THE NEW WORLD BECKONS
The Puritan settlers of America unlike many others of same period were not adventurers. Most were men of respectability of good estate. They were lovers of liberty, and men of distinct and well marked religious views. They ere nonconformists with a high degree of independence and a strong sense of duty to a cause to which they remained true. For this reason they left their homes in England and Holland and sought in the wilds of America a resting place from oppression, where they and their children might enjoy the freedom to worship God as they saw fit.
The period at which they emigrated to America was one of the darkest for the Puritans. Many of their ministers had been silenced or suspended. The ministers of Charles I and friends of the Archbishop Laud, full of hope that they could exterminate the pestilent heresy from the land, resorted to fines, the pillory, mutilation and torture to compel conformity to the ceremonies of the Established Church.
The persecution under Archbishop Laud fell with particular weight upon the clothiers. In a petition to Parliament made in 1640 reference is made to ...divers Clothiers having been forced away who had set up manufacture abroad to the great hurt of the kingdom.
The wide new world beckoned to the Puritans and other seekers of freedom. in the year 1638 twenty ships and over three thousand persons left England for the freedom of America. Among them, Maximilian and Joseph Jewett and their wives. They sailed from Hull in the ship John of London with twenty other Puritans and their families-some sixty persons in all under the leadership of the Rev. Ezekiel Rogers. They landed in Boston early in December, spent their first winter in Salem and in the spring founded the town of Rowley.
The Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, a learned and eloquent minister of Rowley, England had been suspended by the Church Courts for failing to read the Book of Sports allowing sports to be played on God's Holy Sabbath; a point especially offensive to the Puritan element of the day. He collected from his congregation and other Yorkshire friends the little band later known as the Rowley Company who accompanied him to America. So great was the respect for Mr. Rogers that after his suspension he was permitted to continue to enjoy the profits of his living for an additional two years and was also allowed to name his substitute. (He in turn was soon suspended for failing to read the charge against his predecessor). These two years were most likely spent by Mr. Rogers in organizing his company of colonists.
Many of his company were his former parishioners. The Jewett family, however, lived in Bradford, one hundred miles from Rowley. Mr. Rogers may have gone to Bradford for the purpose of gaining members to his company or, perhaps the Jewett brothers may have heard of his intention and sought him out.
A plantation was established between Ipswich and Newbury, which later became the town of Rowley. In 1639 the small band of Puritans led by Mr. Rogers of which Maximilian and Joseph Jewett were a part renewed their church covenant and called Mr. Rogers as their pastor. The town was incorporated 1639: 4th day of the 7th month, ordered that Mr. Rogers' Plantation shall be called Rowley. The place was named in honour of Mr. Rogers, who had been minister in Rowley Lincolnshire, for over sixteen years.
With characteristic industry the new settlers set about to lay out the new town. Twenty house lots are recorded on Bradford Street in the first survey of the town. Two of these near the intersection of High Way and Bradford Street were assigned to the brothers Maximilian and Joseph Jewett.