Monday, July 22, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Francis Nurse (1618-1695) of Salem, Mass.

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 the probate records of Francis Nurse (1618-1695) of  Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts.  As background, Francis married Rebecca Towne (1622-1692, one of the hanged "Salem witches")  in 1644, and they had eight children:

*  John Nurse (1645-1719), married (1) 1672 Elizabeth Smith (????-1673), and (2) 1677 Elizabeth Very
*  Sarah Nurse (1648-????), married 1669 Michael Bowden (1651-1740)
*  Samuel Nurse (1650-1720), married 1677 Mary Smith
*  Mary Nurse (1653-1749), married John Tarbell
*  Rebecca Nurse (1656-1719) married 1669 Thomas Preston (????-1697)
*  Elizabeth Nurse (1658-????), married 1678 William Russell
*  Francis Nurse (1661-1716) married 1685 Sarah Tarbell
*  Benjamin Nurse (1666-1748) married 1688 Tamesin Smith (????-1713)

Francis Nurse died intestate on 22 November 1695, but he made an agreement with his eight children (his sons and the spouses of his daughters) for his support on 4 December 1694.  It reads (transcribed by Randy Seaver from Essex County [Mass.] Probate Records, Volume 305, page 104, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,860,486):

"Know all men by these presents that I Francis Nurse of Salem in the County of Essex in his Maj-ties Province in New England Throw age Imperfect in body yet Competent of understanding but throw Weakness not being able to manage my outward Estate I Seeing Cause to Settle my Estate as Followeth  That is first my whole Estate Shall be to my eight Children Equally divided in quantity & quality to their proper use and behoofen to have & to hold in fee Simple to them and Their heires for ever all Except so much as Shall be after named that is to Say John Samuel Francis Benjamin Michael Thomas John William the Condition of this Settlement is as followeth.

"Imp-r  That my eight Children above named that is to say John Nurse Samuel Nurse Francis Nurse Benjamin Nurse Michael Bowden Thomas Preston John Tarbell William Russell all above Named shall pay all debts legally due from my said Estate and also that they pay or Cause to be paid to mee the above mentioned Francis Nurse yearly and Equally Each of them in proportion fourteen pounds a year yearly in Currant money of New England that is to say the above mentioned articles being performed the above mentioned Estate to be to my Children & their heires forever but if not performed this act to be void in Law. Further this fourteene pounds above Named is to be understood to be paid betwixt all the Brothers that is thirty five shillings a peice annually in specia as before mentioned.  Itt is to be understood that hee or they only that shall fail or Neglect to performe there obligation Shall Suffer thereby without any Damage or detriment to the Rest of Their Brethren.

"Further I Francis Nurse do Reserve in my hands as followeth viz my bed and beding Woolen and Lining and my Crop of corne both Indian and English that I have this year and Soe much fodder as will Sufficiently winter my mare Which I also keep in my hands and one Chest.

"Further I give to my Grandson John Nurse Son of my Son John Nurse ten pounds in or as money after my decease but if I have not Enuff Estate left in my hands then to be made up to him by my Children Equally if the above mentioned fourteen pounds be not Sufficient for my Comfortable maintenance then to be made up by my Children Equally. And further my will is that my Children do all of them Equally Contribute to my Decent buriall.  The word him interlined near the End was before Signing and Sealing.

"Signed Sealed DeliveredDated this 4th day of December 1694
in presence of us                                                    his mark
William Raiment                                             Francis  F  Nurse    (seal)
Israel Porter                                                         John Nurse   (seal)
Exercise Conant                                                Samuel Nurse  (seal)
                                                                        Francis Nurse   (seal)
                                                                     Benjamin Nurse   (seal)
                                                                      Michael Bowden   (seal)
                                                                     Thomas Preston   (seal)
                                                                          John Tarball   (seal)
                                                                      William Russell (mark)   (seal)"

On 23 December 1695, the eight Children personally appeared before Probate Court Judge Bartholomew Gedney and consented to the above written agreement.  The Court allowed the agreement.

An inventory of the estate of Francis Nurse (besides what he had disposed of among his children during his lifetime) totaled 35 pounds, 9 shillings, 6 pence.  Debts due included funeral charges and the legacy given to his grandson, and totaled 30 pounds, 17 shillings, 10 pence.  The debts due to the estate totaled 22 pounds, 5 shillings, 6 pence.  On 2 March 1696/7, John Nurse and Samuel Nurse, administrators for the estate, made an oath that the above was a true and perfect inventory of the estate of their father.  The inventory was allowed by the Court.

Francis and Rebecca (Towne) Nurse are one set of my 9th great-grandparents, through their daughter Sarah Nurse who married Michael Bowden.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Dandelion said...

This is interesting. I am descended from his son Francis and Sarah Tarbell. I sent the link to two of my cousins.
I have enormous respect for Rebecca. I'm not sure I could do what she did and say: "I'm not going to lie, go ahead and kill me!"

Alison McIntyre