Peter Greenfield, Richard Knott, Joseph Swett and Hannah Devereux Family Groups

Parents   Parents
    John Devereux Ann
        b. abt. 1615 in England b. abt 1620 in England
        d. Probate 20 May 1695 d. 26 Apr 1708 in Marblehead
Peter Greenfield
b. abt. 1635 in England
d. probate 26 Sep 1672 in Marblehead, Essex, Marblehead, Massachusetts
Richard Knott Hannah Devereux
b. abt. 1635 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts b. Abt. 1645 in Marblehead, Essex , Massachusetts
d. probate Apr 1684 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts d. After May 1708 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts
Joseph Swett
b. 28 Nov 1657 in Newbury, Essex , Massachusetts
d. After May 1708 in Marblehead, Essex, Marblehead, Massachusetts
Relationship Events
Marriage Abt. 1663 Hannah Devereux to Peter Greenfield in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
Marriage Abt. 1672 Hannah Devereux to Richard Knott in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts
Marriage By 1689 Hannah Devereux to Joseph Swett in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts
Children of Peter Greenfield and Hannah Devereux
  Anna Greenfield b. abt. 1664 in Marblehead; m. 1) 4 Dec 1684 in Marblehead Robert Hooper (b. abt. 1655 and d. bef. Oct 1688 in Marblehead; two children: Robert and Greenfield Hooper; m. 2) 4 Oct 1688 William Pote (b. 16 Sep 1638 in Poughill, Cornwall, England and d. May 1696 in Marblehead); two children: William and Gamamiel Pote
Margaret Greenfield b. 27 Jul 1666; m. 1) 21 Jul 1686 in Marblehead, Elias Henley, Jr. (b. abt. 1661 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts; probate Jul 1713 in Marblehead); six children: Elias, Benjamin, Hannah, Sarah, and two others; m. 2) 6 Dec 1713 in Marblehead, John Girdler (bp. May 1684); d. abt. 1734 in Marblehead; two children: Hannah and Robert Girdler; d. bef. 1724 in Marblehead
Hannah Greenfield b. abt. 1668 in Marblehead; m. 4 Oct 1688 William Pote (b. 16 Sep 1638 in Poughill, Cornwall, England and d. May 1696 in Marblehead) ; d. 15 Oct 1688 in Marblehead
Children of Richard Knott and Hannah Devereux
Elizabeth Knott b. 1673 and bp. 18 Sep 1687 in Marblehead
  Richard Knott, Jr. b. 1676 and bp. 19 Jun 1687 in Marblehead
  Hannah (Mary) Knott b. 1678 and bp. 19 Jun 1687 in Marblehead
Eleanor Knott b. 4 Jul 1683 in Marblehead; m. 28 Apr 1701 in Marblehead, Thomas Martin (b.8 Jun 1675, probate 22 Jan 1759 in Marblehead; six children: Hannah, Sarah, Eleanor, Knott, Ruth, and Thomas Martin; d. 4 Jul 1759 in Marblehead
Children of Joseph Swett and Hannah Devereux
Joseph Swett, Jr. b. 25 Aug 1689 in Marblehead,; m. 1) abt. 1715 Ruth Parker (b. 4 Oct 1795 in Watertown Middlesex, Massachusetts and d. 4 Apr 1725 in Marblehead); five children: Hannah, Ruth, Joseph Stephen, and Hannah; 2) 13 Sep 1725 Martha Trevett, widow of Benjamin Stacey (d. bef. 1734 in Marblehead); four children: Martha, Samuel, Henry, and Mary Swett; 3) 23 Sep 1734 Hannah Negus widow of James Strahan (b. 1 Jan 1694 in Boston): two children: Sarah and Rebecca Swett; d. 1745

What We Know About This Family


John and Ann Devereux, parents of Hannah, had several children, three of whom are our direct ancestors: Hannah, John Jr and Emma. All four grandparents of Martha Harris, who is the base of our Marblehead branch, are descended from John Devereux. (Our tangled Devereux roots can be seen on John's family group page). Hannah was married three times, and a daughter, Margaret Greenfield, from her first marriage and one from her second, Eleanor Knott, are our direct ancestors. Eleanor had two children, Sarah and Knott Martin, who are our direct ancestors. Hannah's third marriage yielded a son, Joseph Swett Jr. whose daughter Ruth was the wife of her cousin Robert "King" Hooper. Ruth's half sister, Martha Swett was the wife of Jeremiah Lee. Robert King Hooper and Jeremiah Lee lived in mansions that are open to tourists in modern-day Marblehead.

An Overview of Their Lives

Hannah Devereux was born in Marblehead to John and Ann Devereux. In the Marblehead of their times, there existed about 115 households. Profiling her biography is better done by events than by specific dates as some sources conflict and were generally estimated. We know the names of her husbands and the order of the marriages: 1) Peter Greenfield by whom she had three daughters; 2) Richard Knott by whom she had four children who were surviving at his probate; and 3) Joseph Swett by whom she had one son.


Husband #1: Peter Greenfield

From genealogical sources we know that Peter Greenfield was born in England about 1635. He and Hannah had three daughters:

  • Anna m. 1) Robert Hooper 4 Dec 1684 and 2) William Pote 7 Aug 1689
  • Margaret m. 1) Elias Henley 21 Jul 1686 and 2) 16 Dec 16 1713
  • Hannah m. William Pote 4 Oct 1688

If we assume that each daughter married for the first time at age 18 - 20, that would put their dates of birth as Anna 1664-1666; Margaret at 1666-1668; and Hannah at 1668-1670. Going by those dates, their mother Hannah and Peter Greenfield were married about 1663. Her first child with Richard Knott was born about 1673 (using estimates based on the daughter's age as stated in his probate. One source gives Peter 's probate date as 1672 and another says 1679. That means Greenfield's date of death would be closer to 1672. Hannah and her third husband were living in the house on the land possessed by Peter Greenfield 1667. The Swetts conveyed this property in 1708 to Hannah's son-in-law, Thomas Martin, husband of Eleanor Knott.

Peter Greenfield arrived from England in the 1650's. Many users attribute his parentage to Samuel Greenfield and his wife, Barbara Tidd, of Salem, but although the dates and the name are a tempting association, Samuel left a will that named children, and Peter was not among them. Perhaps he was related in some other way, but for now, we don't know. In 1659, in partnership with John Roads he purchased an open-decked shallop that they used for extended voyages along the coast. In December 1691, they were outfitted for a fishing trip to Monhegan where they remained fishing and drying fish until April when they returned to Salem to sell the fish, pay their third man his wages, and stock up on provisions. It's likely he spent the next decade or so on fishing excursions punctuated by visits home. He and Hannah Devereux were married about 1663, and their three daughters followed in two-year intervals.

About the Children of Peter and Hannah Devereux Greenfield
  • Anna Greenfield married as her first husband Robert Hooper, an innkeeper. They had two sons together, Robert and Greenfield Hooper, before he died less than five years after their marriage. Anna then married the widower of her sister Hannah, who had died eleven days after her marriage to William Pote. William and Anna had two sons,, Captain William Pote and Gamaliel Pote. Greenfield Hooper was a shop owner and candle maker, and he built for his son a house. His son, known later in his life as Robert "King" Hooper, greatly expanded the house in later years. That mansion exists today as the home of the Marblehead Arts Association. The "King" had four wives, the second of whom was Ruth Swett, the mother of all his children. Ruth was the daughter of Joseph Swett, Jr. and his wife Ruth Parker. Joseph Swett Jr. was the son of Greenfield's grandmother Hannah Devereux. Ruth was the daughter of another of our direct ancestors, Susannah Hartshorne and her second husband Stephen Parker. Susannah's first husband was John Devereux, brother of Hannah. Anna's son, Captain William Pote, was captured and held captive in Acadia/Nova Scotia during King George's War. He wrote a journal in captivity that was later published. After his release, he and his family settled in Falmouth, Maine and continued sea-faring life. Anna's son Robert Hooper may have been the one who settled in Maine, and Gamaliel Pote died as a young man.

  • Margaret Greenfield's first husband was Elias Henley, Jr. The couple were summoned to court as witnesses in the 1692 witchcraft trials, but he did not appear being at sea. The couple had six children who were surviving at his death. After his death, she married fisherman John Girdler, a widower with no children. Margaret and John had two children, Hannah and our direct ancestor, Robert, before Margaret died. After Margaret died, John married for a third time and had one additional child, a son.

  • Hannah Greenfield died eleven days after she married William Pote, who then married her widowed sister, Anna Greenfield Hooper.

Husband #2: Dr. Richard Knott

Richard Knott, a physician/surgeon, shipowner, and entrepreneur was born in Salem although I could not find a record of his parentage. He operated a fleet of fishing shallops. Richard and Hannah Knott were married in 1672 when the ages of her first three daughters by her first husband Peter Greenfield were estimated to be between two and eight years of age. In 1675, Dr. Knott served as the surgeon in the Massachusetts Regiment in King Phillips War,

From a book entitled Masters, Servants, and Magistrates in Britain and the Empire 1562-1955 by Douglas Hay and Paul Craven comes a passage quoted below about the Massachusetts fishery. Dr. Knott is mentioned in its context.

The Massachusetts fishery began using a work force recruited in the west of England on seasonal retainers, but developed into a locally based fishery in which independent "companies" of fishermen (crews of men and boys) contracted with local merchants for advances of supplies, secured by a promise of exclusive rights to purchase the catch on their return. The merchant-fisher relationship was one of clientage, built on credit rather than wage-based employment. Members of a company were a partnership rather than a crew under a master's authority. Neither relationship depended structurally on legitimiated compulsion, although of course neither promised substantive equality. Clearly, clientage could become oppressive if creditors chose -- as they commonly did -- to use debt to enmest clients in obligation. Usually their goal was to guarantee that the indebted supplier always return to the merchant-creditor, thus assuring the latter of a continuing supply of fish. Where, however, the merchant himself became active as an owner and operator of boats, debt often became a direct means of obtaining crews and controlling their labors. Dr. Richard Knott, who operated a fleet of shallops, appears to have been particularly adept at preying on indebted itinerant seamen, first assuming their debts and then converting that control into an obligation of the seamen to labor for him. William Jarmin had come to Marblehead in the mid-1670s "and meeting with bad voyages Run himselfe into Mr. Brown his debt." Jarmin allowed Knott to assume his debt, but Knott then demanded payment, obtaining execution of him as a debt servant for three years in lieu.

Job Tookey's relations with Knott two years later tell a similar tale. Another itinerant seaman, he became insolvent through injury. Knott offered to assume his debts in exchange for Tookey's agreement to go on a seven-month fishing voyage, at forty shillings per month and outfit. Tookey worked a month preparing the voyage, but then reneged on the agreement, claiming the vessel in question was short-manned and that he himself was ill with gout. Tookey also claimed that Knott had agreed to pay him for his month and to allow him to seek a voyage with another boat, but instead Knott had obtained a warrant ordering Tookey attached to answer to damages "for denying and disobeying the said Knott's commands." Tookey spent ten weeks in gaol awaiting the county court's June 1682 session. Once before the court, the action was withdrawn.

Knott's maneuvers illustrate the merchant-proprietor's power in the fisheries. They do not, however, indicate that this power derived from the legimate authority of a master. Indeed, neither case confirms Knott's magisterial power over a "servant." Knott lost the first action and withdrew the second. What both illustrate, rather, is the formidable persuasive power inherent in debtor-creditor relations and in the coercive procedural sanctions (incarceration pending hearing was the inevitable fate of anyone with no assets to attach sufficient to cover the size of the suit) that applied to such cases.

...As changes in capitalization undermined collaborative work relations, the fishery threatened to become more like the Atlantic maritime industry, whose legal culture of work routinely pitted masters against men in fights over wages and discipline and prescribed rules that reinforced norms of shipboard authority. Examining its application in Essex in occasional seventeenth-century and more frequent eighteenth-century cases, one detects some local variations tending to moderate commanders' authority. Ironically, Dr. Richard Knott features again in an early illustration, this time on the receiving end. In 1677, Knott was jailed in Lisbon for departing the John & Ann (on which head had sailed as surgeon). The consul offered to secure him, in the normal fashion, "tell the ship was redey to sayle" but the captain eventually decided "to Clere himm, and pay him his wages; which I did rather than to be troubled with him." Back in Essex, the resourceful Knott then brought suit against the captain for abusing him, and won.

Knott served as the Marblehead Town Clerk in 1679 and 1680. From the excerpts of the articles about him, we know that Dr. Richard Knott was a busy and ambitious man. Between his travels, his enlistment as a surgeon, and his business endeavors with the fishing industry in Marblehead, he and his wife Hannah raised the three Greenfield daughters by her first husband and their own additional children. The Knotts had four children surviving at the time his will was probated in July 1684.

The inventory of his estate was taken by John Peach and John Legg on 16 Jun 1684, at which time, the estate was valued at 307 pounds, 10 shillings. Children of Richard Knott at his decease were:

  1. Elizabeth, 11 years old and "disabled in her understanding";
  2. Richard, 8 years old;
  3. Hannah, (alternately "Mary"), 6 years old;
  4. Elenor, 13 months old.

No trace of the first three children can be found after their father's estate was probated. I assume they died before they reached adulthood. Hannah later deeded land to her daughters Margaret Greenfield and Eleanor Knott.

Husband #3: Joseph Swett

Hannah's third husband was Joseph Swett, probably a cordwainer (shoemaker). They had one son, Joseph Jr., who also started as a shoemaker. Taking the advice from the Reverend John Barnard (who gave a published sermon to celebrate the return of Philip Ashton, "Marblehead's Robinson Crusoe"), Joseph sent a small cargo to the Barbadoes, and that started a new and lucrative trade. He built more vessels and shipped fish to Europe, enriching both himself and many others in Marblehead. He married four times. His daughter, Ruth, by his wife, Ruth, married, Robert, the son of Greenfield Hooper. Robert "King" Hooper as he was later called would increase his wealth. Hooper lost his fortune during the Revolution, as did many others. Joseph's daughter, Martha, by his wife, Martha, married Colonel Jeremiah Lee, who would one day become one of the richest men in the Colonies. Colonel Lee lost both his life and his fortune during the Revolution. On the night that Paul Revere was making his famous ride, Lee was meeting with Samuel Adams and John Hancock in a tavern in what is now Lexington. They stayed overnight, and with cries of the coming British, the fled in their nightclothes into the cornfields. Colonel Lee escaped the British that night, but not the pneumonia that set in after their cold night in the corn. He was taken to Newbury where he died three weeks later. Biographies of these men can be found in the Documents section.

Proof of Relationship

The Devereuxes have been researched by many genealogists. Their study of deeds and probate information provides 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 immigrant), and the child or children in our ancestry line.

The research on this family is complete. Some of the dates are imprecise, but I believe they are lost to history.


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