Sylvester Eveleth & Susan Nubery, Massachusetts, 1630’s

It’s time to look once again at some of my early New England ancestry. Today, we’ll look at Sylvester Eveleth, baptized on 16 February 1603/04 in Exeter St. Thomas, Devon, England. The Eveleth surname can be found with multiple spellings, including Eveleigh, Evely, Evylith and Eulie (17th century for Evlie). For the most part, in Massachusetts, it was standrdized to Eveleth.

Sylvester married “Susan Nubery” (likely Newberry) in Exeter St. David, Devon, England on 21 September 1630.

The exact date of the family’s arrival in Massachusetts is uncertain. Their daughter Mary was baptized in Exeter in Jun 1633, but the family isn’t mentioned in Massachusetts until 19 March 1643 when “Susan Evylith the wife of one Silvester Evylith a baker” was admitted to the First Church in Boston.

The family soon removed to Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, as Susan Eveleth was given a letter of recommendation to her new church on 19 May 1644.

The reasons for the Eveleths emigration are unclear, but 1642 brought about the beginning of the English civil war. It might be that Sylvester and Susan felt unsafe at home and decided to make a new life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Sylvester quickly made a mark in Gloucester affairs, as he acquired land and held town office. He first served as a selectman on 13 December 1647 and later served multiple terms as constable and as a member of gran juries in 1653, 1662, 1633 and 1666,. He acquired 12 acres of land in 1648 and about 70 acres more a few years after.

Although Sylvester was described as a baker in 1643, he was licensed to establish an inn in 1666. He also brewed beer.

Susan Eveleth died on 14 September 1659 in Gloucester and Sylvester married (2) Bridget (MNU) Parkman, widow of Elias Parkman, a mariner, and a mother with seven children and (3) Pilgrim (Eddy) (Baker) Stedman, whose will was proved on 26 January 1708 in Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Administration of Sylvester’s estate was granted in Suffolk County, Massachusetts on 7 March 1688/89, although he died in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts on 4 January 1688/89.

It is believed that Sylvester and Susan were the parents of six children, although there are no primary documents linking Margaret and Isaac to their parents.


i. Margaret, born c1631, probably Exeter St. Thomas, Devon, England; died c1669; married Nathaniel Gallup, 11 June 1652, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts
ii. Mary, baptized at Exeter St. Thomas, Devon, England; died 7 January 1687/88, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; married Thomas Millett, 21 May 1655, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
iii. Susanna, born c1634, probably England; died c1689; married James Stevens, 31 December 1656, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
iv. Joseph, born about June 1641 and baptized at the First Church, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts on 26 March 1643, aged about 1 3/4 years; died 1 December 1745, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; married Mary Bragg, 1 January 1667/68, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
v. Hannah, baptized 8 October 1643, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; died 19 November 1670, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; married Nathan Kettel, 1669
vi. Isaac, born c1645, probably in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; died November 1685, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts ; married Abigail Coit, 13 November 1677, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts

The Eveleth family is one of my double descent lines, as I descend from both Susanna, who married James Stevens and Joseph, who married Mary Bragg.

Joseph, however, piqued my interest because he is also the longest lived of any of my ancestors, passing away at 104 1/2 years old. Yes, his age is accurate, based on his baptismal age of 1 3/4 years in March 1643 and his recorded date of death in 1745.

However, he piqued my interest for a second reason, too, but you’ll have to read his family sketch to learn why.

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.

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