Thursday, January 31, 2008

Probate Record of John Horton (1696-1796) of Glocester RI

John Horton, yeoman of Glocester, died testate, having written a will dated 7 April 1784, which was proved on 20 February 1796 (Glocester (RI) Probate Records, 1731-1915, Volume 2, Pages 122-126, on FHL Microfilm 0,941,847). The will reads (a clerk's copy in the town records):

"In the Name of God Amen I John Horton of Glocester in the County of Providence & in the State of Rhode Island yeoman being now an ancient Man but of sound mind & Memory (blessed be God) do this Seventh Day of April in the Eighth year of American Independence AD. 1784. Make and Publish this my Last Will and testament in manner following (that is to say)

"Imprimus I Give & bequeath unto Elisabeth My well beloved Wife all her wearing Apparel that she brought with her and what was made for herself since she Married me with all the Household goods she brought with her at the time of our Marriage. Also I Give her Nine Pounds Lawful silver money to be Raised & Levied out of my Estate all Which I give unto my said Wife in Lieu of her Right of Dower and no otherwise;

"Item I Give to my Beloved Son Nathaniel Horton all My wearing apparel and farming Tools.

"Item I Give unto my three Beloved Daughters namely Ruth Round Mary Round & Mehitabel Hammon all the Remaining Part of my Household Goods that belongs to and Which I had in my said Daughters own Mothers lifetime Equally to be Divided between my said three Daughters.

"Item I Give unto my four Grandsons namely Nathan Hammon son of Amos Hammon John Round son of George Round Moses Round son of Joseph Round & Nathaniel Horton son of Nathaniel Horton the sum of one Pound and ten shillings Lawful ['Silver lined out] Money a Piece to be raised out of my Estate.

"And I do hereby Constitute make & ordain William Ross & Jonathan Harris both of said Glocester yeoman my sole Executors of this my Last Will and testament and for the true Performance of this my said Will. I think it Proper that my farm be sold; therefore, I do hereby and Impower my said Executor to sell and give a Deed of sale of all my Homestead Farm Situate in Said Glocester as soon as they Conveniently Can after my Decease and that the Deed so Given by my Executors aforenamed shall be as Good and valid as though I had given a Deed of the same in my life time. And that my said Executors shall pay all my Just Debts and Charges that shall be due for the Execution of this Will or otherwise, as also the aforesaid Legacies out of my Estate.

"Item I Give unto my beloved Grand Daughter Mary Horton the Daughter and only child of my son John Horton late of Scituate Deceased all my Estate whether Real or Personal that shall Remain after the Paying my Debts and Legacies as aforesaid. And I hereby order my aforesaid Executors to take Care of all the said remainder of my Estate And after the Sale of my Farm as aforesaid they shall Let out the money to Interest in the Best and safest accountable for the bad Debts for the use of my said Grandaughter Mary Horton and in Six months after her Marriage shall Pay her the aforesaid Legacy and Whether my said Grand Daughter Mary be married or not I order my said Executors to pay to her, her aforesaid Legacy when she shall arrive to the age of twenty one years and in Case she Die unmarried & under that age then her said Legacy to be paid to her Right heirs.

"In Witness Whereof I the said John Horton have hereunto Set my hand & Seal the Day and year first above Written.
................................................................John Horton {seal}

"Signed sealed Published & Pronounced
by the said John Horton as and for his
Last Will & Testament in the Presence of us
Who at his Request in his Presence and in
the Presence of each other have subscribed
our names as Witnesses hereto ---

John Howland
George Brown
Willard Eddy"

The will was received and recorded by the Glocester Town Council clerk:

"At a Town Council held at Glocester on the 20th day of February AD 1796
this Will presented to this Council by the Executors for Probate and John Howland and George Brown two of the above Witnesses Declared on solemn Engagement that they Saw the testator John Horton Sign and seal this Paper and heard him Declare the same to be his Last Will and testament and that they together with Capt. Willard Eddy in his Presence & in the presence of each other Subscribed their names as Witnesses hereto. And he then appeared to be of sound mind & memory. Wherefore it is voted and Resolved that this Will be proved approved & hereby is allowed of as a Good and Lawful Will and that the same be Recorded. Witness Richard Steere Junr, Assist. Court Clk. Recvd the 20th of February AD 1796 and Recorded per Richard Steere Junr Assist. Court Clerk."

An inventory of the personal estate of John Horton was taken:

"A true Inventory of the Personal Estate of John Horton Who Departed this Life at Glocester on the 10th day of January AD. 1796. Taken by us the Subscribers the 9th day of February AD. 1796.

Imprimus to his Wearing Apparel .................................... 2-04-0
to Pewter ...................................................................... 0-10-7
to Iron Ware .................................................................. 0-03-6
to old Wooden Ware ...................................................... 0-02-6
to one bed & bedstead and other furniture ........................ 2-07-6
to one old Chest and old box .......................................... 0-04-0
to an old Coverled and an old tea Kittle & Chest ............... 0-12-0
to one Staff with an Ivery head ......................................... 0-01-0
to articles in the Possession of Arnon Hammon of Foster ... 1-12-0
L-s-d 7-17-7
Whole amount 26 Doll. 26 Cts
Timothy Dean
George Brown

[In margin on page:} Further addition of this inventory on page 325.

The Town council accepted this inventory:

"Glocester May ye 21st 1796 In Town Council it is voted and Resolved that this Inventory be accepted & hereby is ordered Recorded Voted & Post as Per order.
Richard Steere Junr Assist. Court Clerk.

"Whereas Mr. John Horton of Glocester in the County of Providence &c Husbandman Who Departed this life on the tenth Day of January AD. 1796 Did in & by his last Will & testament name and appoint William Ross yeoman and Jonathan Harris Esqr both of said Glocester Sole Executors of his said will and the said William & Jonathan having since proved said Will by and before the Town Council of said Glocester on the 21st Day of May AD 1796. These are therefore in the Name of the Governor & Company of the State of Rhode Island &c to order and fully Impower you the said William Ross and Jonathan Harris to take into your Case Custody and Possession all and singular the Personal Estate of him the said John Horton that did belong to him at the time of his death and on the Same fully to administer by paying all his Just Debts and Legacies and to act and do in all matters & things Relating the aforesaid Premises as you by law and the aforesaid Will are Required & Directed to do. And be ready at all times to render a Just and true account of your doings Relating the aforesaid Premises Whenever you shall be Legally called thereunto unto the said Town Council or their successors in said office, Given by order of the said Town Council aforesaid the said 21st Day of May and sealed With their seal by their order. Per Richard Steere Junr Assist. Court Clerk, and Recorded by Richard Steere Junr Assist. Court Clerk."

Some resources were added later to the inventory:

"Added by William Ross & Jonathan Harris Executors to the Personal Estate of John Horton late of Glocester Deceased as follows (viz.)

"To one Note Signed by Daniel & Elisha Sayles in Company Dated April.14.1795 on Interest from Date for one hundred and fifty Dollars

"To one other Note Dated April 14th.1795 on Interest from Date signed by Daniel & Elisha Sayles in Company for one Hundred & fifty Dollars.

"To one other Note Dated April 14th 1795 on Interest from date Signed by Daniel & Elisha Sayles in Company for one Hundred and sixty Dollars.

"Glocester Decemr 12th 1796
N.B. this addition Refers to John Horton's Inventory Which is Recorded in the 327 page of this book. Recvd Jany 4th 1797 and Recorded by Richard Steere Junr Assist. court Clerk."


I transcribed this probate record today. Think about what this man witnessed during his almost 100 year life. He was born in Rehoboth MA, married Mary Chase in Swansea in 1719 (she died in 1732) and moved with his family to Glocester before 1755. I really like the way he says "in the 8th Year of American Independence AD 1784." I am amazed by the relative paucity of his personal estate - he must have passed much of his estate to his children earlier. He left the proceeds of his real estate to his grand daughter, Mary Horton, for whom there is no record of a marriage. I wonder if she lived long enough to receive her legacy? If not, I wonder who received it? Unfortunately, these records do not include Accounts or Distributions that would tell us who received exactly what when.

I love probate records! I just wish they were more understandable.

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