Monday, September 24, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Solomon Keyes (1631-1702) of Chelmsford, Mass.

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme several years 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 Solomon Keyes (1631-1702) of Chelmsford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.  Solomon Keyes married Frances Grant (1634-1708) in 1653 in Newbury, Massachusetts.  They had 11 children:  Hannah Keyes (1654-????); Sarah Keyes (1656-????); Mary Keyes (1658-????); Jane Keyes (1660-1681); Judith Keyes (1662-????); Solomon Keyes (1665-????); Joseph Keyes (1667-1757); Ruth Keyes (1669-1671); Moses Keyes (1671-1745); John Keyes (1674-????); Stephen Keyes (1678-1714).

Solomon Keyes died testate, and his probate records are in Middlesex County [Mass.] Probate Records, Probate Packet #13,203 (images of original papers accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,416,784).  His will reads:

"Chelmsford December 16: 1701

"I Solomon Keyes Sener of the towne of Chelmsford in ye County of Middsx in New England being well striken in years & attended with infiritys not knowing how soone I may be Removed by death which is my dayly expectation yet being at this time through God's goodnes in good & perfect memory & sound judgment make this my last Will & Testament as followeth:

"Imprims I do when god shal call me out of this life Resigne my soul to God who gave it hoping & trusting in ye merits & Righteousnes of Christ yt it shall be & forever Rest with ye Lord: & my body I comitt to ye Earth out of which it was taken to have a decent & comly interement therein to Rest in hope of a glorious resurection at ye day of ye resurection.

"Item I do give unto my well beloved Wife Frances my now Dweling hous dureing ye time of her natural life & if it shal be kept in good Repair that she may live comfortably therein.  Also I give unto my sd wife all my moveable estate within sd hous as beding of all sorts - allso all brass iron & pewter & woden vessels with all other of my ... of household what so ever also all of mony due me from Rouille (?) for cared (?) sould there except two pounds & ten shilings which my sun Moses hath a promise of & whatever may be left of ye above sd particulars at ye time of ye death of my sd wife shal be at her whol Disposing.  Also I give unto my sd wife one quarter part of corn of all sorts of grain yt shall be raised yearly upon ye homested to be delivered to her by ye bushel when marchentable.  Also one third part of ye sider & one third part of yt appels produced from my orchards also one cow with maintenance.  Also coficiency of fire wood from time to time dureing ye time of her nautral life also one swine.

"Item  I give unto my eldest sun Soloman, a parcel of land & medow by estimation six acors be ye same more or les ajoyning to his hous & barn bounded south by ye land of ye fletchers westerly by a stone wall & Raill fenc North by a stone wall takeing in a small orchard & from there straight down by a willo ... also three acors of pine land bounded south by ye land of ye Fletchers North by ye towne highway east by ye towne common westwardly by my own land also two acors in ye New feild bounded North by Merrimack river west by ye land of John Grevath (?) south by ye land of Sergt Andrew Spaulding estwardly partly by my own land & partly by ye land of Moses Keyes also one parcel of medow joyning upon forty acor medow bounded acording to town Records being an acor & half be the same more or less.  also two acors of medow at ye medow cald by ye name of hether janglebox (?) also five acors of town Right all oye above premises & value at forty seven pounds as mony.  Also his trade tools & case about his hous thirty pounds.  Ye only obligation to ye above premises is if my sd sun Solomon shal pay unto Saml Clevlands eldest child Jayne Cleavland eight pounds & four pounds to his four sisters Namely to each twenty shilings apeece to them or their heirs in corn or cattel at mony price at his own dweling hous within five years after my deceas.  All of above mentioned lands & medow I give to my sun Solomon & to his heirs forever.

"Item I have given to my sun Joseph his full proportion by a deed of gifte except five shilings wch I hear will unto him.

"Item  I give unto my sun Moses trade & loom which ye valu at ten pounds also one cow & calf alredy received three pounds also one payr of oxen which he is to have next October price seven pounds & ten shillings.  Also five pounds in mony one half being payd alredy & ye other to be payd as before mentioned & the rest of his portion he hath alredy by a deed of gift also all my weaving cloths excepting two garments.

Item to my sun John I give half my land in ye new feild undisposed of also five pounds to be pauyd to him out of my estate in corn or cattel at mony price to be payd within ye town of Chelmsford within seven years after my deceas.  Ye above promises together with fifteen pounds alredy by him received amounts to twenty two pounds.  also I give sd sun his choise of two of my garments of my wearing apparil ye particulars above mentioned together with his trade which I value at twenty & five pounds is his full portion out of my estate.

"Item I give unto my sun Stephen & unto his heirs forever all ye remainder of my estat both real & personall at home & abroad yt is not allredy disposed of in this my will as lands of all sorts buldings fences orchard stock & taceling together with towne rights five acors. He performing such obligations as followeth yt is to say first yt he perform ye articles relating to his mother specifyed in this will. 2ly that he pay to his four sisters or their heirs nine pounds to each wch amounts to thirty six pounds in corn or cattel at mony price within five years after my deceas at his own dweling hous in Chelmsford.  3ly that he pay five pounds to his brother John as above specified also my just debts must be payd & funeral charges discharged.

"Finally I do Appoint & nominate my youngest sun Stephen Keyes my youngest sun to be sole executor of this my last will & Testament.  In witnes whearof I have set to my hand and seal.

..................................................................... Solomon Keyes Senior

"In presence of us

Edward Spaulding Senior
Eliazar Browne Senr
Andrew Spaulding"

The will was proved at Charlestown on 14 April 1702, with Edward Spaulding Senior, Eleazer Browne Junior and Andrew Spalding making oath that they were personally present and saw Solomon Keyes sign and seal this will.

No inventory or account was included in the probate packet.

In his will, Solomon named his wife, Frances, and his five sons (Solomon, Joseph, Moses, John and Stephen), but not any of his four living daughters.  He also names a daughter of Samuel Cleveland (who married daughter Jane).  That means that daughters Hannah, Sarah, Mary and Judith were still alive in 1701,.  However, I don't know who their spouses are (if there are spouses!).

My ancestry is through Joseph Keyes (1667-1757), who received a deed of gift to land in Chelmsford.  

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

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