Friday, May 13, 2011

Two Joan Antrobuses

Joan Antrobus was born about 1592 in St. Albans, England to Joan Arnold and Walter Antrobus. She was married twice, First to Thomas Lawrence (1589 – 1625) on 23 October 1609 and had six children, and she married second to John Tuttle on before 1629.  Joan is the mother of three of my 9x Great Grandparents!

The Tuttles immigrated onboard the Planter, which left London in April 1635 for Boston. There exists an actual transcription of the Planter passenger list which shows that they traveled with her widowed mother (the other Joan Antrobus), John’s widowed mother, four of Joan’s children from her first marriage, four more children from her second marriage, John’s brothers Richard and William with their families, and several servants. Most ships did not keep passenger lists in the 1600s, and if they did, few survived. [ see “The Founders of New England”, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 14, page 304 for the passenger list]

Obviously, from this rare record, you can see that this family group was wealthier than the average immigrant family. According to Gary Boyd Roberts and in other books about Americans of royal descent, the Lawrence family descended from nobility including the English Plantagenets. They lived well off here, and prospered with lots and lots of descendents.

Even though she came from a privileged background, I can’t imagine coming to America with all those children in tow! Even with servants and two grandmothers, it must have been an interesting voyage. I’d like to know that Joan lived in Massachusetts long enough to see her grandchildren prosper, but it is thought she went to Northern Ireland, where her husband died on 30 December 1656 in Carrickfergus. She wrote from there about his death to the children in Ipswich on 6 April 1657, but there is no further record of her in Ireland or New England.

This is one of my only ancestors who actually passed through Northern Ireland. Many Scots setters lived there for several generations and eventually many found their way to the New World. During the Great Rebellion of 1641 Carrickfergus was a refuge for Protestants. It was taken by the Scots that year by a General Robert Munro, and remained a Scots city until the restoration of Charles II in 1660.

And what about her mother, Joan Arnold Antrobus? She was baptized on 3 June 1571 in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England, and she married Walter Antrobus/Anterbus on 8 February 1587. When the planter sailed for Boston she was about 64 years old. There is no further record of her in Massachusetts. I don’t know if she decided to stay in England, died on board the ship on the way, or survived the journey and later died in Massachusetts. Either way, she was a brave woman to consider such a journey in 1635. John’s widowed mother, Isabel Wells Toothill/ Tuttle is thought to have died in 1635 in New Haven Connecticut.


Generation 1:  Joan Arnold, daughter of John Arnold and Marie Unknown, born before 3 June 1571 in St. Albans, England, died probably in Massachusetts; married on 8 Feburary 1587 to Walter Anterbus, born about 1555, died 5 April 1614 in St. Albans.  Walter married also Barbara Lawrence. Two Children: Joan and William

Generation 2:  Joan Atrobus, born about 1592, died after 29 January 1661 probably in Northern Ireland; married first on 23 October 1609 in St. Albans to Thomas Lawrence (six children including my 9x Great Grandmother Jane Lawrence who married George Giddings on 20 Feb 1634 in St. Albans);  married second on 1627 in St. Albans to John Tuttle ( another six children including my 9x Great Grandfather Simon Tuthill who married Sarah Cogswell about 1663, and also my 9x Great Grandmother Mary Tuttle who married Thomas Burnham in June 1645).

For more information on Joan (Antrobus) (Lawrence) Tuttle see:

The Great Migration Biographical Sketches, by Robert Charles Anderson (available online at the NEHGS website , previously available as a book)

"Focus on the Planter”, Great Migration Newsletter, Volume 15, number 4 – Volume 16. #1, by Robert Charles Anderson, online at

Migrations and the Origins of the English Atlantic World, by Alison Games, Harvard University Press, 2001

A passenger list of the Planter from the Winthrop Society

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. That makes us cousins! I am descended from Joan through Thomas Burnham and George(?) Giddings as well!

    There was an interesting article in *The Genealogist* years ago that traced Joan's line back to Charlemagne.


  2. The Genealogist 10 (1989):3-30 to be exact.

  3. No problem. Isn't one Antrobus and two Antrobae? (feminine plural). I, of course, descend from both ladies as well.

  4. Hi Heather, I'm probably another of your cousins! This is what I found out during my Vagabond Journey around the US in 2001:
    Per Marks-Platt Ancestry book: pg 54-59:
    "William Tuttle was a passenger on the "Planter" in April 1635. He arrived with his family the first of July. His wife was Elizabeth. He was one of the founders of New Haven, CT. The Tuttle homestead was the only land owned by Yale College for nearly 30 years. Wm Tuttle and Mr Gregson were the first owners of land in East Haven. Mr Tuttle surveyed and laid out the road from the ferry at Red Rock to Stony River, etc.
    Ancestors may have been Richard Tuthill who married Joan Grafton and further back William Tothill, mayor of Exeter and High Sheriff of Devon, England."
    I reported in my journal: "Here in New Haven it looks like Tuttles were quite a family. One son of William Tuttle died incompetent, another, Benjamin, killed his sister, Sarah, in 1676 and was executed for it, and yet another daughter, Mercy, was called insane after she killed her own child in 1691. Sounds like things were very interesting in that family. The son I'm connected to, John Tuttle (who married Katharine Lane), seemed to come out OK with a daughter named Elizabeth marrying a John Read of Norwalk, CT"

  5. Hi Donna, the "Terrible Tuttles" of Connecticut are quite well known. I've read quite a bit about them on the Black Sheep Ancestors website, too, where some commenters sound quite shocked about the events. There are similar stories in lots of other families, so the Tuttles were not so unique, nor so terrible!