Woodbury Genealogy

August 30, 2011 by

Woodbury Genealogy


Categories: Research, Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Woodburys in the United States are all descended from John and William Woodbury (brothers or cousins, it’s not clear) who came to Salem, Massachusetts in the 1620’s.

John was first.  He was part of a fishing consortium–not a Puritan–and traveled across the Atlantic on the Zouch Phenix in 1624 as part of the Dorchester Company.  He settled in Cape Ann, which is basically a barren rock, and then moved north to become one of the five founders of Salem, Massachusetts (along with Conant, Balch, Trask, and Palfrey).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Planters_(Massachusetts)

He then was granted 200 acres in what is now Beverly, Massachusetts in 1635.  http://dougsinclairsarchives.com/woodbury/johnwoodbury1.htm

My grandfather was born in Beverly three hundred years later.  Not an adventurous bunch, apparently, once they got to Massachusetts.  Terrifyingly, I am descended from John and William together FOURTEEN times, through both my mother and father.

One good story is that my umpteenth ancestor, Peter, younger son of John (my main line descends through John’s eldest son, Humphrey, but I descend from Peter too.  Twice.) kept a horse saddled in his barn at all times in case anyone needed a quick get-a-way to escape from the Salem witch trials.

“Peter was selectman in 1675 and 76. On Nov. 16, 1686 he was elected Deacon. It was during his incumbency in this office that the witchcraft delusion swept over Salem and it is related of him that he kept his horses saddled to assist the persecuted to flee to New Hampshire out of the jurisdiction of the court.”  http://www.woodbury-ober.com/d3.html#g3


Larry Wert has done heroic and exhaustive research of the thousands of Woodbury descendents.  For more stories and more information than you could possibly comprehend, see his web page:  http://www.woodbury-ober.com/

25 Responses to Woodbury Genealogy

  1. Lyman Kimball Woodbury Jr.

    So far as I know, all woodburys are descendants of John Woodbury. I believe William died without progeny. I also believe John Woodbury was a devoted Puritan who landed at Plymouth Rock and lived with the Pilgrims for two years Religious differences between Pilgrims and Puritans caused John and three others to move on and found the city of Salem, Mass. All Woodburys are related and descendants of John Woodbury

    • Sarah Post author

      All Woodburys are descended from John Woodbury Sr., who never left England and had two sons who came to Salem, MA: William and John. William had children for sure, because I am descended separately from two of his daughters! Here is his genealogy page at Woodbury-ober.com http://www.woodbury-ober.com/individual.php?pid=I3&ged=Woodbury-Ober1.ged&tab=0

      John Woodbury did not land at Plymouth rock and was not a Pilgrim. He was a fisherman for the Dorchester Company, sailing to Massachusetts on the Zouch Phenix in 1624. There’s plenty of documentation to support this.

  2. Rick

    I have photos of the heavily vandalized gravestone of Lydia Goodridge (maiden name Lydia Woodbury) who married William Goodridge on Jan 7, 1810 and a few months later died in Danvers, MA on May 19, 1810. It lies alone in a field. The grave is so heavily damaged that it no longer has her name on it, but only that of her husband. It says William May 19, 1810 Aet 25 (abbreviation for at age of)

  3. jeri neeley

    I just found this page. John “the Salem planter” Woodbury is my 12th great grandfather on my grandma’s side. My family didn’t travel far either. I find this fascinating.

  4. Gail Woodbury

    I am also a direct descendent from Humphrey Woodbury, 1st son of John Woodbury , the planter. I grew up in Beverly. Mass near the old homestead. If you contact the Beverly Historical Society, they usually know of a Woodbury reunion when the Balch Family has theirs. I have a Woodbury Family Tree on Ancestry.com. I agree that there was a lot of intermarriage. I am another Cousin!

    • Sarah Post author

      How cool! So nice to meet you! My grandfather was born in Beverly, though his family lost the big house in the depression 🙁 A Woodbury family reunion would be fun–though I’m in Oregon so maybe a bit of a challenge.

  5. Larry Wert

    Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated as have rumors of my illness?? I am quite alive, in good health, and available if you need some help. 🙂

    Hope you all have a great holiday season and the best to you and yours!

    Larry Wert

  6. Julie Woodbury

    We, too, are in the Twin Cities area. My husband is descended from John Woodbury; his mother recently passed –her spouse, my husband’s late father Osgood Woodbury, was born in Maine.

  7. Steve Woodbury

    I have been trying to get in touch with Larry Wert as well. I am also looking for Woodbury reunion info in the Beverly, MA. area. I live in Minneapolis.

  8. Wendy Woodbury Hoffman

    I would like to contact Larry Wert. Do you have his email address? Also, if there is a Woodbury reunion please let me know. Thanks

  9. Linda Woodbury

    Hi Sarah!

    I just found your site and the message from Mary Garris on March 15, 2013. I’m also a descendant of the Minnesota Woodburys, Bundys and Forsyths (through Charles Wesley Woodbury and his son Benjamin Herbert Woodbury). Would it be possible for you to forward my email address to Mary?

    Linda Woodbury
    Memphis, TN

  10. Elaine Martin

    From another of your cousins, descended from John (my great-8 grandfather) and then Peter. Later my great-2 grandfather, Joseph Franklin Woodbury moved from Topsfield MA to Decatur GA, so not all of them were “not an adventurous bunch,” in your words. By the time of my maternal grandmother, the last with the Woodbury maiden name, the family was in Atlanta, where I was born. I moved back to Atlanta after 10 years in New Brighton MN, not far from Woodbury. I’m glad to read the above comments from you all.

    • Sarah Post author

      Thanks for commenting! I meant that MY particular ancestors weren’t adventurous. I know that some Woodburys went west with Joseph Smith, too. Mine appeared to have stayed in MA until my father’s generation, when we spread out a bit more 🙂

  11. Mary Garris

    I have just been reading up on some family history and found a letter from 1931 written by Gertie Bradford to Myra Jacobs Brown that lists their descendants back to John Woodbury. I believe Gertie and Myra were cousins. I know that Myra was the daughter of Clarissa Woodbury, and “Gertie,” or Ella Gertrude, was the daughter of William Woodbury. Gertie concurs with you that John came to the U.S. in 1624, and he was their 6 times great grandfather.

    I’m also a descendent of Humphrey, and John was my 11 times great grandfather, if I’ve counted accurately. My more recent relatives were the Minnesota Woodburys, Bundys, and Forsyths.

    Guess that makes us distant cousins or something!

    Thanks for the info,
    Mary Garris
    Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

  12. Steve Woodbury

    Any Woodbury reunions scheduled in New England this year or in upcoming years? The Minnesota Woodburys would like to be on a notification list. Thanks.

    Steve Woodbury
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

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