Monday, May 17, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of David Kirby (1740-1832)

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

My subject today is the will and probate records of David Kirby (1740-1832) of Dartmouth and Westport, Bristol County, Massachusetts. He was the son of Ichabod and Rachel (Allen) Kirby, and the husband of Martha Soule (1743-1828).

David Kirby died testate in Westport, Massachusetts, having written a will dated 22 March 1822. The will reads (transcribed by the author from the Clerk's copy in Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Records, Volume 71, Page 102, on FHL Microfilm 0,462,659):

"The last Will and Testament of David Kirby of Westport in the County of Bristol and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Yeoman.

"Imprimis - my will is that all my just debts, funeral charges, and expenses of settling my estate be paid by my executor herein after named out of what I shall herein give him.

"2d. I give to my beloved wife Martha Kirby all my household goods of every sort and kind except what I shall herein other wise dispose of together with my side saddle. I also give her my said wife, all the Estate that come to us, out of the Estate of her honoured Father Benjamin Sowle, that we are possessed of, or that we may be possessed of at my desease, be it money, securities for, money, or of what sort or kinds of goods or property, it may consist of, all the aforesaid a free gift at her own disposal, forever. I also give to my said wife so long as she remains my widow the use and improvement of one half of my now dwelling House, with a privilege in the cellar, to the well, and around the House as she may need. I also give her to be provided by my Executor herein after named, and delivered to her daily, and every day, during the term aforesaid, the milk of one good cow; and yearly, and every year, one hundred pounds of good pork, eighty pounds of good beef, two geese, nine bushels of good Indian Corn, two bushels of rye or barley, ten pounds of good sheep wool, eight pounds of ???? flax from the Swingles, forty pounds of good cheese, eight pounds of good butter, four gallons of molasses, eight bushels winter apples and summer apples and summer & winter sauce as much as she may need for her own use. And as much fire wood as she may need for one fire at the door, and cut a suitable length for her fire, and two hens to be kept for her so long as she may need. All the aforesaid gifts to my said wife to be in lieu of her right of dower in my estate, if she is pleased to accept, and not otherwise.

3d. I give to my daughter Sibbel White, Two hundred silver dollars to be paid her in one year after my decease, by my executor herein after named, which with what she has already had of me, is to be her share of my estate.

4th. I give to my son Ichabod Kirby and to his heirs and assigns forever, my clock, and desk, one large silver spoon, two feather beds, bedsteads & ends, with a sufficiency of furniture for the same both for winter and summer, my loom and tackling belonging to it, my largest brass kettle, trammels and handirons, one large iron kettle, & one six Qt. kettle, my cupboards, and one meat tub & one meat Barrel, a chest with one draw, and a small chest, one case knives & forks, and half a doz. chairs, together with my homestead farm, and all the rest and residue of my estate both real and personal wherever and whenever it may be found, not herein otherwise disposed of, he doing and performing what I have herein ordered for him to do and perform.

"Finally and lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my son Ichabod Kirby sole executor of this my last Will & Testament, desiring him faithfully to execute the same agreeable to true intent and meaning thereof.

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this twenty second day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty two 1822.

"Signed sealed and declared by the said
David Kirby to be his last will & testament
....................................................... David Kirby S. S.

at whose request & in whose presence & in presence of each other, we hereto set our names as witnesses
Isaac W. Brownell
William Case
N.C. Brownell"

"At a Court of Probate Holden at New Bedford in and for the County of Bristol, in the first day of May AD 1832. Then before the Honorable Hodijah Baylies, Judge of the Probate of Wills, &c, for said County, came Isaac W. Brownell, William Case and Nathan C. Brownell all the witnesses to the foregoing instrument purporting to be the last Will and testament of David Kirby late of Westport in said County deceased, who made oath that they were present and saw the said instrument to be his last will and Testament and that they subscribed their names together, as witnesses to the execution thereof, in the said testators presence, and that he was then to the best of their judgment of sound and disposing mind & public notice having been given as ordered & no one appearing to object I do therefore approve and allow of the said instrument as the last Will & Testament of the said deceased and do decree that it have full force and effect as such. Given under my hand and the seal of the said Court of Probate on the day above written. ............................................................... H. Baylies"

"By the Honourable Hodijah Baylies Judge of the Probate of Wills and for granting Letters of Administration within the County of Bristol aforesaid.

"Know ye, that upon the day of the date hereof at New Bedford in the county aforesaid an instrument purporting to be the last will & testament of David Kirby late of Westport in said county, deceased (a copy whereof is hereunto annexed) was presented to me and proved. Know ye therefore, that I do, by virtue of the power and authority given to me by the laws of the said commonwealth, hereby commit the execution thereof in all things the same concerning, unto Ichabod Kirby the Executor in the same Will named, well and faithfully to execute the same and to administer the estate of the said deceased according thereto; who accepted the said trust, and gave bond to pay debts and legacies and render a just and true account of the proceedings, when thereunto lawfully required. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and the seal of my office the first day of May AD 1832. .......................................... H. Baylies"

I learned several things from this probate record, including:

* David Kirby died before his will was proved on 1 May 1832. I don't have any other death date for him.

* The will names his wife's father as Benjamin Sowle and that he left some of his estate to his daughter, Martha (Sowle) Kirby.

* David Kirby provided a fine list of items, in his will dated 1822, that his wife would be provided after his death by his executor. Alas, Martha Kirby died before David Kirby.

* David Kirby left 200 silver dollars to his daughter Sibbel (Kirby) White (widow of Humphrey White), who is my link to the Kirby line.

* David and Martha (Sowle) Kirby had only two known children - which was fairly unusual for those times. Sybil was born in 1764 and Ichabod in 1782 - 18 years between them. They were both listed in Dartmouth (MA) Vital Records. Perhaps there were a series of stillborns or miscarriages in the intervening years that were not recorded.

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