John Hamilton, Scottish Immigrant

Updated: 15 December 2014

John Hamelton/Hamblton/Hamilton

Researchers and contributors:
Dan Hamilton – Y-DNA Participant
Judy (Pepper) Clark – Y-DNA Participant through her father.
Marsha Hamilton
Martha (Hamilton) Hauber – Y-DNA participant through her brother.
Oscar Myron Hamilton – Y-DNA Participant
Teresa (Hamilton/Pepper) Rust – Y-DNA participant through her grandfather.

Scottish POW DNA Study: Group 1-B; Haplogroup R-L21

Dan, Judy, Martha, Myron, and Teresa all have a VERY close DNA MATCH through their multiple Great-Grandfather John Hamilton and his wife Christian, surname unknown. Through the use of well known paper trails and Y-DNA we have established that our connection goes back to John and Christian Hamelton/Hamilton, the parent’s of John and Joseph born in 1667 and 1671 in Concord, Massachusetts.

The DNA carried by our paternal ancestor, John Hamilton, indicates that our mid 17th Century Massachusetts-dwelling ancestor was not an English Puritan but instead hailed from Scotland. According to David Dobson there were a limited amount of Scots in New England and Massachusetts in the early and mid 17th century. So the question arises, where was John Hamilton born, if not in England, and why and how did he end up in Massachusetts? Through further research we have found multiple sources from which we can build a circumstantial case to give credence to the idea that he was a Scottish prisoner of war from the Battle of Dunbar, arriving in Charlestown, Massachusetts in December 1650 on the ship Unity.

The following is a working Time-Line:

3 Sep 1650:
Battle of Dunbar in Dunbar, Scotland

11 Nov 1650:
The ship Unity sets sail for Charlestown, Massachusetts from Gravesend, England.

Dec 1650:
The ship Unity arrives in Charlestown, Massachusetts in Boston Harbor. John probably remained in Charlestown for his indenture period.
Question: Is there a record of his indenture in Charlestown or nearby?

Dec 1650-1657: – No word on John and his whereabouts:
We have no records of John during this time which is consistent with being indentured since most indentures lasted six to eight years. During this time he was most likely too busy working for his master and not doing anything on his own and therefore not making any records. It appears he stayed out of the courts as well. :) He is not listed as being one of the iron workers at the Iron Works in Lynn, MA. It appears that he stays in Charlestown, either as a “iron works” dock worker under William Aubrey or indentured out to local artisans and merchants, etc.

1657/8: Charlestown:
1 March – Land Transaction Recorded – A John Hamblton is given property on or before 1 March 1657/8  in Charlestown, along with several other men presumed to be Scottish prisoners of war. It is located on the “Mistick Side”.

This land record is the FIRST RECORD of John that we have found. This would be the perfect time for him to start making records, AFTER SEVEN YEARS INDENTURE.

According to the Charlestown Land Records on page 81:
John Hamblton in 1657/58 RECORDED 1 March 1657/58, drew Lott #194, which included, “four acres of woodland and three of commons.” On the same page, next to John, are FOUR other presumed  Scottish prisoners of war: Edward Wyer, Alexander Bow, James Grant and Hercules Corser. All four of these men, along with John Hamilton, are on George S. Stewart’s Prisoners of Dunbar list.

(Thomas Lynde “a maltster” was a LARGE land owner in Charlestown on the Mistick Side, as well.)

1666: Concord:
28 Mar 1666: (Colonial Calendar began with MARCH)
Middlesex County, MA: Abstracts of Court Files, 1649–1675. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003), (Unpublished abstracts by Thomas Bellows Wyman, “Abstract of Middlesex court files from 1649,” n.d.)
“1666 1m 28. Test: John Hamelton Ae abt thirty yrs taken before Commisioners of Concord, signed Timothy Wheeler, Thos. Brooks, mark & Robert Meriam”

Possible year of marriage to the mother of his two sons, Christian.

1667/68: Concord:
1 March 1667/8, John, son of John Hamelton and Christian his wife.

1670/1: Concord:
9 Jan 1671 – Joseph Hamilton is born to John and Christian in Concord. [CoVR]

From the History of Concord, by Lemuel Shattuck, 1835, page 373: “John Hamilton was here a few years, before 1670, but removed to Marlborough.”

1671 to 1680: Possibly Marlboro and Concord:
In 1671 is said to have removed to Marlborough, but King Philip’s War in 1675 caused the settlers there to abandon their homes and he probably removed to some town near Boston. Indeed, his son Joseph seems to have been an innkeeper in Boston later.

We have not found a record showing that John was a soldier in King Philip’s War. 12-15-14

In Deference to Defiance, by Roger Thompson, refugees from King Philip’s War were recorded in Charlestown. Concord or Boston may have had such a record, too?


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