Monday, September 6, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Record of Samuel Gray (1681-1712) of Little Compton RI

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."

The subject today is the probate file of Samuel Gray (1681-1712) of Little Compton, Bristol county, Massachusetts (presently in Rhode Island but in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1712). He married Deborah Church (1676-1772) in 1699 and they had seven children, five of them minors when he died in 1712 (two others died before 1712).

Samuel Gray died testate, having written a will dated 20 March 1712, which was proved 2 April 1712. The will reads (transcribed from Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Records, Volume 3, Pages 88-90, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,461,882):

"In the Name of God Amen The twentyeth day of March in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred & twelve I Samuel Grey of Little compton in the County of Bristoll in her Majesties Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England, yeoman, being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind & memory Thanks be given to God therefore Calling to mind the Mortallity of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to dye Do make & ordain this my Last will and Testament That is to say Principally and first of all I give & recomend my soule into the hands of God that gave it & my body I Recommend unto Earth to be buried in Decent & Christian mann-r at ye Discresion of my Exect-r, Nothing doubting but at the general Resurection I shall Receive the same by the Almighty power of God. And as Touching my worldly Estate wherew-th it has pleased God to bless me in this life I give & Devise & Dispose of the same in the following maner and form.

"Imp-s. I give and bequeath unto Deborah Grey my Dearly Beloved wife the Improvem-t of my whole Estate both Real and personall for her own and her Childrens maintenance so long as she haves my name or Remaines my widow and do allso Constitute make & ordain Her and my beloved brother Thomas Grey Joynt Executors of this my last will & Testament. Item my will is yt if my wife after my decease do see cause to Marry again that then she shall have one hundred pounds Currant money of this Province payd to her out of my Estate and shall quit her Right, tithe, interest & ronrom [?] to & with any of the rest of my Estate.

"Item. My will is that after my wives Marrying or Deceaseing the whole of my Estate Excepting the one Hundred pounds given unto her be divided among my Children in man-r and form following , viz. I give to my Eldest & beloved son Samuel Gray three Hundred pounds.

"Item I give to my Beloved son Simeon Grey one Hundred pounds.

"Item I give to my Beloved son Ignatius Grey one Hundred pounds.

"I give to my Beloved Daughter Dorothy one Hundred pounds.

"Item I give to my Beloved Daughter Lidiah one Hundred pounds.

"Item My will is that if my Estate be found worth more than Eight Hundred pounds after all my lawfull debts and funerall charges are payd that the Residue be equally divided between my two youngest son Simeon & Ignatius.

"Item My will is that my Execut-rs may when they see cause make sale of my Estate Either Reall or personall for money provided the principall be well served for my Children.

"Item I do Constitute and appoint my Loveing friends Mr William Pabodie Cap-t John Palmer & my Brother John Church to be Overseers of this my last will & Testament and do hereby oblige my Executors (if they sell my lands) to take the Advice & Consent of my overseers in Secureing & Improveing of the money. And I do hereby Disallow, Revoke & Disannull all & every other former Testaments wills Legacies bequests & Executors by me in any wayes before named willed or bequeathed Rattifying & Confirming this and no other to be my Last will and Testament. In Witness whereof I have set to my hand and seal the day and year above written.
"Signed sealed published & declared by the said Samuel Gray as his last will & Testament ..............................................Samuel Grey (seal)
in the presence of us the
Edward Grey
Jonathan Hood
Richard Billings"

The inventory of the estate of Samuel Grey of Little Compton was taken by John Palmer, John Church and William Pabodie on 2 April 1712. The inventory ran two pages and totalled 1,138 pounds, 9 shillings, 7 pence, including real estate of:

* farm and buildings, orchard, fencing (850 pounds)
* 25 acres of outlands (26 pounds)

The personal estate included:

* wearing apparel (11 pounds, 10 shillings)
* feather beds, linen,
* Chest, Table, Chairs and other furniture
* 2 Iron pots, 2 small brass kettles, 2 pewter plates, pots, beakers, plates, 3 porringers, etc.
* 1 pair of worsted combs, 3 pair old cards, 1 woolen wheel, 2 common wheel,
* 1 churn, 1 cradle, 1 cheese press, 1 warming pan
* a chamber pot, 8 glass bottles
* a plow, iron chains, iron bars, five hoes, 2 axes, cart wheels pitch forks, etc
* a Negro man (18 pounds)
* Silver money (12 pounds, 4 shillings, 7 pence), paper money (28 pounds, 10 shillings)
* money due (5 pounds, 10 shillings)
* 25 bushels of Indian corn, a barrel and a half of beef
* 3 mares, 14 cows, 1 heifer, 5 two year old, 3 yearlings, 5 calves, 1 pair oxen, etc.

The inventory was presented to the Probate Court on 7 April 1712 and was approved on that day, and recorded on 28 April 1712.

On 3 June 1713, Deborah Throope, the late wife of Samuel Grey of Little Compton deceased, but the now wife of Danl Throope of Bristol stated that she had received the 100 pounds due her by the will of Samuel Grey, and that she quits her rights, titles, and interests in the estate of Samuel Grey (Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Records, Volume 3, Page 180, on FHL Microfilm 0,461,882). It was recorded on 3 November 1713 by the Court.

The Accounts of Deborah Thrope (formerly Deborah Grey) and Thomas Grey, the executors of the estate of Samuel Grey, were presented to the Probate Court on 3 November 1713.
Additional debts were received, and a long list of small debts were paid out (Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Records, Volume 3, Pages 177-179, on FHL Microfilm 0,461,882).

No accounting was recorded in the Court of the legacies to the children of Samuel and Deborah Gray, who were all under age when Samuel Gray made his will and died.

1 comment:

Geolover said...

Ah, Randy, thank you for posting this.

The "worsted combs" are rare documentation of use of worsted fleece in early America. Such combs were used to align the longish smooth worsted fibers before spinning.

Worsted was rather precious at this time, as Spain refused to allow sale of the merino sheep, although there was some smuggling and black-marketing by French and other entrepreneurs.