• by wife Maraget:
  1. Margaret Calef b. 15 Oct 1748.
  2. Mary Calef b. 20 Mar 1750.
  • by wife Dorothy:
  1. John Calef b. 2 Nov 1753; d. 19 Feb 1782, Drowned at Ipswich.
  2. Jedediah Calef b. 22 Sep 1755; d. 10 Mar 1778.
  3. Elizabeth Calef b. 24 Oct 1757; d. 7 sep 1771.
  4. Daughter b. 16 May 1759; d. 16 May 1759.
  5. Robert Calef b. 16 Nov 1760; d. 13 Apr 1801, Norfolk, VA.; Unmarried.
  6. Dorothy Calef b. 16 Nov 1762; d. 29 Mar 1805.; Unmarried.
  7. Sarah Calef b. 27 Jun 1764; d. 25 Mar 1854, St. Andrews, New Brunswick.; Unmarried.
  8. Susanna Calef b. 7 Feb 1766; d. 11 May 1808; Unmarried.
  9. Mehitable Calef b. 13 Sep 1767.
  10. Martha Calef b. 22 May 1770; d. 23 Sep 1771.
  11. Samuel Calef b. 26 Jul 1772; d. 1812 at Sea.
  12. Daughter b. 12 Apr 1775.
  13. Daughter b. 22 Aug 1776.
  14. Jedediah Jewett Calef b. 22 Jun 1778.


  • Dr. John was one of the many loyalists who were forced to leave the country during the American Revolution.
  • Left an orphan at eight, be was brought up by his grandmother, Mary Ayer Calef. His guardian, an uncle, John Staniford, was after a year removed at her request and some eighteen years later John recovered from his uncle's widow property to the amount of more than a hundred pounds. In the list are mentioned "a negro man named Fortune".; a negro boy, Titus, aged nine; another named Minster, aged six; a "scutior"; a horse and chaise; a watch; silver and furniture; five books, one a copy of Willard's "Body of Divinity," perhaps the one for which his uncle Joseph had subscribed.
  • He was said to have received a superior education and it is known that for a year he was in the Boston Latin School under the famous teacher Master John Lovell. At twenty-one he was settled as a physician in Ipswich.
  • Margaret Rogers, his first wife, was the granddaughter of John Leverett, president of Harvard.
  • From 1754 to 1760 he was with various commands in the "his Britannic Majesty's service"; as surgeon on the Western Front in '54; under Major Thompson in the "Old French War" in '56. In that year he was at Crown Point and in charge of the Army hospital at Albany, later, on account of smallpox, moved to Halfmoon. Here the sick and wounded from the "Main Army" were sent. In 1759 he was on an expedition to Crown Point, and at Louisburg in 1760. The fleet of transports with which he sailed in September was blown off the coast to the West Indies and did not reach Boston till the following March.
  • During this time also, he was engaged in foreign commerce, being part owner of the schooner "Speed-well" sailing to Bilboa.
  • From 1755 on he was frequently Representative from Ipswich to the General Court, and a long document sets forth for his guidance the wishes of the town in connection with the growing differences between the colonies and the House Government. In 1774, some vote having been called in question, he signed the following statement:
  • "Inasmuch as a great Number of Persons are about the House of the Subscriber, who say that they have heard I am an Enemy to my Country, ect., and have sent a large Committee to me to examine me respecting my principles, in compliance with their request I declare,
  • First I hope and believe I fear God, honor the King, and love my Country.
  • Secondly, I believe the Constitution of civil Government held forth in the Charter of Massachusetts Bay Province to be the best in the whole world, and that the Rights and Privileges thereof ought to be highly esteemed, greatly valued and seriously contended for, and that the late Acts of Parliament made against this province are unconstitutional and unjust and that I will use all lawfull means to get the same recovered; and that I never have and never will act by a ommission under the new Constitution of Government, and if I have ever said or done anything to enforce said Act I am heartily sorry for it; and as I gave my vote in the General Assembly on the 30th of June 1768, contrary to the minds of the pepople, I beg their forgiveness and that the good people of the Province would restore me to their esteem and friendship again."
  • This vote was the occasion of the cartoon by Paul Revere picturing the seven who had voted retraction of a petition to the King. Calef is drawn with a calf's head. He was for years Justice of the Peace of Essex County and one of His Majesty's justice of the Court of General Sessions, 1772-1775.
  • In 1772 he went to England representing certain "planters and settler," and returned in 1774 in his cousin Capt. Robert Calef's vessel, the "London Packet." With him came a Captain Lee to take command of the "Lord Dartmouth," a vessel of 300 tons that Dr. John had had built at Danvers for the London firm, Calef and Chuter. It was designed for the East India trade, but ships of British owners were by this time under suspicion. Dr. John's petition for clearing papers that Captain Lee might sail it to London, made to the Provincial Congress in 1775 and later to the Massachusetts Legislature, were alike refused. The vessel was seized, and lay for years rotting where it had grounded, a total loss to its owners.
  • In 1777 Dr. John gave up his property in Ipswich, selling to John Heard his house, homestead, barn, pasture on north side of Heartbreak Hill, Calef wharf and warehouse, the "machine for weighing hay," and pew 24 in the Meeting House of the First Parish. The house was later moved to a site east of the South Meeting House, and was standing in 1887.
  • This was the beginning of sales and gifts of property in which "his wife, Dorothy Calef, gentlewoman," often figures, and which continued til 1806.
  • Dr. John at once joined the British troops at Fort George, Penobscot (Castine), Maine, and in 1781 went to England as agent for the inhabitants who wished that district set off from Massachusetts as a loyal province under the name of New Ireland. While in England he published his "Siege of Penobscot by the Rebels by J.C. Esq. a Volunteer," a beautifully printer little book with a fine map, a copy of which is treasured in the New York Public Library's rare books room.
  • At the close of the war he settled in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, there practicing his profession til his death. In his family record is this entry:
  • "My very dear and faithful consort died Sabath eve, the 27th Augt. 1809 in a sudden and surprising manner, we having lived together 56 years, 7 mos., and nine days."
  • Lord Timithy Dexter had written of her:
  • "Doctor Calef - wife of thine
  • Fruitful as a pumpkin vine."
  • Margaret, the eldest daughter, married Dr. Scott, a dentist and an apothecary, who had drugs for sale "at the Medicine Store at the Sign of the Leopard, near the Haymarket, South End Boston."
  • The eldest son, John went to Dummer Academy in the days of the noted Master Moody. John took to the sea, and was early a master mariner. On a return voyage from the West Indies he was drowned when his ship ran ashore at Plum Islans, Ipswich. Although his father's well known loyalist principles make this a question, yet it is possible that he is the Capt. John Calef who, with the crew of the schooner "Hawk," was taken by the British and committed to Mill Prison, Plymouth, England, 10 May 1779. He escaped with John Knight, of Newbury, and in 1780 was given command of the brig "Massachusetts." That he was in commend when this vessel captured a British ship with a cargo valued at $100,00, as has been said, seems unlikely, since this exploit took place before the official date of his taking command.
  • Robert, the fourth son, was an apothecary of Ipswich. He was a loyalist and took charge of settling his father's and mother's affairs in Massachusetts after the Revolution. On this business he was in London in 1797, dealing with Robert Calef and John Chuter of Old City Chambers, Bishopgate Street. This task finished he went to Norfolk, Virginia, where his brother Samuel was a shipmaster.
  • Samuel followed the sea like his eldest brother, John. At twenty-three he was captain of the "Charlotte" of Norfolk, Virginia. In 1812 the ship on which he was returning from New Orleans was lost and all hands are supposed to have perished.


  1. "Robert Calef of Boston and Some of his Decendants" Compiled by Anne Calef Boardman, The New England Historical Genealogical Society, Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts 1940
  2. Doug Kastanotis' Main Page with Family Group Genealogy Links.