My Pierce ancestry goes back to Massachusetts through many lines and the Darby family is one of the early ones. John Darby of Marblehead appears to be the first of this Darby family in Massachusetts and his parents and place of birth are unknown. He had a great grandson named Nathan Darby who married Abigail Peirce and their daughter Rhoda married Jarvis Peirce her fourth cousin. Their ancestors were John Pers and his wife Elizabeth who emigrated from England to Massachusetts with his family in 1637.

probate record of John Darby, Essex County, Massachusetts

John Darby, a fisherman living in Marblehead, was aboard a fishing vessel in 1689 with others when Thomas Pound, the pirate, took over their fishing boat. For whatever reasons, John Darby joined the pirate crew voluntarily, although others of the crew made it back safely to Marblehead. Eventually the authorities caught up with Pound and his crew. During a fight in Tarpaulin Cove, on the island of Naushon (north of Martha's Vineyard), John Darby and three others were killed on 4 October 1689. John left behind a widow, Alice, and five young children.

John Darby was not a wealthy man, leaving his wife and family in rather dire straits. Alice, John's widow and the administrator of his estate, remarried in 1690, less than 8 months after her husband's death, to John Woodbery of Beverly and they had seven or eight children.

Despite the inauspicious start to this colonial Massachusetts family, he left descendants who led more normal and respectable lives. John and Alice had five children: Alice, John, Mary, Joseph and Benjamin, all under the age of ten when their father died.

John Darby, 1681-1753, the oldest son, married Deborah Conant of Beverly, Massachusetts, the great granddaughter of Roger Conant, founder of the village of Salem, Massachusetts. John and Deborah had ten children in Beverly and then Ipswich before moving to Concord about 1731 where they both died, John in 1753 and Deborah, ten years later, in 1763.

Andrew Darby, 1707-1783, the second son of John and Deborah, married Elizabeth Patch in 1728. Andrew was said to be a weaver and also a miller during his life and he and his wife were members of the Congregational Church.

After living in Concord they moved to Acton around 1736-37 where their sixth child, Nathan, was born. Later on they moved to Westminster where Andrew died in 1783. Elizabeth is thought to have outlived him, dying about 1800.

Andrew wrote his will in 1779, naming his well belowed wife Elizabeth, his sons Nathan Andrew and John and his four daughters Elizabeth, Sarah, Eunice and Mary. Andrew is buried in Woodside Cemetery in Westminster, Massachusetts. His tombstone reads: "In memory of Mr. Andrew Darby, who departed this life March ye 23rd 1783 in the 77 year of his age. He was a lover of God's Word and Worship constant in his attendance in His House of Prayers Ye now rests from his labours the reward of his works do follow. Cease my friends wipe your tears here I must lie till Christ appears."

Nathan Darby b.1737, Andrew's oldest son, married Abigail Peirce in Lexington in 1762. They lived in Westminster where their twelve children were born. Abigail was the daughter of Jonas Peirce and Abigail Comee of Lexington. Abigail probably died in 1817 and Nathan was said to have outlived her. Nathan and Abigail's seventh child, Rhoda Darby, born 1774, married Jarvis Peirce, her fourth cousin, in Westminster in 1794. Jarvis and Rhoda, after living a short time in Vermont, moved to southern Illinois about 1818, appearing in the census there in 1820. Their son Jarvis, the third of eleven children, is my ancestor.

Related Links
Darby descent report, 5 generations, with sources and index
The Pierce/Peirce family
Jarvis Peirce Sr. & his wife, Rhoda Darby
Ancestors of Rhoda Darby
Ancestor tree for Rhoda Darby
The Comee family, ancestors of Abigail Peirce Darby
The Conant family, family of Deborah Conant, wife of John Darby

Probate records: John Darby, d.1689, Essex County, Massachusetts, probate records, vols. 301-303, Book 1-3, 1671-1694, FHL MF 860485, vol. 3, p.198.

Anne Healy's Genealogy, Created October 2002
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28 October 2020