Monday, August 23, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - the will of Susannah (West) Barber (1666-1756)

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 Susannah (West) Barber (1666-1756), the widow of Moses Barber (1652-1733), who died in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Moses and Susannah (West) Barber had 14 children.

Susanna Barber, widow of Charlestown, died testate, having written a will dated 21 September 1755, which was proved 4 April 1756. The will (transcribed from "Charlestown (RI) Probate and Town Council Records, 1738-1916," Volume 1, pages 292-295, accessed on FHL Microfilm 2,319,104) reads (spaces and paragraphs added for readability):

"In the Name of God Amen This 21th Day of September in the 29th year of his Majesties reigne Georg the Second King over Great Briton AD 1755 - I Susannah Barber of Charlestown in Kings County and Colony of Rhodeisland widow Beeing in Helth of body and of Perfect mind & memory Thanks bee Given to almighty God. Therefore Calling to mind the mortality of my body & Knowing that it is appointed for men Once to Die do make and ordain this my Last will and Testament That is to Say Principally and first of all I Give & Recommend my Soul into the Hands of Allmighty God that gave it and my body I Recommend to the Earth to bee buried in Christian Decent Buriel at the Descrestion of my Executor Nothing Doubting but at the General Resurection I Shall Receive the Same again by the Mighty Powr of God and as Touching Such Worldly Estate Wherewith it Hath Pleased God to to Bless me with in this Life I Give Demise and Dispose of the Same in the Following manner and forme.

"Imprimus My will is and Hereby Order my Executors to pay all my Just Debts and Funeral Charges out of my Estate

"Item I Give and Bequeath unto my beloved Daughter Anne Kinyon My Great Bible Whose name is written in Said Bible and to be Delliverd to her by my Executor Before my Other Estate to my Children hereafter Named.

"Item I Give and bequeath to my beloved Daughters (viz.) Dinah Wilcocks & the heirs of Lyda Mory and to Susannah Perry widow to Martha Parker to Ruth Bently Marey Teft and Ann Kinyon all the Remainder of my Estate to bee Equally Devided between them them to them and theire Heirs for Ever.

"Lastly I Constitute make and ordain my beloved Son Benja Barber to be my whole and Soul Executor to this my Last Will and Testament and the Reason I Know make this will is because I Ca???? ?? Have my former Will when Requested hereby Revoking Disallowing and Diaannulling all other former Wills Legacies and Bequeaths by me before maid Ratifying & Confirming this and no other to bee my Last Will and Testament With?? Where of I Have Herewith Set my hand & Seal the Day and year first before Written Signed Sealed Published Pronounced and Declared by the said Susannah Barber as her Last Will and Testament the presence of we the Subscribers
......................................................................................... her
.......................................................................... Susannah S Barber {seal}
Timo Perce ...................................................................... mark
Jos Park
Benja Park
Jos Willcock
Joseph Crandal"

"Personally appeard in Councill Benja Park Jos Crandal Jos Willcocks and Declard on oath that they Saw Susannah Barber Deceasd Seign Seal Publish pronounce and Declare the Will as they Seignd as witnesses to bee her Last Will and Testament and She was in her perfect mind and memory at the Same time according to the Best of theire Judgment. The above Evidances (viz.) Benja Park Joseph Crandall Jos Wilcocks further Declard oath that they Saw Timothy Perce Josep Park Seign as Witnesses at the same time with them. Before Banja Hoxie President of the Council The above ???? ???? ???? Kings County and Coloney of Rhodeisland. {seal}

"By Vertue of Power Granted to the Town Councill of Charlestown in the County of Kings County and Coloney of Rhodeisland for the Probate of Wills and of Granting of Letters of Administration within sd Town ????

"To all people to whome these presence Shall Come Greeting wee the Town Councill of the Town of Charlestown aforesaid according to the Power by Law Invested in us Do hereby Give Grant and fully Impower Mr. Benja Barber of Hopkinton in the County & Coloney abovesaid Executor to the Last Will and Testament of his mother Susannah Barber Late of Charlestown Deceased to administer on all and Singulart the Estate Goods Chattels and Credits of his mother & to act and Do what Power is Needful Nessary & propper to bee done Recaling the promises agreeble with the Law of this Coloney in Such Cases maid & provided &c.

"In testamoney of which and in Confirmation of the Promises & by order and in behalf of the Towne Councill I Have Given forth the Powr of Administration under my hand and seal in said Charlestown Apr the 4th AD 1756 B Hoxsie C Clerk."

"An inventory of all and Singular the Goods Chattels Rights and Credits of Susanna Barber Late of Charlestown Deseased Taken by us the Subscribers Aprill the 3 Day AD 1756 as followeth viz L.S.d."

The inventory is three columns long and is quite detailed. The personal estate of Susannah Barber totalled 1351 pounds, 10 shillings 0 pence. Joseph Crandall and Stephen Sanders were the Apprizers. The Inventory was approved by the Charlestown Town Council on the last day of April 1756.

The beauty of this will is that it names all of the living daughters in September 1755 - Ann Kinyon (my ancestor, wife of Sylvester Kenyon), Dinah Wilcocks, heirs of Lyda Mora [Mowry], Susannah Perry, Martha Parker, Ruth Bentley, and Mary [Mercy?] Tefft. She also mentions her son Benjamin Barber.

The inventory of her personal property shows a significant value - over 1,300 pounds. The daughters like received quite a nice inheritance, although it may have been in possessions and not money.


Becky Higgins said...

Thanks so much for this post. I am descended from Moses Barber and his first wife. I just that makes us half-cousins somewhere along the way:)
I've never seen this will and am sure it will help me considerably.

Becky Higgins said...

Sorry, I meant "I guess" not "I just".

Randy Seaver said...


I don't know about a first wife for Moses Barber. Can you tell me more? Use email

Thanks -- Randy

Focus Grandma! FOCUS!! said...

Well I sure am late in commenting! I have a question, or two. . .
Per Genealogies of Rhode Island Families from The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume II NILES - WILSON (plus source records. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore 1989

From pages 288-302 Thomas WAITE Of Portsmouth, R.I., and Some of his Descendants. by G. Andrews Moriarty, Jr., A.M., LL.B., of Newport, R. I. . . .

Starting on page 289-290 Second son of Thomas WAIT, Samuel WAIT b. abt 1640, d. at Portsmouth or Kingstown, R.I., in Feb. 1676/7. He married Hannah [maiden name unknown], who married secondly, before 12 Oct. 1694, James SAMPSON of Dartmouth, Mass., a son of Henry3 Sampson, one of the passengers in the Mayflower in 1620.

Their daughter, Susanna m. at Kingstown, 24 Mar. 1692, as his second wife, Moses BARBER of Kingstown.

So would this Susanna WAITE be his second wife, and Susannah WEST would be his first wife?

This is not my direct line, but one that I had started when this line crossed my EARLE line.

Thank you for posting about this family, and I hope to correct my database.