Across the ocean


There is no complete list of everyone who migrated from the British Isles. The records located so far identify ten individuals as moving overseas between 1659 and 1892. I am reasonably sure they were all members of the Howcott/Howcutt family, except for some doubt in the cases of George Howkett and Joseph Howcutt.


William Hawcott


On 25 May 1659, William Hawcott of Coventry, a pinmaker, was apprenticed at Bristol to John Bridges, a merchant, for 4 years. His destination was given as Barbados.


In 1654, Bristol Corporation had ordained that, before embarkation, persons bound as servants were to be articled and enrolled as were the city apprentices. At that time, Bristol, had a monopoly of the Virginia trade and it appears that the records of these indentured servants give the names of practically every person who left England for Virginia, Maryland and the other settlements on the Atlantic seaboard as well as for Barbados from September 1654 to August 1679. [1]


The same list includes a total of seven other people who were apprenticed to John Bridges ("Bridger" in one entry), three of these between 7 and 28 July 1659 and the remaining four between 6 June and 15 July 1660. The destinations of five were given as Virginia and two as Barbados. From this information, it is likely that John Bridges took these indentured servants from England on two different ships and that William Hawcott left England on or after 28 July 1659.


George Howkett


On 20 September 1661, William Drummond was granted 4,750 acres in Westmoreland County, Virginia, as he had brought 95 persons to the colony. These included "George Howkett". [2] The records do not say where this party came from but George Howkett was not apprenticed at Bristol. Because of this and as the party included "8 negroes", it is more likely that George had set out from the West Indies or another part of North America than that he came direct from England. William Drummond was probably the person of that name who at that time lived at James City, Virginia, some 70 miles south of Westmoreland county, and was Governor of Albemarle County (later known as North Carolina) from 1664 to 1667.


John & Edward Howcott


"John Hawkiat" was one of 21 people imported into North Carolina by Mr Cuthbert Phelps senior, as a result of which Phelps claimed 1,050 acres there by applying to the General Court on 26 February 1695 (i.e. 1695/6). [3] Cuthbert Phelps and members of his family are recorded on numerous occasions in the vicinity of Edenton during the following years [4].


This John was probably the older of two brothers, John & Edward Howcott, who are mentioned in numerous records in and around Edenton, North Carolina during the early 18th century. The earliest references to each of them in Chowan County are:

         4 August 1713: Edward Howcott witnessed the transfer of land from Isaac Zehenden to John Champen [5]

         8 January 1714: Francis McLendon assigned to John Howcott a patent of land on the north side of Albemarle River at Indian Town. [6]


Edward's and John's origins are not absolutely certain. However, there is a considerable overlap between the christian names that they chose for their children and those in the family of Edward & Mary Howcott of Lichfield, Staffordshire, England:



































CL = child of Edward at Lichfield

WL = wife of Edward at Lichfield

CJE = child of John at Edenton

CEE = child of Edward at Edenton


The Lichfield population list, which was probably compiled in 1695, contains Edward and Mary Howcott with children including John (aged 14) and Edward (aged 8). [7] Therefore, if John Howcott of Lichfield did go to North Carolina, he would have been about 14 or 15 years old at the time and presumably followed by his younger brother at a later date.


James Howcutt


James Howcutt was christened at Brixworth in 1806. In 1827, he was convicted of breaking into and stealing from Edward Walton's house there. He and his two accomplices were all sentenced to death, which was commuted to transportation for life. James arrived at Hobart in December 1827 and remained in Tasmania at least until July 1852. By August 1853, he had joined the Victoria gold rush and was one of the miners who signed a petition there at that time.


John Howcutt


John Howcutt graduated as a veterinary surgeon at London on 3 July 1822 [8] and is recorded as practising in Scotland in 1826. [9] By 16 January 1837, he was living at Buffalo, NY, when he made a deposition as a resident alien that he intended always to reside in the United States and to become a citizen as soon as possible. [10] John, his wife and son were almost certainly "Mr, Mrs and Master Howcutt" who arrived on 25 May 1835 at New York from Liverpool on board the "Silas Richards". [11]


Joseph Howcutt


Joseph Howcott, a 30 year old agent of a pottery company, appears in the 1870 census at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is stated to have been born in England but no suitable birth record has been found in the civil registration indexes for England and Wales, which start in July 1837. Nor has he been found in any other American records. So it is possible that the surname recorded in the census is a mistake for another name. The census also said that both of Joseph's parents were "foreign-born". [12]


Sarah Ann Howcutt


Sarah Ann Clay was born at Brixworth in about 1841 and married William Howcutt there in 1860. She left London on the steamship "John Elder", arriving at Sydney on 19 August 1882. Sarah Ann married Joseph Lucas at New South Wales in 1884 and lived at Melbourne.


James Howcott


James Howcott, born July 1831 in Ireland, is recorded as living at 1221 Chartres, New Orleans in 1900 with his wife and two daughters. He was said to have arrived in the United States in 1860 and had become a naturalised citizen. Both his parents were said to have been born in Ireland. [13]


William Howcutt (1860-1892)


William was born at Brixworth, Northamptonshire, a son of William and Sarah Ann (Clay) Howcutt. He joined the Army in March 1878 and served in the Royal Lancaster Regiment (4th Regiment of Foot). This took him to Gibraltar (1878-1879), Jamaica (1879-1882) and India (1884-1890). [14] William was discharged from the Army in 1890, apparently at Karachi and made his way to Australia, where he died at Melbourne in 1892.




[1] "Bristol and America", preface by N Dermott Harding, historical introduction by William Dodson Bowman and "The Bristol Registers of Servants Sent to Foreign Plantations, 1654-1686" by Peter William Coldham (Baltimore 1988).

[2] "Cavaliers and Pioneers 1623-1666 - abstracts of Virginia land patents and grants", by Nell Marion Nugent, Vol. I, p.403-404.

[3] "North Carolina Higher-Court Records 1670-1696", edited by Mattie Ermie Edwards Parker (Raleigh, NC, 1968), quoted in "North Carolina Headrights - a list of names 1663-1744" compiled by Caroline B Whitley (Raleigh, NC, 2001).

[4] For instance, Cuthbert Phelps was described as "of Paquimons precinct" on 20 June 1697, when he appointed his friend George Deare as his attorney. By a deed of sale dated 26 July 1704 Edward Phelps sold to his brother Cuthbert Phelps land on the south side of the Albemarle River that had lately been in the possession of his father Cuthbert Phelps, deceased. (see "The Colonial Records of North Carolina - Higher-Court Records", edited by Mattie Erma Edward Parker (Raleigh, 1971)).

[5] Deed recorded at Chowan Precinct on 29 March 1716 and referred to in "Christopher Woodward of Virginia" by Frances Cullom Harper.

[6] From "Hocut/Hocutt Timeline" by Helen L Zink, accessed 15 July 2016.

[7] British Library Manuscripts Department: P52/2214 Harley 7022.

[8] Register of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, 1889.

[9] The Old Parochial Register for Fordyce, Banffshire, Scotland records that on 12 September 1826 "John Howcutt veterinary surgeon of Inverness had a child by Mary Watson baptised and named John".

[10] "New York Alien Residents, 1825-1848" by Kenneth Scott & Rosanne Courway.

[11] database of New York passenger & immigration lists, 1820-1850, microfilm serial number M237, microfilm roll number 26, list number 298A.

[12] U.S. Census 1870: 2nd Ward Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge parish, page 51.

[13] U.S. Census 1900: volume 26, enumeration district 56, sheet 56, line 93. FamilySearch film 1240572.

[14] The National Archives: WO97/3098.