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John Woodbury (abt. 1579 - aft. 1641)

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John Woodbury
Born about in Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married in Burlescombe,Devon,Englandmap
Husband of — married in West Coker, Somersetshire, Englandmap
Husband of — married in West Coker, Somerset, Englandmap
Husband of — married in Salem, Massachusetts (Essex)map
Descendants descendants
Died after in Salem, Essex, Massachusettsmap
Woodbury-148 created 20 Aug 2011 | Last modified
This page has been accessed 2,582 times.

Categories: Puritan Great Migration | Massachusetts Bay Colonists | Beverly, Massachusetts.

The Puritan Great Migration.
John Woodbury migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
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Free Space Profile HERE titled, "Woodbury: John Woodbury (PGM) References."


There are many different versions of John's birth.

  • Anderson states he was from Somersetshire and was born about 1583, based on the estimated date of his first marriage [1]
  • 1579 Burlescombe, Devon, England [2]
  • One merged profile had birth 1583 in South Petherton, Somerset, England.[citation needed]
  • John Woodbury was born in Somerset, England around 1579.[citation needed]
  • Son Humphrey by his testimony age 72 in 1680(?} was born about 1608. So John would most likely have been born prior to 1587.

He died between Dec 3 1641 (he attended a meeting) and Feb 8 1642/3 (will proved at court) [3]

Estate of John Woodbury of Salem.

Court ordered 27 : 10 : 1642, that widow Woodbury bring in her husband's will and inventory of his estate.
Will of John Woodbury, deceased, proved 27 : 4, 1643. His widow Ann Woodbury, executrix, ordered to bring in inventory.
Inventory of estate of John Woodbury, deceased, sworn to by his widow, 20 : 12 : 1643.
Salem Quarterly Court Records, vol. 2, pp. 128, 142, 150. [4]

Conflicted Marriage: Husband: John Woodbury; Wife: Agnes Napper; Marriage: Date: 19 MAR 1627; Place: Salem, Massachusetts (Essex) [5] There is no information to suggest that John married in 1627 at Salem.

John Woodbury Married Agnes ______. [6] Son Sgt. Peter Woodbury, bap. Sept. 7, 1640; d. July 5, 1704. [7]

John married Annis Napper in 1628, while he was back in England.[citation needed] She joined him in Massachusetts. They had the following children: John (1629), Hannah (1636), Abigail (1637), and Peter (1640).[citation needed]

Savage (Gen. Dict.) suggests that he may have had a second wife. Agnes was the name of his widow (probate records). The wife that came from England was the mother of Humphrey (Humphrey's testimony).

Immigration Conflicted Immigration: 1622/3, Cape Ann, New England [citation needed]

Conflicted Immigration: from Somersetshire England about 1624/5 [8] [9] See the testimony of his son Humphrey below.

Conflicted immigration: 1626, Place: Salem, New England [citation needed]

John became involved with the Dorchester Co. [10] It is believed that the company sailed on the ship Zouch Phoenix, and arrived in Salem in the spring of 1624. [11]

"16: 12mo:1680. Humphry Woodberye, of Beverly in New England, aged about 72 yeares. Testifieth, that when I liued in Sumersetshire in England, I remember that my father, John Woodberye, (since deceased) did about 56 yeares agoe remooue for new England & I then traueled with him as farr as Dorchester, and I understood that my said father came to new England by order of a company caled Dorchester Company, …& that my father & the company with him brought cattle & other things, to Cape Ann, for plantation work, & there built an house & kept theire cattell & sett up fishing & afterwards some of them remoued to a neck of land since called Salem: After about 3 yeares absence my said father returned to England & made us acquainted with what settlement they had made in new England & that he was sent back by some that Intended to setle a plantation about 3 leagues west of Cape Ann, to further this designe, after about half a year's stay in England, my father returned to new England & brought me with him, wee arrived at the place now caled Salem in or about the month of June 1628 … "When wee settled the Indians never then molested us in our improuements or sitting downe, either on Salem or Beverly sides of the ferry, but shewed themselves very glad of our company, & came & planted by us & oftentimes came to us for shelter saying they were afraid of their enemy Indians up in the country: & wee did shelter them wn they fled to us. & we had theire free leave to build & plant where wee have taken up lands." [12]

In 1628, John Endicott arrived in New England with a patent from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, claiming jurisdiction and ownership of the Dorchester Company a tradition says that John and one other carried Endicott from the ship (stranded on a sand bar) to the shore. This would save Endicott the embarrassment of arriving on shore wet. [11]

In Salem John filled the offices of constable, lot layer, surveyor, town treasurer, selectman, juryman [8] [13]

John Woodberye is listed among the first members of the Salem church built in 1636. [14]

"John and Agnes, the emigrants who came from Somersetshire, Eng. and landed at Gloucester, Mass. in 1624; settled at Salem 1628. William brother of John, came over with Endicott in 1628, and settled at Salem; married Elizabeth Patch, of Petherton, Eng. Both brothers had quite a no. of children. Some of both families were born and baptized in England; it is thought all the Woodburys in this country sprang from these brothers. In 1630 both families moved to Beverly. Wm. settled on the seashore at what is now called Woodbury Point, built a garrison house which stood until 50 years ago. John Conant surveyed 1,000 acres at the head of Bass river. The General Court gave him a grant of 200 acres from this tract on which he settled. In the history of Beverly it is stated that John was a member of the General Court in 1635, and again in 1638. It is stated that he died in 1641. His age is not given, but probably about 85 years. He was called "Father Woodbury," a title it is thought might have been given him as one on whom many leaned for counsel and advice. He was regarded as standing next to Conant in intelligence and usefulness to the colony. His descendants are numerous, and many still live around the spot that witnessed his trials." [15]

Children born in Salem to John. Typically, no mother's name is mentioned in the Church record :

  • Hannah, bapt. 25 Dec. 1636
  • Abigail, 12 Nov. 1637
  • Peter, 19 Sept. 1640 [14]; and d. 1641 [13].


  1. Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633. Volumes I-III, 3 vols. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995.
  2. Source: #S3385 TMPLT FIELD
  3. Salem Town Records and Essex Quarterly Court Records Vol 1
  4. The Probate records of Essex County, Massachusetts, p.21
  5. Source: #S3385
  6. Magazine of American genealogy, Issues 18-27.
  7. Magazine of American genealogy, Issues 18-27.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Derby, Perley. "John Woodbury and some of his Descendants" Essex Institute Historical Collections, Volume XXXV
  9. Charles Edward Banks, The Planters of the Commonwealth, A Study of the Emigrants and Emigration in Colonial Times: to which are added Lists of Passengers to Boston and to the Bay Colony; the Ships which brought them; their English Homes, and the Places of their Settlement in Massachusetts, 1620-1640, Boston: Riverside Press, 1930 (Reprinted Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1961, 1967, 1972, 1975, 1979, 1984, 1991, 1997), pg. 58. Cit. Date: 28 Aug 2016 (
  10. See testimony of his son Humphrey below
  11. 11.0 11.1 William and John Woodbury entry, Search for the Passengers of the Mary and John 1630 25 [New Ancestral Discoveries]:78-79; digital images, FamilySearch Photoduplication Service (accessed 2014). Reports John Woodbury came first on the "Zouch Phonix." Refers to article at 18:157-159 for ancestral research.
  12. Thornton, John Wingate. The landing at Cape Anne, or, The charter of the first permanent colony on the territory of the Massachusetts Company:... Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1854. Note this was originally part of a court record,- not Essex County. Massachusetts Bay?
  13. 13.0 13.1 Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692. Vol. I-IV. Boston, MA, USA: 1860-1862.
  14. 14.0 14.1 The Records of the First Church in Salem. Print version downloaded .pdf
  15. Batchelder, Batcheller Genealogy, Press of W.B. Conkey Co., Chicago, ILL. , 1898, by Frederick Clifton Pierce. Attached..
See also
  • Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III, 3 vols. (1995), 3:2054-2057 for John Woodbury article; digital images, (accessed 2012).
  • Mary Walton Ferris, Dawes-Gates ancestral lines : a memorial volume containing the American ancestry of Rufus R. Dawes, 2 vols. (1931-1943), 2:823-826 for John^1 Woodbury; digital images, Hathi Trust (accessed 2014). [This work is also available via Heritage Quest.]
  • Source: S3385 Ancestral File (R) Title: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ancestral File (R) (Copyright (c) 1987, June 1998, data as of 5 January 1998)
  • Magazine of American genealogy, Issues 18-27, Institute of American Genealogy., 1931
  • 'Combined pieces from Google search and Snippet views, photos attached. My typing and editing, please double check items in question. Entered by Michael Lechner, March 14, 2012.[16] Missing piece. :page 121, June 23, 1639; tailor; assessor or tax collector, 1657; will made Nov. 1673; inventory amounted to L230; m. Mary -----; m. 2d. Elizabeth (d. Nov. 10, 1675), poss, dau. of Joseph Herrick; issue (all b. Salem); 1-John (bap. Jan. 20, 1638/39-d. 1645/46); 2-Mary (bap. Sept. 19, 1640-d. Aug. 1659); m. 1658, Mighill Cressey, of Salem; 3-Abigail (B. Feb. 12, 1642/43-d. 1666). m. Sept. 1665, Sgt. Peter Woodbury (bap. Sept. 7, 1640-d. July 5, 1704), son of John and Agnes Woodbury, who came from[17] ...
  • Magazine of American genealogy, Issues 18-27, Institute of American Genealogy., 1931.[1]
  • Lechner Family History, compiled by Michael Lechner, with my father Ted Harrold Lechner.

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with John by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:

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  • Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: Anne B, Audrey Neva, GeneJ X, and Joshua Allen. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
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On 27 Feb 2017 at 01:03 GMT Joy (Young) Jacobs wrote:

My sister has been working independently on this family line and we have only this week realized another connection. Perhaps when she's done (after a trip to the area this summer) this can be straightened out. I'm always fearful of changing things I'm not at least 90% sure is correct.

On 11 Aug 2014 at 21:55 GMT Anne B wrote:

This profile really does need some help. Guess I missed going back to finish it.

I like the idea of a free space profile, to document the good stuff, and also the bad stuff, especially if you can then refute the bad stuff with good sources.

If you need help or want to bounce ideas around, I am willing.

On 11 Aug 2014 at 21:33 GMT GeneJ X wrote:

Many conflicting reports about this immigrant, several of which have been commingled into this WikiTree profile.

(1) Unless someone objects, I plan to set up a free space profile to document some of the authored works concerning John, especially those where the authors documented their references.

(2) The purported daughter Susan was almost certainly not born a Woodbury. See Leslie Mahler, “The English Origin of the Hunter and Hollingsworth Families of Salem, Massachusetts,” _The American Genealogist_ 78 (2003):241-244; digital images, _AmericanAncestors.org_ (accessed 2013).

Our of space.

(Separately, am creating a profile about his daughter Abigail (m. John Hill). She seems not entered yet to WikiTree. I may not connect her until we try to sort of the other conflicting reports.)

On 5 Jul 2014 at 13:35 GMT Anne B wrote:

Woodbury-495 and Woodbury-148 appear to represent the same person because: Birth dates are both about dates, both places will need to be mentioned in bio. Neither place is proven. John is the father of Humphrey as indicated in both profiles., and both profiles share a wife of the same name. These are the same person.

On 20 Sep 2013 at 20:42 GMT Joshua Allen wrote:

Found some good info about the Woodburys at this site:

John is 14 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 13 degrees from Joseph Broussard, 22 degrees from Helmut Jungschaffer and 17 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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