1595 John Hodges Mariner

Some content about John Hodges…

Born: 1595 a.d. — England
Married: 1615 a.d. — London
Died: about 1654 — Charlestown, Massachusetts

John Hodges of Charlestown, mariner, mate of the ship Lion and captain of the Rebecca, appears in the year 1632, takes a prominent position and is frequently named in documents for over twenty years, and then disappears without leaving any record of his birth, parentage or family. Gov. John Winthrop of Massachusetts writes of him often and in terms implying friendship, if not relationship. Hotten’s Lists of Emigrants to America, and the Middlesex County (Mass.) Deeds and Court Records contain his name. But all his recorded doings are professional and business transactions, and of genealogical matter there is not a trace. The same seems to be true of a man with whom John Hodges was intimately associated, Capt. William Peirce, perhaps the most noted shipmaster sailing into New England harbors in the days of the founding of Massachusetts. Capt.

William Peirce is said to have left a brother, Capt. Michael of Scituate, Mass., but otherwise his family seems to be entirely unknown, and is not mentioned in any of the Peirce genealogies.

From 1622 to 1632, Capt. William Peirce was making repeated voyages between England and Massachusetts, the last two years in the Lion. Whether John Hodges was with him in these years is not recorded; but on Sept. 27, 1632, the Lion, with William Peirce as master and John Hodges as one of the mates, sailed out of Boston harbor with skins and fish, bound to England by way of Virginia where, probably, the fish were to be exchanged for tobacco. Five days later the ship was wrecked off the coast of Virginia, and on April 10, 1633, John Hodges arrived at Boston with news of the disaster. It was a heavy blow to the adventurers. The ship was owned chiefly by the Massachusetts Company. Gov. Winthrop lost “near £100,” and Capt. Peirce wrote, “my whole estate (for ye most parte) is taken away.” After this wreck and while waiting for a position on another vessel, it is highly probable that John Hodges resided in Charlestown. At least, the name of John Hodges is inscribed as an inhabitant of this town in 1633.

In November, 1633, the Rebecca, of about 60 tons, was built at Medford, Mass., for Gov. Matthew Cradock and his partners, and William Peirce was given command. Perhaps John Hodges was mate. We know that on Dec. 18, 1634, the Rebecca, Capt. William Peirce, sailed from Massachusetts for England; and on April 6 and 9, 1635, the Rebecca, Capt. John Hodges, was at London taking passengers and freight for New England. In 1635 and 1636 John Hodges was making constant trips in the Rebecca, plying between Boston and Connecticut, with letters and commissions of Gov. John Winthrop, senior, of Massachusetts and Gov. John Winthrop, junior, of Connecticut, going north to the Isle of Sable for sea-horse and cows, and south to Bermuda, whence he returned with “30,000 weight of potatoes and store of oranges and limes.” Early in 1637 Matthew Cradock in London wrote to Gov. Winthrop in Boston, directing that John Hodges should resume command of the Rebecca and take this ship with her “ordynance,” and victualled for three months, to Virginia. Why “resume” is not stated, nor whether John Hodges and the Rebecca made this voyage.

At this date both John Hodges, in his capacity of Captain, and the Rebecca disappear finally from all known records with three possible exceptions. Two of these exceptions, in Dec. 1649 and Oct. 1664, will be mentioned later in due chronological order; the third is simply the fact that a vessel described as “the pinke Rebecca, Thomas Williams, commander,” in July 1679, was taking emigrants from the Barbadoes to Virginia. But it seems almost beyond doubt that Captain John Hodges was the “John Hodges, mariner,” of Charlestown, where he first appears in 1633, as above stated, where he owned land as early as 1636 (at least), and where he can be traced for many years. In March, 1637, he was allotted land in Charlestown on the Mystic side (now Malden), and in 1638 he owned eleven lots in the town. Some of these lots he sold or exchanged; what became of the rest has not been discovered. Nothing further of him. has been found until 1647, when he exchanged one of his Charlestown lots. In Oct. 1649, Richard Poole of Wapping, near London, mariner, made him his sole agent and attorney in New England. In Feb. 1649/50 “John Hodges” was master of a galliote bound from Boston to Virginia. In Oct. 1650, “Mr. Hodges” testified at Middlesex County Court in the suit of the President of Harvard College vs William Pierce and Richard Webb, administrators of the estate of William Pierce deceased. In Oct. 1654, Mr. John Hodges, mariner, and widow Alice Rand, both of Charlestown, made an agreement to exchange land, and acknowledged the agreement in May, 1655.

Not long after the last date, John Hodges seems to have gone to London and settled there. For in March, 1655, Samuel Ward of Hull, Mass., executed an acknowledgment of debt and bond, in which he agreed to give John Hodges, “before his going from New England,” bills of exchange on London; and in August of the same year, Thomas Broughton of Boston drew bills of exchange for one hundred pounds sterling, payable to John Hodges in London in Dec. 1655. John Hodges, on April 16, 1656, at Deptford, London, acknowledged payment of the money owed him, as above, by Samuel Ward. Finally in a letter dated “Whithart Court, London,” Oct. 21, 1664, Priscilla Reade wrote a letter to Gov. John Winthrop of Connecticut, in which Capt. John Hodges may be referred to:—“Pr’ses [presumably Priscilla’s, referring to the writer’s daughter] humbel sarves to yourself, wt her ants & dear respacts to har cosans all. All frinds els desir ye like. Mr. Hoges & his wif. Capt. Mico has been a widower this twelmonth,” etc. [Genealogical Record of the Hodges Family of New England.]

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