George Woodward

George WOODWARD (1619 – 1676) was Alex’s 11th Grandfather; one of 4,096 in this generation of the Shaw line.  His was also Alex’s 10th Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line.

George Woodward was born in 1619 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. His parents were Richard WOODWARD and Rose STEWART. He emigrated with his parents and brother John on the Elizabeth in 1634 at the age of 13. He married Mary GIBBSON in 1640 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. After Mary died, he married Elizabeth Hammond 17 Aug 1659, Watertown.   George died on 31 May 1676 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts.

George Woodward was a Soap Boiler

Mary Gibbson was born about 1620 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. Her parents were Joseph GIBBSON and Rebecca ERRINGTON.  She died in 1658 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts.

Elizabeth Hammond was born 1633 in Lavenham, Suffolk, England.  Her parents were Thomas Hammond and Elizabeth Case.  Her grandparents were our ancestors Thomas HAMMOND and Rose TRIPPE.  After George died, she married Samuel Truesdale, as his second wife.

Children of George and Mary:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Mary Woodward 12 Aug 1641 in Watertown John Waite
13 Jan 1664
Watertown, Middlesex, Mass
23 Aug 1718
Watertown, Mass
2. Sarah WOODWARD 6 Feb 1641/42
Watertown, Mass
Stephen GATES II
18 Apr 1662
Stow, Mass
21 Oct 1706
Stow, Mass.
3. Amos Woodward 1646 in Watertown, Sarah Patten
Cambridge, Mass.
9 Oct 1674
Cambridge. Mass
4. Rebecca Woodward 30 Dec 1647
Thomas Fisher
11 Dec 1666
Dedham, Mass
5. John Woodward 28 Mar 1649
Rebecca Robbins
Margaret Lemon
17 Jul 1696.
3 Nov 1732
Newton, Mass
6. Susanna Woodward 30 Sep 1651
Watertown, Mass
19 Dec 1671
7. Daniel WOODWARD 11 Jun 1653
Elizabeth DANA
14 Jan 1679
Probably, Medford, Mass
31 Jul 1713
Newton, Mass
8. Mercy Woodward 3 Jun 1656
Samuel East
c. 1672 in Boston, MA.
George Barstow
15 Mar 1677
Roxbury, Mass.
31 Jul 1713


Children of George and Elizabeth Hammond

Name Born Married Departed
9.  George Woodward 11 Sep 1660
Watertown, Mass.
Lydia Browne
31 Dec 1686 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass
10. Thomas Woodward 15 Sep 1662
Watertown, Mass
 3 Sep 1666
Watertown, Mass
11. Elizabeth Woodward  8 May 1664
Watertown, Mass
Samuel Eddy
7 Dec 1693
Watertown, Mass
12. Nathanael Woodward 28 May 1668
Watertown, Mass
28 May 1668
Watertown, Mass
13. Sarah Woodward  3 Oct 1675
Watertown, Mass
John Eddy
6 Jul 1693
Watertown, Middlesex, Mass
Isaiah Whitney
Lexington, Middlesex, Mass
 Aft. 1715

George was a soap boiler.  Soap was produced by boiling wood ash lye and waste fats together.  Potash (especially potassium carbonate) has been used from the dawn of history in bleaching textiles, making glass, and, from about A.D. 500, in making soap. Potash, called pearlashes in colonial times,  was principally obtained by leaching the ashes of land and sea plants.  Soap making was performed as a yearly or semiannual event on the homesteads of the early settlers. As the butchering of animals took place in the fall, soap was made at that time on many homesteads and farms to utilize the large supply of tallow and lard that resulted. On the homes or farms where butchering was not done, soap was generally made in the spring using the ashes from the winter fires and the waste cooking grease, that had accumulated throughout the year.

Potash production provided early settlers in North America a way to obtain badly needed cash and credit as they cleared their wooded land for crops. To make full use of their land, excess wood, including stumps, needed to be disposed. The easiest way to accomplish this was to burn any wood not needed for fuel or construction. Ashes from hardwood trees could then be used to make lye, which could either be used to make soap or boiled down to produce valuable potash. Hardwood could generate ashes at the rate of 60 to 100 bushels per acre  This potassium based soap was the only kind made from the first discovery of soap making until the first half of the 19th century.

George had an Homestall of 6 acres bounded the west w/the highway, the east w/Edward How and Richard Woodward, the north w/Richard Benjamin and the south w/Edmond Blois bought of Edward. He was buried in 1676 at Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts.

Boston City records for 12 Jun 1637, contains an entry with the following information: ‘Geroge Woodward, sopeboyler [Soap Boiler], was found a delinquent for an unlawful entry upon some of the town’s ground and for digging holes and annoying the highway with stinking fish to forfeitures of £3-4s-8d.’

It further says he was a resident of Watertown by 1641 and had started a family by that date. He was the ‘homestall’ or proprietor of ten acres on Lexington St, on the east side between Main St and Orchard St, on which land he resided for the remainder of his life and on which land his widow and family would reside for quite some time after his death.

View Google Map Street View
(View Down Lexington Avenue with Main Street at our Back)


1. Mary Woodward

Mary’s husband John Waite was born 6 May 1639 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. His parents were Richard Waite and Mary [__?__]. John died 24 Aug 1691 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass.

2. Sarah WOODWARD (See Stephen GATES II‘s page)

3. Amos Woodward

Amos’ wife Sarah Patten was born 26 Jan 1645 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Mass. Her parents were William Patten and Mary [__?__]. Sarah died 24 Sep 1677 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Mass

4. Rebecca Woodward

Rebecca’s husband Thomas Fisher was born 1643 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. His parents were Thomas Fisher and Elizabeth [__?__]. His father  Thomas died 12 Mar 1707 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass.

The list of Dedham Covenant signers  includes two men both named Thomas Fisher #42 and #125.   Savage has two entries for men named Thomas, as follow.

THOMAS, Cambridge 1634, came, perhaps, from Winton in Eng. But it is not told whether the town were in Westmoreland or Yorkshire and I doubt the spell. may have been Winston, in Co. Suffolk. had Thomas, Samuel, perhaps a d. was freem. 4 Mar. 1635, rem. to Dedham 1637, was engag. to build the meeting-ho. and d. 1638. His wid. Elizabeth d. 21 Jan. 1651.
THOMAS, Dedham, perhaps son  of the preced. m. 5 Dec. 1666, Rebecca, d. of the first George Woodward of the same, freem. 1678. He had six ds. no s. and the same or ano. is in the list of 1678. A Mary F. wid. join. Boston ch. 25 Dec. 1647, and d. 6 Sept. 1653, but I kn. not wh. was her h.

Savage also stated, “Great labor I have found to conciliate these Fishers, and some of it may seem unsuccess[ful].” Savage is admitting that there might be mistakes in what he was reporting.

In Pope’s book there is one entry for a Thomas Fisher of Dedham, as follows:

Thomas, carpenter, Cambridge, propr. Of house and land, 1634; frm. March 4, 1634/35. Rem. To Dedham; adm. Propr. 18 (5) 1637. He d. 10 (6) 1638. The town gave to his widow 40 shillings toward the bargain he had made in building the meeting-house, 25 (1) 1639. She paid to the attorney of Elisha Bridges, 4 (7) 1639, a legacy left by her husband for his dau. Sarah, wife of John Blackston. [L.] She had leave from Gen. Court 13 May, 1640, to admin. Her husband’s est., and to sell half of her lot for the bringing up of her children.”

While Pope does not explicitly state the first name of the widow of Thomas Fisher, he does make reference to a daughter Sarah, wife of John Blackston. For further information see “Note-book kept by Thomas Lechford, esq., lawyer: in Boston, Massachusetts …”, by Thomas Lechford, James Hammond Trumbull. It is available on the internet at

Lechford’s information is also addressed in a work entitled “Transactions and collections of the American Antiquarian Society“, Volume 7, by the American Antiquarian Society,

The Antiquarian Society author first quoted the Lechford notes and then expanded on the information as follows:

“Elisha Bridges releaseth Mary Fisher widdow for 30s legacy given by Thomas Fisher [footnote 1] the testator to John Blackston and Sara his wife daughter of the said Thomas & payd by the said Mary executrix of the said Thomas Fisher unto the said Elisha Attorney for the said John Blackston & Sara his wife dated 4. 7. 1639. before Mr [blank] Hawkins Ed: Michelson & myselfe. [1s. 6d.]

“A Coppy of the said Bridges letter of Attorney. [1s. 6d.]

“[footnote] 1 It is difficult to be sure of identifying this Thomas Fisher and Mary his widow; but I think him the man of that name who came from Winton in England to Cambridge in 1634, and moved, says Savage, from there to Dedham in 1637. Exactly when he died I cannot say. The date here is two years after his removal to Dedham, which would afford him ample time. Some while after, this Widow Fisher, — whom I suppose to be the Mary in the text, — of Dedham, had liberty given her by the General Court to take the administration of her husband’s estate for the benefit of her children (Mass. Col. Rec., i. 292). This Mary Fisher we may reasonably believe to have been the widow who joined the Boston Church in 1647, and died 1653. ‘Great labor,’ says Savage, ‘I have found to conciliate these Fishers; and some of it may seem unsuccess.’ I think, however, this passage in Lechford supplies a link which was wanting in Savage’s train of reasoning.

Therefore, we have evidence, from a primary, historical document (notes of attorney Lechford), that the widow of Thomas Fisher of Dedham in 1639 was named Mary. Savage, however, in his Dictionary, stated, “[Thomas’s] wid. Elizabeth d. 21 Jan. 1651.” In Savage’s entry for the second of the two men named Thomas Fisher (and who married Rebecca Woodward in 1666), he added, “A Mary F[isher] wid[ow] join[ed] Boston ch[urch] 25 Dec. 1647, and d[ied] 6 Sept. 1653, but I kn[ow] not wh[o] was her h[usband].” So apparently Savage was wrong, and this is an instance where his “great labor” was “unsuccessful”.

Let’s return to Elizabeth Fisher, widow of John. Pope said this widow Elizabeth Fisher died January 31, 1651 in Dedham. Compare her to the Elizabeth Fisher, supposedly widow of Thomas, that Savage said died January 21, 1651 in Dedham. Apparently Savage confused Elizabeth, widow of John, with the widow of Thomas (who was actually named Mary). Compare the dates of death: January 21, 1651 and January 31, 1651. It seems too great a coincidence that two widows named Elizabeth Fisher both died in January 1651 in the still-small town of Dedham. Since we know that Savage was in error on the name of Thomas Fisher’s widow (who was Mary, not Elizabeth), it seems that he simply mis-identifed Elizabeth, John’s widow, and then possibly had a clerical (typographical) error in the date of her death.

How much of the other information about Thomas Fisher did Savage confuse? Quite a bit. Let’s take it piece by piece.

BOTH Savage and Pope state that Thomas Fisher had lived in Cambridge, Massacusetts in 1634 (when it was still called Newtowne). BOTH Savage and Pope mention that the leaders of Dedham had engaged him to build the meeting house (and Pope states he was a carpenter). BOTH Savage and Pope state that Thomas Fisher had been admitted as a “freeman” of the Massachusetts Bay Colony on March 4, 1635 (and this was new style, because Pope noted the date as 1634/5). Savage states that Thomas had “perhaps a d[aughter]” while Pope states that Thomas had a daughter Sarah. Savage stated that Thomas Fisher died in 1638 while Pope stated that Thomas Fisher died on 10 (6) 1638 (i.e., August 10, 1638, new style). The Antiquarian Society author wrote, “Exactly when he died I cannot say.”

Pope refers to a primary historical record, stating, “[The widow of Thomas] had leave from Gen. Court 13 May, 1640, to admin. her husband’s est., and to sell half of her lot for the bringing up of her children.” The author of the Antiquarian Society work hedges cautiously, stating, “Some while after, this Widow Fisher, — whom I suppose to be the Mary in the text, — of Dedham, had liberty given her by the General Court to take the administration of her husband’s estate for the benefit of her children (Mass. Col. Rec., i. 292).”

Apparently this record from the General Court only refers to “Widow Fisher”, without explicitly stating her first name. We know from Pope that John Fisher had died July 15, 1637 in Dedham and that his widow Elizabeth was still there in 1640 (when she became a member of the Dedham church) and until 1651 (when she died there). We also know from Savage and Pope that Thomas Fisher had died in 1638 (perhaps August 10) in Dedham and that his widow Mary had at least a daughter Sarah. The 1640 order of the General Court was almost three years after the death of John Fisher, and almost two years after the death of Thomas Fisher, but in all honesty, the Court record could refer to either widow, Elizabeth or Mary.

The “Widow Fisher” referred to in the 1640 Court record had “children” (plural). We know that Thomas and Mary Fisher had at least a daughter Sarah. We do not know if John and Elizabeth Fisher had children. Nonetheless, Savage, without any citation of evidence, baldly stated that Thomas and “Elizabeth” Fisher had sons Thomas and Samuel. Savage was wrong on the wife; was he wrong on the sons?

Many family trees posted on World Connect ( state that the Thomas Fisher who married Rebecca Woodward (daughter of George) in 1666 was likely born between about 1630 and 1638, and died on or about March 12, 1707. Savage wrote that this Thomas was “perhaps” the son of the Thomas who had died in 1638. Many family trees on World Connect also state that there was a Samuel Fisher, likely born between about 1630 and 1638, who married in 1659 Meletiah (or Milcah) Snow (daughter of Thomas) and lived in Wrentham, Massachusetts, where he died about January 5 or 6, 1703/4. Many suggest that he was another son of the Thomas Fisher who died in 1638.

Here is the problem. In 1670, the Reverend John Allen of Dedham wrote his Will and made bequests to (among others) his “near kinsmen” Samuel and Thomas Fisher. I believe that many researchers have GUESSED that this Samuel and Thomas Fisher mentioned in the Will were the same Samuel and Thomas who are listed by Savage as sons of Thomas. People have then GUESSED that John Allen, in using the term “near kinsmen” was calling these two his nephews. People have then taken the erroneous information from Savage about Thomas Fisher having a widow Elizabeth, and have CREATED an Elizabeth Allen, sister of the Reverend John Allen. But this is error, as Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) was the widow of John Fisher, and Thomas Fisher’s widow was named Mary.

Now add one more bit of information to the mix. On a family tree posted by a Doneva Shepard at, she stated, “On an unknown date, in a list of ‘Gifts bestowed upon the colony since 1634,’ John Winthrop noted that ‘John Allen of Surslingham, minister, in Norfolk, gave £25 to the treasury, sent by Thomas Fisher of Winton’. ‘Surslingham’ is a corruption of Saxlingham-juxta-Mare. ‘Winton’ may represent an earlier residence for Thomas Fisher; no parish of this name exists in Norfolk, but there is a Winston in Suffolk.”

I have not had any success in tracking down the primary source for this list of “Gifts”, but it strikes me as being credible. I believe this record might have been the evidence that Savage relied upon in stating that Thomas Fisher of Dedham (by way of Cambridge) came “perhaps, from Winton in Eng. But it is not told whether the town were in Westmoreland or Yorksh. and I doubt the spell. may have been Winston, in Co. Suffolk.”

I personally believe that it is reasonable to infer that this John Allen, a minister in Saxlingham, Norfolk, England was the same Reverend John Allen who came to Dedham in about 1637. It also seems reasonable to infer that the Samuel and Thomas Fisher who were “near kinsmen” of John Allen (as described in his 1670 Will) are somehow related to this Thomas Fisher of Winton (or Winston). But was the Thomas Fisher residing in England, who gave a generous gift to the Massachusetts Bay Company AFTER 1634 (but presumably before 1637) the carpenter Thomas Fisher living in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1634? I don’t think so, for several reasons.

First, if the Thomas Fisher who died in Dedham in 1638 was living in Cambridge, MA in 1634, he could not have been living in Winton (or Winston), England after 1634, when the gift was made. Second, Thomas Fisher, a mere carpenter, was very likely too poor to afford a gift of 25 pounds. Twenty-five pounds was a substantial sum in the 1630s, and the Thomas Fisher who made that gift was more likely a merchant or other person of means. Third, there is no evidence about the vital statistics of the donor Thomas Fisher, but I would guesstimate that he was established and comfortable (and so over the age of 30, or even over 40) when he made the gift, so likely born before 1600. Fourth, IF the donor Thomas Fisher was POSSIBLY the father of the Samuel and Thomas Fisher estimated as born 1630-1638, then he was almost certainly born before 1610. But did the donor Thomas Fisher ever migrate?

We now can return to the list of men who signed the Dedham Covenant, and notice that there were TWO men named Thomas Fisher listed, one at number 42 and one at number 125. I believe that Thomas Fisher No. 42 was the carpenter from Cambridge who died in 1638. I believe that Thomas Fisher No. 125 MIGHT be the donor Thomas Fisher, who might have arrived in Dedham about 1637, at the same time as the Reverend John Allen.

5. John Woodward

John’s first wife Rebecca Robbins was born 1652 in Cambridge, Mass. Her parents were Richard Robbins and Rebecca [__?__]. Rebecca died 8 Jan 1696 in Newton, Mass

John’s second wife Margaret Lemon was born 1654 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. Margaret died in 1724.

7. Daniel WOODWARD  (See his page)

8. Mercy Woodward

Mercy’s first husband Samuel East was born

Mercy’s second husband George Barstow (Beairsto) was born  about 12 Mar 1652 in Scituate, Plymouth, Mass. George died 6 April 1725 ‎(Age 69)‎ in Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass.

George was a constable in Muddy River (now Brookline) as well as surveyor and tithingman. George moved to Rehoboth.

9. George Woodward

George’s wife Lydia Browne was born 11 Nov 1663 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. Lydia died in 1711 in Brookline, Mass.

11. Elizabeth Woodward

Elizabeth’s husband Samuel Eddy was born 4 Jun 1673 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. His parents were Zachariah Eddy and Alice Paddock. Samuel died 6 Aug 1746 in Oxford, Worcester, Mass.

13. Sarah Woodward

Sarah’s first husband John Eddy was born in 1666 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. His parents were Samuel Eddy and Sarah Meade. John died 26 Jul 1694 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass.

Sarah’s second husband Isaiah Whitney was born 16 Sep 1671 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. His parents were Thomas Whitney and Mary Kendall. Isaiah died 7 Jan 1712 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Mass.


This entry was posted in 13th Generation, Double Ancestors, Historical Site, Immigrant - England, Line - Shaw and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to George Woodward

  1. Pingback: Origins | Miner Descent

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    I am a WOODWARD but can`t see the connection although the names are the same…maybe some stayed in England others such as siblings went to America…very interesting site and well organized

  7. Pingback: Daniel Woodward | Miner Descent

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