John Scriven 3
- Born: 27 Oct 1623, Wem, , Shropshire, England 4
- Wifr: Mary about 1655 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, USA 1 2
- Died: 2 Oct 1675, Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, USA at age 51 5
The birth of John Scriven is recorded on page 51 of Part 1 of the Parish Register for Wem, Shropshire County, England [op. cit]. The original entry reads : "1623, Oct. 27. John, s. of Thomas [Skeinen?], sawyer bap." The question about Thomas' last name is answered on page xvi. of Part 2 (one of the pages where corrections are noted), where it is stated: "Page 51, Line 18. For 'Skeinen,' read 'Skriven.'"
In that Wem Register, the mothers' names are not listed, so we do not know the name of John's mother, which is another of the important but unanswered questions about John.
Among those important but unanswered questions are these: If his mother had been Margaret Corbett, wouldn't that mean that John was the rightful heir to the Lordship of Frodesley? But, he didn't follow his father in that position. His younger brother Richard did. Why was that so, and was that the reason for John's departure for the New World? With his brother as the Lord of the Manor, would that have been an intolerable situation for John to be in, causing him to leave England forever?
In 1644, England was in the midst of its Civil War (see below), and John, at age 21, was of age to be a soldier. Did he leave England in order to avoid having to fight in the War?
Why would John have had a sword in his possession [see the account of the inventory of his property taken at his death]? It's understandable that an average citizen would have a musket [as John had], but A SWORD! Wouldn't that give stronger evidence to the claim that John was the son of a knight and colonel in the King's Army, namely, Sir Thomas Scriven?
And, of course, the central question of all: Was the John Scriven born in Wem in October 1623 the son of Sir Thomas Scriven AND the founder of our Scribner family in America? We believe that he was, although, we admit, it is impossible to provide conclusive proof of this claim.
John Scriven came into this world at a time when his homeland--England--was undergoing enormous social and political upheaval.
To begin with, that small group of religious Separatists (better known as Pilgrims) had left for the New World and had, in 1620, landed at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts Colony. Many more English families would soon follow, taking from England many of its citizens and future leaders.
At the same time, England was about to endure its first-ever Civil War, a war that would change the way of life in England forever, and affect the Scriven family in a very personal way.
James I, King of England at the time of John's birth, died in March 1625. James' last years as ruler had been marked by continual dissension, and quarreling over many issues with the elected Parliament. Also, England was on the brink of war with Spain, and the kingdom's finances were shattered. It was hoped that the new king, James' son, Charles I (who was 25 when he became king), would ease the tensions and turn England toward better and brighter days. But, it was not to be.
Within two years of his ascending to the throne, Charles was on very bad terms with Parliament (continually quarreling over the questions of who held the authority to raise taxes and muster armies, etc.), the kingdom was in serious financial trouble, and England was at war with both Spain and France! Charles dissolved one Parliament after another (1625, 1627, 1628, 1629) and ruled on his own authority.
The making of peace with France in 1629, and with Spain in 1630, provided but a brief respite from armed conflict. In 1641, quarrels with Scotland and uprisings in Ireland led England to again prepare for military action. Leaders of the so-called Long Parliament (assembled in 1640) said that troops could only be raised under officers approved by Parliament. King Charles vehemently disagreed, and set about to raise his own army. As sides began to form in this dispute, the king was generally supported by the nobility, the landed gentry (such as the Scrivens of Frodesley and the newly-knighted Thomas Scriven, who was given the rank of colonel), and the Catholics. The Parliament was supported by merchants, the middle classes and the lower order of the great towns. Thus, the struggle for power began, pitting the Parliament and their army against the king and his army, in a Civil War that would last until 26 April 1646, when the defeated Charles left England and was imprisoned in Scotland. However, it wasn't long before Charles returned to England, where he was essentially under house arrest. He escaped to the Isle of Wight. Then, a much shorter Civil War was waged throughout 1648. After that, the English leaders and their armies came to the conclusion that permanent peace would be impossible as long as Charles was alive. On 30 January 1649 Charles I, King of England, was executed.
It was at about this time that John Scriven--The Immigrant--came to the Colonies. He was among those early settlers who traveled from England to New Hampshire, not necessarily to escape England but to be a part of England's "colonization project." For many of the first colonists, England provided for their passage, and granted them land in the New World (of course, on the condition that they would remain loyal to the English authorities). We don't know exactly when, or on which ship, he made that historic journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Existing records list hundreds of persons who, for one reason or another, left England for the Colonies. However, there are other hundreds [John among them] who made that trip but for whom no record of passage exists. Wurt's MAGNA CHARTA, 7 [op.cit.] indicates that John traveled "from Kent, England, to Hampton, Massachusetts, 1652 (page 2072). It's also possible that he came by way of Barbados. Several persons did, for the reason suggested by the following quote:
"In those days emigrants to New England and Virginia from England had to take an oath of allegiance and [religious] conformity, before they were allowed to leave. In going to Barbadoes or Bermuda, these oaths were not required, consequently many emigrants shipped to Bermuda and Barbadoes and from there came to Virginia and New England" (Frederick Sylvester Stevens [comp.], GENEALOGY OF THE STEVENS FAMILY FROM 1635 TO 1891 [Bridgeport, CT: J.H. Coggswell, Printer, 1891], 7).
John was accepted as an inhabitant of Dover on 5 April 1662 (Alonzo Hall Quint [contrib.], "Extracts From Dover Town Records," NEHGR, 4 [Boston: Samuel G. Drake, Publishers, 1850], 249). He settled in an area just to the northeast of Dover Town known as "Cocheco," where he had a small farm of 20 acres, "said land being at Cochecha near the east side of the plantation of Richard Otis" (from the deed to John's land, when it was sold by his son, John, to Peter Coffin of Dover in 1685, see PROVINCE DEEDS 20:334). It was in September of 1662 that he paid his first taxes (John Scales, COLONIAL ERA HISTORY OF DOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE [1923. Reprint. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1977], 242). According to the Inventory of his possessions, listed following his death, John owned a hay barn with 20 acres of land, a few animals (2 oxen, 4 cows, 1 calf, 3 sheep, 1 lamb, 1 mare, a yearling colt and 6 hogs), farm implements and household goods (Inventory of John Scriven's Property, dated 8 October 1675). Of much interest is the fact that there is also listed 1 musket and sword! Most likely these had belonged to John's father, Sir Thomas Scriven, and John had brought them with him to the Colonies.
With regard to Mary Scriven, it had been commonly believed that she was a daughter of Edward Hilton of Dover. However, that assumption has been shown to be incorrect. Edward Hilton had two daughters, neither of whom was named Mary. One of the daughters, Susannah, married Christopher Palmer. The other daughter, Sobriety, married Henry Moulton (Noyes, GENEALOGICAL DICTIONARY OF MAINE AND NEW HAMPSHIRE [op. cit.], 332). One historian, Rev. J. Woodbury Scribner, states that "The Widow Mary lived on for 25 years after the death of her husband" (SCRIBNER FAMILIES [op. cit.], 18). Wurt's MAGNA CHARTA, 7 [op. cit.] indicates that Mary died in 1695 (page 2072).
One of their sons, Edward, was impressed into the English Navy in 1679 (Noyes, 615). No further information about Edward is known. Their other children were John (b. 1657), Elizabeth (b. 1668), and Thomas (b. 25 December 1672).
Noted events in his life were:
• He immigrated Came To America By Way Of Barbados.
• Living at Hampton, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USA.
• Living at Accepted As Resident, Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, USA in 5 Apr 1662.
• He worked as a Chosen Constable At Dover Town Meeting on 26 Jul 1664 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, USA.
• Fact 5: Fact 5, 2 Feb 1666, Chosen For Jury Of Trials At Town Meeting.
• Fact 6: Fact 6, 7 Jan 1670, Chosen For Grand Jury At Town Meeting.
John married Mary about 1655 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, USA.1 2 (Mary was born in 1635 6 and died in 1695 6.)