Monday, September 17, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Thomas Bartlett (1594-1654) of Watertown, Mass.

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 Thomas Bartlett (1594-1654) of Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

Thomas Bartlett married Hannah --?-- in 1636, and they had five children:  Hannah Bartlett (1637-1639); Mehitabel Bartlett (1640-????); Hannah Bartlett (1643-????); Bathshua Bartlett (1646-1692); Abiah Bartlett (1651-1723), all in Watertown.  All of the children were under the age of 18 and unmarried when Thomas Bartlett died.

Thomas Bartlett died testate, having made a will dated 22 April 1653, and proved 20 June 1654.  It reads (Middlesex County [Massachusetts] Probate Records, Packet 1,361, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,386,051):

"1653 the 22 of Aprill

"The will and teastament of Thomas Bartlitt as Followeth --

"Imp I give unto my foure daughters viz Mehittibell; and Hanah; Bethshuah and Abbiah: to either of them seaven pounds tenn shillings apeice to be paied unto them att the age of eighteen yeares respectively attayned: or att their seaverall days of Marryage which com first and if either of my saied daughters shall depart this naturall life before the perfixed times: (viz eighteen yeares of age respectively attayned; or their seaverall days of Marryage. Then my will is the portion of such (so deaceassing) shall be eaqually devided betwene those of my daughters that shall survive.

"Also my will is that the rest of my estate of houseing lands goods Chattels and debtts shall be and remayne unto my wife Hannah Bartlitt: duering her naturall life and after hur decease; too thirds of my hoseing and lands to be and remayne unto my Fouer daughters; before named those of them that oute live my wife; to be eaqually devided: and if any of my saied daughters decease before my saied wife and leave: any children (of their bodyes lawfully begotten) then my will is that such children shall injoy the portion or part of the too thirds of the land given to their mother: the other third of my lands and hoseing: to be att my wives desposing att hur decease: (together with other goods or Chattels not hearby disposed of) or before as she shall have ned - my meaning is that such houseing Lands goods Chattels and debts: disposed of by this my will should be and remayne to those unto whome it is hearby given and their heirs to their proper use.

"Also my will is that my wife Hannah Bartlitt be Sole Executrix to this my will

the (mark) mark
of Thomas Bartlit (seal)

"read sealed and subscribed with (which com first enterlined) in the presence of uss

John Sherman
the marke (mark) of
Edward Dix"

"At a County Court held at (Boston) Charlestowne the 20. 4th mo. 1654 Ensigne Jno. Shearman, and Edward Dix attested upon oath that the within named Tho: Bartlet Deceased being of sound Judgement and perfect memory made the within written his Last will and testament, and thereunto put his hand and seale.  Entred and Recorded the 26. (12) 54"

The inventory of Thomas Bartlett's estate was taken by Edward Dix, John Sherman and John Coolidge on 9 June 1654 and totalled 181 pounds 16 shillings.  The real estate totalled 81 pounds, 10 shillings, and included:

1)   dwelling house, barn and homestall, 60 pounds;
2)   three acres of planting land by John Fleming, 4 pounds;
3)  30 acres of Great Dividend, 5 pounds;
4)  two acres of meadow by estimation at Beaver Brook, 8 pounds;
5)  two acres of Remote Meadow, 10 shillings;
6)  12 acres of land in Lieu of the Township, 3 pounds;
7)  three acres of land upon the plain, 1 pound.

The personal estate included two oxen, five cows, one two year old heifer, two calves, two swine, plow, cart and husbandry utensils, household goods, furniture, books, lumber and wearing apparel.

The inventory of the estate of "Hanah Bartlitt widow of Watertowne lately deceased" was taken by John Sherman, Henry Bright and John Biscoe on 30 September 1676, and totalled 138 pounds 13 shillings, of which 120 pounds 10 shillings was real estate (Middlesex County Probate Records, Probate Packet #1,344, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,386,015):

1)  mansion house and land adjoining, about 20 acres, 80 pounds;
2)  three acres of upland, 6 pounds; 30 acres of Great Dividend, 10 pounds;
3)  16 acres of land in Lieu of Township, 8 pounds;
4)  farm of 60 acres, 3 pounds;
5)  two acres of meadow at Beaver Brook, 10 pounds;
6)  two acres of meadow at West Pine Meadows [Remote Meadows], 3 pounds 10 shillings.

Unfortunately, neither probate record provides information on the distribution to the heirs surviving Thomas and Hannah Bartlett.  My ancestry is through Abiah Bartlett who married Jonathan Sanderson (1646-1735) in 1669.  

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

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