John Gallup ~ My Seafaring Grandfather

Who wouldn’t love a grandfather that chased pirates, battled ship-stealing marauders, and avenged the lives of friends and neighbors?


Who wouldn’t love a grandfather that loved the sea? Who wouldn’t love a grandfather that chased pirates, battled ship-stealing marauders, and avenged the lives of friends and neighbors?   My 12x great grandfather was an adventurous man who sailed to a new land and cultivated a corner of this world and called it his own. On March 20, 1630, John Gallup left Plymouth, England on the John and Mary, and ten weeks later he arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After he arrived, he set his sights on the lands around the Boston Harbor, and there he made his home. 

 According to historical records, John Gallup was born to John Gallup and Mary Crabbe in the year of 1593. On January 19, 1617, John married Christobel Brushett. The couple had seven children: Joan (20 Sep 1618), John (25 Jan 1620), William (4 Aug 1622), Francis (27 Jul 1625), Samuel and Nathaniel (16 Aug 1629) and John (11 Jul 1630). Three years after John sailed to the colonies, his family followed; they arrived in 1633.

1782 Map of Boston Harbor and Gallup’s Island

On May 30, 1630, this grandfather arrived on Nantasket, which was later named Hull. He settled for a time in Dorchester, but soon found his way to Boston where he was given land and wharf rights. His place was known as Gallup’s Point. He also owned Gallup’s Island, and on this land he farmed. On another strip of land known as Nix’s Mate, he pastured his sheep. He also obtained a ship and was involved in coastal trade, and he served as a guide for ships entering Boston Harbor. John Gallup made a name for himself since he was instrumental in helping the colonists since they were able to purchase food and supplies and communicate with others in this new world. He even found safer channels for ships to navigate that took them away from the rocky shoals and islands that dotted the Boston Harbor.

1775 Drawing of Nix’s Mate

In the fall of 1633, the colonies found themselves at odds with a trader turned pirate by the name of Dixy Bull. This pirate and his men plundered the coast of Maine and created fear among the settlers. In December of that same year, Governor Winthrop sent Gallup and twenty men to find and capture Bull and his men; however, rough winds and a stormy blizzard prevented Gallup and his men from venturing after this band of pirates. Still, when the pirates heard the news of men seeking them out to end their pillage, the men left the area and sailed south to Virginia to find new victims to prey upon. Here, it was said that he was eventually captured.

After my grandfather’s attempt to capture Bull Dixy, he returned to Boston on January 2, 1633. This man sincerely missed his family and contemplated returning to England. Since the Governor did not want to lose such an esteemed person, he decided to take this matter into his own hands. In July of 1632, he sent a letter to the Reverend John White in England. His simple request was to call on Gallup’s wife, Christobel, and convince her to move to the colonies and reunite the family. In his letter, the governor penned:

I have much difficultye to keep John Gallop here by reason of his wife will not come. I marvayle at the woman’s weaknesse. I pray pursuade her and further her coming by all means. If she will come, let her have the remainder of his wages; if not, let it be bestowed to bring over his children, if so he desires. It would be about 40 pounds losse to him to come for her.

       Your assured in the Lord’s worke,
Massachusetts, July 4, 1632
J. Winthrop

The mediation worked, for the family sailed for colonies on the Griffin and arrived on September 4, 1633. Husband and father welcomed his family, for he was the one who piloted the ship into the harbor through the very channel that he discovered.

During the summer month of July in 1636, Gallup along with his sons, John, William, Samuel, and Nathaniel, loaded his ship with trade goods that local Indians favored. The cargo contained axes, knives, garden tools, and hand tools. In addition, metal pots, woven fabrics, and wampum, the traditional shells used as a form of gift giving among Native tribes. Gallup’s hope was to trade with area tribes in the hopes of acquiring fur, hemp, and corn. While sailing with his crew, he noticed a friend’s ship anchored off Block Island. The vessel appeared to deserted, so he sailed closer to investigate. The ship belonged to his friend, John Oldham, and he noticed there were Native men sleeping on the deck. When he called to them, some of the left the boat in their canoes and headed to shore while the remaining men slipped the anchor and tried to sail away. Gallup and his sons trailed their friend’s vessel. His sons began shooting towards the ship. Before the men could escape, my grandfather rammed his ship into the fleeing vessel. Some tried to escape, and few prisoners were taken. Gallup discovered Oldham murdered in his cabin. Gallup and his sons retrieved his goods and endeavored to tow the shallop back to shore; still, the crew’s attempt to retrieve the ship failed, so they had to cut it loose.

Once the news spread about Oldham’s murder, unrest, fear, and a pursuit for revenge engulfed the colonists. It sparked an outrage that fanned flames and the colonists viewed the Native tribes as a threat to their families and their homes. This became the catalyst that sparked a war that became known as the Pequot War.

John Gallup was admitted to the First Church of Boston in January of 1633/4, and he became a Freeman on April 1, 1634. He died in Boston in the month of January in 1649/50. He lived for about 57 years, and what an exciting life this grandfather lived.

Family Tree for Ann Marie Reeder Bryant


John Gallup (1604 – 1649)
12th great-grandfather


John Gallup
son of John Gallup

John Gallup (1646 – 1733)
son of Hannah Lake
Capt. John Gallup (1675 – 1755)
son of John Gallup
Elizabeth Gallup (1714 – 1777)
daughter of Capt. John Gallup
Zachariah Frink (1731 – 1804)
son of Elizabeth Gallup
Daniel Frink (1754 – 1811)
son of Zachariah Frink
Zachariah Frink (1775 – 1804)
son of Daniel Frink
Elias Frink (1796 – 1855)
son of Zachariah Frink
Clarissa Amelia Frink (1830 – 1892)
daughter of Elias Frink
Ellsa LaDuke (1862 – 1898)
daughter of Clarissa Amelia Frink
Anna Strassburg (1892 – 1913)
daughter of Ellsa LaDuke
Elva Marie Bryant (1908 – 1983)
daughter of Anna Strassburg
Dorothy Marie Allen (1934 – 2006)
daughter of Elva Marie Bryant
Ann Marie Bryant
daughter of Dorothy Marie Allen

Works Cited

“Gallup Family Association.” Gallup Family Association, Gallup Family Association.Voluntown, CT 2017,

Jordan, John W. Colonial Families of Philadelphia, Vol. 1, New York, NY, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1911.

Mofford, Juliet Haines. “Devil Made Me Do It!” Google Books, Rowman & Littlefield, 2011,

Radune, Richard A. Pequot Plantation: The Story of an Early Colonial Settlement. Branford, CT, Research in Time Publications, 2005.

8 thoughts on “John Gallup ~ My Seafaring Grandfather

  1. I really loved reading this story about your 11 times great-grandfather, John Gallup. What a fascinating life he led!

    What drew me to read this post was the reference to seafaring. In my own family trees, I noticed a startling number of seafarers, so I decided to write a post about these mariner men:

    I have to say, though, your piece is a much more developed than mine, delving into the complete life of your mariner ancestor. Well done indeed!

    Thanks for “sharing” him with the rest of us, Ann Marie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is all very fascinating to me. I am a Gallup from the Upstate NY area. I believe we are descendants of John Gallup as well. I have been going through a lot of old photos lately of my Dad’s family and it certainly has sparked my interest in learning more about my ancestors. My Great Grandfather is Burton “Bert” Gallup; Great Great is Bedent Baird Gallup and Great Great Great is Nathan Gallup. I have traced the work others have done back to Captain John Gallup. I loved reading about him. Thank you.


  2. Loved reading this, thank you. I grew up in the southern desert of Arizona, and even at a young age, I was always dreaming of being at sea. Eventually, I ended up serving in the US Coast Guard, where I spent four wonderful years patrolling the north and south Pacific. Although I had previously spent my youth in the desert, I felt completely at home on the ocean, and living on a ship.
    About five years ago after my mother passed away, I began looking into my family history. I soon discovered in my research that I am also descended from our Captain John Gallop. My great x8 grandfather was his son Nethaniel (twin brother of Samuel). I share your pride, and can’t help but think that somehow, through this ancestry, I inherited my love for the sea.
    It is ironic that I now live in New England, and some years ago, on a few occasions, I sailed right past Gallop’s Island. At the time, I was unaware of my ancestry.
    I hope to attend the next Gallup gathering in Mystic, CT!

    “Be Bolde, Be Wyse”


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your note. I grew up on an island and miss the ocean. I am now land locked but love living near the mountains in Colorado.

      I enjoy researching and writing about my family tree, but unfortunately, I do not have enough time lately. I often wish I could share all this with my mom.

      The next time you sail by Gallup’s Island, say hello for me. ❤


  3. Just happened on your Gallup history. My mother was a Brigham and her mother was a Gallup. My mother passed all her genealogy on to me. The Brighams (who settled in Marlborough, Mass) and the Gallups ( who settled in Ledyard, Conn) are two of the oldest families in New England. I just filed (at my advanced age) an applications for the SAR for both my Brigham and Gallup revolutionary ancestors. Between the time I was 5 and 15 I lived in Windsor, Conn (the oldest settlement in Conn). I didn’t realize at the time that many of my friends were descendants of the people who came over on the Mary and John with John Gallop, including the Gaylords and the Grants. I took over Ron Gaylord’s paper route and had a date with Lynne Grant whose ancestor was Mathew Grant also of the Mary and John. Small world. dave filios

    Liked by 1 person

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