Capt. Richard Knowles was born 9 September 1614 in Lancaster, Lancashire, England and died 1 February 1682 Plymouth County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Ruth Bower (1616-1687) 15 August 1632 in Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

Research Notes

What is the source for the following info:

Richard Knowles of Plymouth and later of Eastham, in the Plymouth Colony, shipmaster, .... first appears in New England records at Plymouth, 2 Jan. 1637/8, and died probably between 1670 and 1675, for he was one of the surveyors of highways at Eastham in 1670 but probably did not outlive either his son John, who was slain by Indians near Taunton 3 June 1675, or his son James, the inventory of whose estate was dated 10 Oct. 1678, the father's name not appearing in connection with their estates. He married 15 Aug. 1639, Ruth Bower, daughter of George and Barbara Bower of Plymouth and sister of Rev. John Bower,...., who died in 1687. 'The first appearance of Richard Knowles in the Plymouth records, in Jan. 1637/8, was when he was haled into court at Plymouth `for bringing a barke from Greens Harbor (as the Winslow settlement in Marshfield was then called) on the Lords day.' The record of the judgement, 2 Jan. 1637/8, is brief: `Discharged.' There is nothing to prive that he considered Plymouth his home at that time....But nineteen months later he married a Plymouth girl, recently come thither from Scituate; and before his marriage he had been granted, 7 Jan 1638/9, `a garden place next to John Barnes.' This was on the `Eele River side' of Plymouth, next to Duxbury....The next spring he was granted a parcel of meadow ground at the head of George Bower's meadow, by the `Eele river head.'.... In 1641 he was improved as a juryman. In 1643 his allowance from the `keep of the towns cows' was one pottle, which represented a two-quart measure. The same year his name was listed among Plymouth men able to bear arms. '...In the Cambridge records, under date of 4 Nov. 1646, is the entry: `Goodman Knowles for his swine divers times going without keeper is fined 1s.6d.' His son James was born 17 Nov. 1648 at Cambridge, while the father was living in Cambridge. The birth was entered in the Suffolk County records.... in Dec. 1649 Richard Knowles was back at Plymouth for, according to the Plymouth records of 1 Dec. 1649, he was prosecuted `for denying passage of cattell in the hiehway.' 'While a navigator by occupation, Richard evidently carried on business on land also. His wife was prosecuted 7 Oct. 1641 `for retailing of strong waters contrary to order' and `for selling strong waters for five or six shillings a bottle that cost but 35s. the case,' and she was fined 10s., to be bestowed on the town's poor. 'At the meeting of the Council of War at Plymouth, 12 May 1653, when public apprehension was aroused of armed conflict with the Dutch of New Amsterdam, two barques were pressed for the service, .... `the Barkqe in which Richard Knowles sayleth, with him the master thereof', was pressed for the ... purpose. '... It was the same month in which his daughter Mehitable was born, whose birth was twice recorded at Plymouth, once with an error of a year (Plymouth Colony Records, v. 8, pg 15) and once correctly, 20 May 1653 (v. 8, p. 30). Her birth was also entered in the Eastham records, at the same time with that of her sister Barbara, who was born 28 Sept. 1656. Richard Knowles was not one of the first company to go out to the settlement which was to be the future home of his family. On 1 Oct. 1651 he was explicitly `of the town of Plymouth'. His name first appears at Eastham on 13 May 1654 in a record of a town grant of 2 acres of meadow at the head of Little Namskaket; and a year later, in a town meeting, 22 May 1655, all the settlers were by a vote divided into groups of 5, and every group of 5 men amongst them was to keep a bull. Richard Knowles headed one group, which included, besides himself, Joseph Rogers, George Crisp, Thomas Roberts, and Richard Booshop.... '...His elections to minor town offices at Eastham prove his retirement from the sea in later life. In 1667 he twice served on coroner's juries.

In 1669 Richard KNowles and William Walker were elected surveyors of highways, and in the next year Richard Knowles and Samuel Freeman were elected to the same office. 'The records of the Eastham town meetings contain several references to the land of Richard Knowles and his sons John and Samuel. In 1657 is the entry: '`Granted to Richard Knowles the small poynts of land at the fartherside of the head of the Cove soe far thereby the hyway be not prijedsed.' '..... The above grant was the beginning of a series of town meeting actions lasting as late as 1725. On 13 Feb. 1681/2, when the corner bounds had been marked with the initials of his son Samuel, occurs the entry: '`Granted to Richard Knowles the small points of upland on the further side of the head of the town cove viz at the western end a tree marked below the highway near the mouck of medow and from thense running easterly upon a straight line up to a stone marked S.K. and from thence bearing to the southward to another stone at the foot of the hill marked S.K. and from thence ranging northerly bearing to the East to a tree marked and from thence to a stone set in the ground at the foot of the hill by the highway that goes over the head of the Cove near the corner of the meadow fence as it now stands.' 'This grant adjoined 5 acres of a 10 acre grant, described as follows: '`A parcel of land granted to richard Knowles lying on the northerne side of Poche neare the head of the Cove, containing 10 acres, more or less, 5 acres lying on the eastern side of William Mereck & 5 acres lying on the western side and bounded both parcels by marked trees.' '....The clearest evidence of where Richard Knowles lived is found in the delimitation of the footpath around the head of Town Cove voted in 1714, as follows: '`Beginning at the foot of the hill below Joshua Hopkins dwelling house thence westerly to two stones on each side of the creek that runs out of the salt pond in the marsh thence westerly to the foot of the hill neer said Knowles dwellinghouse thence running up the hill with the old cartway to the top of the hill thence running northerly as the old cartway runs to the common road between the original land of said Samuel Knowles and the land that was formerly the land of John Knowles deceased.'

'Richard Knowles was early settled in Plymouth. At that place he had land granted him in January, 1638/9, and there he was married to Ruth Bower, August 15 following. He appears to have been a sea-faring man. He was at Eastham in 1653. At that date he is mentioned as being in command of a barque which the government had secured to transport military stores, in case such were needed, the colony then expecting trouble with the Dutch. He was a surveyor of highways in 1669/70. He held no other offices in town it appears, though a man of standing. The time of his death does not appear. There appears no perfect record of his children. It is certain he had James, who died about 1682; John, who was slain in the Indian war in 1675; Mercy, who married Ephraim Doane; Samuel, born at Plymouth in 1651; Mehitable, born in Eastham, 1653, and Barbara, born in 1656.'[4]

It is the purpose of this article to present in genealogical form the facts that have been brought to light about Richard Knowles, mariner, of Eastham,* (*All places mentioned in this genealogy are situated within the present limits of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, unless another State or region is indicated in the text or may be easily inferred from the context.) and his descendants to the fourth and fith generations.

This genealogy is based on the genealogies of Eastham families collected and compiled by Mr. Stanley Webster Smith of Boston and South Orleans, with the cooperation of the late Mr. Josiah Paine of Harwich. The collection begun many years ago by Rev. William C. Knowles of Haddam, Conn., and the collection of Mr. Arthur T. Knowles of Brooklyn, N. Y., as well as numerous single lines traced by interested descendants, were also placed at the disposal of the compiler of the present article. The name of Knowles or Knollys was pretty well distributed over England by the time New England was settled. Besides the six unconnected emigrants who multiplied the name here, there were others of the name in New England who are known only


Offspring of Capt. Richard Knowles and Ruth Bower (1616-1687)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Knowles (1633-1705) 11 March 1633 Glouceby, Lincolnshire, England 5 December 1705 Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire Jemima Austin (1641-1705) Jemima Austin (1641-1705) Apphia Bangs (1651-1722)
Mary Knowles (1642-1692)
James Knowles (1648-1678)
Samuel Knowles (1651-1737) 17 September 1651 Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 19 June 1737 Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts Mercy Freeman (1659-1744)
Mehitable Knowles (1653-1721)
Barbara Knowles (1656-1715) 28 September 1656 Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts 23 February 1715 Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts Thomas Mayo (1651-1729)
Ruth Duty Knowles (1657-1714) 3 November 1657 Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 28 August 1714 Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts Joseph Collins (1645-1724)



Vital Records

Cove Burying Ground

Son of John Knowles. Married to Ruth Bower on 15 Aug 1639 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co, MA. Died between 1670 & 1675 as an adult. Unmarked grave. Eastham Cove Burying Ground Possible Unmarked Graves of Adults up to 1730

This listing was compiled from Eastham death records contained on the Eastham Ancient Records CD plus other published genealogy sources.

See Also

Footnotes (including sources)


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.