Captain John Johnson of Roxbury (1590-1659)


was born about 1590 in Waterham, Hernehill, Kent, England. He immigrated on 12 Jun 1630 to Cape Ann, Salem, MA. Arrived aboard the ARBELLA - the flagship of the Winthrop Fleet (John Winthrop, Lord of the manor of Groton).

On August 29, 1629 an agreement was consumated at Cambridge, England to carry emmigrants across the Atlanic. The first ship (the Eagle) was purchased. It had 28 guns and carried a crew of 52 seamen. This ship was later christened the Arbella in honor of the Lady Arbella. Together, with 10 other chartered ships, they formed the Winthrop Fleet: Ambrose, Jewel, Talbot, Charles, Mayflower, William and Francis, Hopewell, Whale, Success, Trail. Only the first 4 ships, and the Mayflower, Whale, and Success carried passengers. The others carried freight and live stock.

The fleet was to sail from London March 1, 1630. They planned a 24 hour stop at the Isle of Wight to take on passengers. But they were delayed. John Withrop's famous journal of the voyage began under these headlines : ANNO DOMINI 1630, MARCH 29 MONDAY, Easter Monday. Ryding at the Cowes, near the Isle of Wight. On April 6th, Matthew Cradock, the late Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Co., arrived at London to take his official leave of the party. After which the four principle ships (Arbella, Ambrose, Jewel, & Talbot) weighed anchor, sailed down the Solent, and anchored at the castle at Yarmouth on the West end of the Isle of Wight. They stayed here for a week waiting for the other vessels left behind at Southampton. Finally, on Thursday April 6, 1630, the four ships weighed anchor at 0600 and set sail. The other ships sailed some 2-3 weeks later.

Following from Boston Transcript of Apr. 9, 1930.--"Capt. John Johnson 1600-1659 was Surveyor of all ye Armyes (Society of Col. Wars). was deputy to First General court of Mass., 1634 and for twenty-five years, till his death, member of Artlilery Co. kept a tavern, many public meetings held at brother Johnson's. (ref, given, Gen. of 1st settlers, by Farmer; Ellis' His. of Roxbury; Popes pioneers of Mass. by Savage.)

He died on 30 Sep 1659 in Roxbury, Suffolk Co., MA. Settled at Roxbury MA. He requested to be a freeman 19 Oct 1630 and became one 18 May 1631, and was clerk of AHAC [MBCR 1:80, 366]