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John Ayer and Hannah Evered-Webb

John AYER. (Eyre)(Ayer or Ayers-S14).
Born about (1582-S2(1592-S5)(1596-S3) in England.

It is possible that our ancestor was the John Ayer christened on 2 September 1582 at St. Thomas in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. (S3,S5). However, it is also noted that a John Ayer was buried there in 1599. (S5). Unfortunately, the record does not identify the parents of either John.
Another possibility is the John Eire christened on 28 March 1596 at Bromham, Wiltshire, England. (S3). However, this John was the son of Robert Eyer and Cecely Crosse. (S10).

He is said to be the son of Thomas AYER and Elizabeth ROGERS. (S5). Not enough is known at this time to determine for certain if this is correct.

Our John married Hannah about 1620 in England.(S2d,S5). Their son Robert deposed in 1711 that he was aged about 86 years (so born about 1625). Therefore, John and Hannah were probably married about 1620-1623, prior to arriving in New England. (S3).

Wikipedia notes: In 1620 Ayer married Hannah Evered als. Webb, daughter of John & Mary (Webb) Evered, in Cockfield, Durhamshire, England. Though no source is given for this record. (S6).

They emmigrated to New England in (about 1635 to 1637-S?)(about 1638-1639-S3).

No official documentation of his immigration has been found, though there are several possibilites cited:

A small parchment volume (also in the Rolls Office) labelled on the cover T G 27.979 A D 1637 - 13 Car. I, shows a record of persons desirous to pass beyond seas. On this list is John Eyre of Norwich, grocar aged 40 wanted only to go and see the country and if he like, to stay; otherwise he would come back in 3 months. .. These people went to New England with William Goose, Mr of the ship Marey Anne of Yarmouth.... " (New England Historical & Genealogical Register, Vol 14, No. 4, October, 1860). (S3). This document has given rise to the speculation that he was the grocer of Norwich, however, there is no John Eyre listed on the Mary Ann passenger list.

It is most often said that our John Ayer arrived on the ship James, which left London on 6 April 1635 with her master, William Cooper, arriving in Massachusetts Bay. Coldham (S7b) says the passengers embarked at Southampton. The strongest evidence for John or Hannah being a passenger is the statement of Banks (S7a), who says: Ayers, John, from Osbourne, St George, Wiltshire, bound for Salisbury & Haverhill. (Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 180). However, other than this reference from Banks, John and Hannah do not appear on any passenger list.

There is a village of Ogbourne Saint George, a village on the River Og about 3 miles north of Marlborough, Wiltshire. Lands in Ogbourne St. George were settled on Francis Goddard in 1616. In 1620 part of the estate was sold to John Potter. Potter sold part of his estate to William Gardiner in 1642 and settled the remainder on Thomas Potter in 1688. The residue of Francis Goddard's holding was sold to Thomas Ayres in 1621. Ayres, or another of the same name, held the lands in 1676 and in 1689 his sons John and Vincent held an estate called WESTONTOWN. ( From: 'Parishes: Ogbourne St. George', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12: Ramsbury and Selkley hundreds; the borough of Marlborough (1983), pp. 151-160. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=66524 Date accessed: 26 February 2012). (Wiltshire Records Office). (S12).

This Thomas Ayers could be the son of Thomas Ayers who married Elizabeth Rodgers, and John and Vincent could be the sons of Thomas the younger. The ages are about right. This would still leave it open for John, the son of the senior Thomas to have left for New England. Also note that John and Hannah were married about 1620, close to the time of the land purchase in 1621.

John and Hannah settled in Salisbury, Massachusetts in 1637. (S5).

As John Eyres, he is on the undated list of those granted land in the first division of Colchester, Massachusetts between September 4, 1639 and October 7, 1640, when the town was renamed Salisbury. (S3,S14).

According to this first division of ye towne of Salisburie, there was granted unto John Ayers, two acres for a home lott, lying between the homes of David Ladd and John Stevens, also there was granted John six acres for planting, also granted to him fower (four) acres of meddow lying on the north side of the river Merrimack. (S3,S5).

He again recieved land in Salisbury in 1643. (S5,S14).

John Ayer was at Salisbury as late as 21 December 1644, when his daughter Hannah was born there. (S3).

He sold his house, land and commonage in (1644-S3)(1647-S5)(about 1647-S14) to John Stevens, and they moved to Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts.

Both he and his son John appear as landholders in 1645 at Haverhill, Massachusetts. (S3).

He was a Puritan church member. (S3).

At the Essex County Court held at Ipswich 4th day 9th month 1645, 'John Ayres Sr.' and John Ayres Jr. of Salisbury were made free, that is, made a Freeman. (S3,S5).

Because he was made a Freeman in the Ipswich court, some people report that he lived in Ispwich for a time. However, the court at that time traveled, and it was just a stroke of fate that it was in Ipswich when the issue of Freeman status for John and his son John was taken up by the court. The disposition of John's will at Hampton also creates some confusion for researchers. He never lived in Hampton, but that is where the court was situated when it considered his estate. (S11).

In 1646 he was on the tax list (in Salisbury-S5)(in Haverhill-S3) with property valued at 160 pounds, second highest on the list. (S5).

John Ayer, Sr. was fined by the town of Haverhill On 13 February 1646-1647 for not attending the town meeting in season. (S3).

He served on the Grand Jury in Haverhill in April 1649. (S3).

In 1652 he received a share in the second division of plough land. (S3).

. In a court case of 1654, The following names were subscribed to a paper objecting to the testimony given by Robert Swan's witnesses, complaining that 'the boy robert ames home robert Swan cald Servant to a man in James Davis, sr., John Ayre, sr., Theo. Shatswell, Richard Littlehale, Roberd Clements, Joseph (his mark) Daves, stephen Kent, George Browne. (S3).

He was permanently exempted by the County Court in October 1654 for exemption from military training duty. (S3). He was apparently then near the military exempt age limit of sixty, indicating that he was born about mid-1590s.

That he had some feeling of independence as well as education is implied by his signature 'John Ayre, Sr.' in 1654 on a paper objecting to a witness as unfit to testify in a court case. (S3).

His will was dated 12 March 1656-1657:
The last will and Testament of John Eyers ye Elder of Haverhill made ye twelfe of March one thousand six hundred fifty six: fifty seaven: ist ffirst I giue vnto my Sonne John Eyers my dwelling house and house Lott, butt my wyfe to haue the [my] house and Archyard & the psture of English grass by the barne, and the leantoo att the South end of ye barne and to haue livertie in ye Same Nue barne to lay in such hay or corne as shee shall haue occasion to make vse of duering the tyme of hir Naturall life and att hir death to returne to my Sonne Jno Eyers, and duering the tyme of my wiues life my Sonne is to haue the vse of my house Lott and barne, and to pay vnto my wife tenn shillings an acre for every acre of broken vpp land in this my house Lott, and after the end of my wyues life when this falls into my Sonne John Eyers hand then hee shal pay as followes, fiue pound the first yeare after my wyfes death to my Sonne Nathaniell . . .and that young Sowe, whose eare hangs downe and all my flaggy meadow I giue to my Sonne Peter the other halfe of my decond division of meadow & vpland, & two Oxe comons with all privilidges belonging to two Oxe commons and three acres of land in ye upper playne which hee hath allreadie in his possession: I giue my third division of land which is agreed on by the town to bee lay'd out, I giue vnto my Sonne John Eyers & Peter Eyers to bee equally divided beweene them. . . I giue to my wife my best Cowe, and to my daughter Hannah my second best cowe, & my other Cowe and three yeare old heifer to my daughters rebecka & Mary: And all my other goods and Cattell and Swine and house hold stuff vndisposed of I giue vnto my wyfe Hanah Eyers whom I make my Sold Executrix and whom I appoint to discharge all my debts & to take care for my buriall: [No signature.]
Proved in Hampton Court 6:8:1657 by Henry Palmer. Copy of will. Norfolk Deeds, vol. 1, leaf 58.) (S3).

He died on 31 March 1657 at Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts. (S14).

His will, dated 12 March 1657, was proved 6 October 1657 at Haverhill. (S14).

John Ayer's Inventory at his Time of Death (S11):

fower cows, two steers, and a calf 20.00.00
twenty swine and fower pigs 18.00.00
fower oxen 25.00.00
one plough, two pair plough irons, one harrow, one yolke and chayne, and a rope cart 4.00.00
two howes, two axes, two shovels, one spade, two wedges, two betell rings, two sickels and a reap hook hangers in the chimneys, tongs and pot hooks 13.00.00
two pots, three kettles, one skillet, and frying pan 3.03.00
in pewter 1.00.00
three flocks, beds, and bed clothes 18.00.00
12 yards of cotton cloth and cotton wool and hemp and flax 4.00.00
two wheels, three chests, and a cupbboard 1.03.00
wooden stuff belonging to the house 1.16.00
two muskets and all that belong to y' 2.10.00
in books 0.15.00
in flesh meat 0.15.00
about forie bushells of corne 7.00.00
his waring apparill 8.00.00
about six or seven acres of graine in and uppon the ground 9.00.00
the dwelling house and barne and land broken and unbroken with all appurtaneences 120.00.00
forks, rakes, and other small implements about the house and barne 1.00.00
in debt owing to him 1.00.00
between two or three bushels of sale and so mayle 0.10.00
TOTAL 248.05.00 pounds

So the total was ~248 pounds, which was very good in those days, and he did not owe anyone anything. Also, if you add up the values you get quite a bit more than 248 pounds - but it is transcribed from the original source. (S11).

Hannah EVERED-WEBB. (Everett)(Webb)(Everett-Webb)
Born about 1598 at Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.(S2a).

Hannah married John AYER about 1620 in England. (S2d).

Hannah is said to be a sister of John Evered alias Webb. This is deducted from his will dated 10 February 1665-1666, in which he named his wife Mary and six of the children of John Ayer, calling them his niece Rebecca, wife of John Arsleby of Andover, and her brothers, John, Robert, Thomas, Peter and Nathaniel Ayres of Haverhill. (S3).

This indicates some kind of relationship between the John Evered Alias Webb and the Ayer family, but doubt has been cast on Hannah being a close relation of John by the fact that John Evered alias Webb did not name a sister Hannah in his will. (S3)

John Evered alias Webb registered as from Marlborough, Wiltshire, on the passenger list of the ship James of London when he and Stephen Evered alias Webb embarked at Southampton about 5 April 1635. (S3).

In 1670 Peter Ayer, son of John, acknowledged the receipt of a legacy of 20 pounds from the estate of John Webb. Peter's sisters, Mrs. Arlebe, Mrs. Webster and Mary Webb, each received a legacy of 20 pounds from the estate of their supposed "Uncle Webb." (S11).

In this will [dated 1665] he named as cousins the elder children of our John Ayer. Wiltshire origin is thus indicated for the Ayer family of Haverhill. Previous genealogists may well have gone astray in assuming that this interfamily relationship was through John Ayer's wife Hannah and that her maiden name was Evered alias Webb. Research has disclosed no Hannah in that family at so early a date. Our theory, a new one, is that the relationship was through John Ayer's sister Rebecca and that she is to be identified with John Evered Sr.'s wife Rebecca, whose maiden name is not yet known. (S3).

The earliest identification that I have found of the wife of John Ayer as Hannah Evered was a newspaper genealogy column known as The Boston Transcript. According to that source Hannah was listed in the will of John Evered alias Webb, therefore she must be his sister. She was not listed in that will. In fact, Hannah was still alive when the will was offered for probate, she was not mentioned and did not inherit. John Evered alias Webb did mention his cousins as the children of John Ayer: and not as the children of his sister Hannah. I think John Evered alias Webb knew what he was doing and I do not try to second guess him. In some so-called family trees, Hannah has been added as a sibling of John Evered alias Webb, but that is not supported by English records. (S11).

Of the two Massachusetts settlers, John Evered alias Webb's origin and his father's family are fully proved and we have built up a good case both for his mother's identity as Rebecca Eyre and - through her - for the origin of John Ayer of Haverhill. To confirm this circumstantial evidence, it is hoped that baptisms of John Ayer's children will be found and that John Evered, Sr.'s wife Rebecca will be located in Draycot or her maiden name determined by some record. Meanwhile, the existance of so many contemporary John Eyres prompts the query again: Did the Haverhill settler come from Bromham in Wiltshire?" (Rosalie Fellows Bailey, New England Heritage of Rousmaniere, Ayer, Farwell and Bourne Families, New York: self-published, 1960. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~barbpretz/WC_SRC.HTM#C1576). (S3).

To the best of our knowledge, our John was married once, to Hannah, whose maiden name is lost to history. She survived her husband, and was the mother of all of his children, easily proven by the land deeds of Massachusetts. Below is a quote from Willis Brown in regards to Hannah and her maiden name:
First and possibly foremost, John Ayer was not married to Hannah Evered. He was married to Hannah, who was not an Evered. A very early researcher, perhaps as early as 1860, identified her as Hannah Green(?) with the question mark next to it. He left us no notes, or lists of reference. I have found nothing that would indicate where he developed that theory. The earliest identification that I have found of the wife of John Ayer as Hannah Evered was a newspaper genealogy column known as The Boston Transcript. According to that source Hannah was listed in the will of John Evered alias Webb, therefore she must be his sister. She was not listed in that will. In fact, Hannah was still alive when the will was offered for probate, she was not mentioned and did not inherit. John Evered alias Webb did mention his cousins as the children of John Ayer: and not as the children of his sister Hannah. I think John Evered alias Webb knew what he was doing and I do not try to second guess him. In some so-called family trees, Hannah has been added as a sibling of John Evered alias Webb, but that is not supported by English records. (S3).

The ship James left London, England on 6 April 1635 with her master, William Cooper, arriving in Massachusetts Bay. Coldham (S7b) says the passengers embarked at Southampton. On the roll from the departure are:
Evered, John (alias Webb) of Marlborough, Wiltshire #5 (From Marlborough, Wiltshire, bound for Boston. Ref: Pope. 36 pg 179).
Evered, Stephen (alias Webb) of Marlborough, Wiltshire #6 (From Ramsbury, Wiltshire, bound for Boston. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 180).

Banks (S7a) adds to this list:
Ayers, John, from Osbourne, St George, Wiltshire, bound for Salisbury & Haverhill. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 180.

John and Stephen are also listed as having given oath on 12 June 1635. (S7).

NOTE: There were two ships named the James that arrived in New England in 1635:

1. The James left London, England April 6, 1635 with her master, William Cooper, arriving in Massachusetts Bay. (S7).

2. The James left King's Road in Bristol on 23 May 1635 with her master, John Taylor, along with the Angel Gabriel, the Elizabeth (the Bess), the Mary and the Diligence. The James and the Angel Gabriel stayed together while the three faster and smaller boats went on to Newfoundland. The Angel was wrecked off the coast of Maine, but the James made it into Boston, torn and shredded. (S7).

It is sometimes said that John Everett alias Webb changed his surname to Webb when he immigrated to North America to hide his identity (S8), but there is no basis for this assumption. In fact, the name Everett alias Webb is found in several instances in England.
James Webb alias Everett is found in Burbage, Wiltshire with a 1720 administration bond and inventory. (http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/heritage/wills_search.php?community_in=Burbage)
John Everett, alias Webb, and Marie Pratt were married in 1614 in Wantage, Berkshire. (Berkshire Parish registers. Marriages. http://www.archive.org/stream/berkshireparishr01phil/berkshireparishr01phil_djvu.txt).
Another interesting case is that of William Richmond, born in 1410 in Draycott Folliot, Wiltshire, England, who married Alice Webb abt 1432, daughter of Thomas Webb and Elizabeth Nicholas. The son of William Richmond and Alice Webb was William Richmond alias Webb born in 1436 in Dreycott Folliott, Wiltshire. His son was also known as Richmond alias Webb. (S13). This shows that the name Everett alias Webb was somewhat common in England, and was not an attempt to hide one's identity.

There are a couple notes of interest here. One is that the use here of the alias from the mother's line has some interesting implications. Another note of interest here is that John Everett alias Webb who calls himself the cousin on John and Hannah's children, names the place that he settles in Massachusetts as Dracut

Hannah Ayers of Haverhill in Norfolk, widow of John Ayers of same town acknowledges that she has received of her son Obediah Ayers full satisfaction according to my husband's will for what land he held for which he was to pay an annual rent to me while he had it, and do also own that since my son Obediah left ye land and sold his right to my son Nathaniel, he also has fuly satisfied me according to sd. will as he ought to do until ye date of these presents. I also agree with my son Nathaniel to take the land which he bought of my son Obediah into my own hands and in payment for the time to come during my life, convenanting also with my son Nathaniel that he shall be freed from paying any rent according to my husband's will during my life, allwoing the improvement of the land and its being at my disosal during my life shall be owned at all times for full satisfaction according to ye will as if Nathaniel or any other of my sons had kept sd. land and paid full rent according to my late husband's will. As the sd land mentioned being ye same lott and oarchyard that, I, ye sd Hannah now live upon. Sept 9, 1672. Ack. by Hannah (her H mark) Ayers. Wit: Nath. Saltonstall, Israell Hendrick. (S3).

Hampton Quarterly Court, Oct. 13, 1674:
"Widow Hannah Eyer and Nathll. Eyer having been bound for said widow's appearance at this court, and she not appearing on account of illness and inability to come to the court, the bond was remitted, and she having acknowledged the offence charged upon her acccording to Capt. Saltonstall's return, for selling cider, was fined, which fine was also remitted.

Previous to 1675 she built a new house on the commns. (S3).

In the early 1670's, "Widdow Hannah Ayers" built a house of her own in Haverhill. An undated record shows that she was charged in court with the offense of selling cider. In 1681, Hannah deeded some of John's Salisbury land to her son, Robert, and sold about 7 acres of unimproved land in Haverhill. (S8).

"We, Suball Walker, Peter Ayer and Hannah Babbig, admrs. to estate of John Carlton of Haverhill, deceased by virtue of an order of the General Court and in consideration of full saatisfaction made to sd estate, convey to Daniell Ela of Haverhill about 14 acres land which was John Carlton's ox comon in Haverhill bounded by a small elm tree marked by ye side of ye great pond, a black oak, and a small white oak and land of ye town, John Guil, and Littlehale, Grele, Timothie and Robert Ayer, Edward Brunnage and a heap of stones at ye land of Peter Ayer's land adjoining land of John Carltons children. To have liberty of a way through the rest of the land that belongs to a John cArleton's children as convenient as may abe to a comon highway. June ___, 1684. Wit. Hannah (her + mark) Ayer, John Johnson, senr. Signed Shuball Walker, Peter Ayer, Hannah Babbig. Daniel Ela 'resigns up two debts' relating to the land which were made by us upon mistake and misallowing of the land at first. Daniel Ela acknowledged his hand to the resignation July 1, 1684, before Robert Pike, assistant. Ack. by Capt. Shuball Walker and Mrs Hannah Babbig June 27, 1684 before Robert Pike, and Corporall Peter Ayers ack. the same instrument on condition sd. Ela resigned up ye deeds. July 1, 1684 before Robert Pike." (S3).

I Hannah Ayer Relict of John Ayer Senr formerly of Salisbury & Lately of Haverhill on ye north of Merrimack for & in Consideration of my love to my Son Robert Ayers of said Haverhill & In Consideration of my former Imploying of him in my Service & haveing given him by letter of atturney my full power to recover my right of lands & comons belonging to me in . . . Salisbury aforesaid, by Vertue of my Said husband, who formerly had . .. privelidges there . . . Doe . .. Confirme to my Said Son Robert all that Right . . . in. . . Lands. . . which my Said Husband had . . . in . . . Salisbury,' 3 Feb. 1681. Wit: Daniel Lad, Jr. Recorded 4 June 1691 (Ipswich Deeds, 5:384.)"

I Hannah Ayer Senr, Rlict of John Ayers Senr: formerly of Haverhill . . according to causion in my Sayde Husbands last will & with ye consent & approbation of my Sones: who have refused & neglected according to ye sd will to impve & pay rent to me for land left in ye sayd will: Do in consideration of . . . twenty pounds . .. payd .. . confirme to . . . John Swadock . . . land in Haverhill,' 20 Aug. 1681. Wit: Ruth Ayer. (Old Norfolk Co., Deeds, 3:320. (S3).

She died (8 October 1688-S2b, S2c)(13 July 1686-S3) at Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts.

It is said that in 1692, widow Hannah deeds land to son Robert, and was joined by children John of Ipswich, Peter and Nathaniel of Haverhill (S3); however, she was dead by this time. It is also said that this is her deed of 3 February 1681 transferring her husband's Salisbury lands, but that it was not filed until 1691 and, together, with his 1692 sale thereof, was confirmed by quitclaim of Dec. 3 & 27, 1692 by her sons John, Peter and Nathaniel Ayer (Ipswich deeds, 5:384 & 564). (S3).

  1. . John AYER. Born in England about 1622. He was a farmer. He received his fathers estate. He was called Captain. He married (1) Sarah WILLIAMS, John Williams and his wife Jane, on 5 MAY 1646. She died 25 July 1662. He married (2) Mary WOODDAM, daughter of John and Mary Wooddam, on 26 MAR 1663. He lived in Haverhill, Massachusetts until 1679, when he moved to Ipswich, Massachusetts. John died sometime between 19 July 1692 when he signed a deed concerning land that his mother sold to Abraham Clements; and 16 May 1711 when his brother Robert provided a deposition, "Further ye Deponent Robert Ayres deposeth that his Brother John Ayres Deced lived Many Yeares in Haverhill".
  2. Rebecca AYER. She married John ASLET on 8 October 1648. They lived in Andover, Massachusetts. He died 6 June 1671, and she survived him.
  3. Robert AYER. Born about 1625. Robert deposed in 1711 that he was aged about 86 years, thus giving an apparent birth in about 1625. (S3). He married Elizabeth PALMER on 27 February 1650-1651. They lived in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He was a freeman in MAY 1666. He was a constable in 1671. He was called Sergeant. He died between 1713 and 1723.
  4. Thomas AYER. Born about 1630 in England. He married Elizabeth HUTCHINS on 1 April 1656 probably at Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts. In July, 1663, Peter Eyer witnessed a deed for a hundred and eight acres made by his brother Thomas Dyer of Haverhill. (S3). He died 9 November 1686 at Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts.
  5. (Cornet) Peter AYER. Born (about 1632-1633)(on 1 NOV 1633) in England. He married Hannah ALLEN on 1 November 1659. He was a merchant in Boston. They lived in Haverhill. He was made a freeman in MAY 1666. He represented Haverhill in the general court in 1683, 1685, 1689 and 1690. He died in January 1698-1699 in Boston, but his death is recorded in his home town of Haverhill. The Haverhill records say 2 January, but his gravestone in Boston says 3 January.
  6. Mary AYER. Born about 1634-1637. She married William Fellows or Nathan Parker. She was perhaps living in Ipswich in 1668. Mary (Ayers) Parker was executed on 22 September 1692, at Salem, Massachusetts, by hanging, as a result of a conviction on a charge of witch-craft.
  7. Obadiah AYER. Born probably about 1636-1640. He married Hannah PIKE on 19 March 1660-1661. He lived in Haverhill until 1669, when he sold his house and land and moved to Woodbridge, New Jersey. He died on 14 November 1694.
  8. Nathaniel AYER. Born about 1638. He was apprenticed to a Mr. French in 1656-1657. He married Tamesin TURLOAR (Thurlow) on 10 MAY 1670 in Haverhill. They lived in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He died on 17 November 1717 in Haverhill.
  9. Hannah AYER. Born on 21 December 1644 in Salisbury, Massachusetts. She married Stephen WEBSTER on 24 March 1662-1663 in Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts.


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