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John Daby

Male 1741 -


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  • Name John Daby 
    Born 24 Mar 1741  Harvard, Worcester, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Person ID I4246  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others
    Last Modified 10 Jun 2016 

    Father Simon Daby,   b. 27 Feb 1714, Stow, Middlesex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Mercy,   b. 21 Aug 1717,   d. 31 Aug 1751, Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 34 years) 
    Family ID F756  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Sarah Hopgood,   b. 16 Jun 1744, Harvard, Worcester, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 17 Jan 1765  Harvard, Worcester, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 4
    Children 
    +1. Sarah Darby,   b. 7 Feb 1772, Harvard, Worcester, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 19 Jun 2018 11:32:40 
    Family ID F1994  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Or "John Daby".

      Many online sources give this John Darby/Daby, husband of Sarah Hopgood, a birth date of 24 Mar 1741, and show him as a son of Simon Daby (1715-1802) and Mercy Wilson (1717-1751). It's chronologically and geographically plausible. And this John and Sarah did in fact name their first child Simon (b. 20 May 1765). But there are problems with it.

      Henry Stedman Nourse's 1894 History of the Town of Harvard, Massachusetts: 1732-1893, in his list of the offspring of John Daby and Sarah Hopgood, calls this John Daby "John, Jr.". Warren Hapgood's 1898 The Hapgood Family (citation details below) also calls the husband of Lt. Shadrach Hopgood's daughter Sarah "John Darby, Jr."

      And according to Viola A. Derby Bromley's 1905 Derby Genealogy, the John Darby/Daby who married Sarah Hopgood was born "about 1740", a younger son of John Daby (1688-1769) by his wife Hannah (1685-1744). In her reckoning, the John Darby/Daby who was born 24 Mar 1741 to Simon Daby and Mercy Wilson married a Dinah Willard.

      Finally, the 1917 Vital Records of Harvard, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850, in its register of marriages, also calls the John Daby who married Sarah Hopgood "John Jr." (Interestingly, it also calls the John Darby who married Dinah Willard "John Jr.", which creates another problem for Derby Genealogy.)

      Of course, the problem with John Daby and Hannah (now known to have been Hannah Butterick) being the parents of the John Daby/Darby who married Sarah Hopgood is obvious. If John and Hannah's birthdates are as shown in the town records of Harvard, this supposed "John Darby, Jr.", born about 1740, would have been born when his father was 52 and his mother was 55. This is highly implausible. According to Wikipedia, in the United States between 1997 and 1999, only 194 women gave birth aged 55 or over. That's out of a population of about 280,000,000. The population of New England in 1740 was about one million.

      The range of birthdates shown by Bromley for the other children of John and Hannah is 1712 to 1722. It's hard to avoid the suspicion that Bromley was aware that prior sources (Nourse, Hapgood, Harvard vital records) all called the husband of Sarah Hopgood "John, Jr.", and simply parked him as a child of John and Hannah because there were no more plausible local Johns Darby/Daby for him to be the offspring of.

      There's little question that Simon and Mercy Daby/Darby had a son John who was born 24 Mar 1741. The Harvard vital records show a John Daby, "s. of Simon and Marcey, Mar. 24, 1741." Nourse lists, in his register of births, John Daby, born "March 24, 1741", among "The Children of Simon and Mercy."

      It's also worth noting that the Harvard vital records show no birth of any John Darby, Daby, or Derby to John and Hannah Darby, Daby, or Derby.

      Our suspicion is that the John Darby/Daby who married Sarah Hopgood was in fact a son of Simon Daby and Mercy Wilson, just as geography, chronology, and onomastics suggest, and that the idea that he was a "Jr." was introduced by an error in transcription somewhere along the way. We'd like to see the actual materials from which the 1917 Harvard vital records book was transcribed. But suspicion is not evidence.

      UPDATE, 14 Feb 2016: Ancestry.com has a handwritten record of Harvard, Massachusetts births, on which we see, under "Daby," "John s of Simon and Mercy" born 24 Mar 1741. No "Jr." in sight.

  • Sources 
    1. [S92] Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, on Ancestry.com.

    2. [S186] The Hapgood Family: Descendants of Shadrach, 1656-1898, by Warren Hapgood. Boston, 1898.

    3. [S739] Vital Records of Harvard, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850, by Thomas Williams Baldwin. Boston: 1917.

    4. [S744] John Wetherbee of Marlboro and Stow, Massachusetts, Volume 1, by Ethel Wetherbee Mazza. New Hampshire: 1991.