Official Seal


Compiled by Mr. Walter K. Watkins, Genealogist, and read at the meeting of May 22, 1901.

Edward Devotion, a single man, joined the First Church of Boston 22 March, 1645. He became a freeman in May, 1645. He was a planter, and lived at Muddy River (Brookline). He married shortly after, and it was probably her weak condition that necessitated his wife's baptism, by John Eliot of Roxbury, while her four days' old infant, Mary, was baptized at the First Church in Boston on the same day, 25 Feb. 1648. (Mary, mar. 5 Feb. 1668, John Davis.) Three other children were baptized in Boston, Elizabeth, 20 Apr. 1651, d. 17 Feb. 1679 (mar. Joseph Weld); Deborah, 17 May, 1657, bur. 20 Oct. 1682; John, 24 June, 1659, d. 1732 at Suffield. While there were baptized at Roxbury, Martha, 13 Mch. 1653 (mar. 2 Sept. 1674, John Ruggles) : -
Hannah, 3 Dec. 1654 (mar. 1 May, 1679, John Ruggles);
Sarah, 19 Jan. 1661, d. young;
Edward, 12 July, 1663, d. 12 June, 1664;
Sarah, 18 Mch. 1665 (mar. Joseph Griffin);
Edward, 15 Mch. 1667, d. Nov. 1744;
Thomas, 1 May, 1670.

Mary, the mother, joined the Roxbury Church 6 June, 1652.

Edward Devotion occupied a house owned by Cotton Flacke of Boston, which Flacke, with his wife, Jane, conveyed in 1654 to Devotion with 11 acres of upland. Previously, Devotion had bought, in 1650, from Henry Stevens 20 acres, and about this same time 8 acres, formerly William Salter's, and 12 acres in the 3d division of William Townsend in 1651.

In 1654 he also acquired from William and Margery Colburn 4 acres of meadow.

In 1660 Edward and Mary Devotion sold 8 acres of meadow and upland to Joshua Scottow.

In 1663 he bought from William and Hannah Townsend 10 acres, and in 1677, from John and Margaret Odlin, 10 acres, and in 1682 2 1/2 acres.

There were other acquisitions unrecorded, as in 1696 we find he had land formerly owned by John Cranny, who was the John Gramme allotted 16 acres in 1637. The above grants account for 84 of the 102 acres in his inventory.

Edward Devotion was active in town affairs, his name appearing in 1651 as one of a committee to perambulate the town bounds. In 1654 as overseer of fences and constable. In 1661, 1665, a member of the committee to perambulate the bounds. In 1663, 1671, 1676, again constable. In 1681 a tythingman.

His possessions in land were on both sides of the road from Boston to Cambridge (Harvard street), which was laid out 6 Feb. 1662, to go without the Common Field by Goodman Devotion's and Goodman Steven's houses, following an old way.

His inventory shows three horses, five cattle, and over forty-two sheep and lambs. Debts were due the estate of £277, and the whole valued at £708.14.0.

He left his dwelling and barns (the homestead with lands improved and cattle) to his widow for subsistence, and the bringing up of Edward and Thomas, while she remained a widow. This she enjoyed till her death, 19 Dec. 1713.

His lands were to be to his "sons, equally interested, not to be aliened to others, but to fall to their successors."

Debts due him were proportioned equally to the sons after a payment of five pounds to each grandchild. The good debts to be allowed to continue at interest till Edward and Thomas were twenty-one. Any child or grandchild contesting the will was to forfeit his portion.

He seems to have been subject to fits at the time of his decease, which affected his mind, but signed his will by his mark, during a lucid interval, as testified by the overseers of the will and Rev, James Allen, minister of the First Church in Boston, who was visiting him on the day he signed his will.

He is buried in the Eustis-street Burial Ground, where his gravestone can still be seen with the simple inscription.


There is no recorded division of the lands of Edward Devotion, but a satisfactory division was probably made by the two surviving sons, John and Edward, which, perhaps, is remotely referred to by Edward, jun., in his will in 1744, when his brother's descendants were to quitclaim any rights they might have or pretend to have to the testator's father's estate, John2 Devotion (Edward1), b. 1659, d. 1733, married Hannah Pond, and had baptized at Roxbury Church : -
John, 18 Oct. 1682,
Ebenezer, 19 Oct, 1684, and

John Devotion was also active in town matters. In 1685, 1690, 1693, 1696, on committee of perambulation. In 1685, 1695, 1699, a tythingman. In 1690, 1700, 1701, a surveyor. In 1703 a fence viewer.

In the Muddy River poor rate for relief of the poor he was rated in 1693 for 13 shillings; in the county rate for house and farm 3 shillings, estate 10 shillings. In the tax list of 1700 he was rated for 1 poll. He was rated in the Province Tax of 1704, and was one of the petitioners that Muddy River be a separate town in that year.

It was perhaps the delay in granting this petition that decided him in changing his residence, as 7 Mch, 1705, we find him spoken of as of Attleboro.

It was at this time he commenced to dispose of his real estate in Brookline, selling within a year all of it, which seems to have been situated both sides of the Cambridge road, and land acquired in the south central part of the town. Deeds recorded show that he sold about 180 acres in Brookline during his life, and of land purchased by him there are records of at least one-third that amount, and it may be inferred a part of the balance was inherited from his father's estate.

Sewall says in his diary, 12 Feb. 1695/1696, "I rode to Brookline with one Ems, a Carpenter, to view the widow Bairstow's house in order to repairing or adding to it. From thence to G. Bairsto's agen to Devotion, to treat with him about a piece of ground to sell it to me and issue the controversy about a way."

8 April, 1706, John Devotion sold to Samuel Sewall, jun., three parcels of land, eight acres of orchard between Sewall's land and Edward Devotion's (south), seven acres of pasture bounded by Sewall and the two brothers, and four acres of marsh. This land was without doubt near the Sewall Farm. It is a question, however, whether any of it was the land desired by Samuel Sewall, sen., referred to in the following letter to Gov. Joseph Dudley, whose daughter the young Sewall married.
(Letter from Samuel Sewall to Gov. Joseph Dudley.)
3 Jan. 1702

May it please your Excellency, The stormy weather on Friday last hindered my going to Roxbury to meet Devotion. The next morning he came to Kent's and sent for me thither, where I cheapened his Homested. He seems to offer it for 150£. Saith he has there Twelve Acres. In the Reer it buts upon my Land all the breadth of it. Upon which account I reckon it far more convenient than Braistow's. The House is Raw and unfinished. Are two good Lower Rooms, and one good Chamber. That towards Bairstow's is but a sorry one; Only may see the Windmill go, in it. Barn and Outhousins Ramshackled, Orchard, especially that part towards the River much decayed. Bairstow's Lot he bought of Griggs is cut off from his Homested, which will make it of far less value for any one but me. Yesterday being pleasant I took a view of these things ...

I pray your Advice as to Devotion's Offer. If that be bought, I doe not know but it may be fitted up so as to accomodst our Children. A New house will cost much Money: And then Furniture and Stock for the Land will still be wanting. I am so far from having Money to procure these things, that I am already much in Debt. And the Land with either of the Three Houses in Town (especially if Devotion's be purchased) will exceed my Sons proportion. As to a Deed, I have none drawn, and am not fully resolved in my own mind. One principal preliminary will be my Son's renouncing what might have fallen to him at his Grandmother's decease, as his sister Hirst has done...
18 June, 1703. "my sons house was Raised at Muddy River . . . By that Time got there, had just done their Work, and were going to Dinner in the new House. I drove a pin before Dinner."

1 Apr. 1704. Visited my valetudinarious son at Brookline.

11 July 1704. Son and daughter Hirst, Joseph and Mary, rode with me in the coach to Brooklyn and there dined at my sons with the Govenour, his lady, Mr. Paul Dudley and wife &c.

Hence he did not buy the Devotion lot nor choose that of George Bairstow, for his son's house. Bairstow, with wife Mercy, 17 Aug. 1704, sold to Samuel Sewall, his dwelling, barns, orchard and lands and three acres at Muddy River he had purchased of John Hull.

It was bounded southwest on a piece of land George Bairstow had purchased of Benjamin Eliot, southeast and north by land of John Hull, and on the west and northwest by land of John Devotion.

In reference to the windmill we find that John and Hannah Devotion of Attleborough on 7 Mch. 1705, conveyed a tenement and 28 acres in Brookline with all buildings, a dwelling- and barn, barkhouse mill and mill gear, garden, orchard, &c., to Henry Winchester.

This was bounded west by Josiah Winchester; south by Dorman Morean; east, part by Roxbury School lands, part by Thomas Bishop, and part by Frances White; north by Frances White.

This was a part of the Buckminster estate and had been conveyed in 1702 by Josiah Buckminster to John Devotion. This will perhaps explain the obscurity as to its ownership at this time, mentioned by Miss Woods on page 362 of her "Sketches of Brookline."

In 1714 we find John Devotion at Wetherfield, Conn., and later he went to Suffield, Conn., where he died. His sons John and Edward are found mentioned in the Suffield records, the following relating to Edward, who had been confounded with Edward of Brookline, who died in 1744:

"17 Oct. 1737 at town meeting Suffield. Granted to Edward Devotion forty shillings in Town pay; for house Room for Goodman Segar and his family for some time past : and untill the next Anniversary Town meeting in March."

"12 Mch. 1738/9 Also voted, and granted to Edward Devotion for house room for Goodman Segar and his family the year past. Two pounds and five shillings in Town pay."

He was buried 23 Sept. 1685, (Roxbury Church Record), in the Eustis St. Burial Ground, where his footstone can be still seen with the simple inscription Edward Devotion. His headstone rested a dozen years ago against a brick building on the north of the yard entirely out of the ground, and broken on both sides, with the following probable inscription partially preserved:

FIFTH 1685

Edward Devotion2 (Edward1), b. 1668, d. 1744, married and spent his life in Brookline.

Like his father and brother John he was active in town affairs. In 1692 at the age of twenty-four, he was a surveyor of the town, and again in 1697, 1702, and 17 13.

In 1703 and again in 1727, when he was excused, he was chosen constable. In 1706 and 1710 a fence viewer. In 1707, 1723, 1727, 1728, 1729, 1730, 1731, 1735, 1737, 1738, 1742, 1743, a tythingman. In 1709 a hog herd or field driver. In 1714 a grand juryman.

Like his brother he increased his holdings in land, not only in Brookline but in Roxbury, Dorchester and Needham, but his possessions are more easily located.

His acquisitions in land were sold by him before his death and his inheritance of land from his father may be stated as included in 76 acres which he sold to Solomon Hill in 1740 and on which he held a mortgage, not discharged by Hill till 24 May, 1762, when he was released by a committee of towns-men, attornies for the widow. (The original mortgage deed signed by Solomon and Hannah Hill I found in the files of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas of Suffolk.)

Solomon Hill and Hannah Sheldon, both of Brookline, were married in Boston 1 June, 1732. He first appears in Brookline 5 Mch. 1732/3, when he is appointed hogreave, an office often filled by newly married men. His last appearance in the records 10 Dec. 1787, when it was voted to abate his taxes for 1785.

The bounds of the 76 acres granted Hill by Edward Devotion, it "being the Homestead of the said Edward Devotion "were - southerly on the road, or highway; southeasterly upon William Gleason, easterly, northerly and northwesterly upon Samuel Sewall, and westerly on said Hill.

This was passed from Hill to Nathaniel Wheelwright and then to William Marshal, who held it in 1800. In the next century it got into the Babcock family and was known as the Babcock farm.

Edward2 Devotion married previous to 1719, at which date his wife Mary is mentioned as having a seat in the foreseat of the meeting house.

She was doubtless younger than her husband, as she did not die till 1772. She married, 10 May 1745, Philip, brother of Francis Gatcomb of Boston. He had intended marriage 26 Oct. 1734, to Susanna Williams; if solemnized she must have died within a few years, as he married 26 Feb. 1738, Mary, daughter of George and Genevieve Sire of Boston. She died in 1743, and he then married the widow of Edward Devotion.

He died in 1761, aged 63, and his widow in June 1772, when she was called the widow of "Mr. Gatcomb the baker."

Judge Sewall in his Diary between Sept. 1706 and Sept. 1709, frequently mentions stopping at Devotion's to bait his horse, while on his way to and from Bristol.

Of his education we have no record except that he wrote his name in a fair hand, as shown by his signature on a bond with John Ruggles in 1706. Old age or sickness, however, necessitated his making his mark on a receipt to Solomon Hill in 1739.

That he might have been hot-tempered is shown by his being bound over to keep the peace, especially toward Elizabeth Ellis.

He died 7 Nov. 1744, and is buried in the Brookline burial ground not far from the entrance. His gravestone was placed over his grave, probably some years after his death, as it has the appearance of stones of the last of the eighteenth century, and the date is "Nov. 1744" aged 76 years.

His will follows. An error appears in the phrase "my honored father John," probably through the ignorance of the scribe, who assumed his father to have been John rather than Edward.

Rev. Ebenezer3 Devotion, (John2, Edward1) b. 1684, d. 1741, married (I) 9 Aug. 1710, Hannah, daughter of Capt. John Breck of Dorchester; (2) 12 May, 1720, Mrs. Naomi Taylor of Westfield; (3) 8 Oct. 1740, Mrs. Sarah Hobert of , Mansfield. He was dismissed from the church at Dorchester 4 June, 1710, to the church at Suffield, where he was ordained as minister that year. His children were : -
Hannah, b. 4 Sept. 1712.
Ebenezer, b. 8 May, 1714, minister at Windham, Conn.
Hannah, bapt. 29 Apr. 1716.
Mary, bapt. 8 Dec. 1717.
Ruth, bapt. 16 Apr. 1721.
Elizabeth, bapt. 29 Apr. 1722.
Ann, bapt. 2 Aug. 1724.
Jemima, bapt. 14 May 1727.
John, bapt. 12 July 1730.
Keziah, bapt. 10 June 1733.

Rev. Ebenezer4 Devotion (Rev. Ebenezer3, John2, Edward1), b. 1714, d. 1771, is the grandchild of his brother John specially mentioned by Edward2 Devotion in his will, 1744.

I, Edward Devotion of Muddy River in the County of Suffolke in New England through the favour and patience of God being sound in judgement and memory do constitute ordein and declare my last will and Testamt in manner and forme following i. e. my Soule which I do believe imortall I do humbly and believing com't into the everlasting armes and mercies of God Father Son and Holy Ghost, my body to be discreetly buried at the discretion of my Christian friends And my outward Estate wherewith it hath pleased the Lord to bless me, my just debts and funeral expenses being first paid I do give bequeath the remainder thereof as followeth.

Imprimis - To my loving and faithful wife Mary Devotion my now dwelling House and barnes now belonging to the homestead for her subsistence and the helping her to bring up my Sones Edward and Thomas this She is to enjoy while she abides my widow my will is that my Lands shalbe to my own Son's equally interested in it not to be aliened to others, but to fall to their Successors. As for what money are out I will that it be proportioned my Grand Children five pounds apiece, the remainder to my own Son's equally proportioned. I will also my beloved wife to be Executrix my son John Devotion to be Executor with my wife during her widow hood; I will and desire that Richard Dana Mr. Thomas Oliver, Nath Sparhawk be Over Seers that this my will be performed, I will also that what moneys I have lent, that I have bond and Security, that such persons duely paying to my Executors the interest of it yearly that they may so enjoy ye said monies till Edward and Thomas my Son's shall be aged one and twenty yeares. This is my last Will and Testament the five twentieth day of September, Sixteen hundred Eighty and five whereunto I set my hand - Written in ye Margent, I will also yt what Child or Children be quarrelsome and not satisfied with what my will is, they shall forfeit their portion: Also it is my will that my daughter Sarah Griffin should have twenty pounds.

Edward Devotion a marke

In the presence of these witnesses Joseph Grigs Samuel Craft, Nathaniel Sparhawk, Richard Dana.

At a County Court held at Boston 27 Oct. 1685.

This will exhibited by Mary Devotion and John Devotion Executors' for probate.

Nathaniel Sparhawke and Richard Dana appearing made Oath that they being present did see Edward Devotion Signe and heard him publish this instrument with the addition in ye Margent to be his last will & Testament and that he was then of disposing mind to their understanding.

Attest Isa Addington Clk

Wee whose names are subscribed, do further testify, that Edward Devotion did say to us that Mary Devotion his wife should have his House barnes with the homestead, which be there said was ye Lands be improved. Also we do affirme that he said his wife should have the stock of Cattel and Sheep that there was upon the Lands. Also he did further Say that his money's which he had he did give to his Grand Children five pounds apiece, and what did remain he did give to his own Son's when Edward and Thomas was at age, to be equally distributed to them. And the reason why not thus set down in his will was the interruption made by some Friends that came to visit him which occasioned the omition thereof by the Scribe and not any alteration in ye mind of the Testator, and we further testifie that when he thus declared himselfe he was to our best judgement, a man of sound judgement and memory.

Nath Sparhawk, Edward Cowell.

At a County Court for

Suffolke held at Boston 27 "Octob" 1685

NathI Sparhawke and Edward Cowell made Oath that Edward Devotion did declare and publish what is above written as a Codicil or explanation of his last will and Testament and that he was then of disposing minde in their understanding

Attest Isa Addington Clk.

I was at Goodman Devotions yt day hee made his will. And discoursed him, he seemed tome as Rationall as att any time I had knowne, him I was yn informed hee had expressed himselfe fully to two of the Overseers wm I saw yr & was yn about to signe it, wch hee did quickly after I was gone. In his fitts I was told he was discomposed in his head, but out of ym hee was very composed, as he was att this time, it being ye time of his Intermission.

James Allen.

In the name of God Amen.

I Edward Devotion of Brooklyn in the County of Suffolk & Province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England, Yoeman being aged & infirm. Do make & ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following. Principally and first of all I give & recommend my soul to God who gave it hoping and believing that in the mercy of God through

Jesus Christ my Redeemer I shall receive full pardon of all my sins and an Inheritance among them that are Sanctified. My Body I commit to the Earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my Executors hereinafter named, And as for my temporal Goods and Estate I will that they be Employed & bestowed in manner following :

Imp's I will that all my just Debts & Funeral Charges be well & truly paid by my Executors hereinafter named in convenient time after my decease.

Item. I give to bequeath to my well beloved Wife Mary Devotion the sum of Five hundred Pounds Lawfull money of the Province aforesaid and all my House hold Goods to her her heirs & assigns forever.

Item. I give to my beloved friend Mr. James Shedd the sum of Twenty five Pounds Lawfull money aforesd in consideration of my respect for him.

Item. I give to the Grand Children of my Brother John Devotion deceased the Sum of Two hundred & fifty Pounds Lawfull money out of which sum my will is that the Rev'd Mr. Ebenezer Devotion shall have Seventy five Pounds and that the remainder be equally divided amongst the rest of the said Grand Children provided always nevertheless and my Will is that the said Legacy of Two hundred & fifty Pounds is given &bequeathed to the said Grand Children of my sd Brother is upon this Special Condition that they shall Quit claim to my Executors all the Right Title and Interest that they have, or may pretend to have, of and in all that Estate that came to me by my Hon'd Father John Devotion deceased and in case they refuse to give such Quit claim then my Will if that aforesaid Legacy of Two hundred & fifty Pounds shall cease and be void.

Item. I give to Deacon Edward Ruggles the sum of Seventy five Pounds Lawfull money, and to Mr. Samuel Griffin the like sum of Seventy five Pounds.

Item. I give to the Church of Christ in Brooklyn one Silver Tankard containing one Quart.

Item. As for the Estate which I sold to Solomon Hill and for which he gave me a Mortgage Deed my will is that in case he should not Redeem the said Estate and Discharge the Mortgage within the time limited then and in such case I hereby authorize & empower my said Executors to dispose of >the same together with all my Land in Brooklyn to the Highest Bidders in Order to pay & discharge the aforesaid Legacies and my just Debts.

Item, my will is that in case my Estate shall not be sufficient to pay my Just Debts, Funeral Charges and ye aforesaid Legacies by me given, then in such case my will is that each of the Legacies given in this my will be reduced proportionally, (saving the Legacies given to my wife and my friend James Sheed which are to be first paid without any deduction.)

Item, in case my estate prove to be sufficient to pay my Just Debts, Funeral Charges and the aforementioned Legacies and there should be any overplus left them my will is and I hereby give the sd overplus to the town of Brooklyn towards Building or Maintaining a School as near the Centre of the said Town as shall be agreed upon by the Town. But if the said Town cannot agree upon a Place to set the said School upon then my Will is that the said overplus be laid out in purchasing a Wood Lott for the use of the School and the ministry of said Town forever.

Item, my mind & will is, anything aforewritten to ye contary thereof notwithstanding that the aforementioned Legacies by me given are not to be paid intill the aforesd mortgage Deed given me by the said Solomon Hill be Discharged or (in case he refuse to Redeem ye. said Estate) untill the said Estate by him mortgaged as aforesaid can be conveniently sold by my Executors hereinafter named.

Lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my beloved wife Mary and my Friend Mr. James Shed of Roxbury to be Executors of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Fourteenth day of June in the Seventeenth year of his majesty's Reign and in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand seven hundred and forty three.

Edward Devotion. (Seal)

Signed, sealed, published pronounced & declared by the sd Edward Devotion the Testator to be his last Will and Testament, in presence of us the subscribes (ye words, can be conveniently being first intelined) James Clark, Nathaniel Gardner, Elhanan Winchester.

Suffolk, S.S. By the Hono'ble Josiah Willard Esq'r Judge of Prob'te &c.

The within written will being presented for Probate by the Executors therein named Samuel Clark & Elhanan Winchester made oath that they saw Edward Devotion the subscriber to this Instrument sign & seal & heard him publish & declare the same to be his last Will & Testament, and that when he so did he was of sound disposing mind & memory according to these Depon'ts best discerning and that they together with Nathaniel Gardner now already set to their hands as Witnesses thereof in the said Testators presence.

Boston Nov'r 27th 1744. J. Willard.

An Inventore of the estate of Edward Devotion of Muddy River, In the bounds of Boston in the County of Suffolk, deceased the twenty eighth day of September, sixteen hundred eighty and five, taken by the persons ^whose names are subscribed in the sequell.

Imprimis, the homestead houseing and ten acres land adjoining thereto, with the orchyard and twenty one acres of land upon the south side of the road that leads to boston at two hundred pounds - 200 00 00 lands lying within the field commonly called
Boston field, fifty four acres at . 108 00 00
March by the spring, two acres . 18 00 00
five acres of land by John Davis in Roxbury 18 00 00
ten acres of land in Roxbury bounds . 7 10 00
Sheep & lambs forty two, at ten pounds 10 00 00
five cows and young cattell, three horse kind 28 10 00
Sheep let out at eight pounds 8 00 00
seven swine 3 10 00
Debts due to the estate 270 00 00
Wavering debts. 7 00 00
tenn pair of sheets six pounds 6 00 00
other articles of furniture . 15 00 00
cart & wheels & plowes 3 00 00
Collar & braces & saddles one gun, 3 saws, 2 axes ids . 1 10 00
Fourteen barrels of siderat foure poui 4 4 10
tubs & other lumber .   10  
The sume totall 708 14 00

Probate 27 Octob'r 1685.
Mary Devotion, John Devotion

This is an inventory of the Estate both Reall & personal of Mr. Edward Devotion of Brooklyn, late deceased, Approved by us the subscribers who are hereunder written. Viz :
fifteen Acres and half of land at three hundred and ten pounds 310
Seven acres of land apprized at one hundred and five pounds 105
One Negrow at thirty pounds 30
One Cow at fourteen pounds 14
Wairing Apparil at twenty pounds 20
Beds & Bedding at forty pounds 40
Tabels & Chairs & wooden ware twenty pounds 20
Puter, Iron and brass at twenty five pounds 25
One Iron bar twenty five shillings  

Samuel White
Samuel Clark
Thomas Aspinwall

Memo : There is sundry Bonds due to said estate with interest as pr acct. of Particulars on file £1735.6.6. old ten'r. Besides some desperate Bonds amounting to £53. 7.
Cash old tener £80.15 S.
Date of Probate . . . March 8, 1744.