Category Archives: Woodward

Immigrant Richard Woodward, MA 1634

Richard and Rose (MNU) Woodward are the immigrant patriarch and matriarch of the early Massachusetts Woodward family. They enrolled at Ipswich, Suffolk, England to sail on the Elizabeth in 1634 to Massachusetts.

Their origins are unknown, although in 1665, Amos Woodward of Colchester, Essex, England (only about 20 miles away from Ipswich) mentioned a bequest in his will to “my uncle’s children’s children.” Amos Woodward was born c1625, so Richard Woodward, born c1589, might well be his uncle. Richard had a grandson, Amos, son of George Woodward.

As far as I know, no further research has been done to determine what, if any, relationship there is between Amos and Richard.

Richard Woodward was born c1589 and took the occupation of miller. Apart of the possible ties to Amos Woodward, there are no clues as to his ancestral home or his parentage.

When he and Rose sailed to their new home, their two sons, George and John, accompanied them. Both boys were said to be about 13 years old, but apparently they were not twins and their ages are off just a bit.

The Woodward family settled in Watertown, where Richard was made a freeman in 1635. Rose (MNU) Woodward died on 6 October 1662, aged about 80 years. In an earlier deposition, her year of birth would have been c1582 and she was 50 years old when they left England in 1634. Her year of birth, then, is c1580-1584, but 1584 is likely the most accurate as 1634 is the earliest indication where her age was provided in a document.

There is a Rose West who married Richard Woodward at St. Margaret Pattens Church in London on 13 May 1613, but there is also a Richard Woodward who married Rose Braddin on 13 May 1628 at Sandridge, Hertfordshire. Two children born to some Richard and Rose Woodward are Alice, baptized on 17 March 1629 and Rose, baptized 18 March 1631 at St. Stephen St. Albans.

However, there is no indication that any of these records pertain to immigrants Richard and Rose!

Richard Woodward married (2) Ann Veare, widow of Stephen Gates in the spring of 1663. A marriage contract was written on 18 April 1663 to protect the legacies of the heirs of Stephen Gates.

Richard passed away in Watertown on 16 February 1664/65 with the inventory of his estate taken just five days later.


1. George, born c1619, England; married (1) Mary (MNU), c1640 (2) Elizabeth Hammond, 17 August 1659.

2. John, born c1621, England; married (1) Mary (MNU) (2) Abigail Benjamin, widow of Joshua Stubbs, c1658.

This ends my posts on the Woodward family.

My line of descent is:

  1. Richard Woodward = Rose
  2. John Woodward = Abigail Benjamin
  3. John Woodward = Susannah Grout
  4. John Woodward = Saphira Moore
  5. Mary Woodward = Robert Wilson
  6. Robert Wilson = Dolly Holmes
  7. Maria Wilson = Benjamin Parker
  8. Sarah Ann Parker = Daniel Adams
  9. Calvin Segee Adams = Nellie F. Tarbox
  10. Charles Edwin Adams = Annie Maude Stuart
  11. Vernon Tarbox Adams = Hazel Ethel Coleman
  12. Doris Priscilla Adams = George Michael Sabo
  13. Linda Anne Sabo Stufflebean – Me!




John Woodward & Abigail Benjamin, Widow of Joshua Stubbs

John Woodward and Abigail Benjamin are my 9X great grandparents.

When John Woodward and Abigail Benjamin married sometime around 1658, each had already lost a spouse.

John Woodward married (1) Mary (MNU), who died in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts on 8 July 1654. Who Mary was and when the couple married is unknown. It also appears that John and Mary had no surviving children, if any were even born to them.

The will of Ralph Mousall of Watertown was written on 13 April 1657. One of the bequests he makes was to Widow Stubbs, who received 30 shillings. The only identified widow Stubbs in Watertown at that time was Abigail, widow of Joshua Stubbs, so she evidently married John Woodward between April 1657 and late 1658, as in August 1659, when their first known child was born.

Little is known about Joshua Stubbs. He married Abigail Benjamin, born c1624 in England, the daughter of John Benjamin and Abigail Eddy, by 1645, as their first known child was born in 1646. He was made a freeman in Watertown on 2 May 1649 and he died sometime around 1655.


1. Samuel, son of Jossua, born 3 August 1646, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts; no further record. He is not mentioned in the will of John Woodward, as are Elizabeth and Mary.
2. Elizabeth Stubbs, born c1648 who married (1) Jonathan Stimson/Stevenson, 8 July 1669 in Cambridge, Massachusetts (2) Richard Barnes, 12 March 1700, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts and (3) Jonathan Bullard, 23 March 1720/21, Weston, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Widow Elizabeth Bullard died 10 January 1726/27 in Weston. I would question this third marriage, but there is a Jonathan Bullard born 12 July 1647 in Watertown and Jonathan’s 1724 probate file includes a marriage contract between himself and Elizabeth Barns, widow of Richard Barnes of Marlborough, Middlesex, Massachusetts. It appears that Elizabeth and Jonathan did marry in their senior years. John Woodward left a bequest to the children of his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Stimson.
2. Mary, daughter of Jossua, born 2 May 1655, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts; died after 5 August 1695; married John Traine, 24 March 1674, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts. John Woodward left a bequest to daughter-in-law Mary Traine.

Therefore, when John Woodward married Abigail (Benjamin) Stubbs, she was already in her mid 30s and the mother of at least two surviving children of Joshua Stubbs and perhaps of three children.

John Woodward and Abigail Benjamin were the parents of three known children:

1. Rose, born 18 August 1659, Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts; died before 6 August 1695; married Richard Norcross, 14 October 1689, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Richard married (2) Hannah Sanderson, 6 August 1695.
2. John, born 12 December 1661, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts; died between 2 October 1736 and 10 January 1736/37, probably in Sudbury; married Susannah Grout, c1691.
3. Abigail, born c1663; died 13 April 1683, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Jeremiah Ross, 13 January 1681/82, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts.

John Woodward died on 17 February 1696 in Watertown. Abigail survived him by several years, dying on 30 October 1704 in Sudbury. She likely went to live with her son, John, after the death of her husband.

Will of John Woodward, 1696
Middlesex County, MA Case 25588
Source: American Ancestors

In the name of God amen.

I John Woodward of Watertown in the County of Middlesex in his Majesties Province of the Massachusetts Bay in N.E. being sick of body, but in sound and disposing Memory, Prasie be given o god for the same, do make this my last will and testament in manner & form following, that is to say first and Principally I asign my Soul into the [   ] full hands of almighty god my Creator assuredly hoping through the  merits of my Blessed Saviour to obtaine pa. . . [torn] and remission of all my sins and my body I commit to the Earth, whence it was taken, bo be decently buried by the discretion of my executor hereafter named and as for the worldy goods & Estate His [  ] hath lent me I dispose thereof as follows.

Imp. I give and bequeath to my deare wife Abigail all my estate in Watertown both housing lands movalbes with in doors and with out for her useand comfort dureing her natural life and in Case the income of my said estate wil not afford my said wife a comfortable maintenance  as her Condition may be then my wil is that my said wife may sell of my out lands to supply [   ] necessary.

2 I give and bequeath unto my son John Woodward after my said wives deces all all that housing and lands in water town aforesaid contayning one Mansion house, barn, and shoop and eleven Acres of land be the same mor or less also two acres of land bounded north with the land of Capt Bond be it mor or less, is bounded, north with the land of Mr. Willm Goddard, esterly with Willm bond s

land Southerly with Charles River and Westerly with the Land of Mr. Loverin, also & five Acres of Marsh = land lying in Cambridge neer the oyster bancks – 11- together with all my outlands be the same mor or less to him and his heirs for ever.

3 I give and bequeath unto the children now living of my daughter in law Elizabeth Stimson, and unto my daughter in law Mary Traine the one Moyotie or halfe part of my Movable estate [    } after my said wives Deces, to be equally Divided Betwen them (as thay Com to age according to law, by my executor to be [   ]

4 I give and bequeath to my Son in law Jerimiah Moss one shilling in Money to be paid him by my executro within one month after my wives deces

5 I give and bequeath to my Son in-law Richard Norcross ten shillings in Money to be paid by my exectuor with in two months after My wives Deces.

6 I give and bequeath to My three grandchildren, viz. Richard Norcross, Samuel Norcross and Abigail Norcross give pounds a peice to every one of them to be paid by my executor when thay shall be of the age of twenty on years, and all the rest and Residue of my estate, lands goods and Chattles, and movables, not herein before bequeathed after My said wives funeral charges and Debts due from sd estate are discharged, I do give and bequeath to my Son John Woodward above sd whom I do make sole executor of this my last will and testament, Revocking al former wills by me hertofore made: In witnesswhereof I have here unto set my hand and Seal e this tenth Day of January one thousand six hundred ninety five six

John Woodward

Signed Sealed, and Published

In the presence of us witnesses
Ch. . .  whitmor?
John Moor
Murings Sacom?

Memorandum ye words interlined (within Doors) was altered before sealing and publishing betwen 2_th lines & 30th

Family Sketch of John Woodward & Susannah Grout of Sudbury, MA

Now it is clear that there were two John Woodwards who married two different women in two different towns and only one – John Woodward who married Susannah Grout – is my ancestor.

This branch of the Woodward family tree had difficulty flourishing in terms of descendants. As we saw in the family sketch of John Woodward and Saphira Moore, they lost several of their children at very young ages.

That must have been particularly hard on John because he, himself, had but one surviving brother and no known sisters. Being in a family with only two living children was extremely unusual in the 1600s and even in the 1700s.

John Woodward’s parents were John Woodward, who was born 12 December 1661, in Sudbury, the son of John Woodward and Abigail (Benjamin) Stubbs, who was the widow of Joshua Stubbs when she married for the second time and Susannah Grout, the daughter of John Grout and Sarah Busby.

As was pointed out yesterday, John Woodward and Susannah Grout were the parents of only three known children. (All events in Sudbury unless otherwise noted.):

1. John, born 17 April 1692; died before 5 April 1762, when his estate administration began in Middlesex County; married (1) Saphira Moore, 1 August 1721 (2) Abigail Learned, 10 March 1739/40, Sherborn, Middlesex, Massachusetts.

2. Daniel, born 22 April 1695; died between 11 April 1760, when he wrote his will, and 28 June 1760, when it was recorded in Middlesex County, Massachusetts; married (1) Sarah Goodenow, 21 August 1716 (2) Prudence Vorce, 18 October 1759.

3. Uriah, born 18 August 1701; died 10 May 1703.

Susannah (Grout) Woodward predeceased her husband by almost ten years, passing away in Sudbury on 2 April 1727. John Woodward wrote his will on 2 October 1736 and died sometime before it was probated three months later on 10 January 1736/37 in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

First Page of Will of John Woodward, 1736
Middlesex County, MA Case 25590
Source: American Ancestors

In the Name of God. Amen. the Seacond Day of October Anno Domini 1736. In the Tenth Year of His Majesties Reign etc I John Woodward of Sudbury In the County of Middlesex with in His Majesties Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England Yeoman: Being weak In body but of Perfect Mind and memory. Thanks be Given unto God: Therefore calling unto Mind the Mortallity of my Body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to Dye Do make and ordain this my Last will and Testament that is to Say Principally and first of all I Give and Recommend my Soul into the Hands of God that Gave it and my Body I Recommend to the Earth to beBuried in Decent Christian Burial at the Discretion of my Executors nothing Doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall Receive the Same again by the mighty Power of God And as touching such worldly estate where with it hath pleased God to Bless me in this Life. I Give Devise and Dispose of the same in the following manner and form—-

Imprimis: I Give and Bequeath to my Grand Daughter Susannah Haines when Shee Shall Come to one and twenty years of age all my In Door movealbe Estate also Ten pounds in money To be paid by one of my executors vix. John Woodward with in one year after my Deceas. Allso I Give to my Said Grand Daughter fifteen pounds in money to be paid by my other Executor Daniel Woodward with in one year after my Deceas: all that I have here Given to my Said Grand Child Susanna Haynes for her full portion out of my Estate is with this proviso That Shee Gives a Quit claim of all her Right in a Peace of meadow In Sudbury & on the East Side the River at a place Called oake Bank to her Unlel John Woodward when Shee Receives her Leaciby of him.—- and Like wise That my Said Grand Child Susannah Haynes Gives to her unkle Daniel Woodward a Qit claim of all her right in a peace of meadow in Sudbury on the west Side of the River being part of a Lott of meadow Lyeing at a place Caled oke Bank and all So a Quit claim of all her Right in the one halfe of a Lott of Land in Sudbury caled a new Grant Loot. near to Daniel Woodwards Dwelling hous.— the Quit claim booth of meadow & upland To her Unkle Daniel Woodward when She Shall Receive her Leagicy of him.— and my will is if my Said Grandchild Shall Refuse to Give Quit claims as a bove Exprest. Then Shee Shall have Fourty shillings paid by my Executors which shall be her full portion out of my Estate

Item I Give To my son John Woodward a Loot of Land Scituate Lyeing and being in Weston in th eCounty aforesaid Contaying Ten acres be the Same more or Less— all So a peace of meadow in Sudbury on the East Side of the River att a place Caled oke Bank Containing five acres be it more or Less— all So all my utancels for husbandry—-

Item I Give to my son Daniel Woodward the one halfe of a new Grant Loot Lyeing betwen his own Land— all so a peace of meadow on the west Side of the River being part of a Loot of measdow Lyeing at a place Called oke Bank—Likewise I Give my Quick Stock To be equally Devided between my Two Sons John Woodward & Daniel Woodward—Whom I Likewise constitue make and ordain my Executors of this my Last will and Testament. And I Do hereby utterly Disalow Revoke and Disannul all and every other former Testament & will Legacies and Bequests and Exceutors by me in any ways before named willed and Bequeathed Ratifying and Confirming this and no other to be my Last will and Testament in witnes where of I have here unto Set my Hand and Seal the Day and year above writt[en]

Page 2 of John Woodward’s 1736 Will

John (his X mark) Woodward

Signed Sealed Published pronounced & Declared by the Said John Woodward
as his Last will and Testament In the presence of us the Subscribers
Ephraim Curtis
Edward Hariman
Jonathan Hariman

Life in the 1600s meant facing death and the loss of loved ones constantly. The father of John (born 1661) lost one wife before he married Abigail Stubbs, who, in turn, had lost her first husband.

John (born 1661) and Susannah likely lost one or two children in between the births of Daniel and Uriah. Also, John (born 1692) and his brother Daniel both lost wives and children in their youth.

The Woodward family is a poignant example of the family losses experienced by many who lived in the 17th century.

There are two more generations of Woodwards to cover – another John and the patriarch of the early Woodwards in Massachusetts, Richard Woodward.