John Conklyne was born in England, probably in Nottinghamshire, around the year 1598. His father, possibly William, was a glass-maker ("glasseman") and probably a Lorrainer, that is, an immigrant Huguenot from the French province of Lorraine. John Conklin, too, was a glass-maker and had a younger brother, and partner in glass making, named Ananias. " Conklin Mann, in “The Family of Conckelyne, Conklin and Conkling in America, and The Line of John Conckelyne of Southold and Huntington,” published in The American Genealogist, Volume 21 (1944): pp. 48-51 and pp. 210-215 states: “After considerable reading on the story of the Italian, Lorraine, and Norman glass-makers who came in a steady stream to England for several years following 1560, I venture a few opinions, which at best are mere guesses. My guess is that Conckelyne or Concklyne [or Concklayne and Conculyn] is an English corruption of a Continental name; that Ananias and John Conckelyne were of the second generation in England; that their forebears came from Italy, Lorraine, or Normandy, perhaps by way of Antwerp. The ending -elyne or -lyne does not establish the name as Norman, Flemish, or Scotch, as has been said. If, for instance, the great Venetian glass maker Verzelini, could quickly become Verselyne in English parish records, there is no reason why a Florentine-Norman family such as Concini should not become Concelyne, Conckelyne, or Concklyne.” Conklin Mann's guess was, apparently, quite correct. Brian J.M. Hardyman, a noted English historian of the early glass-makers of England in 1995 believed that John Conklin was a descendant of Conculyns or Concklaynes. These two spelling variants of the Conklin name of a total of nineteen recorded so far do, indeed, seem to be French.
My immigrant ancestor was likely part of that large number of skilled glass-makers, mostly Huguenots, who, escaping Roman Catholic France, arrived in England after 1572, the year of the St. Bartholomewmassacre." This mass immigration was vigorously encouraged by the reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth I. Mr. Hardyman recorded a glassmaker of certain Lorraine origins, one Francis Conklyn, who was working in Old Swinford, Worcestershire, around 1613. Cornelius Conklyn, a son of Ananias Conklyn, was christened in St. Mary, Old Swinford, Worcestershire on August 6th, 1637. One can reasonably assume that there were connections between Francis, John, and Ananias Conklyn.
Jason Ellis, another glass-historian of England,stated that his research places a John Conklaine working as a glass-maker in Bagots Park, England in 1609. Conklin Mann also stated that John and Ananias Concklyne are now (1944) accepted as brothers There is little room for doubt of the relationship, though there is no absolute proof. Should Jacob Concklyne be added? Perhaps. In the Nottingham marriage records appears the following: “12 April 1637, Jacob Conklyne of Awlsworth Parish Nuthall, glasemaker and Elizabeth Hickton of Watnall parish.” We know that John Concklyne named a son Jacob although he never named one Ananias [not so unusual for one to pass up honoring a younger brother in such a manner] nor, for that matter, did Ananias name one John.
" On January 24th, 1625, John Conckelyne married Elizabeth Mylner Allseabrook at St. Peter's Parish, Nottingham, England. Elizabeth's parents are recorded as John Mylner and Winifred Ludlam, so perhaps Allseabrook was a married name and she was a widow when she married. Elizabeth died around, but probably before, 26 Mar 1671 at Southold, New York. Between the years 1628 and 1635 John and Elizabeth appear to have lived in Nutthall, a few miles northwest of the city of Nottingham. Around the year 1638 Ananias Conckelyne journeyed to Salem, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His brother John and John's wife Elizabeth followed him and arrived before the 30th of May, 1639.The brothers probably came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony under contract as glassmakers, and together, in 1640, they began what was the very first glass works in New England. Indeed, Grenville McKenzie, and others, say that it was the first in America! According to Salem records of 14 Sept 1640 cited by Mann, John Concline [was officially] receaved an inhabitant of Salem. Also, Granted to John Concline five acres of ground neere the glasse howse [and] Granted half an acre more of land for the said John Concline neer the Glass howse. " The surviving records of glass making in Salem lead to the conclusion that Obediah Holmes, Lawrence Southwick, Ananias Conckelyne and, perhaps, other undertakers [stockholders] formed a company in 1638 and later were joined by John Conckelyne. Evidently the Conckelynes were the master craftsmen while the others advanced the capital. Evidently, too, Holmes, Southwick, and the other investors soon lost interest in the venture, which did not thrive, and the Conckelynes assumed the entire burden. Apparently nothing more elaborate than window glass and bottles were made.
As late as 1879 the scori or slag which is still plowed up, seem to indicate that the glass was much lighter in color than the common bottle glass of early times. The proof of the importance of this glass making venture can be found in the following: “The General Court in Boston on 10 Dec 1641 voted that if the towne of Salem lend the Glassemen 30 pounds, they [the town] shall be allowed it againe out of their next rate; and the glasse men to repay it againe if the worke succeed, when they are able.” In plain words, Salem could deduct the loan/advance from its town taxes payable to Boston even if the glass makers defaulted! Salem, on 27 Feb 1643, voted “its promise by the towne that the 8 pounds that hath been lent by the Court by the request of the towne to Ananias Concklyne and other poore people shall be repayed by the Court, at the next Indian Corne Harvest.” Things got worse for the glass makers and A Humble petition of John and Ananias Conkcloyne [of 1 Oct 1645] “sheweth that your Petitioners have been imployed Divers yeares about the glasse work, and the undertakers now this three yeares neglected the same, so that your petitioners are not able to subsist and shall be necessitated either wholely to leave it off, or to remove elsewhere for better accomodations of themselves; wherefore theere humble request first is unto this Honoured Court, that they might be freed from theire ingagment unto the former undertakers and left free to joyne with such as will carry on the work effectually except the former undertakers forthwith doe the same, that So the Worke which they Conceive to be a public good use for the country may not fall to the ground.”
No further connection of the Conckelyne brothers with glass-making at Salem has been found in the records and it seems probable that they turned to other fields. Apparently, Salem officials still were optimistic about the Conckelynes' future in the town and, on 30 May 1649, they granted each of them four acres of meadow land.
John visited several towns along the Long Island Sound during the autumn and winter of 1649 with a view to settling in one of them, and, in late April 1650, he, Ananias, and members of other Salem families, including Thomas Scudder, removed to Southold, New York. John was recorded as a property owner at Southold by January1653, but probably owned land there as early as 1651. It is not easy to follow the record of John Conckelyne in Southold as many of the entries in the town records fail to specify senior or junior. His oldest son Capt. John Conckelyne (Jr.) was, by far, the more aggressive and active man. John may have gone to Hashamomack (that narrow neck that joins the town spot on the northeast) about 1657 when Capt. John married Sarah, widow of William Salmon, proprietor of Hashamomack. Some time prior to1660, due probably to John Jr.'s claim to the important HorseNeck (Lloyds Neck) lands, John, Sr. and his youngest son Timothy Conckelyne removed to Huntington, Long Island. On 4 Feb 1660, Huntington townsmen voted that “Timothy Conklin shall keepe both his own home lots and his father's and to lay down all comoning [commonage] and medow belonging to his own hous.” Each of these home lots carried a 100-pound right in all divisions of commonage, and transactions by Timothy Conklin 40 years later show that he maintained title to the two home lots and their accompanying rights. These rights were of considerable value.
The General Assembly at Hartford, Connecticut, on 9 Oct 1662 made Goodman [John] Conclin and [Capt.] John Conclin Junr. of Southold, freemen of Connecticut. There was much commerce conducted back and forth across the Long Island Sound and the two Johns undoubtedly had their share. John Conckelyne Senior was, unquestionably, the John Conckelyne who paid 15 shillings for a share among the Monmouth, New Jersey, Associates in 1667. Two of the associates had been affiliated with him in Salem's glass works. He was, however, apparently, never in residence at Monmouth. The John Conckelyne from Southold who served on a New York jury at the trial of a suit between the towns of Gravesend and Flatbush on 27 Sep 1666 was, probably, Captain John Conckelyne (his son), for there are indications that by that date he had a ship in Long Island waters and was serving as a civil representative of Southold in its relations with towns to the westward. On a tombstone in the Presbyterian churchyard, Southold, New York, is the following inscription: “Here lyeth the body of Captain John Conkelyne, born in Nottinghamshire in Englande, who departed this life in the sixth day of April att South Hold, Long Island, in the sixty fourth year of his age. Anno Domini 1694.”
Captain John outlived his father, John, Senior, by only 10 years. On 26 Mar 1671, John Conckelyne Sr. conveyed to his son Jacob Conckelyne “all that my housings, whom [home?] lot, with the yards, orchards, and gardens and all the rest of the accomodations thereunto belonging lying and being in Hashamomuck that is to say, All the upland both arable and woodland with the meadow and commonage thereon belonging.” This conveyance made Jacob an important landowner in Hashamomuck. It was John Conckelyne Senior's last significant land transfer and, although he continued to hold certain lands until shortly before his death, there is nothing to indicate that he ever again maintained a household in either Southold or Huntington. It seems probable that the conveyance to Jacob took place shortly after the death of Elizabeth, John's wife. Thereafter, he divided his time between the two towns, probably living for short periods, with his various children—a rich man and his money are welcome everywhere.
John Conckelyne Sr. was residing in Huntington in 1673, when on 6 Oct, after the Dutch had recaptured New York, the so-called restitutio, the town officials named him and three others as a committee to negotiate with the new Dutch Governor and to petition him to put Huntington on good behavior for one year and not to exact an oath of allegiance from the town.
John Conckelyne Sr. of Southold, on 9 Jun 1683, sold to Richard Browne Jr. “for 70 pounds, my second lot of land lying in the lower Oyster Pond neck [Greenport.]” On 6 Jul 1683 he granted unto John Concklyne Junr., “my eldest son, all lands, etc., given and granted unto me when I was an inhabitant of Salem in New England.” John Sr. had held these latter lands for more than 40 years! John Conckelyne died 23 Feb 1684. His undated will was offered to the Court at Southampton, 18, 19 and 20 Mar 1684. Its contents are quoted from the Old Sessions Book of Suffolk County:” I John Conklin being in my right understanding and perfect memory do bequeath my soul to God and my body to ye earth and my goods as followeth: viz to my son John I doo give ten shillings and to my son Timothy I doo give fifteen pounds, out of that which I was to receive for my land which my son John sold for me at Oyster Ponds. Also I doo further by these presents convey all my meadow lying in ye Oyster Ponds neck unto my son Jacob Conklin, to him and his heirs forever, he paying Mr. Sylvester four pounds and ten shillings. Also I do give to Walter Noakes three pounds and all my wearing cloathes except my best coat. Also I do give unto my grandchild Rebecca Hubert [Hubbard] one horse or mare. Also I doo give unto Mr. Eliphalet Jones twenty shillings and I doo make my daughter Elizabeth Wood my whole and sole executor. (Signed.) John Conklin.”
It is difficult to be certain to which class of society John and Ananias Conckelyne belonged, but it would seem to be that of solid burgher (burgess) or freeman class. The Allseabrook and Launder families of England, into which they married, were leading burgher families of Nottingham. When the time came for their children to marry, they did well. John's two oldest sons married, respectively, Southold's richest widow and the daughter of that town's richest man. Ananias' oldest son, Jeremiah, married, around 1658, the daughter of Lion Gardiner the most important man of eastern Long Island in his day.
There is, apparently, an amusing story in the book The Island by Robert Payne about that marriage. It says that Lion Gardiner was not happy about his daughter's choosing Jeremiah Conklin, and Payne quotes him as saying that the Conklins were bottlers from Nottinghamshire and that they were farmers and handymen without large estates. Of course if he had really been unhappy, the marriage probably would never have taken place. Recently, Honor Conklin of Albany gave me the correct quotation from the book: The quote from Robert Payne's The Island: ... p. 83, “These were tragic years for Lion, who had lost Elizabeth and was soon to lose his daughter Mary. In the summer of 1658 Mary married Jeremiah Conkling, and this was another marriage he disapproved of. The Conklings were settlers from Nottinghamshire. They were farmers and handymen, without large estates. He built Mary and her husband a dwelling house, but withheld the dowry of ten head of cattle he had given to Elizabeth. Then he sat down to write his will. Ananias Conckelyne's line of descendants on Long Island, sometime around the year 1700, employed the affectation of adding the letter =g to the end of their name and to this day there are more Conklings than Conklins in that area. The only other variant spelling currently known to be in use is Concklin, which can be observed mostly in Westchester County, New York.