Monday, May 11, 2015

Amanuensis Monday - Post 267. 1691 Will of Roger Eastman of Salisbury, Massachusetts

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent  TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme years ago called "Amanuensis Monday."  John offers this definition for "amanuensis:" 

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

The subject today is the 1691 will of Roger Eastman (1612-1694) of Salisbury, Essex County, Massachusetts:

The transcription of this will is (handwritten, lines transcribed as written):

In the name of God Amen. The twenty Six day of June Anno Dom: sixteen hundred ninety one
I Roger Easman of the town of Salisbury in the County of Essex in Massachusetts Colony of New England
Carpenter: being weak in body, but of sound & perfect memory, praised be God: doe make & ordain this my
last will & Testament: in manner & form following. Viz. Imp I bequeath my Soul into the hands of
Allmighty God my maker, hoping through the meritorious Death & passion of Jesus Christ my only Saviour
& Redeemer to Receive free Pardon & forgivness of all my Sinns. And my body to be buried in Christian
buriall at the discretion of my Executrix hereafter nominated: and as for that Worldly Estate as the Lord
in mercy hath lent me my will & meaning is that it be disposed & bestowed as in this my will is herafter
Expressed. Imp. I doe give & bequeath to my Sonn John Easman twelve pence. It: I doe give
& bequeath to my Sonn Nathaniel Easman twelve pence. It: I give & bequeath to my Sonn
Phillip Easman twelve pence. I doe give & bequeath a certain debt of about three or four
pounds that my Sonn Thos Easman now deceased owed unto me unto Deborah the widdow & Relict of my
said Sonn Tho: Easman. It: I give unto my Sonn Tymothy Easman twelve Pence. It: I doe
give & bequeath unto my Sonn Joseph Easman twelve pence. It: I doe give unto my Sonn
Benjamin Easman twelve pence. It: I doe give & bequeath to my Son Samll Easman twelve pence.
It: I doe give & bequeath unto my daughter Sarah Shepherd twelve pence: It: I doe give
& bequeath unto my daughter Ruth Herd a Certain meddow lott being two Acres more or less lying
in the Tad [?] meddow between Mr. John Sanders & Thos. Rowells meddow which I Esteem
& vallue to her at twenty pounds; & having already given to her & payd twelve pounds thirteen
shillings; I doe now allso give & bequeath unto her my said daughter Ruth Herd Seaven pounds &
seaven shillings; Also my will & meaning is that the aforesd Legacies be payd by my
Executrix in ordinary Country pay & at ordinary prizes amongst us here; within one year
after my decease. And all the rest of my Estate undisposed of by this my Will
I doe give & bequeath unto my beloved Wife Sarah Easman, with power to sell & dispose of
as her necessity may require or as she shall think meet: & make her Sole Executrix of this
my last will & Testament; revoking all other wills & testaments, in Witness whereof I have
hereunto Set my hand & seal this twenty Sixth day of June Anno Dom. Sixteen hundred
ninety one.
Signed, Sealed & declared by                                            Roger X Easman
Rodger Easman to be his                 March 27 1695                  mark
last Will & Testament                     Mr. James Allen made oath {seal}
before us
James Allin                                      Anna Allen made oath that She
Rachill Allin                                    Sett her hand as An Evidence to this
Anna Allin                                       will

The source citation for this document is:

Essex County, Massachusetts, Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881, Estate Case 8488 image 7 of 8, will of Roger Easman, 1691; digital images, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( accessed 10 May 2015).

This will was written by another person with excellent penmanship, presumably under Roger Eastman's direction, since he signed it and the witnesses signed it, and the will was attested in court after his death.

I had a difficult time determining if the bequests for the sons was 12 pence or 12 pounds.  Here are snippets from the will:

a)  "twelve pence":  

b)  "twenty pounds":

As you can see, the words are written somewhat differently - the letters "o", "u", "d" and "s" in "pounds" are quite distinct from the "e", "n", and "c" in "pence.  The flourish after the "c" in "pence" confused me.

Ruth (Easman) Heard was the youngest daughter of Roger and Sarah Eastman.  It is probable that she had not received land or some other gift from her father and therefore received a specific piece of land in the will.  I think that Roger probably gave land to his other children at some point in time before writing this will.  A search of Essex County land records will probably find those deeds.  

The will names the following heirs:

*  wife and executrix Sarah Easman (1620-1698)
*  son John Easman (1640-1720)
*  son Nathaniel Easman (1643-1709)
*  son Phillip Easman (1644-1714)
*  son Thomas Easman, now deceased (1646-1688), and his widow Deborah
*  son Tymothy Easman (1648-1733)
*  son Joseph Easman (1650-1692)
*  son Benjaman Easman (1653-1728)
*  son Samuel Easman (1657-1725)
*  daughter Sarah Shepherd (1655-1745)
*  daughter Ruth Herd (1660-????)

These children are named in birth order, except Sarah should be between Benjamin and Samuel.

I am descended through the second son, Nathaniel Eastman (1643-1709) who married Elizabeth Hudson in 1672.

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