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An inventory of ye reaall and personall estate of Ebinezer Woodbrry miller late of the township of Salem...apprized this third day of December in ye yeare of our Lord God 1714...

Imprimas to grist mill and one dwelling hous & barn standing in the Township of Salem afore sd with about three acres & one half of land lying partly in Salem afore sd and partly in ye Township of Beverly £280

Item to about eighteen acres of upland & salt marish being two hous lots lying in ye Township of Beverly £120

to a meane olde dwelling hous & a small barn standing on ye lots £20

Item to about eight acres of fressh meadow lying in ye Township of Beverly in a place known by ye name of the Great Marsh £40

To personall estate to four cous two three yeare old heafears and two year old heafer & one yearling bul £25
to twelve sheep £6
to three swine £2 5 [shillings]
to three feather beds with furniture £20
to sheets piller caces table cloath & napkins £2 17 [shillings]
to fourteen yards of new druggit cloath £ 12 [shillings]
to one brass kettle & olde warming pan £2 10 [shillings]
to puter & earthern ware £2 10 [shillings]
to iron pots & other iron housel [household] utenseals £1 15 [shillings]
to tables chests chears & other wooden housel utenseals £6 14 [shilings]
to two small trunks 7 [shillings]
to his wearing cloaths woolin & linin £8 4 [shillings]
to one fier lock gun £1 6 [shillings]
to his books £2

Decr 6 1714

On 12 October 1702 his father-in-law sold him his "grist mills alias corn mills standing & being scituate in ye Towneship of Salem...together with about three acres & halfe of land thereunto adjoyning...two acres of said land...being scituate in...Salem & is bounded northerly & westerly by ye land of ye Widow King & easterly & southerly by ye Mill River ye other acre and halfe...being scituate in ye Towneship of Beverly...bounded northerly & westerly by ye said Mill River southerly partly by my owne salt marsh and partly by ye land of Moses Gauge and easterly by salt marsh belonging to ye Traskes."2 These mills (apparently two in the same complex of buildings) were a landmark for several centuries on the south side of what is now Elliott Street on Beverly's Rial Side where it crosses Bass River. Fire took them away in 1889. Ebenezer is said to have lived in a house around the meeting of modern McKay and Sturdevant Streets.
     Although widow Hannah was given administration of Ebenezer's estate on 1 July 1714,1 nothing was done with the estate until she died, most likely since most of her children were still minors. In 1757, son-in-law William Woodbery was "administrator de bonis non" in her place. The values of the real and personal estate were apparently not adjusted after 44 years. An account of the estate taken in late August 1758 refers to the old inventory and adds the amounts of income from the grist mill and rental of properties, the total of which was £1790, 17 shillings, 6 pence.
     In the course of those years there were also debits from the estate. Repairing and rebuilding the mill incurred the most expense. Building a well, cellar and stone wall, and repairing the house by the mill are also mentioned. Of particular interest is that Hannah gave £20 a year for 11 years out of the estate to support her parents. Only one, John Dodge, was her biological parent. His wife Elizabeth (?) Woodbery Dodge, his second, was the mother of Ebenezer, thus explaining why the court would allow this as a debit from Ebenezer's estate.
     This family name in the 17th and early 18th centuries is spelled variously depending on the document and the gravestone. There were varying degrees of literacy, even among town clerks and ministers. Spelling was fluid and often reflected phonetics, but the prevailing spelling amongst family members was decidedly "Woodbery." Since there is no ambiguity about this, I see no reason not to use it. I do so with the note that other spelling were used, uncommonly by Woodberys themselves, more commonly by others. This spelling eventually shifted to "Woodberry," and now "Woodbury" is favored.Ebenezer Woodberry - Ebenezer Woodbury

children of Ebenezer Woodbery and Hannah Dodge:

i. Hannah, b. 27 February 1690/91
ii. Abigail , b. 1 July 1692
iii. Sarah, prob. b. abt 1694 (gravestone), bap. 20 July 1696
iv. Elizabeth, bap. 20 July 1696
v. Mary, bap. 16 October 1698
vi. Martha, b. abt. 1700 (gravestone), bap. 23 August 1702
vii. Ruth, bap. 23 August 1702
viii. Priscilla, bap. 13 January 1703/04
ix. Mehitable, bap. 2 September 1705
x. Ebenezer, bap. 8 August 1708
xi. Jerusha b. abt 1710 (death record), bap. 21 September 1712
xii. John, bap. 21 September 1712
xiii. Nathaniel, bap. 24 July 1715

vital records sources: Ebenezer's baptism record is from Record of the First Church, Salem, his marriage is in Vital Records of Beverly, Massachusetts to the Year 1859, vol. 2 (Topsfield: 1907), p. 81. They were married by Justice Jonathan Corwin of Salem. Recorded as "Ed: Woodbury" in Records of the First Church in Beverly, Massachusetts, 1667-1772 (Topsfield: 1905), p. 39.

1. Essex County Probate case file 30375.
2. Essex County Deeds, 16:146.

all text and photographs © 1998-2020 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted