Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The will of Nathaniel Horton (1730-1819) of Foster RI - Part 1

The will of Nathaniel Horton (1730-1819) of Foster, Rhode Island is instructive in that it illustrates the detail sometimes found in wills from this time period.

The first part of the will reads (transcribed from the Foster (RI) Town Council Probate Records, 1781-1887, Volumes 3-4, (1814-1826), Volume 3, pages 532-538, on FHL Microfilm 0,941,056):


"The Last Will and Testament of Nathaniel Horton of Foster in the County of Providence in the State of Rhode Island &c. I the said Nathaniel Horton, being now far advanced in Life (viz) in the Eighty third year of my age, through the goodness of God of sound Disposing mind and memory, Considering the uncertainty of Life, and the Necessity of my being Prepared for Death, do make and ordain, this Last Will and Testament in the following manner.

"I hereby recomend my soul to the ???nsive mercy of almighty God Beseeching his Generous forgiveness of all my Sins and his Blessing on my family and Children, and the Disposal which I am Now about to make, of the Estate wherewith he has Pleased to favour me, as my A?? attained with Lasting Benefits to them all.

"Item. I Order that my just Debts and Re?????? be ?????? ??????? to be paid by my Executor hereinafter named in form as Conveniantly may be Done ????? after my Decease.

"Item I Give and Bequeath unto my Beloved sons Abel Horton and John Horton ??? ?? ????? ????? ?????? forever to be Equally Divided Between Them all my Land and real Estate, Consisting of the one undivided half of Part of the farm with the Buildings thereon whereon I now dwell in the said Town of Foster, to Come unto them on the Death of their Mother as hereinafter Mentioned, Provided and on Condition, that they shall pay to their six sisters Ruth Rachel Sarah Phebe Olive & Freelove or their heirs or assigns, Respectively, the seven Lagacies hereafter Given to them Respectively being the sum of twenty Dollars to Each, making in the whole one hundred and twenty Dollars, one half thereof to be paid by my son Abel and the other half by my son John & to be paid as herein after mentioned within one year Next after the Decease of myself & their Mother. Having heretofore give by Deed to my son Nathaniel Horton the Twenty acres of Land adjoining Land of Peleg Williams - as described in my Deed to him lying in said foster, and having also given to my son Chase Horton the other half of the farm aforesaid. Not thereby ???ised as described in my Deed to my son Chase Horton, all which Deed are Recorded in the Town Clerk offices of said Foster and Considering what I have given them by Deed and What I have otherwise done for them, as their shares Respectively of my Estate in Land is the Reason Why I Do Not Now Give them any more of my Real Estate Hoping that they will feel satisfied With the Conduct of their Effectinnate Father herein Who is Desirous of Doing as Well as he can by all his Beloved Children, having Due Regard to times and things best.

"Item. After setting and assigning to my Beloved Wife Sarah Horton as hereafter mentioned on this out of my Personal Estate. I Give and Bequeath to my beloved Grand son Asa Comstock Horton and to his heirs Executors administrators or assigns ??? said Asa is son of my son Chase Horton, the one quarter part of the Remainder in Value of all my Livestock, and one quarter part in value according to the Inventory which shall be made of all my outdoor Moveables of Every Kind to be to him When he shall have arrived to the age of twenty one years, to be paid to him in money, to the amount of one quarter part of the Inventory as apprised, or as the same may be sold, at vendue at the Election of my Executor.

"Item. I give and Bequeath to my Beloved sons Abel Horton John Horton & Nathaniel Horton Jr. and to their heirs Executors admors & assigns Respectively the other three quarter parts of all my Live Stock & out Doors Moveables of Every Kind to be Equally Devided Between them and also all my money & s???tys for money and all other my Personal Estate Excepting what I have Given to my grandson Asa C. Horton and Excepting What I shall otherwise Dispose of by this my Will. I Give & bequeath to my said three sons, Abel Horton, John Horton and Nathaniel Horton Jr. to be Equally Devided Between them it being my meaning & Intention and Intention that there shall be No Division of my said Personal Estate among my said Children as aforesaid untill one third part thereof shall have been assigned & set of to my said Wife Sarah Horton, as herein after mentioned, and that then the Remainder shall be divided between them my said sons, and my said Grandson as mentioned in this and the preceding Paragraph."


I absolutely enjoy reading the testimonies given in the first parts of almost every will - they are eloquent and heartfelt. While they may be similar in format in one location, they differ some in content from place to place and time to time.

There are more question marks in the text above - I've tried to count the number of letters in each word - each question mark represents a letter. I just couldn't read the handwriting due to imprecision, dark background or my own foibles. I can guess at some of them.

I posted the second part of this will in an earlier post - here. I will post the last part of the will and the codicil in a later post.

One reason for posting this is to try to find distant cousins who might have Nathaniel Horton in their ancestry. Any cousins out there?

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