Saturday, August 15, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ WOODBURY of Beverly, Massachusetts

Yours Truly, at the Woodbury Family Reunion 2014
in Beverly, Massachusetts (at the Balch House)

I grew up in Beverly, Massachusetts where the name WOODBURY is well known. We had Woodbury friends and neighbors. There was a Woodbury Street and a Woodbury Point Mansion (the summer White House for President William Howard Taft 1909 and 1910), several historic Woodbury homesteads including the Peter Woodbury House on Dodge Street, and the William Woodbury Home at 111 Essex Street, built by my 9th great grand uncle, and where my grandfather’s sister, Janet Wilkinson Blades (1898 – 1981) lived from 1927 until the 1970s.  Aunt Janet’s house was built in 1675, and you can read all about it HERE.

When I was growing up in Beverly we never knew that the WOODBURYs were our ancestors.  I’m sure that Aunt Janet would have been thrilled to know that Dad married one of the Woodbury descendants.

My 12th great grandfather, John Woodbury, arrived in New England in 1624 with the Dorchester Company, ahead of the Puritans and the settlement of Salem.  He was one of the settlers known as “The Old Planters”, along with TRASK, BALCH, CONANT, and PALFREY who were granted 200 acres at the head of the Bass River in what is now the city of Beverly, Massachusetts.  John Woodbury’s brother, William, was living in Salem by 1636.  John Woodbury made at least one trip back to England in 1627, and returned to Beverly in 1628.  He was married at least twice and the names of his wives are unknown.

My 11th great grandfather was Deacon Humphrey Woodbury, who married Elizabeth Hunter in Salem in 1638, was born in England and came to Beverly with his father, John, on his return trip to Massachusetts in 1628. Elizabeth Hunter, age 18, came on the ship Blessing with her siblings in 1635, perhaps under the care of another passenger named Hollingsworth.   She might have been the sister of Christian Hunter, who married the Mayflower passenger, Richard More, in Salem.  Humphrey called More his brother, and one of More’s daughters called Humphrey an uncle. According to an NEHGS article in the Register, Volume 14, page 321, Susannah Hunter (her mother) was married to Richard Hollingworth, and all the siblings (including Christian and Elizabeth) were together on board the Blessing, along with Richard More during one of his return trips.

Humphrey Woodbury and Elizabeth Hunter had twelve children, including children named Richard and Christian.  I descend from two of their children- Isaac and Humphrey (see the lineage below).

Some Woodbury sources:

Great Migration Begins, by Robert Charles Anderson, Volume III, pages 2054 – 2057 (sketch of John Woodbury).

Search for the Passengers of the Mary & John, Volume 18, pages 157 – 159; Volume 25, pages 78 – 79; Volume 26, page 83 (both John and William Woodbury)

Woodbury Genealogy, by Ruth A. Woodbury, a 1957 typescript genealogy, with a history of the Woodbury Genealogical Society, available at the NEHGS manuscript department, call number Mss 398

Genealogical Sketches of the Woodbury Family: Its Intermarriages and Connections, by Charles Levi Woodbury, 1904.  Available to read online at the Hathi Trust website;view=1up;seq=5

The Woodbury Family Reunion is hosted by the Beverly Historical Society every two years as part of the “Old Planters Reunion”.  The next reunion will be in September 2016 in Beverly, Massachusetts.  Please check the website for the historical society at  

A previous blog post from 2011 about the William Woodbury House:

My WOODBURY genealogy:

Generation 1: John Woodbury, son of John Woodbury and Agnes Unknown, born about 1583 in Somerset, England, died January 1642 in Salem, Massachusetts; married first to Unknown about 1608 and had one child, married second to Agnes Unknown about 1629 in Salem and had four children.

Generation 2:  Humphrey Woodbury, son of John Woodbury and Unknown, born about 1609 in Buddleigh, Devonshire, England, died 11 October 1686 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married on 11 April 1638 in Salem to Elizabeth Hunter.  She was born about 1614 in England and died 1 May 1689 in Beverly. Twelve children, and I descend from two of those children: Isaac and Humphrey.

Lineage A:

Generation 3:  Isaac Woodbury,  born 24 February 1643/4 in Salem, died 11 March 1725 in Beverly; married on 9 October 1671 in Beverly to Mary Wilkes, daughter of Thomas Wilkes and Mary Unknown.  She was born in September 1651 in Salem and died 19 December 1702 in Beverly. Six children.

Generation 4:  Robert Woodbury, born 8 June 1672 in Beverly, died about 1651; married on 11 December 1683 in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich (now Essex), Massachusetts to Mary West, daughter of Thomas West and Elizabeth Jackson.  She was born 4 May 1676 in Beverly and died 6 December 1758 in Beverly.  Nine children and I descend from two of those children: Robert and Isaac.

Lineage A1:

Generation 5: Robert Woodbury, born 24 September 1694 in Beverly, died 21 May 1750 in Beverly; married on 2 November 1750 in Beverly to Priscilla Ellingwood, daughter of Benjamin Ellenwood and Mary Unknown.  She was born 3 March 1696 in Beverly, and died in 1780 in Beverly.  Five children.

Generation 6: Robert Woodbury, born 28 October 1722 in Salem, and died in 1786; married on 29 January 1746 to Hannah Preston, daughter of Nehemiah Preston and Abigail Allen.  She was born 21 July 1722 in Beverly, and died January 1812 in Beverly. Eight children.

Generation 7:  Molly Woodbury, born 29 July 1749 in Beverly, died 27 April 1830 in Essex; married on 5 December 1771 to Westley Burnham, son of Westley Burnham and Deborah Story.  He was born 27 August 1747 in the Chebacco Parish (now Essex), and died 1 September 1835.  Ten children and I descend from two of those children.

Lineage A1a:

Generation 8: Asa Burnham, born 9 September 1778, died 23 May 1850; married 24 December 1801 in Ipswich to Polly Bray, daughter of Humphrey Bray and Molly Herrick.  She was baptized on 17 October 1779 in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Eight children, and I descend from two of those children, Lydia and Henry.

Generation 9:  Lydia W. Burnham married Samuel Mears
Generation 10:  Samuel Mears married Sarah Ann Burnham
Generation 11: Sarah Burnham Mears married Joseph Gilman Allen
Generation 12:  Joseph Elmer Allen married Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 13: Stanley Elmer Allen married Gertrude Matilda Allen (my grandparents)

Lineage A1b:

Generation 8: Henry Burnham married Sally Poland
Generation 9: Sarah Ann Burnham married Samuel Mears (see above)

Lineage A2:

Generation 5:  Isaac Woodbury, son of Robert Woodbury and Mary West, born 18 June 1701 in Beverly, died 31 October 1775 in Beverly, married 11 October 1722 in Beverly to Abigail Herrick, daughter of Samuel Herrick and Sarah Leach.  She was born 13 November 1699 in Beverly and died 2 October 1765 in Beverly. Five children.

Generation 6:  Lydia Woodbury,  baptized on 27 June 1725 in Beverly, died 14 September 1779 in Gloucester, married 22 June 1749 in Gloucester to Humphrey Bray, son of John Bray and Susanna Woodbury.  He was born 27 March 1728 in Gloucester.  Seven children.

Generation 7: Humphrey Bray married Molly Herrick
Generation 8:  Polly Bray married Asa Burnham (see above)

Lineage B:

Generation 3:  Humphrey Woodbury, born 8 March 1647 in Salem, died 9 May 1724 in Gloucester; married on 10 October 1671 in Gloucester to Anna Window, daughter of Richard Window and Elinor Unknown.  She was baptized on 19 February 1654 in Gloucester and died 28 February 1728 in Gloucester.  Eleven children.

Generation 4:  Susanna Woodbury, born 18 September 1695 in Gloucester; married on 19 December 1716 in Gloucester to John Bray, son of Thomas Bray and Mary Emerson.  He was born on 7 September 1689 in Gloucester. Three children.

Generation 5: Humphrey Bray married Lydia Woodbury, daughter of Isaac Woodbury and Abigail Herrick.  Lydia was baptized on 27 June 1725 in Beverly, and died 14 September 1779 in Gloucester. Seven children.  (see above)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~ WOODBURY of Beverly, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 15, 2015, (  accessed [access date]). 


  1. John→Humphrey→Isaac→Robert→Mary = one of our longest cousin connections. We diverge on the 5th generation.

  2. My connection to the Woodbury Family goes back to John Woodbury, Sr. born 1543 in Somersetshire, England and breaks off at Ruth Woodbury (1728 - 1773) daughter of William Woodbury, Jr. and his wife Martha (Born Wheeler). Ruth married Col. Larkin Thorndike 12 Dec 1731 in Beverly, Massachusetts.

  3. John Woodbury, Jr. (known as the "Old Planter" in the new colony) first wife was Joanna Humphrey of England, daughter of William Humphrey. They were married a3 May 1595 in Burlescombe, Devonshire, England. His second wife was Ann Agnes Napper, spinster, Hardington, England, married on 19 March 1628 during John's return to England by order of Dorchester Company to procure the issuance of a land grant, which he received on 19 March 1628.

    1. The names of the wives, and marriage dates, of John Woodbury "The Old Planter" have never been proven. I'm going by Anderson's Great Migration Begins sketch in Volume III, pages 2054- 2057.

  4. Heather: Sounds like a good time. I hope you could put me on the Woodbury reunion list. also see:

    1. Larry, contact the Beverly Historical Society about attending the "Old Planter Reunion". The Woodbury family meeting is part of this reunion. See this link: