staffordshire.)

DNA notes

From Bowles DNA Project

Surname Variants: Boals, Boales, Boles, Bolles, Bolls, Booles, Boules, Bowles, Bowls, Boyle, Bolds

The Bowles DNA Family Tree lists three distinct halpotypes for this family name: the majority are R1b1, the descendants of one family from Virginia are J2e1, the descendants of another family from Virginia are I. The Bowles family supposedly came to England with the Norman Conquest: servants of the king responsible for serving food and drink (Bowl-man).


  1. The Pioneers of Massachusetts: A Descriptive List, Drawn from Records of the .. By Charles Henry Pope. Page 61
  2. A Catalogue of the Names of the Early Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut: With the Time of Their Arrival in the Country and Colony, Their Standing in Society, Place of Residence, Condition in Life, where From, Business, Etc. as Far as is Found on Record (Google eBook) Royal Ralph Hinman Higginson Book Company, 1852 - Connecticut - 884 pages.  Page 282


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"Elder" John Bowles's Timeline

Louth, Lincolnshire , England
February 3, 1651
Age 36
April 18, 1652
Age 37
Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts
June 27, 1653
Age 38
Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts
April 20, 1655
Age 40
Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts
September 21, 1680
Age 65
Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts
September 24, 1680
Age 65