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Zoeth Howland's Geni Profile

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Zoeth Howland

Also Known As: "Zoar"
Birthplace: Duxbury, (Present Plymouth County), Plymouth Colony (Present Massachusetts)
Death: Died in Tiverton, Newport County, Rhode Island, United States
Cause of death: Slain by 6 Indians - one named Manasses - during King Phillips' War
Place of Burial: unknown
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry Howland, Jr. of Duxbury and Mary "Sarah" Howland
Husband of Abigail OCTOBER and Abigail Kirby
Father of Abigail HOWLAND; Nathaniel Howland; Benjamin Howland; Daniel Howland; Lydia Howland and 6 others
Brother of Abigail Young; Mary Cudworth; John Howland; Sarah Dennis; Elizabeth Allen and 1 other
Half brother of Abigail Young; Mary Cudworth and Sarah Dennis

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Zoeth Howland

Son of Henry, was born probably in Duxbury about 1636. In the tenth month, 1656, he was married to his wife Abigail, as appears by the Friends' records at Newport, R. I. In 1657 he took the oath of "Fidelitie" at Duxbury, but because of his Quaker proclivities held the clergy of the established church in little esteem. Witness a deposition of one Samuel Hunt about this time:

"About a fortnight before the date heerof, being att the house of Zoeth Howland, hee said hee would not goe to meeting to hear lyes, and that the diuill [devil] could teach as good a sermon as the minnisters; and that a 2cond time being att the house of the said Zoeth Howland, and his brother, John Hunt, and Tho Delano being with him, hee questioned with the said Zoeth Howland whether hee would not goe to the meeting, because the minnesters taught lyes, and that the diuill could teach as good a sermon as the minnesters, and hee said hee denied it not. Also, Tho Delano questioned him whether the minnesters taught lyes, and hee said yes, and lett him looke in the Scriptures and hee should find it soe." For this audacious utterance Zoeth was arraigned at the term of Court in March, 1657-58, "for speaking opprobriously of the minnesters of Gods Word," and was sentenced to sit in the stocks. He and his wife were also fined for not attending the ordained meetings. It is therefore not surprising that he departed from Plymouth, and made his home in Dartmouth, on a portion of his father's holdings, where he could breath a freer air. At his death his estate, as reported to the Court at Plymouth June 7, 1677, included a quarter share of land valued at fifteen pounds, a yoke of oxen, three cows, one mare, and miscellaneous farming and household utensils. There is no record of a will.

Zoeth Howland was slain by the Indians at Puncatest, in Tiverton, R. I., near the ferry, on March 28, 1676. The ferry was subsequently kept by Zoeth's son Daniel, and known for many years as "Howland's Ferry." It is probable that Zoeth was going to or from the Friends' meeting at Newport when he met death. John Cook of Portsmouth, R. I., at a court-martial held on some Indians at Newport in August, 1676, testified that being at Puncatest in the middle of July he asked several Indians "Who killed Zoeth Howland?" and they said "there were six in the company and that Manasses was the Indian that fetched him out of the water."

Zoeth and Abigail Howland had nine children, the births of the first eight being established by the Newport Friends' records. The sons were Nathaniel, Benjamin, Daniel, Henry and Nicholas, and the daughters Lydia, Mary, Sarah and Abigail. The mother applied to the Court for an order in her favor to assist in rearing her large family, and on July 3, 1678, was granted her husband's entire estate, "lands, goods and chattels." On Dec. 2, 1678, she married Richard Kirby, Jr.

"In the following spring, a pious Quaker from Dartmouth, one Zoeth Howland, was passing through Pocasset, as he was wont to travel, for the purpose of attending the meetings of his sect at Newport. On the way through Tiverton he was waylaid by six savages, one of whom went by the name Manasses. Without any provocation, the peaceful Friend was slain in cold blood and the assassins satisfied their passion by mutilating the dead body. Then they carried the mangled corpse in the stream which flows into Nannaquaket Pond at the foot of Highland Road and threw it in the water. His horrified friends, when they discovered the outrage, called the brook "Sinning Flesh River," the name by which it has been known to the present day."

Albion C. Cook, "The Early Years of Tiverton;"

1657, December- Fined for having meetings of Quakers at his house. He had recently converted from Puritan faith to Quaker.

1657/8- Arraigned for speaking opprobiously of the ministers of Gods Words and sentenced "to sitt in the stockes for the space of one houre, or during the pleasure of the Court, which accordingly was pformed and soe released." The offensive utterance was he would not go to the Puritain meeting to hear lyes, and that the deuill (devil) could teach as good a sermon as the ministers. He repeated this to at least two witinesses and when questioned again about whether he thought the ministers taught lyes, he responded, "let him looke in the Scriptures and hee should find it so.

It would appear that Zoeth was over a hundred years ahead of his time as the right to freedom of speech and religion had not yet been granted to every citizen.

1662- Moved to Dartmouth, MA.

Killed by the Indians at Pocaset, RI during King Philip's War.

Siblings: Joseph, John, Samuel, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary, Abigail.

view all 16

Zoeth Howland's Timeline

Duxbury, (Present Plymouth County), Plymouth Colony (Present Massachusetts)
August 5, 1657
Age 21
Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
March 8, 1659
Age 23
Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
May 1661
Age 25
Duxbury, Plymouth Colony
November 23, 1663
Age 27
Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts
December 23, 1665
Age 29
Duxbury, Plymouth Colony
February 1668
Age 32
Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts
July 13, 1670
Age 34
Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusett
June 30, 1672
Age 36
Duxbury, Plymouth, MA, USA