|St. Peter's Caversham|
John Stephens and his family and servants, John and Grace Lovejoy set sail on the Confidence from London, probably on 24 April 1638. Also on board were other ancestors of mine: Thomas Whittier, Roger Eastman, and William Osgood. A typical crossing took four to eight weeks. John Stephens first settled in Newbury but by 1645 he was in the new town of Andover.
1. Mary b. 11 April 1652, m. Joseph Wilson, d. 1677, age 25
2. Sarah b. 10 April 1654, m. William Johnson, d. 22 Feb 1706, age 52
3. John b. 9 Feb 1656, m. Naomi Hoyt 1678, d. 14 July 1680, age 24
4. William b. 25 April 1657, d. 9 July 1748, age 91
5. Ann b. 1659, m. Jonathan Blanchard
6. Joseph b. 8 Feb 1662, d. 5 June 1737, age 75
7. Christoper b. 1 March 1663, d. 17 March 1736/7, age 74
8. Benjamin b. 4 Dec. 1664, Killed by Indians 1689, age 25
9. Nathaniel b. 29 May 1667, d. 7 March 1752, age 85
10. Abigail b. 1669, m. Nehemiah Abbott d. 2 May 1747, age 78
11. Deborah b. 1670, still alive and unmarried in 1690
12. Ebenezer b. 22 June 1673, d. 15 May 1760, age 87
John arrived in Massachusetts as a servant. In Andover he started down the road to prosperity with a house lot and seven acres of land. At the time of his death his estate was over 200 acres, an unheard of amount for a husbandman in England. His estate was valued at 328 pounds when probated. John deeded his son William but the remaining sons had to wait until his death to acquire the land they lived on.
It has been pointed out that John allowed four of his sons to marry at a relatively young age, 22-23. Most men had to wait until closer to 30 for marriage. But, John provided them with land to live and work on, even though it remained his land. John Jr. died at the young age of 24. He left a wife and two small children, infants really. John Sr. gave his grandson, the land that would have been his father's. When John Jr's widow, Naomi remarried, John Sr. kept her children to raise in his home.
Several years after the death of John Jr., his widow, Naomi was in court. She was self confessing to the offense of fornication. Her partner in crime was 22 year old Benjamin Abbott. The reason she was confessing was, of course, she was unmarried and pregnant. She gave birth to girl, who she named BenNaomi Abbott. Benjamin, surprisingly, did not appear in court, but his family did pay a fine on his behalf. Did John Sr., the children's grandfather consider Naomi to be unfit raise her children?
After her death John remarried in 1676 to Hannah Pritchard. Her husband William Pritchard was killed by Indians in 1675. John Lovejoy lived a further 15 years, he made his mark on his will on 1 Sept. 1690, his will was proved on 31 March 1691. John made provisions in his will for Hannah, writing that he wanted "her life to be comfortable while continuing in this world." He bequeathed to her in her lifetime half of his dwelling house and half the solar, of which she could choose which half. He made provisions for her food, asking that she be given cider, wheat, rye, cows, etc. for the rest of her life.
Also in his will he mentioned his son William, saying he had already gotten his portion, which was the land on which he lived. To Christopher he left 30 acres of land, adjoining that of his grandson John, a parcel of meadow and 1/6 of a meadow called the pond meadow provide he give his step mother pork, hay, and Indian corn. Christopher was also to give money to his sister Sarah Lovejoy Johnson. The will is in pretty bad shape, but it looks like Nathaniel was given the land that would have gone to Benjamin had he lived. Nathaniel was tasked to pay his sister Abigail. Next up was Joseph, he got land, also 1/6 of the pond meadow and he had to pay his sister Anne Blanchard.
Ebeneezer, the youngest son and child was given his father's house, orchard, barn and adjoining land. He was given a piece of meadow near a hill called the Boston Hill. He too had to pay his step mother Hannah, and had to pay his sister Deborah.
In September of 1690 he wrote a codicil to the will. He split all his household goods between Ebeneezer and Deborah. Ebeneezer was also to pay his two single sisters 3 pounds in cattle when they married. He made provisions for his granddaughter Francis Lovejoy, who lived with him. She was to live with Ebeneezer and his wife. Ebeneezer was to make sure she had proper clothing.
John also named "his brother Thomas Osgood", his son William and Joseph to oversee Ebeneezer. He was to make no deals or enter into no bargains without their approval. They were also tasked to look after Francis until she married.
John's will was extremely detailed and he made provisions for all his children and his grandchild Francis. His care and concern for his family is evident in his wording as well as the substance of his last will.
James R. Henderson, "The English Origins of John Lovejoy of Andover, Massachsetts," The Register, 163 (2009):27, digital images, American Ancestors (https://www.americanancestors.org : accessed 25 January 2016).
Sarah Loring Bailey, Historical Sketches of Andover, (Cambridge: H. O. Houghton and Company, 1880).
Willilam Richard Cutter, Geneaolgical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, Vol. II, (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910).
Abiel Abbott, History of Andover: from its settlement to 1829, (Andover: Flag and Gould, 1829).
Abby Chandler, Law and Sexual Misconduct in New England, 1650-1750, (Ashgate Publishing, 2015): , digital images, Google Books (https://books.google : accessed 27 January 2016).
Philip Grevens, Four Generations: Population, Land and Family in Colonial Andover Massachusetts,(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1970).
Vital Records of Andover