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Current Knowledge Regarding
John Mylam of Boston
(after removing from Boston with his family in 1652)
In 1641, just prior to the outbreak of the English Civil War (1642-1648) against Charles I, King of England, the Irish Catholics in power in Ireland sought to rid themselves of the English non-Catholics in their midst. As a result, wholesale massacre of English citizens occurred. In 1650, following his victorious end to the Civil War, and the execution of Charles I, Puritan General Oliver Cromwell directed his attention to "righting the Irish problem." Cromwell's army overwhelmed the Irish in many battles and the magnitude of the bloody retribution taken against them was horrendous.
In the end, large numbers of the Irish Catholic/Royalist population were forcibly removed from their lands and estates in the south, and deported to the smaller and much less favorable area west of the River Shannon (mostly Connaught, Ireland). During battle and the forced deportation, the cry of Cromwell's army was "To Hell or to Connaught!"
In addition, the Catholic clergy were banished from Ireland, and many of the rebels captured during the war, along with other "undesirables" such as the homeless, orphaned children, and others, were sent to the English colonies as forced labor. The most unfortunate of these were sent to Barbados in the West Indies, where many died.
was hired to transport some of them:
On May 26, 1654, the following order was promulgated: "the Commanding Officers in Chief and the Commissioners of Revenue in the precincts Clonmel, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, and Carlow are to deliver all prisoners in gaol, except 'those charged with blood' (murderers), to John Mylam, merchant, or his agent, for transportation" [to the colonies].
The devastation heaped upon the Irish during the time of Oliver Cromwell's rule as Lord Protector of England, 1649-1660, (a.k.a. the Interregnum: the time between Charles I's execution and Charles II's return to assume the throne) was so horrendous that the effects and the animosity resulting from it are still felt today.
With the Irish displaced from their lands in the south, political, governmental, religious, and economic voids had been created. Puritan Oliver Cromwell sought to fill these voids with his English supporters. Much of the available land and estates was used as payment to his soldiers, and as repayment to the "adventurers" who had made loans to fund the war. In addition, Cromwell appealed to his fellow Puritans everywhere, especially those in New England, "to come home and colonize" Ireland. Many did, including our John Mylam of Boston and his family.
The draw of "economic opportunities" closer to home, which Ireland presented to many New Englanders, was undoubtedly significant. However, the primary reason for leaving Massachusetts for mother England was the religious freedom then available to all religious "dissenters" and "non-conformists," especially Puritans, under the rule of Puritan Oliver Cromwell and his Protestant based Parliaments.
During his time in Boston, John Mylam evolved from a young Puritan into an ardent Anabaptist. The main tenet which distinguished the Anabaptists from Puritans, was that Anabaptists were against the baptism of infants, which was the Puritan method, and they believed in the method used by Jesus when he was baptized by John the Baptist, which was full-body immersion. Anabaptists only baptized "adults" who were old enough to publicly profess their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and Son of God.
Two of John Mylam's friends and business associates in Boston became Anabaptists also. These were William Aspinwall, Boston Notary, and Thomas Venner, fellow cooper and co-founder of the cooper guild in Boston with John. However, Aspinwall and Venner took their religious zealotry a step further. They became leaders in the radical Anabaptist subgroup, the Fifth Monarchy Men. The Fifth Monarchy Men believed the Second Coming of Christ was at hand, and that it was their duty to facilitate, and even force, the earthly conditions necessary for fulfillment of the Prophesy. It is not yet known if John Mylam was a supporter, let alone a member, of the Fifth Monarchy Men.
is an interesting episode regarding John Mylam, as both a ship's Captain and as a
member of the Anabaptists of Ireland:
In 1654, Henry Dunster, the first President of Harvard, was forced out by the Puritan fathers because of his Anabaptist views. When news of Dunster's ouster reached Ireland a plan was formulated by the Council of Dublin to invite him to Ireland to minister to the Anabaptists there. Such a letter of invitation was drawn up by Edward Roberts of the Dublin Council, and in 1655, John Mylam delivered it to Dunster in New England. Henry Dunster and John Mylam had been members in the Boston Militia (later known as: Ancient Honorable Artillery Company of Boston) in the 1640s, and therefore knew each other. In the letter, Roberts stated that John Mylam would arrange ship's passage for Dunster and his family, deliver 50 Pounds money the Council had allotted for the cost of their relocation and resettlement in Ireland, and "advise you as to the state of the country and the Christians amongst us." (Dunster ended up not going to Ireland, but instead relocated to the "more tolerant" Plymouth Colony, where he died a few years later.)
A reference to John Mylam as "ship Captain and minister" in Ireland has been found in a historical account of the period. If, in fact, he was an Anabaptist "minister," then his devotion to his religion was much more profound than previously understood, and it is therefore possible that he was, at least, a supporter of the ideas and methods of the Fifth Monarchy Men. If, (repeat: if) John was a member of the Fifth Monarchy Men movement it likely would have had severe consequences for him and his family after Cromwell died and Charles II assumed the throne in 1660. Thomas Venner was "hanged, drawn, and quartered" for his leadership in the Coleman Street Church of London and their attempt in January 1661 to violently overthrow the "anti-Christ," as Charles II was called when he regained the throne of England. Later, Venner's son, Thomas (Jr.), was imprisoned and shipped off to Barbados, with several other prisoners. He died there.
In 1662, John Mylam was dead at the age of 51. He left a will which was probated in the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore, Ireland. The cause of death is currently unknown. Unfortunately, in 1922 a fire at the National Archives of Ireland destroyed all the "old" documents, including John Mylam's will. Our only chance of discovering the contents of John's will, and possibly increase our knowledge of the surviving members of his family, is through its possible inclusion in the Betham Extracts (surviving transcriptions of many of the old wills/documents). So far, John's will has not been found.
(May 2, 2008):
Thanks to the generous help of Donal Moore, Waterford City Archivist, we have the following new information:
RC Simington, The Civil Survey, AD1654-56 (Dublin, Irish Manuscripts Commission, 1942) includes a survey and valuation of Waterford City carried out circa 1663-4. In this a “Widdow Meylam” is listed as occupying 2 houses in Christ Church Lane in Trinity Parish in the city.
houses are described as:
“A dwellinge house to ye Key streete near ye water baylifs gate ye walls ston & slated”
“An Other house joyninge to ye sam stone walls & slated both beinge now in one dwellinge house”
first house was 24 feet in length and 12 feet in breadth. The occupier before the
outbreak of rebellion in 1641 was
The second house was 56 feet in length and 18 feet in breadth. The occupier before 1641 was John Seysce.
The 2 houses jointly had an estimated 21 year lease value of £18 and an 8 year purchase price of £144. [Donal Moore]: "This would have been quite a substantial property."
The "Widdow Meylam" listed here is undoubtedly John Mylam's wife/widow Christian. Recall John had died 1-2 years prior, in 1662. When John left Boston he was moderately wealthy and would have been able to afford a "substantial" property like this. Also, it appears it was located near the harbor/wharf, which would make sense considering he was a ship captain and merchant. It is not yet known if John bought the properties from the previous owners, Robert Lyncolne and John Seysce, or if the property had been confiscated and sold/reassigned by Cromwell's government following his victory over the Irish in 1651.
So far, one other Ireland document has been found which mentions a member of John's family. His son, Ebenezer Mylam, is listed as mustering with the Kilkenny militia in 1667, five years after John's death. He mustered, armed with a Pike. He was 21/22 years old. It has long been known that Ebenezer is found in a few colonial Maryland records, 1675-1686. He witnessed Thomas Todde's will in 1675, and he brought suit, and was sued, as "a merchant" in later colonial Maryland court cases. Apparently, Ebenezer Mylam had followed in his father's footsteps as a merchant.
It is not yet known if Ebenezer, or if any of John Mylam's other children, ever migrated back to America permanently. If any did, Maryland seems to be the most likely place because of the 17th century colonial Maryland records already mentioned above, and other isolated records of Mylams\Milams\Millams found there. Also, since Maryland was a colony founded and operated on religious tolerance, it would have been a place of refuge for the sons of Anabaptist, and possible Fifth Monarchy Men sympathizer, John Mylam. (Following Thomas Venner's violent and treasonous attempt on Charles II, the heavy-handed persecution of all non-conformist religions began again, as in the reign of Charles I, and prior. Many Anabaptists, Puritans, Fifth Monarchy Men, Quakers, Presbyterians, and members of other non-conformist religious groups, were oppressed, banished, imprisoned, or executed. Many of those imprisoned died. Family fortunes were destroyed.)
Certainly, removing from Ireland to America would be a natural consideration for members of John Mylam's family, especially since they were all born there. Unfortunately, no evidence of any of them actually migrating permanently back to America has been found.
It took years of hard work, but we have finally solved one of the two great mysteries regarding the Boston Mylams: WHY they left Boston and WHERE they went. The old STAR Group of a few years ago broke much new ground regarding the Boston Mylams, and now my recent discoveries have added tremendously to our knowledge of them.
But, we have one great mystery left to solve:
Whether, or not, the Virginia Milams are descendants of the Boston Mylams.
As of now, no genealogical connection between the 17th century Boston Mylams, and the well-documented 18th century Virginia Milams, has been found. Thus, if we are to discover whether we are descendants, or whether we even have a Common Ancestor, much more research is needed.
Currently, research needs to be pursued on two fronts,
1) Traditional genealogical, or archival, "paper" research, and
2) Y-DNA testing of living male "Mylams/Milams" in the UK and USA.
Your help is needed Cousin! Do your part.
Get in the Greatest Treasure Hunt of all-time regarding your existence!
1. Do the needed research
mentioned, and help answer the questions posed.
2. Get the DNA of your branch of Milams tested.
3. Donate to the Milam Family DNA Testing Project to help get ALL high priority branches tested.
In light of the recent discoveries, the following Records need reconsideration and additional research:
1. Plymouth Colony, 1667:
A Samuell Mylam is recorded as residing in Plymouth Colony in 1667. He seems to be a young man. In 1667, John Mylam's son Samuel would have been 23 years of age. Records show that Samuell Mylam was given 30 acres of land by the colony in 1667, and that he was later sued by John Dunham for failure to fulfill a contract. Nothing else is known about this Samuell Mylam, but consideration must be given to the possibility that he is John Mylam's son Samuel, who had returned to New England from Ireland.
There are records of Samuel "Milehams/Milams" in early 18th century Virginia, North Carolina, and Delaware. See STAR records. Is there a connection?
Find and trace the life and descendants of this Samuell Mylam of Plymouth
2. January 18, 1676/77
Baltimore County Land Records, 1665-1687 from the Maryland Historical Magazine by Louis Dow Scisco, with introduction and index by Robert Barnes.
Deed of gift, January 18, 1676/77, Anna Todde conveying to her children, names not stated, all her property, on condition that they allow, out of it, liberal and comfortable maintenance during her lifetime; she also appointing "my beloved brother" Mr. Charles Gorsuch her attorney to acknowledge and record the deed in court. Witnesses, Richard Ball, William Long, James Mills, John Mylam. Appendant clerk’s notation that Gorsuch as attorney has acknowledged in court and asks the deed recorded.
a. Speculation: This is almost certainly John Mylam, Jr., son of John Mylam of Boston, who is listed here as a witness to Anna Todde's deed of gift. He would have been 36/37. This means that Ebenezer Mylam, also son of John Mylam of Boston, witnessed Thomas Todd’s will in 1675, and his brother, John Mylam, Jr., witnessed Thomas Todd’s widow’s probated deed of gift in 1676/77. This leads to the further speculation that the Mylams/Milams and the Toddes were closer than previously understood, and that the witnessing of Thomas Todde’s will by Ebenezer Mylam was not just happenstance. Perhaps they were close through marriage or business or socially?
Needed research: Find and trace other connections of the Boston Mylams to Maryland. What is their connection to the well-known, and prominent, Todde family of Maryland? Did the Boston Mylams ever reside in Maryland? Trace the lives and descendants of other "Milams" found in Maryland 1690-1730. See Advanced Research.
3. Bristol, England Port records, 1695-1701
It is known that Ebenezer Mylam was a merchant, as was his father. It would be natural for him and his siblings, and their sons, to be merchants also.
Bristol port records show that a Captain John Mylam made several voyages to America from Bristol, England between 1695 and 1701. Captain John Mylam died while on voyage from Bristol, England to Virginia, and his will was probated in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in 1701. He left 2 children orphaned: his son John Mylam (b. 18 Jul 1692) and his daughter Elizabeth Mylam (b/c. 28 June 1699). They were adopted by their aunt and her husband: Dorothy and Edward Dyer.
If this Captain John Mylam, was John Mylam, Jr., son of John Mylam of Boston/Ireland, he would have been 60/61 years of age at death. But, these children seem to be too young to be the only children of a man 60/61 years of age. So, it's possible this Captain John Mylam was younger, and is not John Mylam, Jr., son of John Mylam of Boston/Ireland.
National Genealogical Society Quarterly, p. 280
Milam, John, of City of Bristol, died in Virginia. Administration to Dorothy Dyer, wife of Edward Dyer, aunt and guardian of the minor children John and Elizabeth Milam. (Dec 1701).
John Mylam, sailor, found in records of St. Mary Redcliffe of Bristol, England. He married 25 Jul 1691 to Mary Hopkins. Bondsman was Wm Hopkins, Bristol, parish clerk. On 18 Jul 1692 John Mylam had a son named John. His wife Mary Hopkins Mylam died 18 Jul 1692 during childbirth. John Mylam had a daughter named Elizabeth born/baptized 28 June 1699. Apparently, John Mylam remarried 1693-1698, and that wife died during the birth of Elizabeth.
This presents a very fertile area of needed research. If this child, John Mylam, born 1692, orphaned and adopted by Dorothy and Edward Dyer in 1701, could be found and traced, he just might lead us to the Virginia Milam connection we are seeking. Certainly, one of the earliest known Patriarchs of the Virginia Milams was John Milam of Halifax County. His father and earlier ancestry is still unknown.
Find this orphaned, and adopted, John Mylam, born 1692 in Bristol, England, and
trace his life and descendants.
4. June 7, 1705
Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland Libers 25-28, 1699-1708, Compiled by V. L. Skinner, Jr. Robert Collier, 26.13, A, Somerset County, 138.12.7 pounds, 22.5.11 pounds.
Payments to: Maj. John Cornish, Col. William Whittington, Capt. John West, John McClester, James McMorie, Thomas Hicks for Mr. John Millam, Mr. Arthur Denwood, Joseph Austin, Mr. James Dasheile, Mr. John Hide (merchant in London), Mr. John Edger, Mr. Levin Denwood, Mr. Thomas Dasheill, Peter Dent. Executrix: Elizabeth Collier.
a. This takes place in Somerset County, Maryland where Edward Millam/Millum/Milam is found in records 1711-1718. Perhaps this John Millam is related to Edward Millam?
b. Who is this Robert Collier? Is he a merchant like others in this record? Who is Thomas Hicks and what is his relationship to John Millam?
Areas of Needed Research
Ireland holds the greatest promise for discovering new, vitally important, information and clues regarding the Boston Mylams after they left Boston in 1652. This is especially true regarding John's family after his death in 1662.
Did members of John Mylam's family permanently migrate back to America? Given the conditions in England in 1660s for religious non-conformists, and all we know about 17th century Maryland and its "Milam" records, it seems very possible.
a. At the time of John Mylam's death in 1662, his parents, and at least 2 brothers, Humphrey and Edward, were still living. From Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire church records, it appears that his parents died shortly thereafter. His brother Humphrey Mylam died in 1667 in Boston, leaving a will and 7 daughters.
His brother Edward Mylam appears to have resided in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire until his death. Edward's date of death is unknown. Edward had at least one son, John Mylam, who appears to have survived the Plague. The lives of Edward Mylam and his descendants are virtually unknown and need much more research. Edward Mylam may have descendants living in England today. Find them! (There is a reward being offered to the first to find a living male descendant of Edward.)
b. It seems that the family of John Mylam of Boston/Ireland removed from Ireland within a few years after his death. The last known record is of his son Ebenezer Mylam is in Kilkenny militia in 1667. (See above) Where did they go?
c. No trace of John Milam, Jr., the orphaned son of ship's captain, John Milam, who died while on voyage to Virginia in 1701, has been found. He was adopted by his aunt Dorothy Dyer and her husband. (See above). Find information regarding his life and his descendants. (There is a reward being offered to the first to find a living male descendant of this John Milam, Jr.)
See a chronological listing of Milam records: Advanced Research
Send your comments, ideas, opinions, new records to: Milam2 at Milam dot com