Joseph Eveleth & Mary Bragg, Massachusetts Bay Colony

Joseph Eveleth was baptized at the First Church in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts on 26 March 1643, so born about June 1641, but whether in Massachusetts or in England is unknown.

He lived a pretty amazing life for any time period as he died on 1 December 1745 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts at the grand old age of 104 1/2 years.

The Eveleth family was on an upwardly mobile trajectory in Massachusetts in terms of wealth and social status and appear to have been solidly middle class by the time Joseph and his siblings reached adulthood.

Joseph married Mary Bragg, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Bragg of Ipswich on 1 January 1667/68 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts.

Joseph’s own social status grew, along with that of his family. Early land records call him “husbandman” while a bit later in life he is referred to as a yeoman, both small family farmers. Eventually, Joseph came to own about 200 acres of land, which is a good chunk of real estate in an early Massachusetts town. A typical single lot was often 10 or 12 acres, to put things in perspective.

Joseph was also described as a pious man and was one of the men who established the Chebacco Parish church in 1683. Joseph didn’t become involved in the town government and appears never to have held any local offices, except for a stint as a tythingman, which is a little unusual given his social status.

However, and this is a big HOWEVER, much like those of us today, Joseph was chosen for jury duty and decided a case which is still known today.

The year was 1692 and Joseph had, years earlier, moved from Gloucester to nearby Ipswich, both in Essex County. There was another town in the county that had a bit of hysteria happening that year – Salem.

For those not familiar with the Boston area, the map shows Boston to the southeast of Gloucester, Ipswich and Salem. The trip from Ipswich to Salem is about 30 miles, which was a multi-day journey in the 1600s.

After the hysteria had passed and people had come to their senses, on 14 January 1697, the Massachusetts General Court declared a day of fasting and reflection over what had transpired during the witch trials. A letter of repentance was written and signed by those most closely involved with the trials, including the judge and the jurors – Foreman Thomas Fisk, John Bacheler, John Dane, Andrew Eliot, Joseph “Evelith”, William Fisk, Henry Herrick Sr., John Peabody, Thomas Pearly Sr., Thomas Perkins and Samuel Sayer.

Several juries brought the verdicts in the Salem court cases, but Joseph Eveleth served on the jury that convicted John Proctor, who was tried on 5 August 1692 and hanged two weeks later on 19 August 1692.

Public sentiment towards the hysteria turned not long after the sentences were carried out, as emotions calmed.

It is hard to imagine how Joseph felt during John Proctor’s trial. He was a church goer and well respected, but whether he was an enthusiastic supporter for the charges brought or if he was swept up in the hysteria against his will is unknown.

Joseph and Mary raised a large family of eleven children. Mary died on 22 January 1713/14 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts with Joseph surviving her by about 30 years.

Children:

  1. John, born 18 February 1669/70, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; died 1 August 1734, Kittery, York, Maine; married Mary Bowman, 2 December 1692, Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts. John graduated from Harvard in 1689, educated as a minister.
  2. Elizabeth, born 17 December 1671, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; died 10 May 1727, Gloucester, Essex, Massachuseetts; married (1) Francis Perkins, c1696 (2) George Giddings, as his second wife, 18 January 1707, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts. [Elizabeth and George Giddings are my direct ancestors.]
  3. Joseph, born 31 May 1674, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; apparently died young
  4. Isaac, born 11 October 1676, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; died 23 March 1755, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; married (1) Sarah (MNU) (2) Abigail (Haskell) Parsons, 20 December 1722, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
  5. Edward, born 25 July 1679, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; died 5 November 1759, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; married (1) Elizabeth Perkins, 4 January 1704/05, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts (2) Elizabeth Epes, 7 April 1715, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts (3) Bridget (Bosworth) (Papillon) Pecker/Parker, 20 February 1734/35, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts
  6. Moses, born 13 February 1681/82, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; apparently died young
  7. Mary, born 13 November 1683, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; died 17 January 1718/19, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; married Stephen Perkins, 13 July 1706, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts
  8. Hannah, born 1 October 1685, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; died after 1739; unmarried
  9. Jacob, born 4 February 1687/88, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; died 16 February 1738/39, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; unmarried
  10. James, born c1690, probably Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; married Elizabeth Cogswell, 26 February 1715/16, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts
  11. Sarah, born c1692, probably Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; died 19 March 1716, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; married Stephen Glasiar, intentions filed at Ipswich, 26 September 1713.

Reminder: If you are an Eveleth descendant, be sure to look up The Eveleth Family of Colonial New England by Jonathan B. Butcher published in October 1980 in The Register, the scholarly journal of The New England Historic Genealogical Society and continued in the January 1981 issue. There is much more information about the Eveleths than what I’ve included in these short family sketches.

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