Hamilton, John

Published: 02 Jul 2014
Updated: 28 Feb 2019

Timeline for John Hamilton, my Scottish Immigrant Ancestor.

Compiled by Teresa (Hamilton/Pepper) Rust:
The following records and discoveries were made over a period of many years and generations, by many descendants of John Hamilton. I have to thank Marsha Hamilton, Dan Hamilton, Judy Clark, Martha (Hamilton) Hauber, and Oscar Myron Hamilton for working together with me to refine our understanding of our immigrant grandfather. Any mistakes are all mine!

In recent years, it has been concluded, that the yDNA carried by my paternal ancestors and those of my distant Hamilton cousins is very Scottish. The DNA results indicate that our mid 17th Century Massachusetts-dwelling ancestor was most likely not an English Puritan but instead hailed from Scotland. According to David Dobson there were a limited amount of Scots in New England and Massachusetts in the early and mid 17th century. So the question arises, where was John Hamilton born, if not in England, and why and how did he end up in Massachusetts?

Through further research we have found multiple sources from which we can build a circumstantial case to give credence to the idea that he was a Scottish prisoner of war from the Battle of Dunbar, arriving late December 1650 in Charlestown, Massachusetts on the ship Unity.

3 Sep 1650 to Early 1651:
There is a “John Hamilton” listed on the “The Dunbar Prisoners- taken 3 Sept. 1650” list which was compiled by George S. Stewart in the early 20th Century. This document is in the Bartlett Collection at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society in Boston, Massachusetts.

If John was indeed a Dunbar prisoner then he would have been captured on the battlefield on 3 Sep 1650, deported from England on November 1650, and arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in late December 1650 aboard the ship Unity.

The years 1651 to 1658:
We have no records of John during this time which is consistent with being indentured, since most indentures lasted seven years. During this time he was most likely busy working for his master and not doing anything on his own and therefore not creating any records. He stayed out of the courts as well. 🙂

1 Mar 1658:
This land record is the FIRST RECORD of John that we have found, so far. This would be the perfect time for him to start making records, AFTER SEVEN YEARS INDENTURE. We don’t know who his master was but we do still find him in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1658 in land records. He may have been one of the prisoners to have stayed in or been sent back to“Boston” to work at the iron mills factory and shipping yard there.

According to the Charlestown Land Records on page 81:
John Hamblton on 1 March 1658, drew Lott #194, which included, “four acres of woodland and three of commons.” On the same page, next to John, are FOUR other presumed  Scottish prisoners of war: Edward Wyer, Alexander Bow, James Grant and Hercules Corser. All four of these men are on George S. Stewart’s Prisoners of Dunbar list.

16 Nov 1658:
John is not on the Charlestown Tax List – indicating that he has most likely left the area.

John Hamilton, about 30, 1666, John Hamilton in Middlesex County, Massachusetts Deponents
1666 1m 28. Test: John Hamelton Ae abt thirty yrs taken before Commisioners of Concord, signed Timothy Wheeler, Thos. Brooks, mark & Robert Meriam

Before 1667-1670:
He removed to Concord before 1667.

There is a marriage record for John Hamilton and Christian BEFORE 1668 Concord from: Torry, Clarence A. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. (Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004)

Marriage Record for John and Christian.

Their first child, John, was born in March 1667/8 in Concord.
1 March 1667/8, John, son of John Hamelton and Christian his wife, born.

John Hamilton was here a few years, before 1670, but removed to Marlborough.”
~Shattuck, Lemuel, A History of the Town of Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts: From Its Earliest Settlement to 1832 : and of the Adjoining Towns, Bedford, Acton, Lincoln, and Carlisle, Containing Various Notices of County and State History Not Before Published, (Boston: Russell, Odiorne, and Company, 1835), 373. (Available for free as a Google eBook.)

9 Jan 1671 – Joseph Hamilton is born to John and Christian in Concord. [CoVR]

In 1671 is said to have removed to Marlborough, but King Philip’s War in 1675 caused the settlers there to abandon their homes and he probably removed to some town near Boston. Indeed, his son Joseph seems to have been an innkeeper in Boston later.