Parents 1
  1602 -
  1000 John Devereux Ann Unknown (Perhaps Humphrey)
1615 - 1695 1620 - 1708
800 Peter Greenfield
b. 1635
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
d. Before 1672
Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA

Hannah Devereux was married three times. Two of her daughters, Margaret Greenfield and Elenor Knott, were our direct ancestors. I've combined the three husbands (the two with whom she had children are on the left) in this family group. Her daughter Elenor was the mother of two others of our direct ancestors.
901 Richard Knott, Jr.
b. 1635
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
d. Before Jun 1684
Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
Hannah Devereux
b. 1647
Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
Relationship Events:
1668 Marriage Peter Greenfield to Hannah Devereux
1 Sep 1670 Death Peter Greenfield
1672 Marriage Hannah Devereux Greenfield to Dr. Richard Knott
Jun 1684 Death Dr. Richard Knott
About 1688 Marriage Hannah Devereux Greenfield Knott to Joseph Swett
Ancestor Leaf 790 Margaret Greenfield b. Circa 1668
1. Elias Henly, Jr. 21 Jul 1686 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
2: Robert Girdler 16 Dec 1713 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA

Margaret and Elias - Six Children: Elias, Benjamin and 4 daughters Henly
Margaret and Robert: Two Children: Hannah and Robert Girdler

  Anna Greenfield b. Circa 1668
1. Robert Hooper, Jr. on 4 Dec 1684 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
2. William Pote, Sr. 7 Aug 1689 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
Four children: Robert and Greenfield Hooper; Gamamiel and William Pote.
  Hannah Greenfield b. Circa 1668 - 15 Oct 1688

4 Oct 1688 William Pote in Marblehead, Esswx, Massachusetts

Hannah died 11 days after her marriage. Her husband then married her widowed sister Anna.
  Elizabeth Knott b. 1673 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA; d. ?
"Disabled in her understanding"  
  Richard Knott b. 1676 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA; d.?
  Hannah (Perhaps Mary) Knott b. 1678 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA; d. ?
Ancestor Leaf 820 Elenor Knott b. 1683 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA; d. 4 Jul 1759 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
Thomas Martin on 28 Apr 1701 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA, b. 8 Jun 1675 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA; d. before 1759 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA?
Six Children: Hannah, Sarah, Eleanor, Knott, Thomas, and Ruth Martin
  Joseph Swett Jr. bp. 25 Aug 1689 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
1. Ruth Parker about 1715; 2. Martha Stacey 13 Sep 1725; 3. Mrs. Hannah Negus Strahan on 23 Sep 1734 in Boston. Eleven Children: With Ruth - Hannah, Ruth, Joseph, Stephen, and Hannah; With Martha - Martha, Mary, Samuel, and Henry; With Hannah - Saeah and Rebecca Swett.
What We Know


Peter Greenfield married Hannah Devereux in 1668, and together they had three daughters Anna, Margaret, and Hannah before he died two or three years later in 1670. The birth dates of the girls is unknown, but paternity is authenticated in the probate papers of Hannah Devereux Greenfield Knott's second husband Richard Knott (the daughters of Peter Greenfield were each given 60 pounds).

From the inventory of his estate, it appears that Peter, like so many others in Marblehead at the time, was a fisherman or mariner. At the time of his death, he owned a house, land, and a boat.

In researching the three daughters, genealogists appear in doubt about the marriages of Anna and Hannah. According to the Hooper Genealogy by Charles Henry Pope, Anna married Robert Hooper. The Vital Statistics records, however, record that it was Hannah who married Robert Hooper. Together they had two children, Robert and Greenfield Hooper, before he died in a few short years. (The births of these two children cannot be found in the Massachusetts Vital Statistics, although subsequent Robert and Greenfield Hoopers lend credence to their existence). Widow Hannah Greenfield Hooper then married William Poat, Sr. in October 1688 and died a mere eleven days after her second marriage.

Fortunately, there is no confusion about our direct descendant, Margaret Greenfield, who first married Elias Hendly and had by him at least six children (six were surviving at the time of the probate of his estate). After the death of Elias, Margaret married Robert Girdler, and by this union were born Hannah Girdler and her brother, our direct ancestor Robert Girdler.

In the first record set are genealogical findings of Hannah Greenfield and Margaret's first marriage to Elias Henley.

The second record is drawn from Charles Henry Pope's Hooper Genealogy. Hooper states that it is Anna Greenfield who married Robert Hooper. I saw another family tree on the Internet which surmised that Anna Greenfield Hooper married her sister Hannah's husband William Poat, Sr. when she died in 1688. That confusion could have occurred by the marriage record above for an "Ann Hooper" who married William, Sr. Another source however gives the parentage of Ann Hooper as Robert Hooper and another woman unrelated to the Greenfields. The significant part of Pope's genealogy of Robert Hooper is his examination of Peter Greenfield's and Dr. Richard Knott's probate papers in which the three Greenfield daughters are specifically mentioned.




Richard Knott, a "surgeon" and entrepreneur, was apparently born in Essex County, Massachusetts, although no record exists of his parentage.

From a book entitled Masters, Servants, and Magistrates in Britian 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 voytage, 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 Knotts commands." Tookey spent ten weeks in gaol awaiting the county court's June 1682 session. One 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 legimated 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.

Our ancestor Dr. Richard Knott used his skills as a surgeon when he participated in King Philip's War. According to Wikipedia, King Philip's War, sometimes called Metacom's War or Metacom's Rebellion,was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of what is now Southern New England and English colonists and their Native American allies in 1675–1676. The war is named after the main leader of the Native American side, Metacomet, Metacom, or Pometacom, known to the English as "King Philip". It continued in northern New England (primarily on the Maine frontier) after King Philip was killed, until a treaty was signed at Casco Bay in April 1678.

According to a combined estimate of loss of life in Schultz and Tougias' King Philip's War, The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict (based on sources from the Department of Defense, the Bureau of Census, and the work of Colonial historian Francis Jennings), 800 out of 52,000 English colonists (1.5%) and 3,000 out of 20,000 Native Americans (15%) lost their lives due to the war. Proportionately, it was one of the bloodiest and costliest wars in the history of North America. More than half of New England's ninety towns were assaulted by Native American warriors.[5]

King Philip's War was the beginning of the development of a greater American identity, for the trials and tribulations suffered by the colonists gave them a national and group identity separate and distinct from subjects of the English Crown.


General Josiah Winslow, Governor of Plymouth Colony, Commander-in-chief.

General Staff

Daniel Weld

of Salem, Chief Surgeon

Joseph Dudley

of Boston, Chaplain

Benjamin Church

of Little Compton, R.I., Aid


Samuel Appleton

of Ipswich, Major and Captain of First Company

Regimental Staff

Richard Knott

of Marblehead, Surgeon.

Samuel Nowell

of Boston, Chaplain

John Morse

of Ipswich, Commissary


From the excerpts above, we know that Dr. Richard Knott was a busy and ambitious man. Between his travels and enlistment as a surgeon and his business endeavors with the fishing industry in Marblehead, he and his wife Hannah had four children surviving at the time his will was probabated 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.

Richard and Hannah Knott were married in 1672 when the ages of her first three daughters by her first husband Peter Greenfield were between 1 and three years of age. The Massachusetts Vital Records lists the four children by Dr. Knott by their baptism dates all in 1687. Calculating using the ages listed in his probate records, Elizabeth was born in circa 1676; Richard in 1678; Mary/Hannah in 1678, and Elinor in 1683.

Widow Hannah Knott married Joseph Swett some years later in 1708.

The excerpt below from a genealogical interpretation of Hannah Devereux Greenfield Knott Swett's father, John Devereux, establishes the relationship of Hannah and her children "by Knott" to John and Ann Devereux. In addition, of special significance to us is the listing of Elinor's husband Thomas Martin with the birth and death dates which establish him as the correct Thomas Martin.

No records can be found of either the marriages or the deaths of the Knott children other than our direct ancestor Elinor. Either they died young, moved from the area, or the records are simply missing as were so many of the other records sought for this group of families.

Information on Joseph Swett, Jr., youngest child of Hannah Devereux Greenfield Knott Swett:


Ben H. Swett 
Colonel USAF (Retired) 
31 July 2002

The first Joseph Swett in Marblehead was born 28 November 1657 at Newbury, son of Stephen and Hannah (Merrill) Swett, and grandson of John Swett of Newbury. When he grew up, he moved to Marblehead. About 1688 he married Mrs. Hannah Knott, twice widowed daughter of John and Ann Devereaux. [Everett S. Stackpole, Swett Genealogy, Lewiston, Maine, circa 1914, head of family #7, p. 10]

Joseph Swett, Jr., the only child of Joseph and Hannah (Devereaux) Swett, was baptized 25 August 1689 at Marblehead. [Stackpole, head of family #16, p. 16]

On 16 December 1710, Joseph Swett, cordwainer, of Marblehead, and Hannah his wife, deeded all their property to their son, Joseph Swett, Jr., cordwainer, of Marblehead. [Stackpole, p. 11. See deed at Salem.]

Although Joseph Swett, Jr., started his adult life as a cordwainer (shoemaker), like his father and grandfather, and probably his great-grandfather, he became the first truly successful businessman in Marblehead. More than 300 years after he was born (1997), when I and my son Scott visited Abbot Hall in Marblehead, where the great painting "The Spirit of '76" is displayed, we asked about the Swett family, and were told: "Joseph Swett put this town on the map." How it happened will be described at the end of this paper.

Joseph Swett, Jr., married Ruth Parker, daughter of Stephen and Susanna Parker of Watertown. The Marblehead Church Records for 27 March 1715 read: "Entered Joseph Sweat & Ruth Sweat, his wife." They had five children:

Hannah, baptized 16 September 1716, died young 
Ruth, baptized 8 January 1719, married Robert Hooper in 1735 
Joseph, born 23 April 1721, married Mary Palmer in 1745; of Portland, ME 
Stephen, born 3 March 1724, was not named in his father's will 
Hannah, born 15 March 1725, married Joseph Lemmon in 1742
Ruth (Parker) wife of Joseph Swett, Jr., died 4 April 1725, about three weeks after the birth of her last child.

He married (2) Martha A. Stacey, 13 September 1725. They had four children:

Martha, born 12 June 1726, married Jeremiah Lee in 1745 
Mary, (birth date unknown), married Henry Saunders 
Samuel [42], baptized 9 November 1729, married Anna Woodbury in 1752 
Henry, baptized 5 August 1733, was not named in his father's will
Martha (Stacey), second wife of Joseph Swett, Jr., died in late 1733 or 1734.

He married (3) Mrs. Hannah Strahan, daughter of Jabez and Sarah (Browne) Negus of Boston, 23 September 1734. They had two children:

Sarah, baptized 23 February 1735, married Benjamin Marston in 1755 
Rebecca, baptized 12 September 1736.
In 1734, Joseph Swett of Marblehead drew a lot in Amherst, NH, "for his brother Stephen Swett." This was Joseph Swett, Sr., then 77 years old. These lots in Amherst were given to veterans of King Phillip's War or their closest male heir. [Stackpole, pp. 8, 10-11]

Joseph Swett, Jr., was 55 years old when he died. His will, dated 20 March 1744 and probated 16 April 1745, names wife Hannah, sons Joseph and Samuel, and five daughters: Ruth wife of John Hooper, Hannah wife of Joseph Lemmon, Martha Swett, Sarah Swett, and Rebecca Swett. [Stackpole, p. 16-17]

Martha Swett, daughter of Joseph Swett, Jr., and Martha (Stacey) Swett, married Jeremiah Lee on 25 June 1745. He became one of the wealthiest men in America. The Jeremiah Lee mansion at 161 Washington Street, Marblehead, which he built in 1768, now includes the offices of the Marblehead Historical Society.


Family Tree Home Page