Wrenacres

Who we came from

John Billington[1, 2]

Male 1580 - 1630  (50 years)


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name John Billington 
    Born 1580  Spalding, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 3, 4
    Gender Male 
    Misc 1620  [1, 2, 4
    MAYFLOWER PASSENGER 
    Residence 1620  Cowbit, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Misc 11 Nov 1620  Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 4
    signed the Mayflower Compact 
    Immigration Dec 1620  Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Misc Mar 1621  Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    tried for contempt of Cap't Standish lawful orders 
    • The first offence since our arrival is of John Billington ... and is this month convented before the whole company for his contempt of the Captain's [Myles Standish] lawfull commands with opprobrious speeches, for which he is adjudged to have his neck and heels tied together. But upon humbling himself and craving pardon, it being the first offence, he is forgiven.
    Possessions 1623  Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 4
    received three acres as a Mayflower passenger 
    Misc 1627  Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    listed in Cattle Division 
    • John Billington Senior, Hellen Billington, and Francis Billington were the 11th through 13th persons in the 7th company. John Billington Jr was the 10th person in the 9th company.
    Died 30 Sep 1630  Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 4
    Cause: tried, convicted, and hanged for the murder of John Newcomen, the first execution among th 
    Person ID I8708  Scott Dickson's Family
    Last Modified 22 Jan 2018 

    Family Elinor,   b. 10 Sep 1585, Greater London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 2 Mar 1642/3, Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 58 years)  [2
    Married BY 1604  Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 4
    Children 
     1. John Billington,   b. CA 1604, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 May 1627–SEP 1630, Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 26 years)
     2. Francis Billington,   b. 1606–1609, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Dec 1684, Middleboro, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years)
    Last Modified 1 Sep 2018 
    Family ID F3355  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsMisc - signed the Mayflower Compact - 11 Nov 1620 - Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsImmigration - Dec 1620 - Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMisc - tried for contempt of Cap't Standish lawful orders - Mar 1621 - Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsPossessions - received three acres as a Mayflower passenger - 1623 - Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMisc - listed in Cattle Division - 1627 - Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Cause: tried, convicted, and hanged for the murder of John Newcomen, the first execution among th - 30 Sep 1630 - Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • From Findagrave:
      A Mayflower passenger.

      John Billington (also spelled Billinton) was born in Lincolnshire around 1580. He lived in Cowbit, Lincolnshire before emigrating to the New World.

      Billington departed on the Mayflower in September 1620 with his wife Eleanor and sons John Jr. and Francis. Thanks to inclement weather, the ship arrived in America hundreds of miles further north than intended. Along with forty others, Billington signed the Mayflower Compact on November 11 (O.S.), while the ship lay at anchor. Disembarking at Cape Cod, the Pilgrims founded Plymouth, a colony that would lose almost half its inhabitants the first winter.

      The Billingtons thoroughly established themselves as troublemakers among the Pilgrims. John Sr. challenged Myles Standish's authority on multiple occasions. Though implicated in a 1624 revolt against the Plymouth church, Billington insisted that he was innocent and escaped punished. In 1625, William Bradford wrote a letter to Robert Cushman denouncing Billington as a "knave."

      Other incidents only contributed to the Billington family reputation. Francis nearly blew up the Mayflower. John Jr. got lost in the woods and was captured by the hostile Nausets. Eleanor was pilloried and whipped for slander.

      John Billington is best remembered for an event in September 1630, on a day he went out hunting for deer. He stumbled across his mortal enemy, a young settler named John Newcomen. Newcomen, fearing for his life, hid behind some trees. Billington, deadly marksman to the last, struck Newcomen in the shoulder, a shot that spelled death for both of them. Billington was tried by jury, convicted, and hanged for the murder.

      Two contemporary sources record the details.

      "This year John Billington the elder (one that came over with the first) was arraigned; and both by grand, and petty jury found guilty of willful murder; by plain and notorious evidence. And was for the same accordingly executed. This as it was the first execution amongst them, so was it a matter of great sadness unto them; they used all due means about his trial, and took the advice of Mr. Winthrop, and other the ablest gentlemen in the Bay of Massachusetts, that were then newly come over, who concurred with them that he ought to die, and the land be purged from blood. He and some of his, had been often punished for miscarriages before, being one of the profanest families amongst them; ... His fact was, that he waylaid a young man, one John Newcomen (about a former quarrel) and shot him with a gun, whereof he died."
      - William Bradford

      "So when this wilderness began first to be peopled by the English where there was but one poor town, another Cain was found therein, who maliciously slew his neighbor in the field, as he accidentally met him, as he himself was going to shoot deer. The poor fellow perceiving the intent of this Billington, his mortal enemy, sheltered himself behind trees as well as he could for a while; but the other, not being so ill a marksman as to miss his aim, made a shot at them, and struck him on the shoulder, with which he died soon after. The murderer expected that either for want of power to execute for capital offenses, or for want of people to increase the plantation, he should have his life spared; but justice otherwise determined."
      - William Hubbard, clergyman

      http://mayflower.americanancestors.org/john-billington-biography

      From http://mayflower.americanancestors.org/john-1 (NEHGS)
      John Billington traveled on Mayflower with his wife Elinor and sons John and Francis.

      John and his family were particularly troublesome for the order-loving Puritans. He was hanged in 1630 for the crime of killing a fellow colony member, John Newcomen, with whom he had a long-running feud. He was the first man executed by hanging in the colony.

  • Sources 
    1. [S641] Find A Grave, 11 August 2017; John Billington; John Billington; 140518775; Butterflyy; Zachary Smith.

    2. [S1358] Mayflower Families Through Five Generations - Vol 21 - John Billington, pages 1-33.

    3. [S1355] Mayflower Heritage and History, 27 December 2017; Biography of John Billington.

    4. [S1374] The Pilgrim Migration, pages 56-58.


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