Monday, June 14, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - the will of Joseph Seaver (1672-1754) of Framingham MA

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 of Joseph Seaver (1672-1754) of Sudbury and Framingham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. He married Mary Read (1679-????) in 1701, and they had six children.

The will of Joseph Seaver was written 2 January 1753, and was proved 26 August 1754 (Middlesex County [MA] Probate Records, Probate Packet 20,066, on FHL Microfilm 0,421,515. It reads:

"In the name of God, Amen. I, Joseph Sever, of Framingham, yeoman, being of perfect mind & memory, do make this my last will and testament as followeth: I commit my soul into the hand of allmighty God & my body to the earth, decently to be buried by my Executor thereto ... God's pleasuer. And as Touching the Temprel Estate ... which God hath been pleased to bless me withall, I dispose of as followeth:

"Item: First, I give and bequeath unto my well-beloved wife, Mary Sever, one full third part of my Real Estate with house room where it shall be most conveniant for her in my building during her natural life, and also one third of my moveables estate to be at dispose for ever.

"Item: I give and bequeath unto my beloved son, Jonathan Belcher & to my beloved daughter Hannah Belcher and unto my grandson John Nickson equily and joyntly that is to say the one half to the sd. Jonathan & Hannah & the other half to sd John, to them, their heirs and Assigns for ever my homested farm which I bought of Capt. Robert Montgomery (including others I gave to wife after she ... of w/ ... estate) which is bounded as followeth: bounded Northeasterly by lands of the heirs of Thomas Frost, Southeasterly by lands of Hezekiah Stone, southerly by lands of Christopher Nickson, Westerly by lands of John Winch, Northwesterly by lands of Major Cutting, Northerly by land of Sd. Jonathan Belcher. Sd. premises containing about 100 acres etc. to Jonathan Belcher. Paying unto my daughter Abigail Walker twenty pounds lawfull money at or before the expiration of three years after my decease and twenty pounds lawfull money unto my daughter Elizabeth How at or before the expiration of six years after my decease. & the Sd. John Nickson paying unto my daughter Elizabeth How twenty pounds lawfull money at or before the expiration of three years after my decease. And to my daughter Abigail Walker twenty pounds lawfull money at or before the expiration of six years after my decease to be at their dispose of ever and that the Sd. John Nickson pay unto his sister Hepzibah Fairbanks eight pounds six shillings and eight pence lawfull money at or before the expiration of six years after my decease to be at her dispose forever if she be living otherwise to be paid to her niece sisters (viz) Mary Gieron, Elizabeth and Abigail Nickson equily.

"Item: I give & bequeath unto the heirs of my son Robert Sever deceased five shillings, my sd. son Robert having had his full portion in his lifetime.

"Item: I give & bequeath unto my beloved son Nathaniel Sever five shillings, he haveing had his full portion before.

"Item: I give and bequeath unto my grandson Daniel Belcher a certain tract of land containing about twenty acres which I had of my father Reed bounded northerly by Sudbury line, westerly by lands of Benjamin Eaton and partly Southerly and partly easterly by lands of Nathaniel Gibbs to him & his heirs & assigns for ever.

"Item: it is furthermore my will that before any of the above mentioned leagacies are paid that all my Just Debts and funeral charges be paid by the said Jonathan Belcher (out of the whole estate before any ... be made), whom I constitute and apoint my Executor in and unto this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal this Second day of January one Thousand Seven Hundred fifty & three & in the 26 year of His Majesties Reign."
..................................... Signed & Sealed ..................... Joseph Sever

"in Presents of Danl Stone
...................... Ambrose Tower
....................... Josiah Browne"

"In witness of our Satisfaction in this will we have here subscribed our Names:
............................................ Mary Sever
............................................ Jonathan Belcher
........................................... Azariah Walker
........................................... John Nixon
........................................... Hannah Belcher
........................................... Elizabeth How
........................................... Abigail Walker"

"Satisfyed .......................... Nathl Seaver" [on next page of packet]

In this case, Joseph Seaver had previously given land to his sons Robert Seaver and Nathaniel Seaver, and he divided the balance of his estate to his wife and four daughters. Son Robert Seaver (my ancestor) had died before the will was written, and that is why Robert Seaver did not sign the "satisfaction" list.

Note the list of other names in this will - grandson John Nickson, his sister Hepzibah Fairbanks, and the niece sisters (of John and Hepzibah?), Mary Gieron, Elizabeth Nickson and Abigail Nickson. These three may actually be sisters, not nieces, of John Nickson and Hepzibah (Nickson) Fairbanks - Christopher and Mary (Seaver) Nickson had children Mary (Seaver) Gleason (who married Isaac Gleason in 1752), Elizabeth Nickson and Abigail Nickson.

Middlesex County, Massachusetts probate records were microfilmed by the LDS Church in complete probate packets, so these are the original handwritten documents and not a probate clerk's copy of the papers spread over several probate record volumes. Unfortunately, there was no inventory included in the probate packet. The widow, Mary (Read) Seaver, received a significant estate, and signed the "satisfaction" paper. I have not found a death record, a succeeding marriage record, or a probate record for her. It is possible that she died soon after her husband.

2 comments:

Heather Rojo said...

Very interesting! The Jonathan Belcher may be the same Jonathan (1707 Stoneham, Mass - 1787 Framingham, Mass) who is my 1st cousin 9x removed. He is the grandson of Jeremy Belcher of Ipswich, Massachusett- my 9x great grandfather.

rootsresearcher said...

Do you know at all if Joseph's wife Mary Read originated in the UK or if her family did? I would be very interested to know.

The Will is very interesting too, thanks for posting this.

Kind regards,
Christine (rootsresearcher)