~ Devonshire

©2009 Kathryn Gearhart (No portion of this web site may be reproduced, in any form, including Internet, electronic or print, in whole or in part.)

Newton Ferrers and Modbury, which is about 8 miles away, are two small townships in Devonshire.  They sit on estuaries just to the east of Plymouth, which allow access to the sea. There were two industries, Newfoundland Cod fishing, and later the woolen industry.  Whether John Gee went to Newton Ferrer to actively participate in the fishing or in a fishery support trade is not known.  Net-makers, tackle-makers, smiths, hook-makers, carpenters, and rope-makers were tradesmen who were employed by the fishery, and never set sail.

After the catch was cleaned and salted in Newfoundland, it was loaded onto Sack Ships for shipment to markets in Spain and the Mediterranean.    Ships began arriving in Newfoundland in July and departed in September.  The first ships to arrive at the markets received significantly higher prices than later ships for their cargo.

Once emptied, the ships often took on Spanish fruit, wine, ironwork, and silk for transport to America in exchange for a cargo destined for Newfoundland or the West Indies.  The merchant-venturer was involved in the fishery throughout the year: outfitting during the winter, making the voyage to Newfoundland in the spring, fishing through the summer, and finally bringing the fishing crews back to England and the salt fish to market in the fall.

A network of investors linked by marriage supported the industry. Often they came from diverse locations, removed from the actual fishery.  The greatest growth was during the first 20 years of the 17th century.  Some ports sent as many as 80 ships to Newfoundland every year.  Marauding pirates who sailed from bases in North Africa frequently plagued the ships until about 1640.  After the 1620’s disruptions caused by conflicts with foreign nations and civil war forced even Plymouth to abandon the Newfoundland fishery.

The Gee family lived in two areas of Devon.  The Gee family that eventually settled in New England appears to be related to the family that spread along the Devon Coast from Plymouth to Dartmouth in the South Hams Region.  John Gee was the father of Peter who married Grace and migrated to Maine, then Massachusetts, where his family was engaged in ship building, trade and the ministry.  This family pronounces Gee with a hard “g” and do not appear to be related to the Manchester or York families.  DNA evidence indicates they are a separate group.

Holy Cross, Newton Ferrers (7 miles southeast of Plymouth)

John Gee

1603 a dau Charity

1607 a son John

1614 a son Peter

John and Joan

1625 a son John

John Gey

1600 a son Thomas

1605 a dau Rebecca

1609 a dau Mary

Nicholas Gey

1606 a son William

Thomas and Elizabeth

1630 a dau Elizabeth

1633 a dau Charitie

1638 a dau Grace

Peter and Grace

1643 a son Thomas

1650 a son John

1655 a son Joshua

Nicholas and Ann

1675 a dau Rebecca

1677 a son Nicholas

1679 a son Richard

1681 a son Thomas

1685 a son John

1688 a dau Wilmot

1691 a dau Sarah

1628 Thomas married Elizabeth Barter

1640 John married Ann Veale

1672 Richard married Margritt Wilcocke

1674 Nicholas married Ann Ferris

1674 John married Alice Creber

1703 Richard married Margery Taylor

1711 Thomas married Mary Port

Yealmpton (10 miles from Plymouth)


1646 a son Peter


1677 a dau Mary

1660 Margret m. William Lang

1674 John m. Eliz. Creze

1674 Nicholas m. Ann Ferris

1698 Rebeckah m. Richard Coale

Modbury (12 miles southeast of Plymouth)

Noted: 1616 William Gee weaver; several entrees for 18th century ~ weavers and tailors, and an inn holder

Anthony and Margaret

1603 a dau Rebecca

Anthony and Elizabeth

1675 a son Anthony

1690 a son Arthur d. 1701

Arthur and Margery

1692 a son Nicholas

Nicholas and Elizabeth

1641 a son Thomas

1643 a son Anthony

1646 a son Thomas

1649 a dau Elizabeth died young

1653 a dau Elizabeth

1655 a son John

1656 a dau Sarah

1659 a dau Philadelphia

1656 William Gee Sr. Clothier was noted

William and Mary

1650 a son John

1651 a son Nicholaus

1662 a son Author

John and Elizabeth

1675 a dau Elizabeth

1684 a son Johanna

Thomas and Mary

1673 a son John

1674 a son Symon

1680 a dau Mary

1687 a son Thomas

Many daughters and later sons recorded.

Ugborough (2 miles from Modbury)


1617 a son Hugo

1621 a dau Elinore

St. Andrew, Plymouth


1610 a dau Anne

1614 a son Richard


1617 a dau Anstice

1625 a son Benjamin

1625 a son Joseph

1629 John Gee married Elizabeth Holman

Noted: Plymouth boroughs court 1640:John Gee of Calstock

The other group settled inland from the coast above Newton Abbot in the vicinity of Exeter Parish and Dunsford Parish.

Exeter Parish Churches

St. Paul


1641 a son Peter

1642 a dau Hannah

1641 Agnes Gee m. Simon Lovejoye

St. Peter

1656 Elizabeth Gee m. William Cape

St. Sidwell


1590 a son John

Shillingford (3 miles south of Exeter)


1577 a dau Thamsyn

1579 a son Jeffrey d 1579

1583 a dau Elizabeth

1584 a son John mother Mary


1602 a dau Marye

Sandford (3 miles to Stockleigh English

Richard and Dunes

1631 a son Gartherd

1633 a dau Joane

1635 a son Thomas

Joane m. Christopher Western

Stockleigh English

(a small place near Exeter)

Peter and Joane

1685 a dau Mary

1688 a dau Sarah

Topsham (3 to 4 miles from Exeter, on the River Clyst)

William and Cicelie

1631 a dau Elizabeth

1633 a son John

William and Elizabeth

1666 a son Thomas

1671 a son Caleb

Upton Pyne (4 miles from Exeter)


1683 a son John

Wolborough and Newton Abbot (15 miles south of Exeter)

Johnm. Johanna Dodd 1597

1608 a son John