John Devereux and Ann (Surname Unknown) Family Group

Parents   Parents
John Devereux Ann (Surname Unknown)
b. abt. 1615 in England b. abt. 1620 in England
d. probate 20 May 1695 in Marblehead, Essex, Marblehead, Massachusetts d. 26 Apr 1708 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts
Relationship Events
Marriage Abt. 1644 John Devereux and Ann
Children (All born and died in Marblehead)
Hannah Devereux abt. 1645; m . 1) Peter Greenfield (abt. 1635 in England and probate 26 Sep 1672), three children: Anna, Margaret, and Hannah Greenfield; 2) Richard Knott (b. abt. 1635 in Salem and d. Jun 1684 in Marblehead), four children: Elizabeth, Richard, Hannah/Mary, and Eleanor Knott; 3) Joseph Swett (b. 28 Nov 1657 in Newbury and d. after 1710 in Marblehead), one child: Joseph Swett., Jr.; d. after 1710
Anne Devereux b. abt. 1647; m. 1) Walter Boasun in 1668; two children: John and William Boasun; 2) Robert Nichols abt. 1684; d. after 1695
Bethiah Devereux b. 3 Mar 1649; m. abt. 1680 John Bartlett (b. 14 May 1649 in England and d. 27 Jun 1717 in Marblehead); three children: Bethiah, Faithful, and William Bartlett; d. 22 Apr 1722
Robert Devereux b. abt. 1652; m. abt. 1693 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts Hannah Blaney (b. 11 Nov 1667 and d. 25 May 1725); eight children: John, Joseph, Ralph, Sarah. Humphrey, Emme, Robert, and Hannah Devereux; probate administered Dec 1740
John Devereux, Jr. b. abt. 1653; m. about 1684 Susannah Hartshorne (b. 2 Mar 1659 in Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts and d. 5 May 1718 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts); four children: John, Sarah, Susannah, and Ann Devereux; probate 4 Sep 1693
Humphrey Devereux b. abt. 1655; m. abt, 1676 Elizabeth (d. after 1695); five children: John, Ann, Elizabeth, Humphrey, and Ralph Devereux; d. 31 Jan 1690
Emme (Emma) Devereux b. Dec 1657; m. abt. 1680 William Peach (b. 8 Apr 1652 and d. 10 Jun 1713); four children: John, Thomas. William, and Hannah; d. 10 Jun 1713

What We Know About This Family


Martha Martin Harris sits at the base of the Marblehead branch of this family tree. All four of her grandparents were descended from John and Ann Devereux, who were among the very first settlers of Marblehead. Three of their children were our direct ancestors: Hannah, Emme, and John.

An Overview of Their Lives

John Devereux, immigrant from England to the Massachusetts, Bay Colony, has a history which is entwined with the other earliest settlers of Marblehead, Massachusetts. His parentage is attributed (without certainty) to Walter Devereux, the Viscount Hereford, or perhaps he ascended (again without certainty) from Robert Devereux, son of the Earl of Essex, who was beheaded by Queen Elizabeth I. Many members at have traced his lineage to the noble Devereuxes, and thus directly to the royal Plantagenet family. However, I have seen no authenticated evidence of this ancestry. I was in e-mail contact with Stephen Shafer, MD of Saugerties, New York, whose wife is also a direct descendant of John Devereux. He spent considerable time and energy in attempting to trace John's parentage, but ended without success, and his suggestion to me was that I list no known parentage for John in our family tree until his parentage has been genealogically (and authentically) established. His research discovered that Walter Devereux had a child named John, but he was born a few years later than our John, and would have been too young to make the journey on his own to the new colony.

What we know of John Devereux's life has been established through the records of that time and from his will. Learning about John Devereux is learning about life in the early Massachusetts colony and in Marblehead, a community which broke away from the staunch religionists of Salem. Birth, marriage, and death records for this early period in Colonial America were rare; however, the Colonists in Essex County were meticulous note takers of court proceedings, deeds, and probate, and much of the information we have is based on calculations from these records. The names of children listed were gleaned from probate records and deeds. Any who died before being referenced in their parents' will or deeds of transfer during these early times are lost to history.

John Devereux arrived from England at the age of between 15 and 21 and settled first in Salem. He was granted half an acre of land for a house plus ten acres in Salem in late 1637, but was also listed as a Marblehead resident that same year. He was granted a half acre of marshland in Dec 1637 with a household of two. Marblehead built its population slowly. By 1660, it had about 60 families.

John was a farmer, fisherman, and "fish processor." Court records also demonstrate he worked occasionally at other jobs as needed - building a "station", and clearing land for a new prison. He invested in fishing expeditions. He was involved in lawsuits that give clues to both his business and personal dealings. He and Ann were probably married before the birth of Hannah, their first known child, about 1645. Ann's surname is unknown. Some have speculated she may have been a Humphrey based on the name of one of their sons. In 1649, Marblehead elected its first Selectmen. The early Selectmen were men of standing in the community, chosen for their good sense and good character. They were fishermen, merchants, blacksmiths or farmers. Most were barely educated, those who could not read or write made their “mark”, usually an X, on documents when it was needed. Their task was to use their experience and good judgment to make the best decisions they could for the town of Marblehead. Moses Maverick, Samuel Doliber, John Peach, Francis Johnson, John Devereux, Nicholas Merritt and John Bartoll were the first elected. (Peach, Merritt, and Bartoll were also direct ancestors to this Tree). John Devereux served during his life on the Essex grand jury, the petit jury, and the coroner's jury. An excellent article about early Marblehead and the first selectmen by Bill Purdin for Marblehead Magazine is included in the documents section.

The Devereuxes appeared in court over various issues throughout their lifetimes. John was fined for striking a neighbor in his own house. The fence on his property was the source of years of conflicts. John and nine other men were fined for drinking wine, "etc." Sons John and Humphrey were fined or whipped for being part of a group of boys who met at night and committed petty theft. John appeared in numerous probate inventories as both debtor and creditor. His arrival in America in 1630 earned him a chapter in the Great Migration Begins series, and that contains a thorough listing of his appearances and depositions. which offer a glimpse into life in 17th-century Marblehead. (That chapter appears in the documents section).

In 1659, John bought 350 acres of land through the attorney for Rev. Hugh Peters, a sometime clergyman in Salem. As an interesting aside, Hugh Peters was a friend of Oliver Cromwell and participated in the Restoration in England. As a result, he was convicted for participating in the regicide plot and executed, his severed head displayed on a pillar of the London Bridge. In Marblehead, the land was thereafter known as " Devereux Farm," and Longfellow commemorated the old house in his poem, "The Fire of Driftwood." This purchase transaction would create problems for the family after John died when Mr. Peters' daughter and heir claimed her father had not been free to sell the land. Son Robert ended up having to re-purchase the land after his father's death.

Much has been made of the famous Devereux Farm, but no better description of what it was like at its height is found than in Lord and Gamage's book:
"The land on the eastern side along 'ye sea' was his preference, for its soil was rich and brooks and ponds sparkled in many places above the beach. The fishing and clamming were excellent, the small animals and birds plentiful, and the apple trees found the soil and moisture to their liking." His will reflected this love for the land by specifying that it, "remain in the family and the name of Devereux from generation to generation... foreverĀ and ever."
It might be stretching it to call John Devereux the first conservationist Selectman, but clearly his love of the land and of Marblehead's natural resource cannot be overlooked.

-- Bill Purdin

About the Children

  • Hannah Devereux married three times and with two of those marriages gave us two direct ancestors, Margaret Greenfield who married John Girdler, and Eleanor Knott, who married Captain Thomas Martin. Richard Knott, her second husband, was an entrepreneur and surgeon who served in King Phillips War. She and her third husband were the parents of Joseph Swett, Jr., who promoted himself from a simple shoemaker to a relatively wealthy world trader. Joseph, Jr. married four times and had two daughters, one of whom by his second wife married her "cousin" Robert "King" Hooper, and the second of whom by his third wife married Jeremiah Lee, the wealthiest man in the Colonies until he lost his fortune and his life in the Revolution.

  • Ann and her first husband Walter Boasan had fornication charges filed against them in Jun 1668. That record establishes that they were married by this date. After his death, she married Jun 1638 Robert Nichols. No records exist that tell us whether she had children by her second husband or when they died. She was still alive in 1695 when her father's will was probated. He bequeathed the house and land on which she lived to her son, John Boasan.

  • Bethiah married John Bartlett, the brother of our direct ancestor Captain Robert Bartlett. Their daughter Bethiah married Robert Martin, son of John and Sarah Northey Martin. Their son Faithful Bartlett married his first cousin, Ann Devereux, the daughter of our direct ancestors John and Susannah Hartshorne Devereux. Their twin daughters married Hooper brothers of the Hooper family that Bethiah's niece Margaret Greenfield married into.

  • Robert Devereux was the only son surviving when his father died, and he helped his mother administer the estate. A claim against the estate was brought by the daughter of the man who had sold John Devereux the property. After many transactions, Robert had to buy the property again. Robert and Hannah, his wife, had several children who remained in the Marblehead area.

  • John Devereux, Jr. died at only forty years of age leaving three children between the ages of three and six. His widow Susannah Hartshorne married Stephen Parker a short time later. Her daughter by John, Ann Devereux, married Faithful Bartlett, the son of her father John's sister Bethiah. Susannah's daughter Ruth Parker married her aunt Hannah Devereaux's son Joseph Swett, Jr., and their daughter Ruth married Robert "King" Hooper, the grandson of Hannah's daughter, Anna Greenfield. Ruth's half sister Martha by her father's next wife married Colonel Jeremiah Lee. Both of these men earned huge wealth which was lost during the Revolution. Their mansions exist as historical properties in today's Marblehead. The two families are profiled in Hannah Devereux's family group page.

  • Humphrey Devereux predeceased his father, who pointedly wrote Elizabeth, wife of Humphrey, out of his will by forbidding her from the property he left to his grandsons.

The chart below shows the relationships of the intermingling couples:

Ruth Parker, the daughter of Hannah's brother's widow and her second husband, was the second wife of Hannah's son, Joseph Swett, Jr.

Hannah's niece, Ann Devereux, (daughter of her brother John and Susannah Hartshorne) married Hannah's nephew, Faithful Bartlett (son of Bethiah Devereux and John Bartlett).

Hannah's granddaughter Ruth Swett married Hannah's great grandson Robert "King" Hooper.

Hannah's granddaughter, Martha Swett by her son's third wife, married Colonel Jeremiah Lee (not a blood relation).

Proof of Relationship

The Devereux family has been researched by many genealogists, and their findings provide the best proof of relationship.

What Else We Need to Learn

The goal of this project is to trace every line of ancestry to the arrival of its first immigrant to America. The basic information of each couple is considered complete when we know the dates of birth, marriage, and death for both spouses. their parents' names (or whether they were the immigrants), and the child or children in our ancestry line.

The research on this family is complete, but future research may yield additional information.


Questions, Comments, or New Information -Email