Monday, April 23, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Samuel Tefft (1644-1725) of South Kingstown, R.I.

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 probate file of Samuel Tefft (1644-1725), who married Elizabeth Jenckes (1658-1740) in 1675 in Kingstown, Rhode Island.  They had children:  John Tefft (1676-1762); Peter Tefft (1678-1725); Esther Tefft (1680-1726); Mary Tefft (1683-????); Samuel Tefft (1685-1760); Elizabeth Tefft (1687-1750); Tabitha Tefft (1688-????); Sarah Tefft (1690-1725); Susannah Tefft (1693-????); Mercy Tefft (1696-????).  Samuel tefft (1644-1725) is one of my eighth great-grandfathers.

Samuel Tefft died after 16 March 1725 (when he made his will) and before December 20, 1725 when the probate of the will is mentioned in the South Kingstown Probate Records.

Administration of the estate was granted to his widow and executrix, Elizabeth Tefft on 14 February 1725/6 (transcribed from the South Kingstown Probate and Town Council Records, Volume 2, page 29, on FHL Microfilm 0,931,833):

"The town councill of South Kingstown in the Colony of Rhod Island hath this day Granted to Elisabeth Tefft widow and Executrix to Samuell Tefft of sd town Deceased administration upon all the Estate of your husband Lying and being in South Kingstown aforesd we her Maj-ties Justices by and with the advice of the town Coun-ll of South Kingstown being Impowered by the Laws of the Colony for the Granting of probate and Letters of administration in the town aforesd to Elisabeth Tefft Executrix to your husband aforesd deceased we trusting in your Care and ????? do by these presents Commit unto you full power to administer Upon all and Singular the goods chattels Rights and Credits of your husband aforesd deceased and well and faithfully do Levy Recover and Receive all and what So Ever debts and dues and to dispose of the same according to Law and to pay all Just Debts in which the deceased Samuel Tefft Stood behind for so far as his Goods Chattels rights and Credits will Extend according to the true ??abley thereof and to make a true and perfect Inventory of all and Singular the Goods Chattels Rights and Credits of the deceased and to Exhibit the Same to the town coun-ll aforesd at or before one twalmonth and a day after the date hereof and to render a plain and true acc-t of your administration upon oath   We do by these Presents ordaine Constitute and appoint you administratrix of all and Singular the Goods Chattels Rights and Credits aforesd Signed by order of the town Coun-l the 14 day of February 1725/6 and Sealed with the Coun-l Seal."

The Last Will and Testament of Samuel Tefft reads (transcribed from the South Kingstown Probate and Town Council Records, Volume 2, pages 29-33, on FHL Microfilm 0,931,833, a clerk's copy):

"In the Name of God Amen the sixteenth day of March Anno Dom one Thousand seven hundred and Twenty four or five I Sam-ll Tefft, Sen-r of South Kingstown in ye Colony of Rhode Island & Providence Plantations in New England Yeoman being Ancient & weak in body but of perfect Mind and Memory Thanks be Given Unto God Therefore calling Unto Mind the Mortality of my body and knowing it is Appointed for all Men once to dy Do make & ordaine this my Last will & Testament that is to Say Principally & first of all I Give & recommend my Soul Into the hands of God that Gave it & my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in Decent Christian buriall at the Discrestion of my Executrix hereafter named Nothing Doubting but at the Gen-ll Resurrection I shall receive the same againe by the Mighty power of God And as touching Such Worldly Estate where with it hath pleased God to Bless in this life I Give demise & Dispose of the Same in following manner & forme

"Imprimis. I Will that all my Just Debts & funerall Charges be paid in Due time

"Item  I Give & bequeath to my beloved son John Tefft a Certaine Neck of land the w-ch I bought of Robert Little It being Scituate in South Kingstown aforesd Containing by Estimation one hundred Acres & is bounded Northwardly by lands of William Knowles Westward on Chippuxet River Southerly on a brook that runs out of a pond and into said river Easterly by a piece of land that I Sold to My sd Son which neck of Land I Give & bequeath to my said son John Tefft and to his heirs & Assigns forever

"Item I Give & Bequeath Unto my Beloved Son Samuell Tefft the one halfe my Whomested farme Where I now live to be taken of at the south side that is to say that part of it that lies to the westward of the brook that runs throw the great bog to be bounded Northwardly by the old Ditch that run from the pond to or near the bridge that is over sd brook in the said bog & Westerly by Land of John Tefft & and that part of in lies to the Eastward of said brook is to be run of by a East & West line so far Northward as to make up the one halfe of said farme in ye whole & it is bounded Southerly partly by Undivided Lands and partly by lands of William Gardner son to Henry & partly by land of Christopher Allen & Easterly by a highway & Northerly by the remaining part of sd farme to be & remaine to my sd son Samuell Tefft & his Heirs & Assigns forever

"Item. I Give and Bequeath to my two before mentioned sons (Viz) John Tefft & Samuell Tefft a Certaine Tract of Land Containing one Hundred & Thirty five acres Lying and being Scituate in The Townshipp of Westerly and is part of the Shannock Purchase & Is bounded Southwardly by land of sd John Tefft & Westerly by land of Thomas Rogers & Easterly by Land now in the possession of Jeffery Haszard to be Equally Divided between my sd Two Sons as they shall agree to it. After my Decease & to remaine to them & their Heirs & Assigns forever

"Item I Give and Bequeath to My Beloved Son Joseph Tefft one Tract of Land Lying in Shannock Purchase in the Township of Westerly and Lyes Adjoining to Weston Clerke's Land the bounds whereof may appear by my Deed to be and to remaine to him my Son Joseph Tefft and to his Heirs and Assigns forever---

"Item I Give and bequeath to my Welbeloved Wife Elisabeth Tefft My Now dwelling House together with my Barne and Orchard with the one halfe of My Whomested farme Where I now live to be taken of at North Side sd farme and bounded Southerly by the Other halfe Which I Gave to my Son Sam-ll Tefft Easterly by a highway Northwardly by Land of Henry Knowles and Westerly by Land of John Tefft to be & Remaine to my said Wife Dureing the Time of her Naturall life And After her Decease the sd Northward most halfe of my Whomested Farme With the Housing & Orchards Thereon to return to my two before metioned Sons John Tefft and Samuel Tefft to be Equally Divided Between them as they Two Shall agree in ye Division of the Same

"Item My Will is that my sd two sons John Tefft and Sam-ll Tefft Shall be at Equall Charge in Maintaining of my Daughter Tabitha Tefft after my Decease that is to say they shall Provide all Things Necessary for her Maintainance & Comfortable Support During the Whole time of her Naturall Life

"Item I Give to my Welbeloved Daughters (Viz) Elizabeth Carpenter Esther Mumford and Mary Newton Each of Them Twenty pounds Apiece to be paid to them by my said son John Tefft within one year Next after my Decease

" Item  I Give my Two Wellbeloved Daughters, Marcy Tefft & Susannah Crandell Each of them Twenty pounds apiece and also Twenty pounds to the Children of My Daughter Sarah Witter Deceased to be Equally Divided mongst the said Children & to be paid to the said Marcy Tefft Susannah Crandall & Children aforesd by My before mentioned Son Samuell Tefft within one Year Next of my Decease

"Item I Give to My before mentioned Daughter Marcy Tefft Thirty pounds to be paid to her by my Executrix within one Year Next after my Decease--

"Item I give to My Grand Daughter Sarah Witter Ten pounds to be paid her by my Exec-trix when she arrives to the age of Eighteen Years--

"Item I give to my Grand Son Daniel Tefft Son to Peter Tefft Deceased the sum of Twenty pounds if he lives in My family where I now live till he arrives to the age of Twenty one Years which is to be paid by My Execut-x

"Item It is to be Under Stood that My Will & meaning is That the Legacies before mentioned which are only set forth to be paid so Many pounds are to be paid in Current Money or passable bills of Publick Credit in ye Colony Aforesd

"Item I give all My Movable Estate both household Good and all My other Chattels that I have not already Given Away In this Instrument to My Sd Wife Elizabeth Tefft for her to dispose of as she shall see Cause Amongst My Children and I doe hereby also Constitute Make & ordaine My Sd Welbeloved Wife Elizabeth Tefft to be my whole and Sole Executrix of This My Last Will & Testament and I doe hereby Uterly Disallow Evoke and Disannull all and Every other former Testaments Wills Legacies & bequests and Executors by Me in any wise before Named Willed & bequeathed ratifying & Confirming this and no other to be My Last Will & Testament In witness Whereof I have hereunto Sett My hand & Seall the day & year first before written 1724/5

The Mark of Samuell T Tefft Senior (seal)"

"Signed Sealed Published pronounced
and Declared by the said Sam-ll
Tefft as his Last Will & Testament
In the presence of Subsc-rs
Rob-t Hannah
Abraham Perkins
Rowse Helme"

The subscribers appeared before the South Kingstown Town Council on 20 December 1725 and declared that they had indeed witnessed Samuel Tefft sign this document (South Kingstown Probate and Town Council Records, Volume 2, page 33, on FHL Microfilm 0,931,833).

An inventory of the personal estate of Samuel Tefft of South Kingstown was taken on 16 and 17 December 1725 by  William Robinson, Joseph Sheffield and Abial Shearman.  This very detailed inventory, comprising over five pages in the South Kingstown records,  totalled 947 pounds, 12 shillings, 6 pence.  The appraisers appeared before the Court on 14 February 1725/6 and made oath that it was a true and perfect inventory of the personal estate of Samuel Tefft.  Elizabeth Tefft presented the inventory to the Court on 14 March 1725/6 (South Kingstown Probate and Town Council Records, Volume 2, pages 34-38, on FHL Microfilm 0,931,833).

An additional inventory, appraised by Robert Hannah and Rowse Helme, was taken on 17 February 1725/6.  It totalled 62 pounds, 10 shillings, 2 pence.  It was presented to the Cpourt on 17 March 1725/6 and accepted upon oath of the appraisers (South Kingstown Probate and Town Council Records, Volume 2, page 39, on FHL Microfilm 0,931,833).

The will of Samuel Tefft grants his wife Elizabeth the dwelling house and half of the home farm until her death.  It grants land to sons John, Samuel and Joseph Tefft.  It mentions daughters Tabitha Tefft, Elizabeth Carpenter, Esther Mumford, Mary Newton, Marcy Tefft, Susannah Crandall.  It mentions deceased daughter Sarah Witter and her daughter Sarah, and deceased son Peter Tefft and his son Daniel Tefft.  All of the children listed above are mentioned.  However, I did not have son Joseph Tefft in my database - until now!  How did I miss him?

My line from Samuel Tefft descends through daughter Elizabeth who married Solomon Carpenter (1677-1750) in 1702.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

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