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“Shipwreck” John Tuttle


“Shipwreck” John Tuttle (ca 1618-1663)

Wreck of the Angel Gabriel

The Great Colonial Hurricane, 1635


John Tuttle is my 8th great grandfather by this path: RWA → Fred Pemberton Abbott → Mary Knowles Abbott → William W. Knowles → Daniel Knowles → Daniel Knowles → John Knowles → Experience Chamberlain Knowles → Mary Tibbetts Chamberlain → Dorothy Tuttle Tibbetts → John Tuttle


A fleet of five ships traveled from Bristol, England to the new world in August, 1635. As the fleet approached the coastal area, a large storm rolled in. The three smallest ships, the Elizabeth, the Mary, and the Diligence were bound for Newfoundland, and as they were smaller and quicker were able to outrun the storm and arrived safely at their destination. The two larger ships, the Angel Gabriel and the James were headed for New England. The James anchored off the Isle of Shoals for the night, and although damaged made it into Boston Harbor two days later with all passengers surviving. The Angel Gabriel took refuge in Pemaquid Bay (in what is now Maine) (pictured above). Most of the passengers managed to disembark before the storm struck; several crew members and passengers remained on the ship and perished when the hurricane struck and sank the ship. A partial passenger list for the Angel Gabriel survived and our ancestor, John Tuttle, is on that list. Many of the survivors made their way to Ipswich.


The National Weather Service recreated the path and strength of the storm based on witness reports of the time and concluded this was a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 130 mph. There were 20 foot swells and is reported to have the highest storm surge in U.S. history (although it was not yet the U.S.).


John Tuttle, age 17 at the time of the trip, is reported by one story to have walked from Pemaquid to Dover (in what is now New Hampshire) where he settled. Another story is that he settled first in the Ipswich area and then moved on to Dover a year or two later. He became known as “Shipwreck John Tuttle.” John became a farmer in Dover and the Tuttle Farm which began operating in the 1630’s has been called the oldest known family owned farm in the United States. The farm stayed in the Tuttle family until it was sold in 2013. A children’s book recounting the story of 12 generations of this farm family, Tuttle’s Red Barn, was published in 2007.


John Tuttle married Dorothy (maiden name unknown) about 1642. They had four children including my ancestor Dorothy Tuttle Tibbetts (1663-1707).




Tendercrop Farm at the Red Barn, Tuttle’s Red Barn,'s_Red_Barn


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