Monday, April 19, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Guardianship of Humphrey White's children

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme several months ago called Amanuensis Monday.

I loved the idea, and recently decided to follow it in order to share ancestral information and keep the theme going, and perhaps it will expand to other genealogy bloggers.

What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

Today, my subject is Humphrey White (1758-1814), the son of Jonathan and Abigail (Wing) White of Glocester, RI, the husband of Sybil (Kirby) White, and the father of Meribah, Benjamin, David, Elizabeth, Humphrey, Nancy, Martha, Jonathan, Rhoda and William White. Jonathan White is one of my third great-grandfathers, who married Miranda Wade.

Humphrey White of Glocester RI died intestate. There are three records of guardianship for his children and records for administration of his estate.

1) The guardianship record for four minor children is (Glocester RI Probate Court Records, volume 3, page 360, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,941,848):

"Know all men by these presents, that we William Arnold, William Tourtellot, Samuel Steere Junr, William Wade Junr, William Hawkins Junr, Hasait Peckham and Abraham Baker --
"Do by these presents, in the name of the State of Rhode Island & Providence Plantations, and by virtue of the law in said state, Empowering the Courts of Probate to appoint Guardians, when the Court thinks proper, over certain persons and their Estates, and we now think it proper, for the benefit of Rhoda White, Jonathan White, William White and Nancy White, all of said Glocester under lawfull age, and children of Humphrey White late of Glocester deceased.

"Therefore, we the said Court of Probate have, and do hereby appoint you Sibel White of said Glocester, and you are hereby appointed a proper and lawfull Guardian, over the persons and Estate of the said Rhoda, Jonathan, William and Nancy, with full power to do everything that is right and just according to Law, relating the duty of a Guardian respecting the aforesaid premises.

"We hereby relying on your strict justice and integrity in and about said premises, and that you hold yourself at all times ready to make and render a just and true account of all your doings, by virtue of the power herein given you unto the said children, & otherwise make and render such account in the premises as the Law in such cases made and provided doth direct, whenever legally called thereunto. Given per order and in behalf of the said Court of Probate, with their seal hereunto affixed this 12th day of February A.D. 1814."

2) A similar guardianship for four children of lawful age, David White, Elisabeth White, Humphrey White and Martha White, all of Glocester and children of Humphrey White late of Glocester deceased. Joseph Cady of Glocester was appointed a proper and legal Guardian of the persons and Estates of the four children. This guardianship was appointed on 12 February 1814. (Glocester RI Probate Court Records, volume 3, page 360, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,941,848).).

3) On 19 April 1815, Benjamin White was appointed guardian of Humphrey White, under lawful age. (Glocester RI Probate Court Records, Volume 3, Page 395, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,941,848).

4) On 15 March 1814, Sibel White and Benjamin White were appointed administrators of the estate of Humphrey White by the Court of Probate in Glocester. They were given "...full power to ask for, gather, recover & receive, all and whatsoever goods, Chattels, Wares, Merchandise, rights, credits, effects and things and the whole personal estate whatever which to the said Humphrey White while he lived, and at the time of his death did appertain and belong." (Glocester RI Probate Court Records, Volume 3, Page 365, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,941,848).

"A true and proper inventory of all the goods, chattels, rights and credits and personal estate that belonged to Humphrey White late of Glocester in the county of Providence and State of Rhode Island, at the time of his decease, who departed this life on the 15th day of January AD 1814. That was set forth by the Administrators and apprised by us the subscribers on the 21st, 22d & 23d days of February AD 1814, viz:"

The inventory of the estate was taken by Joseph Cady, David Arnold, and William Stone. It is four pages long with double columns, and amounts to $2,568.89. It was accepted, allowed and recorded on 16 March 1814 (Glocester RI Probate Court Records, Volume 3, Page 361, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,941,848).

No record of the administrators account or the distribution of the personal estate was recorded in the Court of Probate.

Probate records in Rhode Island are found at the town level, not at the county or state level. These probate records name the eight living minor children of Humphrey and Sybil (Kirby) White, including my ancestor Jonathan, born in 1806.

Note that the probate record provides the exact death date of Humphrey White as 15 January 1814.

I'm not sure what the "lawful age" was in Rhode Island in 1814 for children to choose their own guardian - in Massachusetts it was age 14. The four children of "lawful age" were David, Elisabeth, Humphrey and Martha (meaning they were born before 1800 if 14 is the "lawful age") and the four not of "lawful age" were Rhoda, Jonathan, William and Nancy. The first two children, Meribah and Benjamin, were over age 21 in 1814 and did not need to have guardians appointed. Indeed, Benjamin was appointed guardian of his brother Humphrey (hmm, listed as under lawful age in 1815, but of lawful age in 1814. I wonder why?), and was appointed administrator of the estate of his father, along with his mother, Sybil.

No comments: