John Darby was probably born in Surtle,
Dorsetshire, England, although the record of his birth has not been discovered.
He most likely came to New England as a young man, possibly a brother to
Roger Darby, known to be a native of Topsham, Devonshire, who settled in Salem.
In 1677, John Darby was a fisherman, and lived in Marblehead, where he owned
a cottage and a small plot of land. His name is on the first list of
“gatherers” of the First Congregational Church of Marblehead, in 1684.
He was married to Alice about 1677. Her parents are unknown, as well as her
birth and death date. John and Alice were the parents of five children,
In 1689, John was a crewman on the ketch
Mary of Marblehead. The ship was taken over by the pirate, Thomas
Pound. Although he was abandoning his wife and children, and his lawful
way of life, Darby volunteered to join the pirate’s crew. The rest
of the men from the Mary made it back to Marblehead and notified the authorities.
The militia from Marblehead and Salem set out to capture the famous Pound
and his men. They were located at Tarpaulin Cove on the Vineyard, but
refused to surrender to the militia. In the ensuing fight, most of
the brigands were killed, including the neophyte pirate from Marblehead,
John Darby. His estate was inventoried in Marblehead on January 17,
1. John Darby, born October 8, 1681.
2. Alice Darby, born October 12, 1679
3. Mary Darby, born September 29, 1683
4. Joseph Darby, born 1685
5. Benjamin Darby, born 1687
After the settling of John’s estate, Alice married John Woodbury of Beverly.
It is unknown, but unlikely that she had any children with Woodbury.
John Darby, son of John and Alice Darby, was born
in Marblehead, Massachusetts on October 8, 1681. When John was only
nine years old, his father abandoned the family, became a pirate and was
killed by the militia soon after. John became a weaver by trade.
About 1703 he married Deborah Conant, who was born in Beverly on February
20, 1688, the daughter of John Conant and Bethia Mansfield. John and
Deborah settled first in Beverly, where most of their children were born.
In about 1720, they moved to Ipswich, and from there to Concord, where John
died on March 7, 1753. His name was spelled Darbie in his will, which
was dated in 1747. Deborah died in Concord on April 13, 1763.
She was a descendant of Roger Conant, the original governor of Salem.
There certainly was a new social structure being erected in New England, when
the son of a pirate could marry the granddaughter of the governor. John
and Deborah had nine children:
1. Deborah Darby, born April 8, 1714 in Beverly
2. John Darby, born December 27, 1704
3. Andrew Darby, born January 26, 1706/7
4. Benjamin Darby, born March 12, 1710/11
5. Ebenezer Darby, born November 23, 1712
6. Benjamin Darby, born November 28, 1715
7. Joseph Darby, born June 10, 1718
8. Mary Darby, born June 12, 1720
9. Robert Darby, born about 1723
Andrew Darby was the son of John Darby and Deborah
Conant. He was born in Beverly Massachusetts on January 26, 1706/7.
In Beverly, he was a weaver by trade, as was his father. He married
in Ipswich on April 2, 1728 to Elizabeth, who was the daughter of Benjamin
and Sarah Patch of Littleton. They settled in Concord and became the
parents of nine children. In 1733, he purchased land in the “New Grant”
of Concord, which became the town of Acton and moved his family there.
After the incorporation of that town in 1735, he held the offices of selectman,
assessor, and constable in the town of Acton. In 1748 he moved his family
again. He disposed of his Acton estate and bought lot number 22, with
house and gristmill in Westminster, MA. Because of his new occupation
he became known as “Miller Darby” in that town.
He also became active in his new community and
with confidence and respect, filled the offices of clerk, assessor and selectman
for many years. He also was active in the affairs of the church.
He acquired a fair amount of property, and became one of the town’s most
substantial citizens. Andrew died in 1783 and Elizabeth in 1800.
The inscription on Andrew’s tombstone reads: “Andrew Darby, died March 23,
1783 at 76. He was a lover of God’s Word and Worship, Constant in his
Attendance at His House of Prayer, and now Rests from his Labors and the Reward
of his Works do Follow.”
The children of Andrew and Elizabeth are:
1. Elizabeth Darby, born March 15, 1729 in Concord
2. Sarah Darby, born January 1730/30 in Concord
3. Sarah Darby, born March 14, 1731/32 in Concord
4. Eunice Darby, born February 28, 1734/35 in Concord
5. Mary Darby, February 28, 1734/35 in Concord
6. Nathan Darby, born August 2, 1737 in Acton
7. Andrew Darby, born November 19, 1739 in Acton
8. John Darby, born July 4, 1742 in Acton
9. Ruth Darby, born August 20, 1745 in Acton
Elizabeth Darby was born March 15, 1729 in
Concord, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter Andrew Darby and Elizabeth
Patch. In 1733, her family moved to Acton, where her father was a
weaver. When she was nineteen, the family moved again to Westminster.
There on February 25, 1752, she became the wife of Abner Holden.
He was the son of Joseph and Abigail (Shattuck) Holden. Abner
and Elizabeth were married for over fifty years and had nine children.
They both died at Westminster, Abner on October 22, 1805 at age eighty-two
and Elizabeth on November 12, 1812 at eighty-three.
Their children were:
1. Joseph Holden, born August 2, 1753
2. Ruth Holden, born December 10, 1754
3. Elizabeth Holden, born January 17, 1757
4. Relief Holden, born October 18, 1758
5. Abner Holden, born June 29, 1760
6. Phebe Holden, born July 30, 1762
7. Ezra Holden, born December 15, 1764
8. Abigail Holden, born August 25, 1767
9. Lucy Holden, born February 25, 1770
Do you have pictures of Deborah and Ezra or any of their kids, besides
Ezra S. and Joseph? Also do you have any info regarding Ezra and
Deborah, besides birth and death info, maybe an obit (may be too soon
for that) Anyway, if there is anything I can do for you, let