Wednesday, November 21, 2012

John Perkins of Hillmorton, England and Ipswich, MA

John Perkins, immigrant to New England, was born in Hillmorton, Warwickshire, England. He was baptized on 23 December 1583 in the family's parish church, St. John the Baptish. HIs parents were Henry and Elizbeth (Sawbridge) Perkins. The village of Hillmorton no longer exists as a separate entity having been merged with the market town of Rugby in 1932. It is now a suburb but at the time of John's birth it was a rural village on the banks of the River Avon. His family had lived in this area since the early 1500s.

John Perkins' ancestors can be traced through their wills, beginning in 1528 and the parish records of the church, St. John the Baptist, which provide dates for births, marriages and burials beginning in 1565. The Ancestry of John Perkins of Hillmorton can be traced via a paper trail to his great grandparents, Thomas and Alice Perkins. 

Thomas, date of birth unknown, wrote his will on 3 April 1528 and it was proved a few weeks later on 21 April. His wife, Alice, her maiden name is not known and she was definitely not the daughter of Sir Thomas and Edith (Constable) De Astley. Thomas died in the Battle of Evesham in 1265 so I think this rules him out as her father. Thomas and Alice had at least three children that lived to adulthood, they were; Henry, Jone, and Jelyan. Thomas owned land and tenements in Hillmorton and nearby Lilborne. In her will Alice names her son Henry and married daughters Jeyn Slayter and Juliana Crumpton.

Thomas and Alice are buried under the floor of St. John the Baptist.

Henry, son of Thomas and Alice, died in 1547, his will is missing but the date it was proved was recorded. He had at least three children, his son Thomas was his heir. He also had children William and Joan who seemed to have died unmarried. 

Thomas married Alice Kebble and they had at least seven sons who lived to adulthood. Thomas' will was proved in May of 1592. His oldest son and heir was Henry Perkins, father of the immigrant John. He and his wife Elizabeth Sawbridge had at least 11 children, many of them sons. 

As you can see, the number of Perkins males living in the Hillmorton area was growing exponentially with each passing generation. I imagine that the prospect of getting land to farm might prove difficult, especially if you were the youngest son.

John's father died in 1609 when John was about 26 years old, but many of his siblings were under the age of majority, 21. John married Judith Gater, daughter of Michael Gater of Hillmorton, on 9 October 1608 at St. John the Baptist. They had their first child less than a year later. Over the next few years their family continued to grow. By 1624 they had six children.

setting sail
For whatever reason, lack of land, or a desire to join the Puritan experiment, John Perkins, age 48, removed his family to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They left England on December 1, 1630 about the Lyon. There were only about 20 passengers on that crossing, the ship was mostly carrying cargo for the new colony. They landed on February 5, 1630/1 in Boston.

The winter of 1631 was very difficult in the fledgling colony. Almost 200 of the settlers died and many decided to return to England. The arrival of the Lyon, laden with much needed supplies was a cause for celebration and Governor John Winthrop ordered a day of Thanksgiving and prayer. I wonder what the Perkins family thought when they disembarked and found that many of the colonist were bailing out and taking the Lyon back to England.

click on map to enlarge it
John and his family first established themselves in Boston. They joined the First Church of Boston as members number 107 and 108. John was made a Freeman on May 18, 1631, only a few months after landing. 

By 1633, however, the family had moved to the newly settled plantation of Ipswich. John built his house on the river near Jeffries Neck on what is now East Street. He received land in 1634, 1635, 1636 and 1639.

As with most men in the colony, John was called on to perform civic duties. He served on the Grand Jury, the Petit Jury, he helped apparaise estates and set boundaries for the newly developed plantations.

In 1650 John was judged too old to participate in military training and was freed from that duty. On 28 March 1654 John Perkins wrote his last will and testament. This will was proved on 26 September of the same year. John lived to a good age, 71, and was able to see his children grown, married and settled, something few men of that time could witness.

Children of John and Judith were:
1. John Junior bp. 14 Sept. 1609 Hillmorton m. by 1636 Elizabeth Unknown d. 27 Sept. 1684 Ipswich.
2.  Elizabeth bp. 25 March 1611 Hillmorton m. 1636 William Sargent
3.  Mary  bp. 3 Sept. 1615 Hillmorton m. by 1637 Thomas Bradbury
4.  Anne bp. 5 Sept. 1617 Hillmorton no further record
5.  Thomas bp. 28 April 1622 Hillmorton m. by 1644 Phebe Gould d. around 1685
6.  Jacob bp. 12 July 1624 Hillmorton m. by 1649 Elizabeth Unknown
7.  Lydia bp. 3 June 1632 Boston, m. by 1651 Henry Bennett

Both Elizabeth and Mary are my ancestors.

Notes on the Perkins Families in England; Chiefly extracts from probate registries, with several other Pedigrees, appended by D.W. Perkins. Published in 1894, Salem.

McCabe, James D, The Centennial History of the Unites States, From the Discovery of the American Continent to the Close of the First Century of American Independence, 1874

Anderson, Robert Charles, The Great Migration Begins. 

Records and Files of the Quarterly Court of Essex

Perkins, George Augustus, The Family of John Perkins.

Learn how to cite your sources like a professional by ordering Elizabeth Shown Mills Your Stripped Bare Guide to Citing Sources available at by clicking the link. 


comments, questions, quarrels and confrontations welcome
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Anonymous said...

Hi distant relative!
My name is Sarah Perkins, daughter of Robert Perkins, who is son of Carl and Florence Perkins, Carl is the son of William H Perkins (a carpenter) who is son of William H Perkins (a dory maker) who is son of Jedediah who is son of moses all the way back to Pierre De Morlaix as well. My side of the family grew up in York, Cape Neddick,Wells and Ogunquit. Direct descendents of John and Judith Perkins as well. My question is if you know of any pictures of John and Judiths Graves and their descendents previous to Maine? Also of homes, relics, portraits etc? Would love to talk sometime. I could show you Ogunquit! My e-mail is

HeatherELG said...

I am descended from Sarah Buswell and William Foss. Sarah's mother is Susannah Perkins (born about 1652), whose father is Isaac Perkins (born 26 Jan. 1610-13 Nov. 1685) who is from Hillmorton, England as is his father, also named Isaac (20 Dec.1571- 1 Dec.1629), although at that point in the tree things get a little hazey. Isaac Sr.'s wife is so far in my search, unknown. Sarah and William Foss (both born & died in NH) had a daughter, Sarah Foss (22 Nov. 1676 NH-? Camden, ME) who married James Richards (Sr.) who begin the Richards part of my family that lead to my great grandmother and her siblings. Are they maybe related to these other Perkins' also of the same part of England?

Kristen said...

Hello, distant relative! I am also a decendant of Mary's. Were you aware that she was convicted as a witch in 1690, yet not killed. She evidently was broken out of jail and taken to Maine until the furor was over. Here is the article if you are interested:
I have other documentation, just on ancestry, but would be happy to share the tree if you are interested.
She if one of the relatives I am most proud of. Best, Kristen

carol hagon said...

Hi! I am descended from his son Thomas. My great-grandmother's maiden name was Perkins (Emely Perkins Briles). Her father, Ezra Perkins was a Pony Express rider! Love learning about my genealogy, thank you, distant cousin for this! - Carol Hagon

Unknown said...

My grandfather was Dargan grandson of Jacob Perkins son of John who moved to North Carolina 1700. Years of looking over reports of family records. I am the last of the last Perkins that moved to NC. from Mass. Over the years I have found out who we are! We should be proud to know we help to build this nation. From 1630 to 2019.
Thanks, Philip Perkins son of Alton Perkins Grandson of Dargan Great grandson of Jacob and John Perkins and so-own. Philip Perkins

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