About John Woodman
John Woodman, born circa 1634 in England, son of Edward & Joanna (Salway) Woodman; married first Mary Field, July 15, 1656, at Newbury, Massachusetts. She was born in 1631, daughter of Darby & Agnes Field of Oyster River Point. They settled in that part of Dover known as Oyster River (now the town of Durham, New Hampshire). Mary died July 6, 1698 at Dover. He married second Mrs. Sarah (Burnham) Huckins, Oct. 17, 1700, at Dover. She was the daughter of Robert & Frances Burnham and widow of Lieut. James Huckins.
The date of her death is unknown. Capt. Woodman died Sept. 17, 1706 at Dover. His will was written Dec. 20 1705 and listed his three living children, no wife. The will was proved Feb 4 1706/7. He is buried at Durham, New Hampshire.
Old Dover, New Hampshire included what is today, Dover, Somersworth, Durham, Newington, Lee, and Madbury. These towns were established as follows:
Newington (previously called "Bloody Point") - 1714
Durham (previously called "Oyster River") - 1732
Somersworth (included Rollingsford) - 1766
Lee (previously part of Durham) - 1766
Madbury - 1768
The death of John, first son of Capt. John Woodman, was recorded in the "Journal of Rev. John Pike" as below:
June 10, 1705 - Deceased ye Revd Michael Wigglesworth of Malden on ye Sabbath day. the same day died John Woodman, June of Oyster River.
Joshua Coffin, in his original genealogy, "A List of Some of the Descendants of Mr. Edward Woodman," stated John married a daughter of Francis Raynes. This was incorrect, and unfortunately, this error has been repeated many times since. It is easily proved the John Woodman who married Mary Raynes, was not the son of Capt. John Woodman of Oyster River:
First - He made a deposition in April 1702 stating he had "come from Newfoundland 13 or 14 years ago and never was in this country before."
Second - He bought land in Portsmouth in 1699 and lived there until 1711 when he bought land in Kittery, Maine. By July 19, 1715 he was in York, Maine.
Third - In 1692 he was given a grant to operate a ferry from Withers Point (Kittery) to Strawberry Banke.
Fourth - He sold his house and ferry in 1724 to his son-in-law, John More.
Shortly after his marriage, John removed to Dover, where he was accepted as an inhabitant, June 17, 1657. Town records show he had a land grant of 100 acres, November 10, 1658, another grant January 10, 1659 and a grant soon after, which reads in part: "Given & granted by ye selectmen & with ye approbation of ye major part of ye inhabitants of Oyster River as appears under the selectmen's hand ye 30th 7th month '60 unto John Woodman, his heirs & assigns, Twenty Acres of Land at ye west side of Wm Beard's Creek & ----"
It was on the above recorded 20 acres that Capt. Woodman built his garrison house. It was built on an elevated spot with a commanding view of the river and surrounding area, where it could be easily defended. The unsuccessful Indian attack of 1694 was proof of his wisdom. That year the settlement at Oyster River was attacked by Indians of the Penobscot and Norredgewog tribes, under the leadership of Villieu, a French missionary.
The settlement had 12 garrisoned houses for the protection of the inhabitants. Of the 12, five were destroyed, seven successfully defended, including the Woodman Garrison. This house, with bullets still in its logs, was accidentally burned in 1896. The hearthstone from this garrison is at the front of the Oyster River Middle School in Durham, with a plaque reading: "Hearthstone of Woodman Garrison , 1659-1896."
John Woodman took the "freeman's oath", May 22, 1666. He attained the rank of Captain of the militia at Oyster River and "remained in active service till he was three score and ten years of age, vigorous and alert."
Captain Woodman was one of the outstanding men of the province. He served as selectman of the town for several years; Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, 1702-1706; Deputy for Dover to the Provincial Assembly in 1684, 1692, 1696, 1699 and 1703 until the time of his
The settlement at Oyster River petitioned the General Court in Boston to be made a separate parish from Dover. They elected Capt. Woodman to present the petition at the court, May 17, 1669.
In 1685 Capt. Woodman, John Woodman, Jr., and Jonathan Woodman, signed the petition which Nathaniel Weare carried to England for "redress from the tyranny of Gov. Cranfield."
The second wife of Capt. John Woodman was the widow of Lieut. James Huckins, slain at Oyster River in the massacre of 1694. During this attack she was carried into captivity by the Indians and not recovered until a year later at Fort Androscoggin.
The book "American "Commonwealths" by Frank B. Sanborn states: "The struggle by New Hampshire to break away from Massachusetts came to a conclusion when the the commisioners of Exeter, Hampton, Dover, and Portsmouth prepared a simple constitution, the first by popular initiative ever submitted to the people for adoption. This was January 24, 1690. The convention held for this purpose was made up of the leading men in each town, 22 men total. The names of these 22 men are signed to the draft of this constitution, only one copy of which is known to exist." Captain John Woodman signed for the town of Dover.
On July 26, 1700 Capt. John Woodman of Oyster River wrote to his daughter, Mary (Woodman) Small at "Monamey" (Monomoit - now Chatam, Massachusetts):
"Son Edward and daughter Mary Small,
A store of love to you by thes you may knowe that I received yours and that we ar not without feres of further trobeles by the Indons by reson thereof I can not advyss you to macke anny prparation Homward untill wee heve further proved thay r keeping of the peace - - - - - wee ar all in Resonebel goo haith threw gods marsy - - - - -
from your Loving father
John Woodman" -------------------- John Woodman settled in Dover, New Hampshire in that
part known as Oyster River (now the town of Durham, New
Hampshire) where he received a land grant of 100 acres Nov
10, 1658, and a grant of an additional twenty acres 30 July,
1660 "at the head of William Beard's creek, on the west side
thereof and on the north side of Stoney Broke, the broke being the first bounds into the aforesayd creek". This twenty
acre grant was between the lands of William Beard and Valen‹
tine Hill, apparently the same land where he built his gar‹
rison. He received a grant of an additional twenty acres 25
Sept, 1661 "betwixt the freshett that runneth to Mr. Hill's
mill pond and the upper end of the pond, whear the sayd John
Woodman shall see gode to make choyse of, not intrenching
apon ani former grant". Benjamin Mathes conveyed to him an‹
other parcel of land "on the west side of William Beard's
creek, containing all the Marsh on the north side of Stony
brook to the head of that creek." It is said that John and
his two sons held "twelve score acres of land at Oyster River".
"This garrison, which is still in an admirable state of
preservation [in 1892], is one of the largest and most noted
of the Oyster River defences. It is beautifully situated on
the eastern slope of a hill at the head of Beard's creek,
with brooks and deep ravines on every side of the acclivity,
except at the west. It has a fine outlook for an approaching enemy, as well as a charming view in every direction except in the rear where the rise of land intercepts the
prospect. Durham village, which did not exist when this
garrison was built, lies at the south in full view, embosomed among the trees; and at the east may be traced the
windings of Oyster river on its way to the Pascataqua. At
the north, through an opening between the hills, can be seen
the spot where the Huckins garrison stood; and nearer at
hand, but separated from it by a profound ravine, is the
field where occurred the massacre of 1689."
"Woodman's garrison is one of the most interesting monuments
of early times in the state. Unfortunately, it is no longer
in posession of the family. The last owner of the name was
Prof. John S. Woodman of Dartmouth College. After his death
[in 1871] it was sold by his widow, together with the adjacent land that for more than two hundred years had been
owned by the Woodman family."(Excerpted from Landmarks in
Ancient Dover, by Mary P Thompson, 1892)
He was identified a freeman May 23, 1666 and held the office
of selectman various years from 1662 to 1694. He held a
Captain's commission which was renewed in 1690 by the Massachusetts government and again in 1692 by the governor of New Hampshire. March 27, 1704 he (among others) was ordered
to muster a company of volunteers for service in the French
and Indian wars. (Excerpted from A Genealogical History of
The book "American Commonwealths" by Frank B. Sanborn
states: "The struggle by New Hampshire to break away from
Massachusetts came to a conclusion when the commissioners of
Exeter, Hampton, Dover and Portsmouth prepared a simple constitution - the first by popular initiative ever submitted
to the people for adoption. This was January 24, 1690. The
convention held for this purpose was made up of the leading
men in each town, twenty-two men total. The names of these
men are signed to the draft of this constitution, only one
copy of which is known to exist." Captain John Woodman
signed for the town of Dover.
Judge John Woodman's Timeline
Corsham, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
March 6, 1652
Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, United States
March 12, 1655
July 15, 1656
Dover, (Present Strafford County), North Plantation (Present New Hampshire), (Present USA)
Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, United States of America
Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire
Probably Oyster River, (Present Durham County), Upper Plantation (Present New Hampshire)