"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 Henry Collins (1606-1687) of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts. He 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.
Henry Collins' will is dated 10 February 1686/7 and was proved 31 March 1687 in Boston in Suffolk County, Massachusetts (during the administration of Sir Edmund Andros, estates over fifty pounds had to be probated in Boston). The will reads (transcribed by Randy Seaver from Suffolk County [Mass.] Probate Records, Volume 9, page numbers not recorded, accessed on FHL Microfilm 584,129, original papers in Probate Packet #1,532):
"In the name of God amen. I, Henry Collins, Senior, of Lynn, New England, aged 82 or thereabouts, being weak and infirm in body yet God granting me my reason and understanding in good measure so that I find myself in good capacity to settle the affairs of my family not knowing how soon my great change may come and being at present apprehensive of the imminent danger I am in in regard of prevailing distempers on my body have observed the providence of God in this present opportunity which God hath granted me to dispose of myself and that outward estate which God of his bounty and goodness hath bestowed upon me. As for my poor precious immortal soul, I resign it up unto the hands of my Dear Redeemer the Lord Jesus Christ who hath ransomed it by his precious blood looking to be justified freely by his grace and through his redemption exercising faith in him alone and trusting and relying upon him for righteousness and salvation having a well-ground assurance of his everlasting love and rich grace ... as having a poor frail body I command it to the dust out of which it was taken willing a decent interment thereof suitable to my rank and quality, and I die in the belief of the resurrection of my body, knowing that my redeemer lives and shall stand at the latter day upon the earth and though the worms may destroy this body yet in my flesh shall I see God. Job 19.26.27.
"As for the disposal of my outward estate, my will is that all my honest debts be duly and truly paid out of my assets.
"Item: That what ever lands or estate I have already given to any of my children whether my own natural children or those that stand related to me by marriage with any of my daughters that the said estate and every part of it be confirmed to them, with those parcels of land and meadow which I have given to my son Johnson upon marriage with my daughter, viz.: three acres of meadow in the country, two acres of salt marsh in Rumney Marsh next to John Burrills, and two acres of upland in my son Joseph Collins field, to be confirmed to my son Johnson and his heirs forever.
"Item: My will is that my dear and loving wife, who hath ever been tender of me and industrious in her place in procuring what outward estate God hath bestowed upon us, my will is that my whole personal estate that I am now possessed of both housing and lands, etc., be and abide to be my wifes during her natural life for her comfortable maintenance.
"Item: I give to my wife all my movables, chattels, cattle, etc. to be at her disposal either to my own children or my grandchildren as she shall see cause at her decease."
"Item: My will is that after my wifes decease all my lands and meadows (excepting four score acres of land lying up in the country near goodman Gowans) otherwise all my lands and meadows wheresoever to be divided equally among my three sons, Henry, Joseph and Benjamin, only my eldest son Henry have 30 pounds worth of land more than his other two brothers, and this together with his proportion of lands with Joseph and Benjamin and what I have formerly bequeathed to him that he accept of as a double portion.
"Item: My will is that my son Benjamin have 10 acres of land in my planting field towards his proportion.
"Item: I bequeath to my daughter Margery 30 pounds, and to my daughters Hannah and Elizabeth 20 pounds apiece to be paid out of my whole estate. As for my son John deceased his portion he received in his life time and so that his children do greatly and peaceably enjoy the same.
"Finally my will is that my children may carry it dutifully and tenderly toward their aged mother and that they may live in the fear of God, improving their interest in the covenant, and that they may live in love and peace one with another all their days, that so God of their father, the God of love and peace may be with them and bless them and grant them many prosperous days here and heaven hereafter.
"I do constitute my loving wife and eldest son, Henry Collins, to be executors of this my last will and testament, and Mr. Oliver Purchase and Mr. Jeremiah Shepard to be overseers, and to this my last will and testament I have set my hand and seal this 10th day of February in the year of our Lord 1686/7."
"Signed, sealed and delivered ....................................... Henry Collins
in the presence of these undernamed
Matthew Farrington, Jr."
The inventory of Henry Collins, Senior was presented to the Court by Henry Collins, Junior, on 31 March 1687 (Suffolk County Probate Records, 9:184). The total estate was 474 pounds, 10 shillings, which included real estate:
1) dwelling house and barns with all other housing with the orchard and land therein (70 pounds)
2) upland, pasture lands, meadows and salt marsh (315 pounds)
3) 80 acres of wilderness land up in the country, so-called, but sold (21 pounds)
Henry's wife, Ann (--?--) Collins died in 1691, and she also has a Probate record. The estates were settled by an agreement amongst the three surviving brothers in 1694.
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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver