ancestral chart father mother index home

vital records sources
go to Elizabeth West's page

Joseph signed his name on a 1701 receipt connected with his mother's estate (top), but signed with a mark, maybe since he was ill, when he wrote his will in 1714 (bottom)

bio in progress

Joseph grew up in Beverly, Massachusetts. His father owned a farm in neighboring Manchester that Joseph inherited late in 1686. He apparently was already living there by September of 1685, since he had a grant of land in that month that bordered his own property, so-called, (Manchester Town records, 24-25). They continued to attend church in Beverly, though, up to about 1692-94, when their children's baptisms stop being recorded there. Although Manchester was a parish within Beverly and had it's own meeting house and minister when Joseph's children were born, church records for the parish don't begin until 1716, when the church separated from Beverly. Despite the lack of records, the children born after Abigail were undoubtedly baptized in Manchester.
     In early November 1693 Joseph was chosen for the "jury of trials" at the Superior Court in Salem. (MTR, 55) In an act of the Town giving a detailed account of the rights to its common land, Joseph was confirmed to have two rights that were his father's in connection with the Manchester farm "which he (Nicholas) had of pitts, maverett and chube" (Pitts, Maverick and Chub/Chubb, grantors to Nicholas). (MTR, 63) That was in January 1694/95 (Old Style/New Style dating). On the following 22 March, Joseph was chosen as one of the selectmen for the town for the next year. (MTR, 65) In August 1696 Joseph was among nine men chosen to contribute to the support of the town's minister, all of whom having real estate in high amounts and therefore prone to higher taxes. (MTR, 74) Joseph was chosen a constable for the town in March 1699/1700. (MTR, 93). Later that year he was on a committee to sell House Island, a town property, in order to fund the ministry. (95) He continued to hold important positions. In 1701 and 1708 he was on a committee to seat the meeting house.(99, 113) The last was in March 1714, when he was chosen Town Treasurer, a service cut short by his death later that year.
     A receipt in his mother's probate file acknowledging that his brother Cornelius gave him his portion of her estate says he was a mariner. He and Elizabeth must have come down with the same fatal illness since they died two weeks apart.

Joseph's will:

In ye name of God amen - I Joseph Woodberry of Manchester in ye County of Essex in New England, mariner, being sick & weake in body, expecting my speedy disolution; but yett in a well disposing mind & of sound understanding, do orain & appoint this my last will & testament in manner & form as followeth viz: imprimis I give my body to ye dust to be decently interred att ye discretion of my executors herafter mentioned.

2. My sould I bequeath to God yt gave hoping through ye meritts of
[?] Jesus to obtain eternall salvation

3. I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Elizabeth all my moveable estate of what kind & specie soever as stock, moveables, untensils, ready money, household goods and all my debts, dues, demands whatsoever by bills or bonds or otherwise to be to her sole use & dispose during her life & att her decease to be equally divided wt remains of itt amongst my children.

4. I give & bequeath to my four sons Joseph, Samull, John & Benjamin all my real estate in Manchester, Beaverly or elsewhere consistign of houseings, lands, tenements, marsh & meadow ground, wood land, plow land & pasturing, rights in mills &c to be equally divided amongst them their equall proportion to be sett of to them as they shall come of age att the descretion of ye overseers to this my will hereafter mantioned, they my said sons yielding & paying in equall propertion ye legacies which I shall herein order & appoint to be payd to my five daughters hereafter mantioned; the estate of houseig & lands as above to be to them my said sons & their heyrs for ever, saving that I reserve house room in my new dwelling house for my wife during her widdowhood what ye discretion of my overseers shall think convenient for her.

5. I give to my daughter Sarah over and above wiath she hath allready had thirty pounds to be payd her by my said sons Joseph, Samll, Jno & Benjamin each payig their equall proportion thereof

6. I give to my daughter Elizabeth fifty pounds to be payd her by my sons abovesd each of them paying equall proprtion thereof

7. I give to my daughter Abigail fifty pounds to be payd by my said four sons each of them paying an equall proportion thereof

8 I give to my daughter Hannah sixty pounds to be payd her by my said sons in form and manner as above exressed each of them paying an equall propotion thereof

9. I give to my daughter Ann fifty pounds to be payd her by my said four sons in form and manner as above each of them paying an equall proportion thereof

10. I do further declaire yt my will is that in case any of my said children do die before they recieve their portion that their part shall be equally divided amongst the survivors

11. I do constitute ordain & appoint my beloved wife Elizabeth & my son Samuell to be my execrs. to this my last will & testament requesting my beloved and trustee friends & brethren Isaac Woodberry & Richerd Over
[Ober] to be overseers to this my will that it be executed according to true meaning: In confirmation to all above written I have sett too my hand & seale this twelfth day of October An. Dom. seaventeen hundred & fourteen.

Joseph his mark Woodberry

signed, seald & deliverd in presence of us

Wittnesses John Tomson
Thomas Pickman
Joseph his mark Pitman

Novr 18 1714 sworn

Jno Tompson}
& Thoms Pittman} in Man[chester]

     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. Joseph Woodberry - Joseph Woodbury

children of Joseph Woodbery and Elizabeth West:1

i. Sarah, b. 27 August 1688, bap. 19 May 1689 (Beverly)
ii. Elizabeth, b. 22 May 1690, bap. 8 June 1690 (Beverly)
iii. Joseph, b. 22 May 1690, bap. 8 June 1690 (Beverly)
iv. Abigail, b. 4 July 1692, bap. 17 July 1692 (Beverly)
v. Hannah, b. 31 August 1694
vi. Samuel, b. 15 April 1697
vii. John, b. 4 April 1701
viii. Anna, b. 5 September 1703
ix. Benjamin, b. 21 June 1705

vital records sources: his baptism is from Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849 vol. 2 (Salem:1918), 441, from a First Church record; his death is from Vital Records of Manchester, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849 (Topsfield:1903), 295, citing his gravestone.

1. all births recorded in Vital Records of Manchester, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849 (Salem:1903), 126. The baptisms are in the published Beverly vital records. After Abigail, the baptisms likely occurred in Manchester, but the records are lacking before the church there was formally organized in 1716.

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