George Knower & Elizabeth (MNU), Malden, MA, 1600s & His English Origins

George Knower arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631 and appears in the Great Migration Project. At the time his family sketch was written, his English origins were unknown.

Since then, “The English Origin of Thomas Knower of Charlestown, Massachusetts, and His Brother George Knower of Charlestown and Malden, Massachusetts” by Randy A. West has been published in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 176, Winter 2022.

From Mr. West’s research, new details have been learned about George Knower’s life.

To begin, George Knower was the son of London clothier Thomas Knower, born c1560 and who was a freeman of the Clothworkers’ Company of London by 1583.

Thomas Knower married twice, first to Margaret (Bowman) Lowen, 15 February 1585/85 at St. Clement Eastcheap, London, England. She was buried on 6 October 1596.

No children of the first marriage have been identified, but no probate records have been found.

He married (2) widow Ann (MNU) Breamer, 3 November 1597, St. Botolph Bishopsgate, London, England.

Thomas’s children were all baptized at St. Clement Eastcheap, London, England.


1. Anne, baptized 9 July 1598; married John Willoughby, 6 january 1626/27, Stoke Newington, Middlesex, England
2. Thomas, baptized 14 September 1600; died about 9 November 1641, when he was found dead in a boat on the “Mistick side” (Malden), Massachusetts : married Olive Herring, about 24 December 1627, St. Clement Eastcheap, London, England
3. Mary, baptized 15 August 1602; buried 20 December 1621, St. Clement Eastcheap, London, England
4. John, baptized 28 October 1604; buried 15 September 1605, St. Clement Eastcheap, London, England
5. Margaret, born 30 April 1608; buried 13 May 1608, St. Clement Eastcheap, London, England
6. George, born 8 September 1609; died 13 February 1674/75, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Elizabeth (MNU), c1644, probably Charlestown or Malden, Massachusetts

George Knower first settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts by 1631. However, little is documented about his life, except that he received land on the Mistick side (Malden) from Charlestown in 1638, so he likely became a resident of the area that later became Malden about that time.

He married Elizabeth (MNU) about 1644, based on the reported age of his son Jonathan when he died in 1722.

NOTE: The maiden name of Elizabeth is UNKNOWN. Online trees give her maiden name as Kendall, probably taken from this entry in the Great Migration Project:

Although George Knower left a will dated 3 December 1674 and it is often cited as Middlesex Probate Records 5:28-31, I have not been able to find an image of the will or a full transcription of it.

AmericanAncestors has only file cards describing the will and inventory digitally available online. FamilySearch doesn’t have the volumes either.

Those who have called George’s wife KENDALL apparently overlooked the (sic) in the Great Migration Project paragraph, indicating that someone erred in this abstraction and called her Kendall, not Knower.

George Knower died in Malden on 13 February 1674/75. His surviving wife, Elizabeth, died after she attested to George’s inventory on 6 April 1675.

Those who received bequests in his will:

My loving and dear wife Elizabeth
Son Jonathan
Daughter Mary Merrable
Grandchild Hannah Bucknam
Grandchild Elizabeth Bucknam (under 18)

His estate inventory totaled £503 7s. 6d.


1. Jonathan, born c1645; died 15 October 1722, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Sarah Winslead, daughter of John Winslead, before 1685
2. Daughter, born c1647; died before 1 May 1673, when her husband remarried; married Joses Bucknam, c1665
3. Mary, born c1649; died after 3 January 1674/75; married (1) Nathaniel Whittemore (baptized 1 May 1636, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England), 1 May 1636 (2) John Marable, 3 May 1673, Charlestown, Massachusetts.

In closing, several comments need to be made about George Knower’s three children.

First, some online trees call Jonathan’s wife Sarah “Winslow.” That is incorrect, as Randy West’s article documents her as the daughter of John Winslead.

Second, some call George’s second daughter ‘Hannah,’ likely because Joses Bucknam’s oldest daughter was named Hannah. It is certainly possible, but it is ONLY SPECULATION with no proof yet found.

Last, a paper trail for daughter Mary (Knower) (Whittemore) Marable is scant, as the last time she appears in town records is on 3 January 1674/75, when she gave birth to her only know Marable child.



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