In the region of Yorkshire, England, along the River Tees, a family lived and thrived. They lived on the dale, or flat
land, near the river. Therefore, they became known as the family from Teesdale; or the Tisdale family. A man named John had
a son whom he christened Thomas sometime before 1596. Thomas married a woman named Ruth. Together Thomas and Ruth had at least
one child, whom they named after his grandfather: John Tisdale.
John Tisdale was born in 1614, and baptized on November 7 of that year, in Ripon, England, in the region of Yorkshire.
In Approximately 1634 John Tisdale came to Plymouth Plantation, reportedly bringing with him the Tisdale coat of arms (which
has been passed down through the generations and is with a descendant in Canada) and a great table of carved English oak.
This table is mentioned in the wills of later generations.
It was required, per the early laws of the colony, to get permission of the magistrates before any person was allowed to
live alone or keep house or plant for himself. In 1636, in accordance with this law, "John Tisdale upon good report made of
him and his good carryage is allowed to keep house and plant for himself provided he shall continue his carryage still." He
was granted 10 acres at Green Harbour of the Old Massachusetts Bay Colony, had land at Hounds ditch, and at Namassakeeset
Early on in his stay at Plymouth, John Tisdale had cause to sue Stephen Hopkins, one of the original Mayflower passengers,
for assault. Stephen Hopkins was found to be at fault and ordered to pay John 40 shillings.
Around the year 1640, John, a yeoman, or farmer, married Sarah Walker. Sarah, whose mother was widowed, was born in 1618
in Weymouth, England. She came from England on the ship "Elizabeth", either in 1633 as a servant of her uncle John Browne
or in 1635 with her brother James, reports vary.
In March 1642 John Tisdale took the Freeman Oath, and in September of that year, the General Court admitted him a "freeman", a position secured only by attachment to the
church and by a very exemplary life. It gave him standing in the community and a place in the town meeting. Around that same
time, their son, John, Jr. was born.
The following year – in March 1643 he was admitted to the church. He also sold his land in Duxbury and moved his
family to Taunton. He built his home on the east side of the Great River at Assonet, about three and one-half miles from Taunton
Green, and bordering what is now Berkley. Above the site rose Mount Hope, the home of the Indian known as King Philip.
The second son, James, was born in 1644.
In June 1645 John was appointed Constable of Duxbury. Their third son Joshua was born in 1646.
In 1650 their first daughter Sarah was born and John was named a selectman in Taunton. During this time, he served on a
jury to inquire into the death of Thomas Cook. During either this year or the next, his daughter Sarah was born.
John found himself in court again in 1653. This time he was the defendant. He appeared before Govenor Bradford, Miles Standish,
John Alden and Captain Willitt and was fined 20 shillings in a dispute over a cow.
Now that John was established in Taunton, he served as constable of that town in 1655. His and Sarah’s fifth child
and fourth son, Joseph was born in 1656, followed in 1657 by Elizabeth, their sixth child and second daughter. In 1658 John
was again elected Constable, and also selectman of Taunton, and his daughter Mary was born.
The last child of John and Sarah, a daughter, Abigail, was born in 1659. That was the year that John and 25 others organized
"Yee Freeman’s Purchase" and bought, from the Indians, the settlement that was known as Freetown. The purchase price
included coats, rugs, pots, kettles, shoes, hatchets and cloth. John had plot #23.
In October 1670, Ensign Leonard and John Tisdale were appointed to a committee to see to the execution of the Court order
prohibiting the transportation of planks, boards, bolts, or bark out of the area. These items were in such great demand in
the West India trade that they brought high prices, but were needed for homes in Taunton.
There were problems with some of the Indians who lived in the area. In 1671 soldiers assembled at the Tisdale home to prepare
for war against hostile Indians. This war would come to be known as King Philip’s war.
John was once again voted as selectman in 1672 and in 1674 he was a representative of the General Court at Plymouth. He
served his last year as selectman in 1675.
In 1675 King Philip’s war came to Freetown.
Either on June 27, 1675, as reported to the Plymouth Court by Shadrach Wilbore, or, or on April 4, 1675, as stated in a
letter by John Freeman, an officer in the war. John Tisdale was killed by Indians.
It was reported that three men were slain: John Tisdale, Sr., John Knowles and Samuel Atkins. John Tisdale’s house
was burned as was the house of his brother-in-law James Walker. John’s gun was carried off by the Indians. The gun was
retaken at Rehoboth on Aug 1 1675, where it was found with the body of an Indian who was slain there. The gun was later used
as evidence in court.
Sarah Walker Tisdale did not outlive her husband by much. She died on Dec 10 1676, in Taunton.
John’s estate was settled on March 6 1677. That same day, three Indians: Timothy Jacked, Massamaquat and Pompachonshe
were indicted for the murder of John and the other two men, on the evidence of having John’s gun. Charges against one
were dropped for lack of evidence. The other two wre deemed probably guilty. All three were sold into slavery, and removed
from the country.
In June of that year John and Sarah’s youngest daughter, Abigail, only 14, was given into the guardianship of James
Browne of Swansea. He was the son of her mother’s uncle, John Browne.
In 1677 the Tisdale’s oldest son, John, committed suicide.