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John Sayles

Also Known As: "Jan", "Celes", "Seals", "Sales"
Birthdate: (43)
Birthplace: St. Peter's Parish, Suffolk, England
Death: circa August 1645 (39-47)
New Amsterstam, New Netherlands
Immediate Family:

Son of John "James" Sayles and Ellyn Seals
Husband of Maria Philippa Sayles
Father of Femmetje 'Phebe' Jans Seals; John Sayles, II; Richard Sayles and Sarah Seals

Occupation: Planter
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Sayles

Immigrated in 1630



1). bobspu.ged

Came to New Netherlands from Massachusetts in 1638. He farmed on Manhattan Island, on the present Canal Street, extending along the river to Charlton Street. John Seales was from Little Waldingfield, Suffolk, according to the author, Gwen F. Epperson of 3349 South 350 Street, West Bountiful, Utah 84010 from parish register of Little Waldingfield, Suffolk. Charleston, Massachusetts Town records Vol. 2 1629 1661 compiled by John Green reveal info on the life of John Sales. Marriage records of John and daughters Phoebe and Sarah have names all spelled Sales.

In 1632, John Sales was openly punished for stealing corn from his neighbors during a time of great want (likely means whipped in public).

1 Apr 1633 John Sayles sic convicted of taking fish and corn from neighbors, also clapboards, was whipped and bound as a servant for 3 years until 1647 and his dau Phebe sic (only 7 years old) bound with Mr. C. for 14 yrs. until 1647 and she was to receive a calf at the end of her period of being bound.

4 Mar 1633 34 John Sales ordered by the court to be severely whipt sic for running away from his maister, M. Coxeall. Another account says John Seals ran to to the Indians but came home again on 30 Jan 1634 5 died of the pox.

6 June 1637 Phebe Seals free from Jn. Cogshall. There is an account of John Coggeall of Boston saying that said girle hath proved over burthensome to him . John C. thus gave her Phoebe to John Levis of Roxberry to be kept. The courts then set down an order for disposing of the said Phebe.

After this date above there is no mention of John or Phebe in Mass.

In 1638 John Sales surfaces in New Netherland. Apparently there were a number of runaways fleeing to the more liberal Dutch settlements, from the Puritans in Mass. The mention of John is Jan Celes

Seals, an Englishman, received a lease ...about this time 1638 to occupy a plantation lying north of the later Rutgers Swamp....this land became very well known as Old Jan's land. After Old Jan s death, Tonis Nyssen received a grant of the tract on 3 Apr 1647

Source Richard Cline Mar 1998


Note: John, his wife Philipa and their daughter Phoebe came to America as freemen with The Winthrop Fleet to settle the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They were in the textile business before they left England and when they finally got to Rhode Island, they started a textile business there. In Saylesville, RI, there are still some old mills which say "Sayles Textile Mills". In Pawtucket is the Deborah Cook Sayles Library which has a whole room, from floor to ceiling, dedicated to the Sayles family.

Gwenn F. Epperson, in an article written in 1992, writes that JOHN SEALES was from Little Waldingfield, Suffolk, England. His marriage is recorded there in the parish register; on 11 Aug 1625 he married PHILLIPA (unknown). He appears in the records of Charlestown, MA, in 1630. In 1632, he was punished for stealing corn from his neighbors during a time of "great want". In 1633, he was convicted for stealing corn, fish and clapboards; and was whipped and bound as a servant for 3 years. His daughter, Phoebe, was bound for 14 years until she was 21 years of age. In 1637, Mr. Cogshall freed Phoebe because "said girle hath proved over burthensome to him." She was then bound to John Levins of Roxbury MA. After this date, John and his daughter no longer appear in the records of Massachusetts.

By 1638, John appears in the records of New Netherlands. He married as his second wife Mary Roberts. He left a will dated 17 Apr 1645.


Children of JOHN SEALES and PHILLIPA (unknown): Children bp at Little Waldingfield Suffolk England;

1. PHOEBE/FEMMETJE bp 11 Aug 1626; died about 13 Dec 1666 Flatbush NY; married (1) 11 Feb 1640 TEUNIS DENYS born about 1615 Binnick Utrecht Holland; died before 24 Aug 1663; married (2) 24 Aug 1663 Jan Cornelisen Buys alias Jan Damen.


JOHN SAYLES, the progenitor of a noteworthy Rhode Island family, was born in Manchester, England, in 15--, and came to this country in 1635, in his own vessel, with his wife, two sons and several daughters. They first settled at Portsmouth, R. I. [Thayer and Burton Ancestry, p. 97].

Also called Jan Celes per early Dutch records. John Sales was born circa 1585 in Devon, England.

He was the son of John Sayles and Mary. He married Phillipe Soales, daughter of Jamys Sole and Ellyn Bell, on 11 August 1625 in Little Waldingfield, Suffolk, England.

He immigrated to Salem, Massachusetts, arriving circa July 1630; He arrived with the Winthrop Fleet of 1630, sailing with his wife, and daughter Phoebe. Of Lavenham, Suffolk, settling in Charlestown. He was admitted as an inhabitant of Charlestown after July 1630 in Massachusetts. He lived between 1630 and 1638 in Charlestown, Massachusettes. He was admitted to Boston church as member #21 in 1630 in Fall, Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1632 there "happened in this town [Charlestown] the first known thief that was notoriously observed in the country, his name was John Sales who having stolen corn from many people in this scarce time was convicted thereof before the Court, & openly punished, & all he had by law condemned & sold to make restitution."

He relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1633.

He was convicted of "feloniously taking away corn & fish from diverse persons the last year & this, as also clapboards, &c., is censured by the Court after this manner: That all his estate shall be forfeited, out of which double restitution shall be made to those whom he hath wronged, shall be whipped, & bound as servant with any that will retain him for 3 years, & after to be disposed of by the Court as they shall think meet. John Sayle is bound with Mr. Coxeshall for 3 years, for which he is to give him œ4 per annum; his daughter is also bound with him for 14 years.

Mr. Coxeshall is to have a sow with her, & at the end of her time he is to give unto her a cow calf" on 1 April 1633 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He was not appearing on the list in Charlestown on 9 January 1633/34.

He was "severely whipped," by court order, "for running from his master, Mr. Coxeall" on 4 March 1633/34 in Massachusetts. It was "referred to Mr. Treasurer [William Coddington] & Mr. Pynchon to examine & prepare the business betwixt Mr. Coxeall, Sayles his daughter, & John Levens."

He relocated to New Amsterdam, New Netherlands, in 1638. He married Maria Roberts on 21 August 1644 in New Amsterdam, Kings County, New York; Her 2nd (widow).

[Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, CD-ROM (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2000), "John Sayles."].

He left a will on 17 April 1645; In his nuncupative will, dated 17 April 1645 [NS], "Jan Celes ... being wounded and lying sick abed" bequeathed half his estate to "Tonis Nysen, his brother-in-law" and half to "his wife Marritjen Roberts"; his wife's share was for life only, then to revert to "Tonis Nysen or his children or heirs." Brother-in-law more properly son-in-law, which Thunis was [F.G.B.S. John Reynolds Totten, "Jan Cornelius Buys (alias Jan Damen) and His Three Wives," in Genealogies of Long Island Families, From the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volume I, Albertson-Polhemius, Henry B. Hoff (selections and introductions), editor. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1987), pg. 286 and Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, The Great Migration Begins, under JOHN SALES].

He died between 17 April 1645 and 9 August 1645 in New Amsterdam, New Netherlands.


JOHN SEALS, an Englishman from Devonshire, written Jan Celes on the Dutch Colonial Records, who came to New Amsterdam from New England as early as 1638, at which date he was a planter on Manhattan Island. Seals married Maria Robberts or Robertson, Femmetje being his only child of whom we have any account. His farm, commonly known as old Jans's land, and marked 37 on the farm map, on page 463 of Valentine's Manual of 1852, lay north of and adjoining the cripplebush (swamp), a miry outlet of the collect, or fresh water pond, now occupied by the lower part of Canal street, and extended along the river to Charlton street. In his latter days, Seals seems to have become irritable, and as a consequence he figures in court on charges of shooting his neighbor's hogs, and committing other damages. "In 1643, several "cattle, belonging to the government, strayed in the woods, and messengers "were despatched to look them up. When they came to Old Jans plantation "by the swamp, they saw that the woman residing on said Old Jans plantation "had driven with a goad the cattle into said swamp, so that they sunk into it "over their backs; but as they were strong and well in flesh, they finally got "through the morass." In 1645, Seals was in some way wounded, on which he made a will, dated April 7th, of that year, in which he devises to " Touts Nyssen" his son-in-law, the half of all the means and effects he leaves behind, and to his wife, Marritje Robbers, the other half, until she marry or die: if she marry, then to have the use of said half during life, with privilege to dispose of 200 gl. by will out of the estate, as she may see fit, the remainder of her half, after her death, to go to " Tonis Nyssen" or his children and heirs. Seals died soon after executing the will, and in August 9th following, his widow m. Thomas Gridy or Grydy, an Englishman, and widower, 60 years old, who afterwards resided in Gravesend, got in trouble with George Baxter in 1656, and was sentenced to be publicly whipped, and to be banished the province for twelve years. Nyssen or Denyse administered on the estate, and April 3d, 1647, obtained a patent for " Old Jans Land " from Governor Kieft, in which it is described as extending "on the south side from the land and valley belonging "to Everhardus Bogardus, minister, and on the north side to Cornells Maersen, "thence along the Negroes plantations to the Cripplebush of said Bogardus. "It runs in breadth along the strand 50 rods, from the strand along the cripplebush south-east by east 150 rods, along the cripplebush to the Negroes' land it stretches east by south 45 rods; along the Negroes' plantation upwards the governor and council for more land. May 15th, 1664, he obtained from Gov. Stuyvesant a patent for 20 morgens at New Bedford in the Wallabout.



  • "The Bergen Family: or The Descendants of Hans Hansen Bergen" by Teunis G Bergen

Married11 August 1625 in Little Waldingfield, Suffolk, England


John and Philippa (and their 4 year old daughter) arrived in Charlestown in 1630. Apparently after Philippa’s death, John and daughter Phoebe relocated to New Amsterdam.

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John Sayles's Timeline

St. Peter's Parish, Suffolk, England
May 1, 1626
Age 24
Little Waldingfield, Suffolk, England
Age 29
Charlestown, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Age 33
August 1645
Age 43
New Amsterstam, New Netherlands