Two John Woodwards, Not One! John Woodward & Susannah Grout of Sudbury, MA & John Woodward & Sarah Bancroft of Reading, MA

When I first began seriously digging into my Woodward ancestry in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, it appeared that my ancestor, John Woodward, married twice. One wife was said to be Susannah Grout and the other Sarah Bancroft.

I am descended from John Woodward and Susannah Grout, residents of Sudbury.

As I began to document this family using Massachusetts vital records, it became very evident that most people have turned two John Woodwards, both living in Middlesex County, Massachusetts in the latter part of the 1600s, into one man.

Actually, it is quite simple to determine that there are two different John Woodwards.

First, let’s look at John Woodward who married Sarah Bancroft on 7 July 1686 in Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts. This couple remained in Reading after their marriage and the births of five children are recorded there:

1. James, born 27 July 1687
2. Sarah, born 23 June 1689
3. Elizabeth, born 17 November 1691
4. Mary, born 30 January 1693/94
5. John, born 16 September 1696

The death of Sarah Woodward is recorded in Reading on 23 February 1697.

Now, let’s look at John Woodward who married Susannah Grout, c1691. The inventory of Susannah’s father, John Grout, includes a mention of John Woodward, “who married his (Grout’s) daughter Susannah. . .”

While John and Sarah were living in Reading, John Woodward and wife Susannah, had the births of two children recorded in Sudbury:

1. John, born 17 April 1692
2. Daniel, born 22 April 1695
3. Uriah, born 18 August 1701; died 10 May 1703

Susannah (Grout) Woodward died on 2 April 1727 and her death is recorded in Sudbury.

Sarah (Bancroft) Woodward gave birth to her last child on 16 September 1696, while Susannah (Grout) Woodward’s second child was born on 22 April 1695, almost 1 1/2 years earlier.

In fact, two of Susannah’s three known children were born in the middle of the time period when Sarah (Bancroft) Woodward was giving birth to her children!

It is clear that there are two John Woodwards!

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