John White was the son of Robert. He was born in 1601 in South Petherton. In 1627 he married Joan West. Their first son, John, Jr., was born in 1628. Four more children, Joanna, Elizabeth, Thomas, and Mary followed. The family left for Massachusetts in l638 or 1639. It may be they left John, Jr. with his grandparents because he does not appear again except in his grandfather’s will.
Although his wife Joan later showed her religious fervor, it is not clear whether John left because of religious or political views just before the outbreak of open civil war or whether he was more drawn by the prospect of gaining land and other opportunities. There were certainly many reasons to journey to the new land.
On their arrival in Salem, they were granted 60 acres north of town. John soon got more acreage in the suburb of Wenham. His wife, Joan, helped to found the church there in 1644, speaking out about her faith, which was unusual for a woman at that time and place. John did not join the church, but seems to have supported her actions.
In 1653 they appear in Lancaster, with an initial grant of 20 acres. Soon they are the largest landowners in town. I still have no indications of his source of income. Perhaps partly because of her mother’s religious interests, their daughter Mary married Rev. Joseph Rowlandson. When the Indians attacked in 1676, she was captured and carried off and wrote the story of her experience, which was an early best seller.
Josiah and his youngest sister Hannah inherited their father’s holdings in Lancaster. Josiah lived in the family house, which was lived in by Whites until the 1800’s. They are buried in the Old Founders’ cemetery. Had I only known when I was there!