John Irish was born England about 1611 (based on an assumption he was 18 at the time of his indenture). He’s my 9th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family. Unfortunately there is a lack of vital records concerning John and his family.
In an indenture dated 20 April 1629 "John Irish of the parish of Clisdon in the county of Sumersett, laborer," agreed with Timothy Hatherly, feltmaker, of the parish of St. Olave in Southwark to "dwell, serve, remain & abide with the said Timothy Hatherly or his assigns at the town of Plimouth called New England from the day of the date of these presents unto the end & term of five years from thence next ensuing" (SJC Case #3597). Besides board and lodging, John was to receive 5 pounds per annum and at the expiration of his term of service was to receive 25 acres of land and 12 bushels of wheat (Bristol County Ma LR 2:120).
There is no Clisdon parish in Somersetshire. George Irish attempted to show that Cliddesden (also spelled Clisdon) in Hampshire was meant, but his argument is not convincing.
John settled at Plymouth in 1630. Some researchers believe he arrived on the Talbot, which is reasonable since that ship was known to be carrying servants for Plymouth. He removed to Duxbury by 1639. In records he is referred to as a laborer, a roper, and a planter.
|Duxbury is such a beautiful town|
John Irish was one of four men working for John Howland who from a canoe sawed at John Hocking's anchor cable when the trader encroached on the Plymouth men's trading ground granted to them at Kennebec (now Maine). Hocking shot and killed Moses Talbot during the skirmish and then one of Howland's men shot and killed Hocking.
He is on the list of voluntaries in a June 1636 letter from Edward Winslow to Gov. Winthrop about men ready to go to war against the Pequots (PCR 1:61). He was in the Duxbury section of the 1643 Plymouth Colony list of men able to bear arms. (PCR 8:189)
Duxbury town records of 1639 show that the people of Duxbury promised William Hiller and George Pollard certain concessions for setting up a grist mill on Stony Brook and one concession was to "do our best endeavours to procure the lands of John Irish and Henry Wallis," offering them an exchange elsewhere, or to give Hiller and Pollard 6 pounds toward the purchase of same (PCR 12:73).
On 5 April 1641 John Rowse testified that John Irish and Henry Wallis made a covenant that the "longer liver of them should have each other's five acres of land lying by the Stony Brooke in Duxborrow." Irish as the survivor was consequently granted the land at Wallis's death (PCR 2:12-13). On 11 June 1641 John Irish traded his ten acres of upland on the north side of Stony Brooke and two acres of marsh meadow adjoining, for the dwelling house and garden and fruit of William Hiller in Duxbury (PCR 12:74).
On 5 March 1643/4 the court ordered that "John Irish is to have his twenty-five acres of land due for his service, made up by Duxborrow men, because it is agreed upon formerly that such servants as are to have lands by their covenants at the expiration of their term are to be provided for in the towns where they live or are received as inhabitants" (PCR 2:69).
John married, circa 1644, probably at Duxbury, Mass., Elizabeth, who maiden name is unkown.
John and Elizabeth had:Elizabeth, born by 1644, married Phillip Washburn, lived at Duxbury. John, born about 1647, married 1st Elizabeth (Savory or Thurston?) and 2nd Priscilla Southworth, settled at Little Compton, RI.
Elias, born about 1649, married Dorothy Witherell.
I descend from their daughter Elizabeth. Willis Irish wrote that they also had a daughter Lydia who married someone named Gray and moved to France, but gives no sources for this.
|John Irish Jr's grave at his farm, Little Compton RI|
Apparently Irish did not get the land in Duxbury and on 29 Sept 1658 the court ordered that John Irish of Duxbury could search out land according to his indenture, with Constant Southworth to help him find it (PCR 3:149).
On 7 Dec 1659 John Irish of Duxbury, roper, "with the consent of Elizabeth his wife" sold to "Guydo Bayley" of Bridgewater, planter, "all that his share, lot and portion in the lands and township of Bridgwater" (MD 14:91, citing PCLR 2:2;30b).
His name was on the 1662 list of former servants and ancient freemen to be granted land at Saconett Neck (PCR 4:18).
Elizabeth died in Sakonnet (now Little Compton, Rhode Island) on 28 August 1687. Claims that she was Elizabeth Risley have no substantial proof.
On 20 Dec 1673 John Irish of Duxbury, planter, deeded to "Elias Irish my true and natural son...my whole share and portion of land at or about Saconnet...belonging unto me the said Jon Irish as an ancient servant" (PCLR 3:305). On 5 March 1677/8 division was ordered on a parcel of land at Saconett " which was the land of John Irish deceased, and by him bequeathed to his two sons, Elias Irish and John Irish Junior, his brother" (PCR 5:252). On 20 March 167(3/)4 John Irish Sr. of Duxbury, planter, deeded to 'John Irish his true and natural son' his right to land at Saconnet; on 23 March 1673/4 John Irish Sr. and his wife Elizabeth Irish acknowledged the deed (BrLR 1:382) Maybe Elias had died or was missing at this time.
|Map of Little Compton, RI|
John died before 5 March 1677/78, probably in Duxbury, Mass, when he is referred to as deceased.
Although no will was found, the court on 5 March 1677/8 ordered a division of the land owned by John Irish, deceased, at Saconett, which he had "bequeathed" to his two sons, John Jr. and Elias (PCR 5:252); however, from the same court records it appears that son Elias had died earlier, for on 30 Oct 1677 William Witherell of Taunton (Elias' wife Dorothy's father) was given the administration of his estate (PCR 5:247) and it is the same William Witherell who was given the divided share of Elias, who is called William Witherell's "Child."
Sources Not Listed Above:
Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995
Eugene Stratton, Plymouth Colony, Its People and History, 1986
Willis Luther Irish and Stella Bertha (Putnam) Irish, Descendants of John Irish the Immigrant 1629-1963 and Allied Families, 1964.