Category Archives: Eveleth

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.

James Stevens & Susanna Eveleth of Gloucester, MA 1600s

James Stevens, the son of William and Phillippa Stevens, was born c1631 in England. He married Susanna Eveleth, born c1635, probably in Gloucester, the daughter of Sylvester Eveleth and Susan Newberry.

James and Susanna were the parents of eleven children, although several died in childhood. All were born in Gloucester.

Children (All dates refer to Gloucester events unless noted):

1. William, born 10 March 1658; died 24 September 1701; married Abigail Sargent, 15 June 1682.
2. John, born 23 January 1660/61; died 30 January 1660/61
3. James, born 4 January 1662; died 27 September 1668
4. Isaac, born 15 August 1664; died 20 December 1664
5. Samuel, born 5 December 1665; died 16 November 1757; married Mary Ellery, 12 January 1692/93
6. Isaac, born 11 November 1668; died 27 November 1668
7. Ebenezer, born 20 September 1670; died c1697 at sea
8. Mary, born 13 June 1672; died 19 November 1724, aged 52 years; married Francis Norwood Jr., 24 January 1692/93. They had the birth of one child recorded in Gloucester, that of Francis, born 1 April 1695. Francis, son of Francis, died in Gloucester, 23 June 1714 in his 20th year.
9. Hannah, born 9 April 1675; she is probably the Hannah who married (1) Joseph Harraden, 1 February 1700/01 (2) Joseph Sargent, 16 September 1717. No death date has been found for Hannah. She was unmarried when her father wrote his will.
10. David, born 5 November 1677; died before 15 May 1710; married Hannah (?);
11. Jonathan, born 7 March 1679/80; died before 15 May 1710; married Mary Sargent, 13 March 1706/07

David and Jonathan apparently died together as they had a joint probate administration with Jonathan’s wife, called Mary Sargent, and David’s wife, called Hannah Stevens, requesting that their brother Samuel Stevens be appointed administrator. (Essex County Probate File #26314)


Source: American Ancestors

Susanna (Eveleth) Stevens survived her husband as he names her in his will, but no death date has been found for her. James Stevens died on 25 March 1697 and left the following will:

Will of James Stevens, 1697
Essex County, MA Probate File #26344
Source: American Ancestors

I tried to transcribe this will, but the 17th century handwriting and spelling with my old eyes makes this task too much work. However, I have abstracted the names of those who were his heirs:

In the name of god Amen

I James Stevens of the Town of Glocester and County of Essex in new england by the providence of god being sick and weake and yett through his great goodnes being in perfict memory and not knowing (?) my departure out of this world my bee Att hand and yett knowing that it is Appointed for all men once to dy do therefore declare and make known this my Last will and Testiment In maner And form following all former will to be voide and of none Effort first I commit and commend my Soul into the hand of god the (father?) of Sperits and my body to the grond to be decently buried by my survivin frind and as for my goods and Estate I order and bequeath in maner and form following

first I give And bequeath unto my Loving wiff Susanna Stevens during her widowhood the Lowar rooms of the wester? End of my dwelling house to Live in and Liberty also of Some of the (???) for her use dureing her widowhood and Liberty to make use of the oven to bake in and my Executor to provid wood for her firing and (???????) yearly to find her bread and Appls for her own use out of my orchards (?) I give unto my wiff four (?) my fether bed with all that does (belong?) to it that I did (?) Lay upon with one smale bras ketl one Iron Skelett and one pewter platter and one small (??????????)

I give and bequeath to my Eldest Son william Stevens. . . .

I give and bequeath to my son Sammuell Stevens. . . . .

I give and bequeath to my three sons Ebenezer david and Jonathan Stevens. . . .

and my will is that my two daughters mary norwood and Hannah Stevens . . . .

Written 16 March 1696 and signed by James Stevens, but proved on 10 May 1697 in Essex County Court.