An American Family History

Knowlton Family


John Knowlton was born about 1610 in England.

He married Margery Wilson.

Their children probably included:
John Knowlton (1633, married Deborah Grant),
Elizabeth Knowlton Wilson,
Thomas Knowlton,
Abraham Knowlton.

Old Style Calendar
Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.

William Knowlton was born about 1615 in England.

He married Elizabeth Balch on January 10, 1639/40.

They lived in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts.

William and Elizabeth's children probably included:

Thomas Knowlton (1641, married Hannah Green),
Benjamin Knowlton (1649),
Nathaniel Knowlton,
William Knowlton (1643, married Susannah Moore),
John Knowlton (1646,
Samuel Knowlton, and
Mary Knowlton (1653).


Thomas Knowlton was born about 1622. He married Mary Kimball. More detail about Thomas can be found in the section on Mary.


John Knowlton was born about 1633. He married Deborah Grant.

Nathaniel Knowlton (1658, married Deborah Jewett)


Thomas Knowlton was born about 1641.

He married Hannah Green.

Thomas Knowlton (1670),
Robert Knowlton (1672, married Hannah Robinson),
Hannah Knowlton (1673),
Ebenezer Knowlton (1674),
Mary Knowlton (1681, married John Williams),
Zerubbabel Knowlton (1684),
Patience Knowlton (1686)




New England Historical and Genealogical Register by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1861

Were you to make inquiries among the people of New England generally concerning their ancestry, in nine cases out of ten they would tell you that they were descended from one of three brothers who came over from Old England about the year 16—; and in nine times out of ten they would be wrong.

But it so happens in the Knowlton family that three brothers did actually come to New England and settle in Ipswich; John, William, and Dea. Thomas; for both John and Thomas call William their brother; evidence of the most satisfactory character. . . .


Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts by Ellery Bicknell Crane, published by Lewis Pub., 1907

William Knowlton [1584], son of Richard Knowlton, emigrated to America, as stated above. His wife was Elizabeth.

Their children were:
John, born 1610;
Samuel, born 1611;
Robert, born 1613, remained in England, said to have died young;
William, born 1615;
Mary, born 1617, died young;
Thomas, born 1620-22.

The manor hall in Kent is a beautiful structure with a history running back to the days of William, the Conqueror.

William Knowlton owned the ship in which he started for America and was known as Captain Knowlton.

Of his children,
Deacon Thomas and probably
Samuel accompanied him,

for a Samuel was found in Hingham soon after the others appeared at Ipswich, Massachusetts, and he died in 1655, leaving a will, proved September, 1655, in which his brother John is named as executor. As John, son of Captain William, was the only one answering the description, Samuel must have also been son of Captain William. John went to Ipswich in 1639, and William and Thomas followed in 1642. It is believed that Captain William was buried in Nova Scotia, whither he was bound and near the coast of which he died.

The town of Ipswich was established on August 5, 1634, from common land called Agawam. On October 18, 1648, that portion called the "Village" at the New Meadows was set off as Topsfield. The boundary line between Ipswich and Topsfield was established, February 28, 1694.

It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.

The 29th of ye 9th Month: 1653.

I the saide John Knowlton being at this present time in perfect memory I make my wife executrix, and I do give unto Margery my wife my hoose and land and cattle with other estate for her use and the bringing of my children up--- so long as she lives, and after her death ye remainder to be divided half of it to my eldest sonne John, and the other half of it to be divided between my sonne Abraham and my daughter Elisabeth: and if it please God any of my children do change their condition, it is my desire with the advice of Mr. Symonds and our pastor and ye overseers and my wife consenting thereto, that they should impart something unto them according as God shall give you;

and I give to Margery my wife all my hoosehold goods to be at her own disposing,

only my shop tools I give to my oldest sonne John,

and some of my wearing clothes to my brother William,

and I make Mr. Treadwell, my brother Wilson and my brother Thomas Knowlton my overseers.

Theopholes Wilson and Thomas Knowlton sworne, testified that John Knowlton was redy to have subscribed this to be his last will if his wife did accept to be executrix within two dayes which she did, and so this is proved to be his will in the Court held at Ipswich the 28th of March 1654.
per me Robert Lord cleric

An inventory of the Estate of John Knowlton, and Marjery his wife, of Ipswich, both deceased taken the 3rd of March 1653-4.
“sum total is 158L. 15s 3d.
Robert Payne
Robert Lord

A Puritan was a member of the religious group in the 16th and 17th centuries that advocated "purity" of worship and doctrine who believed in personal and group piety. Puritans were persecuted in England and came to America so they would be free to practice their religion.

A Puritan woman's clothing consisted of underpants, stockings, linen, shift, petticoat, chemise (underblouse), bolster (a padded roll tied around the hips under the skirt), bodice, skirt, apron, coif (cap), outer gown and shoes. A woman might wear a ruff or bow and an apron. Cloaks were worn instead of coats. Women carried a small cloth draw-string bag or reticule and perhaps wore a chatelaine.

This is to certify that I, Margery Knowlton, widow, do make my Bro. Thomas Knowlton, executer to use and assigne in my steade to fulfill my husband’s Will, and also for myselfe to give to my children according to our Wills for my household doe give equally to be devided between my three children John, Abraham, and Elizabeth.

Only I give my gread Byble to John and

all my wearing apparell to Elizabeth, and an iron pott with a bed ticke that is hers and

20s that is John’s and

two candlesticks that are Abrahams and

I make Mr. Treadwell and my brother Wilson my overseers.

Also Abraham is to have the yearne and cloth to make two shifts and to have a new hatt.

The Marke of margery Knowlton. The 3 wer made before she set her hand.

Proved in Courte held at Ipswich the 28th of March 1655 by the oath of Theopolis Wilson
Elizabeth Wilson and
Wm. Treadwell.
Before me Robert Lord, Cleric

(transcribed by Jan (Wilson) Ramos, 10 May 1999, from The History and Genealogy of the Knowltons of England and America, by Rev. Charles Henry Wright Stocking, D.D., New York, 1897)

The town common (commons) was a small, open field at the center of the town which was jointly owned. It was used as a marketplace, a place for the militia to drill, or for grazing livestock.

William Knowlton, son of Captain William Knowlton, was born in Kent, England, 1615. He settled at Ipswich and was a brick mason by trade. He was a member of the First Church of Christ (Congregational). He was admitted a freeman in 1641-42. He was given commonage with pasturage for one cow and a share in Plum Island. He sold to Edward Bragg, of Ipswich, December 12, 1643, a house and lot he had bought of John Andrews. He died in 1655.

The account of the estate was presented in the Essex court by his brother, Thomas Knowlton, in 1678. Thomas stated that he had kept two boys from the age of five to eight and a girl from one year old till she married.

Children of William and Elizabeth [Balch] Knowlton were:
Thomas, born 1640, married Hannah Green, November 24, 1668;
Nathaniel, born 1641, married Deborah Grant, May 3, 1662;
William, born 1642,

Any man entering a colony or becoming a a member the church, was not free. He was not forced to work, but his movements were carefully observed to see if they followed the Puritanical ideal. After this probationary period, he became a "freeman." Men then took the Oath of a Freeman where they vowed to defend the Commonwealth and not to overthrow the government.

Essex County, Massachusetts was created on May 10, 1643 by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when it ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires."
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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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