Joseph Moore & Elizabeth Cleveland, Sudbury, MA

Joseph Moore and Elizabeth Cleveland of Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts don’t have the easiest family to document. For whatever reason, there is a scarcity of vital records and probates pertaining to this family.

Joseph Moore was born 1 August 1671 in Sudbury, the son of Joseph Moore and Lydia Maynard.

He married Elizabeth Cleveland, who was the daughter of Moses Cleveland and Ruth Norton. No record of Elizabeth’s birth has been found and her family lived in Woburn, Martha’s Vineyard and Southold, Long Island, New York at various times.

No marriage record has been found for Joseph and Elizabeth.

However, her parents married in Woburn in 1676 and her father doesn’t appear to have purchased land in Dukes County, Massachusetts (where Martha’s Vineyard is) until 1683. Therefore, it is likely she was born in Woburn, c1677-1679.

Elizabeth’s death is recorded in Sudbury, where the Moores spent their married lives, on 11 March 1748/49. She is called “wife of Joseph,” so he survived her.

However, for whatever reason, Joseph’s death is not recorded in Middlesex County, nor is there a probate record for his estate. He likely had died before May 1756. His son, Eliab, had died that month and Eliab’s heirs were his widow Keziah and his siblings Elias and Zebiah Stow, along with deceased sister Saphira’s children.

As Eliab had no children and, after his wife received her one third portion, it seems that Joseph would have also inherited something, but he is not found in any records after 1749.

The next set of missing records involves the birth records for Joseph’s and Elizabeth’s two sons, who were apparently older than their daughters.


1. Eliab, born c1699, probably Middlesex County, Massachusetts; died 1 May 1756, Wayland, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Keziah Stone, 5 March 1728, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Eliab was described as “in his 58th year, ” so 57 when he died.

2. Saphira, born 4 August 1701, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts; died 9 February 1738/39, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married John Woodward, 1 August 1721, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts

3. Elias, no birth record found; died 21 October 1770, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Susannah Thompson, 9 July 1724, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts.

4. Zebiah, born 8 May 1704, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts; died after 5 March 1783, probably Southborough, Massachusetts; married Benjamin Stow, 4 June 1728, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts.

The names Eliab and Elias are so similar, and not very common for the time period, I wonder if the boys might have been twins? If not, then Elias was probably born no later than 1703 if he was 21 years old (or more) when he married. He could possibly have been the firstborn child and actually been born c1697, which would be a better match with a 1724 wedding date when males were typically around 25 at the time they married.

It is also possible that the report that Eliab was in his 58th year when he died was incorrect and he was a year or two older.

In any case, the family of Joseph Moore and Elizabeth Cleveland left little in the way of a well documented paper trail.




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