1. EXTERIOR VIEW
The Howland House is the
only house left standing in Plymouth where Pilgrims actually lived. The original 17th
century two story timber framed house consisted of the porch, hall and hall chamber.
In order to attend church during the winter months both John & Elizabeth Tilley
Howland spent part of the season here.
During this time Jabez raised the roof and added a back bedroom providing space for his
parents. After John's death in 1673 (Age 8O) and the fire that destroyed their Rocky Nook
Farm, Elizabeth lived here until 1680 with her son Jabez and his family. The house was
expanded with several lean-tos which made it into a large house by 1750.
1667 LIVING ROOM
You will find that as you tour the house there is a fire
place in almost every room. The open fire place was a hazard to colonial women as many
were badly hurt or died from burns. This due to the long dresses they wore and attempting
to get to the kettles or pots being warmed by the fire. The living room would be one of
the main areas for reading by the fire.
THE OLDE KITCHEN
Note the various bowls on the table. Also the many plates and utensils hung above the
fireplace. Readily accessible for use while cooking meals. Trammels were used to hold
cooking pots. The swing arm or crane made cooking safer for women as they were not
required to step into the fireplace to take the pot off the fire.
THE JOHN HOWLAND BEDROOM
This bedroom was used by John Howland when he and wife Elizabeth stayed here during the
winter months before John's death and Elizabeth remained until son Jabez sold the house in
1680. At this time Elizabeth moved to Swansea, Rhode Island to live with her daughter
Lydia Brown. She died there in 1687(age 80) and is buried outside the Brown family plot.
The cradle, spinning wheel, chair and chest at the end of the bed add to the ambiance of
The first thing you notice is the ceiling of 1750 is plastered where the earlier rooms
showed the beams. Like beds of the period they were canopied. This field bed can be fitted
with heavy drapes for warmth and privacy. The curly birch dresser is American
Chippendale(1750-1780). Beds were framed with rope strings. In damp weather the ropes had
to be loosened and in dry weather tightened in order to keep a firm support for the
mattresses. Mattresses were stuffed with whatever was comfortable(i.e. straw, cornhusks).
Feathers would have been the best. Often the husband would leave his best feather bed to
his eldest son and the second best to his wife.