Thursday, July 16, 2015

Was the William Sever Mansion House Land Obtained by Inheritance?

As I've pursued the build date of the "Squire" William Sever (1729-1809) mansion house in Kingston, Massachusetts (see  Searching for William Sever's (1729-1809) Land Records in Kingston, Mass.- The Deed Indexes and Land Records of William Sever (1729-1809) of Kingston, Massachusetts) this week, I knew that I would need to look at inheritance as a source of the land.

Could I find probate records for William Sever's father, Nicholas Sever (1680-1764), his mother, Sarah (Warren) Sever (1692-1756), and James Warren (1700-1757), the father of William Sever's wife, Sarah Warren (1730-1797)?

Fortunately, probate records for Plymouth County, Massachusetts are available online on FamilySearch, in:

*  Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967 (Browse only) - these are proceedings indexes and probate court volumes.

*  Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Estate Files, 1686-1915 (Browse only) - these are complete probate packet contents.

1)  Nicholas Sever (1680-1764) estate records include a will but no account or distribution.  His only heir is his son, William Sever, whom he names executor and heir of his real and personal estate.  The 1762 will, 1764 letter of administration and 1764 bond affidavit are in Volume 19, page 34 of the probate court volumes.

2)  Sarah (Warren) Sever (1692-1757) estate records include a will but no account or distribution.  She named her husband, Nicholas Sever, her daughter Lucy Little, and her son William Sever as executors.  She divided her real and personal property between her two sons (both Sever) and two daughters (both Littles) without specifying the division.  There were no account or distribution papers in the probate packet or in the probate court papers.  The 1754 will, 1757 administration letter and 1757 bond were in Volume 14, Page 328.

3)  James Warren (1700-1757) was of Plymouth in Plymouth County, and his will named his son James Warren Junior as executor, and bequeathed real and personal property to his son James and his daughters Ann Warren and Sarah Sever, noting that he had already given Sarah a portion in money.  The real property given to Sarah are not defined in the inventory or account.  There is no mention of the town of Kingston in the documents.  The probate court papers include the 1757 will (Volumr 14, page 298), 1759 inventory (Volume 15, page 275) and 1762 account (Volume 16, page 439).

4)  I searched for William Sever in The Mayflower Descendant on, and found the article:

George Ernest Bowman, "The Will of James Warren3 of Plymouth and the Estates of His Widow and Unmarried Daughters," The Mayflower Descendant, Volume XXV, No. 1 (January 1923), pages 3-15.

This James Warren (1665-1715), who married Sarah Doty (1666-1749), was the father of James Warren (1700-1757), the father of Sarah (Warren) Sever (1730-1797), the wife of William Sever 1729-1809); and also the father of Sarah (Warren) (Little) Sever (1692-1756), the first wife of Nicholas Sever (1680-1764) and the mother of William Sever (1729-1809), the builder of the Squire Sever House in Kingston.

The article summarizes the probate records of James Warren (1665-1715), and since his wife survived him for 34 more years, the estate was not settled until the late 1750s.

There were two mentions of William Sever in the Bowman article.  Here are the snippets of them:

It is unclear to me if these two grants were in Plymouth, Kingston, or another town in Plymouth County.  I think that they are in Plymouth but am not sure.  Because of the volume of the papers in the probate packet for James Warren (1665-1715), I have not yet tracked everything down.

This James Warren (1665-1715) probate record is very complex.  Apparently, James and Sarah (Doty) Warren had two sons, James and Nathaniel, and seven daughters, three of whom died before marriage intestate.  The real property description in his will extract in the article includes his home farm lot and meadow, apparently in Plymouth, and out lands in Cedar Swamp, apparently in what is no Plympton town.

In conclusion for this part of my investigation, I have not yet clearly identified the land in Kingston, Massachusetts on which the "Squire" William Sever Mansion House was built in the 1760-1770 time frame.

My next step is to work my way forward to William Sever's (1729-1809) probate records in hopes that he clearly identifies the land on which the mansion house stands, and perhaps I can identify a  similar land description in the land and probate records already found in this post and previous posts.

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