Full name : Christopher Webb
Alternate spellings, aliases : Christopher Webb, Sr.; Goodman Webb;
Webbe; Christo: Webb
Vital statistics :
Date of Birth : prior to 1600
Place of Birth : England
Date of Death : Late summer or early autumn of 1671
Place of Death : Braintree, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Burial Information : Braintree
Probate : According to the notes of Webb Hester, his will was proved 2 November
1671 and inventory valued at £109.16.10, by Saml Thompson & Joseph Adams
(Suff. Prob. 8:15; Suff. VII 158-9)
Linzee noted that in his will, his wife is listed as Humility Web, also
son Christopher, daughter Mary Sheffield, daughter Sarah Buckmaster;
inventoried on 30 October 1671.
One source, claiming family tradition, gives his place of origin as
Barking, in Essexshire, England, but no record has yet been found to
corroborate this claim.
Name : Humility Wheaton
Date of Marriage : 22 April 1628 (or 1629)
Place of Marriage : Crediton Parish, County Devon (Devonshire), England
Died : November 1687
Notes : Devonshire = County Devon.
The date & place of marriage is confirmed by an abstract copied from
IGI film – batch#M050741, 1558 – 1580, call#0917184. Also, from Bates’ Braintree town records, p658,
“Humility Webb, widow dyed, November, 1687 (or 1678), aged 99.” If the last statement is true, then the
birth date of her husband Christopher might be somewhere closer to 1580-1590.
Immigration : It is clear that the following statement from The
Abbe-Abbey Genealogy, (page 73), “Christopher Webb came from Barking,
Essex, England in 1620,” is currently unsubstantiated, because he was married
in Crediton, Devonshire in 1628 and one of his children was born there in
1634. However, there is a town
called Braintree in Essexshire. He
must have arrived in the Massachusetts Bay colony between 1634 and 1645, when
he was made a Freeman, and definitely before 1653 when he is assessed for tax
in Dedham, Massachusetts. Several
references make a claim that Henry Webb may have been a brother to Christopher
Webb or a relative. Whether this
is true or not, it is clearly noted that Henry Webb arrived in Boston circa
April 1637, on board a ship captained by Master John Drive “…bound from
Weymouth to New England.” His
entry in the passenger log states, “Henry Webb ind for himself, his wife,
Mother, Child, five men and a maide (?oneoabit?) in goods ad value } 42s
7d.” In the same entry book
he is also listed as transporting some goods, but the shorthand used by the
author is difficult to decipher and the exact details are unclear; it appears
he paid £1.7s.6d.
Of interest is the discovery of a parish record from the East Tytherly,
Hampshire, England showing that a “Christopher Webb,” son of Sylvester Webb,
was baptized on 15 August 1601 in East Tytherly. In his will, Henry Webb, of Boston clearly states that his
deceased brother John Webb lived in Tytherly, Hampshire, England. Does this clue indicate some connection
between the two men? A comparison
of names, places and dates associated with either Christopher Webb or Henry
Webb fails to eliminate the theory that they are siblings or relatives, but
only adds fuel to the fire of confusion.
Neither man mentions the other in any documentation yet examined, nor do
they share in business, trade property or intermarry their familes. The only real clue is the apparent
coincidental appearance of each man in the same place and in the same time
period. Added to this mystery is
the association of both men and their families with property in Braintree,
namely the lands where the failed Iron Works once stood.
Military Service : unknown
Religion : Puritan; probably what would
now be called a Congregationalist; perhaps he was a Presbyterian or a member of
the Church of England, but more likely he was a radical Calvinistic
Puritan. He was a member of the
Church of Braintree.
Occupation(s) : He is listed as a
Freeman of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England in May 1645. A freeman is defined as : freeman – one
who is personally free, one who is not a slave or serf, subject to due process
of law, etc. Only someone who was
a Freeman could handle town affairs, vote, be a selectman, serve on a council,
or as a member of a jury.
Specifically, in reference to the Massachusetts Colony or Company,
originally a freeman was a member of the Company (or who signed the Mayflower
Compact), who held the right of suffrage and afterwards those that might be
admitted by a majority vote of said freeman. At the start, all freeman practiced true democracy, each
person having one vote on all subjects before the law, in all trials, etc. Later they acted as voters to elect
representatives to the various councils and courts, which were devised to
handle the growing affairs of the colony.
In 1658 it was recorded, in law, that freeman must take an ‘oath of
fidelity’, must not be a ‘Quaker’ or a ‘ranter’; and by 1671, a freeman was
defined in the statutes, “…freemen must be twenty-one years of age, of sober
and peaceable conversation, orthodox to the fundamentals of religion, and
possessed of twenty pounds ratable estate in the Colony.” So upon becoming a Freeman in 1645, Christopher
had to be at least twenty-one years old (closer to 45 years old), obviously he attended
church regularly & followed its edicts, and he owned at least a small
amount of real estate.
Pattee made note of an entry in the Mass. Hist. Coll, (2nd Series, Vol6, p414),
“1645 - That year twenty families petitioned the court for liberty to begin a
plantation where Groton and his company had erected two or more houses at
Shanamet, some point of Punhom’s land, but challenged by Mr. Brown of Plymouth
as belonging to their jurisdiction.”
Christopher Webb’s name was subscribed to the petition as a member of
the Church of Braintree; it was also the same year that Christopher became a
Property : In September 1653 the
Selectmen of the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts assembled to assess the taxes,
“the Countrey Rate…”, and Christopher Webb is enumerated and rated :
“29 of 6 mo: 1653 Assemb Joh Kingsberrie. Joh. Dwight, Lieft Fisher, Fra
Chickering, Pet. Woodward, Srgt Fisher, & Ela: Lusher
the Countrey Rate made
(last on the list) Christo: Webb
0 5 0”
This tax rating indicates that Christopher Webb, or
his son Christopher (23 years old in 1653), lived or owned land in Dedham
concurrently with, or prior to, living to Braintree, which it is supposed he
did the next year because Christopher (the son) was married in Braintree the
1654/5. He must have had some
ratable estate in Dedham to be assessed for 5 shillings in tax.
An entry in the Braintree Town Records indicates that he owned some land
(misspellings as in text) : ”2th : 11Mo : 1656. A highway layd out in the old field for Goodman Hydin to
bring his corn out or any that shall have cause to bring any that way. A high way layd out by the Selectmen in
the old field for Goodman Hoydin to carry or bring his corn out of his land by
John Dossits land, Senior, which way is layd and appointed to lye in the line
between Deacon Bass and John Dosset Senior, downe the hill and then to lye by goodman Webbs swamp and so along between the two
hills : and so to come in the way as Deacon Bass brings out of his corne only
for harvest time this way to be made use of) and in case and shall brack downe
gate of raills that shall make it good againe;”
Goodman Webb is one of three men named Webb who
owned land in Braintree at that time – (1) Mr. Henry Webb, (2)
John Webb alias Evered,
or (3) Christopher Webb (and it is likely to be the elder Christopher, as the
younger Christopher had just married and had sired only one child in 1656).
It is also interesting that on 29 January 1638, Mr. Henry Webb
(merchant of Boston) was granted for 10 heads, 40 acres of land in
Braintree. This corresponds
directly to the number of individuals he transported with himself to Boston in
1637. On 28 September 1644, eight
months before Christopher was proclaimed a Freeman, Henry Webb received an
additional grant of 200 acres in Braintree. Was Christopher Webb and his family part of the 10 heads in
Henry’s grant, living in Braintree on the 40 acres? Probably not, as Henry Webb’s ’10 heads’ are accounted for -
as himself, wife, mother, daughter and six servants. They may have purchased land from, or otherwise resided, on
Henry Webb’s additional grant, but records fail to indicate where they lived as
early as the 1640’s. It does seem
that Henry Webb lived in Boston, or had a home there. He was given permission in 1638 to purchase the home in
which he was presently residing, by the selectmen of the Town of Boston; and
also his choice of a garden, or a farm plot. He must have chosen the property in Braintree as his farm
Henry Webb was a Merchant Adventurer, an overseas
trader, a shipper, & an investor and commissioner of the failed Iron Works
at Braintree. As it is clear that
as Christopher was a member of the Church of Braintree in 1645, he must have
been a resident of Braintree prior to becoming a Freeman, so it appears that
there is some connection albeit merely circumstantial or coincidental without
further evidence to prove one way or another. Additionally, Christopher’s son Christopher owned the land
upon which the Iron Works was located, in the 1680’s, about thirty years after
its failure. The Webb’s
association with Braintree and the Iron Works is unusual.
Family : It is
unclear what other family besides his children he had in New England or (Olde)
England, but his contemporaries in New England, all in the Province of
Massachusetts Bay, prior to 1650 included : Mr. Henry Webb, merchant, of
Boston; Goodman William Webb, baker,
of Roxbury; Mr. Richard Webb, shoemaker,
of Weymouth & Boston; Ensign John Evered alias Webb,
yeoman & merchant, of Boston; and Mr. John Webb, brasier, of
Boston & Connecticut.
Mention should also be made of Richard Webb of Hartford, Connecticut, a
former resident of Massachusetts.
Son : Christopher Webb, Jr.
Date of Birth : 28 March 1630
(IGI batch#C650741, call#0933984)
Place of Birth : Crediton Parish, Devonshire, England
Married : Hannah Scott, 18
January 1654/5, Braintree, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay
Died : 30 May 1694, Braintree,
Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay
Notes : He was also called Sr. in his own right, as he had a son Christopher
Son : Thomas Webb
Date of Birth : 3 June 1632 (IGI
Place of Birth : Crediton Parish, Devonshire, England
Married : Mary (?Sheffield?)
Notes : Lived in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Their children were - Sarah Webb, she was baptized in the
First Church of Charlestown, Massachusetts. “1666|month 6|day 19| Sarai, ye
daughter of Thomas Web & Mary his wife.; Thomas Webb, he was baptized in
the First Church of Charlestown, Massachusetts, “1667|month 1|day 15| Thomas ye
son of sister Mary Webb.”. A ‘Mary
Sheffield” is listed as a daughter in Christopher Webb’s will of 1671; possibly
she is the widow of Thomas Webb.
Daughter : Sarah Webb
Date of Birth : 22 June 1634
(IGI batch#C650741, call#0933984)
Place of Birth : Crediton
Parish, Devonshire, England
Married : Zechariah Buckmaster
of Boston, 7 March 1654/5, in Boston
Notes : from Boston Town records
(1654/5), “Zachariah Buckmaster & Sarah Webb were married 7th 1st month by
Capt. Humphrey Atharton.” Her
father willed her an ‘iron kettle’.
(Putative) Daughter : Mary Webb
Date of Birth :
Place of Birth : Massachusetts…?
Married : …Sheffield
Notes : …listed in her father’s will as ‘daughter’ Mary Sheffield. She might be Mary, the wife or widow of
(Putative) Daughter : Hannah
Date of Birth :
Place of Birth : Massachusetts…?
Comments, sources, various additional :
As much as I hate having to take
citations from Jim Webb (www.jimwebb.com),
I couldn’t pass up this tidbit which for a chance may be correct information
from his website – nonetheless, I will verify :
The LDS has copies of the
Crediton Parish Register. Crediton
is in Devonshire.
Volume 5, Marriages 1558 – 1785,
Microfiche 40,643, M050741-917184
Nomina Matrimonia Copulatorum
1629 April 22 Christopher Webb
and Humilitie Wheaton
(C650741-0933984) 1630 March 28
Christopher sonne of Christopher Webb
June 3 Thomas sonne of Christopher Webb
June 22 Sarah daughter of Christopher Webb and of Humilitie his wife
I was able to verify that the
citation is correct, as far as the transcription is concerned. The data listed on jimwebb.com is the
same as contained in the IGI transcription. To access this data, click here - http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~hughwallis/IGIBatchNumbers/CountyDevon_(A-M).htm#C
. Click on the IGI Batch number
associated with the year range and parish you wish to search. Then when the next page loads, follow
the instructions (enter the name you wish to search for).
This is dubious but interesting
: Wiltshire: - Abstracts of
Inquisitiones Post Mortem Returned Into the Court of Chancery in the Reign of
Giles Webbe, gentleman.
County: Wiltshire, Country:
Giles Webb died 10 Dec  ,
22 James 1st. Christopher Webbe is his son and next heir, and at his father's
death was aged 18 years and more
Abbe, Cleveland and Nichols,
Josephine Genung. Abbe-Abbey
Genealogy In Memory of John Abbe
and His Descendants. Tuttle,
Morehouse & Taylor Company.
New Haven, Connecticut.
1916. pp. 73
Bates, Samuel A. (Editor; Town Clerk of Braintree). Records of
the Town of Braintree Massachusetts, 1640 to 1873. Braintree, Massachusetts 17 June
1886. Facsimile Reprint by
Heritage Books. Bowie, Maryland, 1991. ISBN1556133979
Bates, Samuel A. The
Ancient Iron Works at Braintree, Mass. (The First in America). Frank A. Bates. South Braintree, 1898.
Coldham, Peter Wilson. The
Complete Book of Emigrants 1607-1660.
Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland. 1988. (pages 183, 186)
Hill, Don Gleason (editor).
The Early Records of the Town of Dedham Massachusetts 1636-1659. A Complete Transcript of Book One of
the General Records of the Town, Together with the Selectman’s Day Book,
Covering a Portion of the Same Period.
Being Book Three of the Printed Records of the Town. Etc. Printed at Office of the Dedham Transcript. Dedham, Massachusetts, 1892. pp213-214.
Pattee, William S. MD.
A History of Old Braintree and Quincy, with a sketch of Randolph and
Holbrook. Quincy : Green &
Vinton, John Adams. The Giles Memorial – Genealogical
Memoirs of the Families Bearing the Names Giles, Gould, Holmes, Jennison,
Leonard, Lindall, Curwen, Marshall, Robinson, Sampson, and Webb; also
Genealogical Sketches of the Pool, Very, Carr and other Families with a history
of Pemaquid, ancient and modern; some account of early settlements in Maine;
and some details of Indian warfare.
Printed for the author, by Henry W. Dutton & Son. Washington Street, Boston. 1864. pp 496 – 532.
Savage, James. A Genealogical
Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, showing three generations of
those who came before May, 1692 on the basis of Farmer’s Register. Baltimore Genealogical Publishing
Company, originally published
Boston, 1860-1862. Reprinted with
"Genealogical Notes and Errata," excerpted from The New England
Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, April, 1873, pp.
135-139; and a Genealogical Cross Index of the Four Volumes of the Genealogical
Dictionary of James Savage, by O. P. Dexter, 1884. Genealogical Publishing Co.,
Inc. Baltimore, 1965,1969,1977,1981,1986, 1990. Electronic version has been
adapted under the direction of Robert Kraft (assisted by Benjamin Dunning) from
materials supplied by Automated Archives, 1160 South State, Suite 250, Orem UT
County Wills. Abstracts of the
earliest wills upon record in the County of Suffolk, Massachusetts.
From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. With an index by Judith McGhan. Genealogical Publishing Co, Inc. Baltimore, 1984.
City Document No. 46. Boston Town Records. Second Report of the Record
Commissioners of the City of Boston. 1877. Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers. Boston, 1877.
Linzee, John William. History
of Peter Parker & Sarah Ruggles of Roxbury, Mass : and their ancestors and
descendants. Fort Hill Press,
Copyright Jonathan Webb Deiss