Monday, July 15, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Agreement by Sons of Henry and Ann (--?--) Collins in 1694.

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme 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 an agreement between three brothers in the probate file of Henry Collins (1606-1687) of  Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts.  As background, Henry married Ann --?-- in about 1629, and they had nine children:

*  Henry Collins (1629-1722), married Mary Tolman (1632-1723)
*  John Collins (1632-1679), married Abigail Johnson (1644-1680)
*  Margery Collins (1633-1702), married Isaac Williams
*  Hannah Collins (1635-????), married Nathaniel Ingersoll (1632-1718)
*  Mary Collins (1641-1682), married Samuel Johnson (1640-1723)
*  Joseph Collins (1643-1724), married (1) Sarah Silsbee (1646-1682), and (2) Mariah Smith (1664-after 1724)
*  Riall Collins (1645-1681)
*  Elizabeth Collins (1647-1690), married John Tolman (1635-1725)
*  Benjamin Collins (1648-1711), married (1) Priscilla Kirtland (1648-1676), and (2) Elizabeth Leach.

I posted the will of Henry Collins in Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Henry Collins (1606-1687) of Lynn, Mass. (posted 1 July 2013), and the will of Ann (--?--) Collins in Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Ann (--?--) Collins (1605-1691) of Lynn, Mass. (posted 8 July 2013).

Three years after the death of Ann Collins in 1691, the three surviving sons made an agreement on 27 November 1694 to divide the lands left to them by their father.   The agreement reads (from Essex County [Mass.] Probate Records, Probate Packet #6,057, transcribed from the Probate Court copy book Volume 305, page 066, accessed by Randy Seaver on FHL US/CAN Microfilm 0,860,486):

"This indenture, covenant and agreement made between Henry Collins, senior, Joseph Collins & Benjamin Collins, sons to Henry Collins deceased of Linn in the County of Essex in Their Maj-ties province N England.  Witnesseth that wheras our Honoured Father in his Last Will and Testament left us our several portions or proportions of land & meadow or marsh undivided, leving also his sollemn dying charge that love & unity & peace may be maintained & continued amongst his children to avoid therefore any difference that may for the future arise either among ourselves or posterity in succeeding generations with reference to the devisions or bounds of the several tracts or parcels of land or meadow willed and bequeathed to us by our honored Father.  We have therefore mutually agreed and consented to and accepted of our several divisionall parts & parcels of land & meadow or marsh with their limitts and bounds settled & firmly agreed upon forever therwith, to rest satisfied & contented & we doe therefore by these presents firmly & for ever bind our selves our heires executors and administrators to accept of and forever to rest satisfied with the several divisional parts & parcels of land & marsh or meadow & whatsoever Specified & Expresed in this present Indenture with the bounds & limitts & priviledges and commodities of the said tracts of land or meadow or marsh or their bounds and limitts Respectively allotted laid out & bounded to said Joseph Henry and Benjamin Collins according as is herewithin written and Subscribed.

"Henry Collins, Sen-r, his divisionall part.  Eighteen acres of upland more or less lying or being in his Fathers land or pasture bounded southeast by his own land and so butting upon the tenn acre lotts eastwardly, west by an apple tree; southwest to a stake in the field and so on to an heap of stones in the fence westerly, & from thence to a Walnut tree marked in the mill pasture with an heap of stones about it, and so from thence east north east to an heap of stones at the corner of a swamp, the said tract of land containing in it the five acres towards payment of said Henry Collins thirty pounds willed to him by his father.

"Item:  one third part of the meadow in Rumny Marsh staked out bounded on the river west and northeast, bounded on the marsh of his brother Joseph Collins & so as it is staked out.

"Item:  Three acres in the fresh meadow be it more or less bounded upon Crispus Brewar on the southeast, northwardly upon the brook, west northwest upon the meadow of Joseph Collins, southwest upon the common and as it is staked out.  Also in the Towne Marsh 2 acres towards his thirty pounds willed to him and one acre more as his divisionall part bounded on the south upon the river, west upon the marsh of Benjamin Collins & as it is staked out also to said Henry is allotted two thirds of the westerly end of the old barne with the orchard adjoyning.

"Joseph Collins, his divisionall part allotted to him:  Fifteen acres of upland more or less from the ten acre lots westerly to three rocks and so along to his couzen Joseph Collins his land and southwardly bounded upon Benjamin's line.  Also one third part of the marsh in Rumny Marsh bounded on the marsh of his brother Henry southwardly, westerly on the River, northwardly on Benjamin Collins his marsh, eastwardly to a stake.  Also in the Towne Marsh one acre adjoyning norwardly to Benjamin, southward bounded by the River as it is staked out, west on Mr. Cobbits Marsh.  Also in the fresh meadow three acres more or less bounded southwardly on Henry Collins meadow, norward upon the brook, west upon the common as it is staked out.

"Benjamin Collins, his divisional part allotted to him:  Twenty eight acres more or less comprehending his ten acres by his deed of gift, bounded southward by the land of his brother Henry, norward by the ten acre lotts, norwest upon his brother Josephs land to three rocks and so along to his kinsman Joseph Collins his land.  Also all Tailors rocks in lewe of the Cows leases & from thence to Henry Silsbe his land and from thence to an heap of stones in the fence adjoyning Henry Collins his land & from thence westward to a Walnutt tree in the mill pasture and all the land of Henry Collins deceased in said Mill Pasture on the norwest side of his brother Henrys bounds & so downe to the fresh marsh excepting an highway through the said pasture.  Also Eight acres more or less of fresh meadow containing the five acres given to him by his father, southward bounded by the highway, norwardly by the brook, norwest by Crispus Brewar, westward by towne common. 

"Also allotted to Benjamin in Rumny Marsh one third of his Fathers marsh as it is staked out bounded upon the river west south upon the marsh of Joseph Collins & east upon the marsh of John Burrill Sen-r.  Also in the towne marsh one acre more or less bounded upon the River southward upon the marsh of his brother Henry westward upon the marsh of his brother Joseph & as it is now staked out.  Also the orchard adjoyning to Benjamins dwelling house up to his Fathers barn & to have the east bay of the old barn & liberty to thresh on the floor & liberty of carting to the barne through the yard only care to be taken for putting up the barrs for the security of the said yard.

"And we the said Henry Collins, Senr Joseph Collins & Benjamin Collins, sons to said Henry Collins dec-d doe by these presents firmly freely truly & really covenant promise indent bind & oblige our selves & our heires for ever to stand to these promises the divisional tracts & parcells of land & marsh & meadow and whatever els according as they are here bounded & stated never to molest each other in the free enjoyment theirof.  In Witness whereof the said Henry Joseph and Benjamin have to these presents set our hands & afixed our seals this Twenty Seventh day of November Anno Domo 1694 and the Sixth year of the Reign of King William and Queen Mary.

"Signed Sealed & Delivered                                Henry Collins (by mark)
in the presence of us                                          Joseph Collins
Jeremiah Shepard                                               Benjamin Collins
John Floyd
Mary Shepard "

Written along the side of the document was:

"Memorandum:  We mutually agree that whereas there is about 2 acres of land within the bounds of Benjamin Collins over and above his share and division of true intent and meaning is that said 2 acres being near the saw mill in Lynn shall be common for free use of all parties hereunto subscribing."

The agreement was accepted by the Judge of Probate, Bartholomew Gedney, on 22 July 1695, with all three sons appearing before the Court.

It appears from this record that these three sons amicably sorted out the grants of property left by their father in a reasonable manner.  We'll likely never know if there was disagreement or enmity between them.  If they did settle this amicably and equitably, then it is a tribute to their negotiating skills and sense of fairness.  

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copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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