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Salem Wharves

Salem Wharf Area, 1797

Dorcas March (1746-1820) and Dudley Woodbridge (1733-1799)

Generation Five Family 513

DORCAS MARCH (Dorcas Osgood March4, Hannah Abbott Osgood3, George2, George1), b. at Boston, 11 Jun 1746 daughter of Thomas and Dorcas (Osgood) March; d. at Salem, Mar 1820; m. at Andover, 19 Jan 1763, DUDLEY WOODBRIDGE, b. at Salem, 3 Mar 1732/3 son of Benjamin and Mary (Osgood) Woodbridge; Dudley d. 21 Oct 1799.

Dudley Woodbridge was a merchant involved in the maritime trade that flourished in Salem following the Revolutionary War. Following his death, part of his property was acquired by the Derby family which used that property to expand their wharf. The ultimate length of the wharf was one-half mile. This wharf is extant in Salem and is part of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. (1)

Dudley Woodbridge did not leave a will and Dorcas Woodbridge was administrator of the estate. The real property of Dudley Woodbridge was appraised at $14,325 including a dwelling house valued at $5,000 and a wharf with barn and shop located at Water Street in Salem valued at $4,500. (2)

The estate of Dorcas Woodbridge was valued at $6,866.70 which included shares in Salem Turnpike and Salem Marine Insurance Company. Dorcas’s will dated 11 September 1813 consists of canceling the debt her son Joseph Jackson Woodbridge owes to her as this amount would cancel out anything he might obtain from the estate. Otherwise, she directs that her estate be disbursed to her heirs according to law. Heirs signing agreement to the terms of the estate settlement are as follows: Thomas M. Woodbridge, Stephen Phillips an attorney who signs both as the guardian for his son and as the representative of Joseph J. Woodbridge, John W. Fenno, Louisa Fenno, and Robert J. Cloutman (he is the husband of a Fenno granddaughter). (3)

Daughter Benjamina Woodbridge married later in life and did not have children. Benjamina Woodbridge Lovejoy wrote her will 19 February 1840 although she died in 1851. She left wearing apparel to William Woodbridge and Dudley Woodbridge who are the sons of her uncle Benjamin Woodbridge. Elizabeth Robenson wife of Dean Robinson receives $50. Eliza Storer who is the daughter of Elizabeth Robenson receives $20. Louisa Fenoe “the daughter of my sister Mary Gilman Fenoe” receives $100. Mary Cloutman, granddaughter of sister Mary, receives $100. Maria Parker daughter of Isaac Parker receives $50. Maria Rea wife of Archelaus Rea of Salem receives $100. To the surviving sons of her brother William Woodbridge, $200 each. Dr. William LeBaron of Andover receives $50. Bailey Loring receives $100. To Archelaus Rea she gives $1,000 to be held in trust with the interest from this money being used to help support her brother Joseph Jackson Woodbridge. After Joseph’s death, this money is to go to her brother Thomas March Woodbridge or his heirs. The residue of the estate is given to her brother Thomas. Elizabeth Robenson wife of Dean Robenson is Benjamina’s step-daughter Elizabeth Lovejoy daughter of Nathaniel Lovejoy and his second wife Elizabeth Brandon. Maria Rea is a niece of Benjamina. The value of her personal estate at inventory in 1851 was $3,620.00. (4)

In 1847, Benjamina who was widowed in 1812, had a guardian appointed for her due to “insanity.” She was 75 years old at that time and perhaps this reflects a decline in her functioning with aging. (5)

Joseph Jackson Woodbridge received special mention in his mother’s will forgiving his debt, and in his sister’s will his inheritance was placed in trust. Joseph had a drinking problem, and in 1860 a guardian was appointed for him. A complaint was brought by the mayor and aldermen of Salem stating that "due to drunkenness, idleness, and excessive spending, Joseph Woodbridge exposed himself to want and suffering and exposed the town to the expense of his maintenance and support." David P. Fitz was appointed his guardian. (6)

Dorcas March and Dudley Woodbridge had ten children born at Salem.

1. DUDLEY WOODBRIDGE, b. Jan 1764; d. 11 Aug 1771.

2. THOMAS MARCH WOODBRIDGE, b. 23 Aug 1765; d. at Salem, 18 May 1841; m. Mary born in 1763 and died 19 Jan 1838.

3. JOHN WOODBRIDGE, b. 11 Sep 1767; d. by drowning while serving on Captain Grafton’s brig on 11 Mar 1784.

4. MARY GILMAN WOODBRIDGE, b. Sep 1769; d. at Salem, 3 May 1809; m. 19 Nov 1788, JOSEPH FENNO.

5. BENJAMINA WOODBRIDGE, b. Mar 1772; d. at Worcester, 6 May 1851; m. 1 Dec 1803, as his third wife, General NATHANIEL LOVEJOY (Elizabeth Swan Lovejoy4, Hannah Stevens Swan3, Sarah Abbott Stevens2, George1), b. at Andover, 29 Apr 1744 son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Swan Lovejoy; Nathaniel d. at Andover, 5 Jul 1812.

6. DORCAS WOODBRIDGE, b. Apr 1774; d. at Salem, Jun 1803; m. at Salem, 9 Oct 1796, STEPHEN PHILLIPS, b. at Marblehead, 1761 son of Stephen and Elizabeth (Elkins) Phillips; Stephen d. at Salem, 19 Oct 1838. After Dorcas’s death, Stephen married Elizabeth Pierce. Samuel Phillips was a prominent maritime merchant.

7. DUDLEY WOODBRIDGE, b. Mar 1776; d. at Philadelphia, Dec 1795.

8. ELIZABETH GRAFTON WOODBRIDGE, b. 3 May 1778; there is no further record and she likely died young.

9. WILLIAM WOODBRIDGE, b. 10 Feb 1780; d. at Savannah, GA, 21 Aug 1820; (7) m. about 1812, HELEN WYLLY, b. about 1785 in Georgia daughter of Hugh Wylly. William was a merchant in Savannah.

10. JOSEPH JACKSON WOODBRIDGE, b. 11 Jun 1746; d. at Salem, 4 Jul 1863.


Photo credit:


2) Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881. Probate of Dudley Woodbridge, 8 Nov 1799, case number 30543.

3) Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881. Probate of Dorcas Woodbridge, 28 Mar 1820, case number 30542.

4) Massachusetts Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991, Will of Benjamina Lovejoy, 19 Feb 1840

5) Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881. Guardianship case of Benjamina Lovejoy, 28 Mar 1820, case number 45618.

6) Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881. Spendthrift case of Joseph Woodbridge, 28 Mar 1820, case number 57182.

7) His grave monument includes this inscription: WILLIAM son of Dorcas and Dudley Woodbridge was born in Salem, Massachusetts Feb. 10th, 1780 and died in Savannah, Georgia Aug. 21st, 1820.

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