Monday, May 16, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of John Loker (1608-1653) of Sudbury MA

...Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a 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 will of John Loker (1608-1653) of Sudbury, Massachusetts.  He married Mary Draper (1625-ca1697) in about 1650, and they had two children - John Loker (1650-????), and Mary Loker (1653-1735), who married Jonas Prescott in 1672.

John Loker died on 18 June 1653, before his daughter, Mary Loker, was born. He died testate, having written a will on 17 June 1653, and it was proved on 17 August 1653.  The will reads (Middlesex County [Massachusetts] Probate Records, Probate Packet 14,283, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,421,460, paragraphs by myself):

"I John Loker of Sudbury beinge sicke in body but of perfect minde and memory (blessed be God) doe make this my last will and testament as followeth:

"I beinge by Gods providence posessed of a house and certayne lande in Sudbury, I beinge maryed and haveing one childe beinge a Sonne his name John Loker and consideringe that the law here established doth allow a wife after the death of her husband to enjoy a third parte of his house and lande during her naturall life, for the settinge of things in order, my will is that my wife shall enjoy my house and all my lande to her use if she remayne a widow untill my sonn come to the age of one and twenty yeares, but if she be maryed then shee shall enjoy the house and all the lande but untill my sonne comes to the age of eighteen yeares, and from that tyme two third parts of the rent of the house and lande shall bee to the benefit and particular use of my sonne and one third parte to the use of my wife untill my sonne come to the age of one and twenty yeares, but if my wife remaine a wyddow then my will is that shee should enjoy one third parte of my house and lande soe longe as shee soe continues, but if shee be married then my will is that my house and lande shall bee wholly surrendred unto my sonne John Loker when hee is one and twenty yeares old, and my will is that my wife shall kepe the house and fences in good reparations and soe leave them.

"And because my sonne is younge and in probability my wife may bee with child againe my will is, that my wife shall bringe up my sonne and that child or children with who shee now goes unto full age if she soe longe live, And in consideration thereof, I give unto my wife after my debts and funerall is discharged, All my goodes and cattle whatsoever (except my gunn and sword) and I give my gun and my sword unto my sonne John Loker and in case he dye before he come to age then I give my gun and sword to my brother Henry Loker Provided alwayes that if my wife dye before my children are brought up then my will is that my brother in law Robert Davies and my sister Bridget his wife livinge shall take up my sonne or children to bringe them up, And shall have the use of the lande and house to their use untill my sonne come to the age of eighteene yeares, And then the house and lands to returne wholly to the use of my sonne. 

"And further if my sister Bridgett davies shall dye then my will is that my brother Henry Loker shall take my sonne or children to bringe them up And hee to have the use of my house and lands, As my brother and sister davies were to have it till my sonnne come to the age of eighteene yeares, And then it is to be surrendred to the use of my sonne John Loker.  But in case my sonne John dye and there remayne another child of mine alive, then the house and land to bee to him or her surrendred when such child shall come to the age of eighteene yeares, but in case my child or children dye and that I have noe issue, then my will is that my wife shall enjoy my house and land to her proper use whether she bee maryed or a widdow duringe her naturall life.  And then after her decease my will is that my house and lande shall bee equally divided betweene my brother henry Loker my sister davies and my sister Newton. 

"And I doe hereby make my wife my brother henry Loker and my brother in law Robert davies to bee my executors desiringe them to see this my will and testament performed.

"In wittnes whereof I have hereunto sett my hand the 17th day of June 1653.
(mark) the marke of John Loker sett with his owne hand in the presence of
John Parmeter
Hugh Griffyn"

John Parmeter appeared before the Middlesex Probate Court on 17 August 1653 and deposed and testified under oath that John Loker deceased was of good understanding and memory when he made his last will and testament.

An inventory of the estate of John Loker of Sudbury was taken on 5 July 1653 by John Parmintir, Roger Draper, Robert Davies and Hugh Griffyn.  The real estate included the house and lot with an acre and a half of upland upon the hill before the house (24 pounds), 9 acres of upland in the south part of the town (5 pounds) and six acres of meadow in the three divisions (5 pounds).  The personal estate including livestock, the crop of corn and hops, arms and ammunition, bed and bedding, tools and implements, wearing apparel, household goods, tools, etc.  There were also items jointly owned with his brother, Henry Loker, and debts due at Boston for hops.  The sum came to 95 pounds, 17 shillings and 6 pence, besides the last grant of land which was not valued.

This will is different from many of the others that I've transcribed - John Loker died at age 45, relatively young, and had a young wife and one young child, with another in the womb.  He had to provide for his wife and children, and so selected his brother, Henry Loker and his sister Bridget (Loker) Davies, to help settle the estate and raise his children in case his wife died.  In case everyone died, he left his property to his brother and two sisters.  He did a wonderful job of covering all of the potential events, I think. 

I don't know what happened to the wife, Mary (Draper) Loker, but my database says she died after 1697 (source unknown at this point).  Did she marry another man, who brought up the children?  I don't know what happened to the son, Henry Loker.  Did he survive childhood, marry and raise a family?  My own ancestry is through the daughter, Mary Loker, who married Jonas Prescott and has thousands of descendants, including me!

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