Hoskins #3626

John Hoskins (1585-1648)

Born in England.  Arrived in Massashusetts in 1630 and settled in Connecticut in 1636 and

Anne Fyler (1610-1663)

Born in England.  Arrived in Massashusetts in 1630 and settled in Connecticut in 1636.

Hoskins #3626

John Hoskins was born in England about 1585 and died 5 May 1648.  He was past middle age when he arrived in America.  He was accompanied on the voyage by two of his sons born in England: Thomas (born about 1610) and John (born about 1612).  They were apparently children of John’s first wife, who must have died previously and whose identity is not known.  Anne Fyler, whom John married as his second wife in Dorchester, Massachusetts was also on the same vessel, and there is a tradition that 11 year old Walter Fyler[1], of the same voyage, was Anne’s brother.  Several sources indicate that the family came from Beaminster, Dorset, but this remains only a suggestion. There were Hoskins families in Beaminster, and David Wilton, who married John Hoskins‘ daughter (or stepdaughter) was from Beaminster, but as yet no solid evidence for this origin has been discovered.

Town Seal of Dorchester, Massachusetts

Town Seal of Dorchester, Massachusetts

Both the Hoskins family and members of the Fyler family arrived as passengers of the Mary & John. This ship brought the first English settlers (known as the Dorchester Company[2]), to Dorchester, Massachusetts, arriving in May 1630 after a 71 day voyage with about 140 passengers on board.  The party was led by Rev. John Maverick[3].

No solid evidence has yet been found to support the details of the Fyler family’s English origins.  Various sources claim that Anne’s father’s name was either Roman or George, and her mother’s name may have been Jane.  According to the Fyler Genealogy by Wadsworth Gray Fyler (A history and genealogy of the Fyler family : being three hundred twenty-seven years of history of the Fyler (Filer) family in America with a genealogical record of Lieutenant Walter Fyler, his sister Anne Fyler (Mrs. John Hoskins), brother Samuel Fyler and nephew George Fyler [Syracuse, New York: Syracuse Lithographing Co.] June 1967), Anne‘s brother, Walter Fyler, was the son of Roman Fyler of Cornwall. This claim is based upon the record in Cornwall of a baptism for an Anne Fyler in 1610, daughter of Roman Fyler. No other supporting evidence has been found.  However, circumstantial evidence and family tradition support the theory that Roman Fyler of Cornwall England, fathered the three original Fyler descendants settling in America in 1630: Walter, Samuel and Anne, and a grandson, George, Jr.

Anne Fyler and Walter (her brother) are believed to have come to New England on the Mary & John in 1630 with the group led by Rev. Warham. They were accompanied by Walter’s wife, Jane Irving, another brother, Samuel Fyler and a nephew, George Fyler.  And so was planted the Fyler family in the history of America.

They first settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, where Walter Fyler became a freeman on 14 May 1634. Some believe that he was probably indentured to pay for his passage.  About 1636 they joined the Dorchester group that went with Rev. John Warham to found Windsor, Connecticut.

The passenger list(s) for the Mary & John dated 20 Mar 1630, were reconstructed from evidence/clues from various sources, and are not necessarily accurate. Passenger “C-List” (possible vs. probable) contains these entries:

FYLER, GEORGE ? possibly Dorset (possible father to Anne), no wife mentioned. However the passenger list contains a separate entry Jane ___ wife”.
FYLER, SAMUEL ? possibly Dorset (possible brother to anne)

There is no proof yet to connect these Fylers to Anne, but based on this source it is beginning to look possible.

Passenger “A-List” (Probable) contains entries for:

FILER, ANNE probably widow a. 40 Probably Dorset
Katherine Filer a. 12 Probably Dorset
Walter Filer a. 11 Probably Dorset.

There was no list entry for Anne’s brother, Walter Filer, bu the entry for Walter Filer a. 11 could be for the brother.

The voyage of the Mary & John was contemporaneous with the sailing of the Winthrop Fleet[4] in 1630, an the party of emigrants who embarked at Plymouth, Devon, on 20 Mar 1630 were bound for the same destination in Massachusetts Bay within the bounds of the territory of the Company headed by John Winthrop[5].  While not having any defined connection with the Winthrop Fleet, the common destination suggests a cooperative agreement and a common purpose.  In his last letter to his wife before leaving Southampton, Winthrop notes the departure of the Mary & John and her passengers, indicating his knowledge of their destination in the limits of the Massachusetts Bay Patent, and by inference an approval of them as fellow emigrants under his jurisdiction.

Welcome to Windsor, Connecticut - settled in 1633

Welcome to Windsor, Connecticut – settled in 1633

Shortly after his arrival in Dorchester, Massachusetts, John Hoskins was made a Freeman.  In November 1630 he served on a jury for the manslaughter trial of Walter Palmer[6], concerning the death of Austin Bratcher.  In 1634, he was granted 4 acres of meadow on the Neck.  By 1636 the Dorchester Church had lost it first pastor, Rev. Maverick, and soon afterwards about half the members with other Dorchester residents followed Rev. Warham to a new settlement in Connecticut.  This became the present town of Windsor (the first English settlement in the state), and John resided there until his death.

There are few references to John Hoskins in the records of Dorchester, Massachusetts and Windsor, Connecticut.  He lived for only eighteen years after his settlement in America and was apparently not very active in local affairs and did not run afoul of the authorities.  In 1640, the Windsor plantation granted John Hoskins the father and Thomas Hoskins the son a home lot with a dwelling house on eighteen acres to be divided between them.  In John Hoskins‘ will dated 1 May 1648, he left £3 to the church to be distributed by the deacons to the poor.  The remainder was to go to this wife and his son, Thomas.  After his death on 3 May 1648, John’s inventory included the goods of John Hoskin’s
House, two barns, a 12 acre home lot, a 12 acre meadow, a 27 acre great lot, a 14 acre pine meadow, a 3 acre parcel of swamp, 6 acres of wheat, 14 acres of grain, half a boat, two swine, two kine, two cows, four steer, one bull, one yoke of oxen, one mare and colt, two yearlings, two calves, books, pewter and brass pots.  The total was valued at £338 6s 8p.

John’s second wife, Ann Fyler, died in 1663 in Windsor, Connecticut, and the inventory of the estate taken 1 June 1663 totaled £113 4s., of which £102 10s was real estate: half the housing, half the orchard and half the homelot, £45; her half of meadow in the great meadow six acres, £30; her half in pine meadow seven acres, £21; and her half in a woodlot thirteen acres, £6 10s.

In addition to Thomas and John, who were John’s children by his first wife, the children of John Hoskins and Anne Fyler are listed as follows:

  1. Anthony,  born 1630-1632 at Dorchester, Massachusetts and died 4 Jan 4, 1707.  He was married (1st) on 1 Jul 1656 to Isabel Brown, who died in 1716.  He was married (2nd) to Mary Willison
  2. Katherine,  born 1634 and died 25 Aug 1683.  She was married (1st) to David Wilton (or Wilson), who died 19 Dec  1675.  She was married (2nd) to Thomas Hosmer of Hartford, Connecticut.
  3. Rebecca Hoskins,  born about 1634 at Dorchester, Massachusetts and died 28 Aug 1683 (age 49).  On 8 Mar 1659 she was married to Mark Kelsey.

Rebecca Hoskins and Mark Kelsey had eight or more children, and their lineage is continued under the heading of William Kelsey (1600-1676).


Lt. Walter Fyler's grave marker in Windsor, Connecticut

Lt. Walter Fyler’s grave marker in Windsor, Connecticut

[1] Walter Fyler settled in Windsor, Connecticut in 1636, as did the rest of the Hoskins family. He was a lieutenant in the Pequot War 1637, for which he received a land grant on 24 Feb 1640. The site on which he built his home is now occupied by the “Strong House”, which is the headquarters of The Windsor Historical Society (96 Palisado Avenue, Windsor, Connecticut). A memorial in the Old Burying Ground reads: Erected to the memory of Lt. Walter Fyler, died December 12,1683, and his wife, Jane Irving Fyler, died September 11, 1690. Erected July 1969 by the Fyler Family Assn., Inc. In 1925, when the house was acquired by the Society, it was known as “the 1640 Lt. Walter Fyler House”, thought at the time to be one of the oldest wood-frame houses in the state. In its early years, the Fyler house operated as an historic house museum, archives, tea room, and hostel. Visitors from afar with Windsor roots could even stay overnight in one of the historically furnished rooms. In 1999 the Fyler House underwent a name change and significant reinterpretation after architectural analysis and primary source research revealed the house was built around 1758, not 1640. The “John and Sarah Strong House”, as it is now named, stands on land owned by Lt. Walter Fyler and interprets the lives of three different families who lived in the house.

[2] The Dorchester Company is discussed further under the heading of my 10th g-grandfather, John Humphrey (1596-1651) who was an investor in the enterprise and active in management of the project.

[3] Rev. John Maverick was a clergyman of the established Church of England who became a Puritan. He was a member of Rev. John Warham’s church, the members of which made up the Dorchester Company who sailed for America on the Mary & John. After his arrival in the Massachusetts Bay Colony at Dorchester, Massachusetts, he served as the first minister of the First Parish Church of Dorchester. He died there in 1635, at nearly sixty years of age, according to Gov. John Winthrop. John Maverick would later be eulogized by Cotton Mather and Governor John Winthrop. John Maverick’s son Samuel had turned up in 1622 in America, where he may have accompanied English explorer Capt. Christopher Levett, prior to Maverick’s minister father’s arrival in Dorchester several years later.

[4] My 10th g-grandfather, William Gager, is known to have sailed with John Winthrop in 1630 on the Arbella.  It is also possible that my 11th g-grandfather, William Almy, was a member of the Winthrop Fleet voyage in 1630, but this has not been proven.  These individuals are discussed under their own headings.

[5] John Winthrop (12 Jan 1587/8 – 26 Mar 1649) was a wealthy English Puritan lawyer, and one of the leading figures in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the first major settlement in New England after Plymouth Colony. Winthrop led the first large wave of migrants from England in 1630, and served as governor for 12 of the colony’s first 20 years of existence. His writings and vision of the colony as a Puritan “city upon a hill” dominated New England colonial development, influencing the government and religion of neighboring colonies. Born into a wealthy landowning and merchant family, Winthrop was trained in the law, and became Lord of the Manor at Groton in Suffolk. Although he was not involved in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1628, he became involved in 1629 when the anti-Puritan King Charles I began a crackdown on Nonconformist religious thought. In October 1629 he was elected governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and in April 1630 he led a group of colonists to the New World, founding a number of communities on the shores of Massachusetts Bay and the Charles River. Between 1629 and his death in 1649, he served 12 annual terms as governor, and was a force of comparative moderation in the religiously conservative colony, clashing with the more conservative Thomas Dudley and the more liberal Roger Williams and Henry Vane. Although Winthrop was a respected political figure, his attitude toward governance was somewhat authoritarian: he resisted attempts to widen voting and other civil rights beyond a narrow class of religiously approved individuals, opposed attempts to codify a body of laws that the colonial magistrates would be bound by, and also opposed unconstrained democracy, calling it “the meanest and worst of all forms of government”. The authoritarian and religiously conservative nature of Massachusetts rule was influential in the formation of neighboring colonies, which were in some instances formed by individuals and groups opposed to the rule of the Massachusetts elders. Winthrop’s son, John, was one of the founders of the Connecticut Colony, and Winthrop himself wrote one of the leading historical accounts of the early colonial period. His long list of descendants includes famous Americans, and his writings continue to be an influence on politicians today.

[6] Walter Palmer (1585-1661) is my paternal 9th g-grandfather, and I am descended from him through three of his children and two of his wives. He is discussed under his own heading.


Your comments are welcome. Keep in mind, however, all comments are moderated, and please no off-topic links.