Monday, August 3, 2015

Amanuensis Monday - Week 279: 1809 Will of Mercy (Foster) (Russell) Sever (1737-1810) of Kingston, Mass.

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 1809 will of Mercy (Foster) (Russell) Sever (1737-1810) of Kingston, Plymouth County, Massachusetts:

The transcription of the will and Judge's order is:

 [page 192, left-hand page of image, near the bottom]

In the name of God amen. I Mercy Sever of Kingston in the County of
Plymouth & Commonwealth of Massachusetts being visited with bodily Infirmity
and apprehending myself drawing to the close of life & being desirous to set my

[page 193]

house in order, do proceed to make this my last will and Testament.

In the first place: I commend my Soul to the Mercy of God through a Redeemer
for Pardon & eternal Salvation, and my Remains to decent Interment.

In the second place: it is my Will, after the discharge of debts & funeral charges that
all the property of which I shall die seized, be disposed of in the following Manner, viz.
To be placed in the hands of my beloved Son George Russell, he becoming obligated to pay
annually the lawful Interest of the whole Sum to my beloved Daughter Nancy
Sever during her Widowhood; and after her Marriage or Decease the said property to
pass, one half of it to Cap^n James Sever, and the other half to the Children of
John Seaver deceased in equal Shares.

The Reasons which have influenced me to this manner of disposing of my
property, to the Exclusion of my beloved Sons Nathaniel & George Russell and my
Grand Children Thomas, James, Charles & Mary Children of my beloved Son John Russell
deceased, & Lucia James & William, Children of my beloved Son James Russell deceased,
are, that said Property was derived to me, from my Honoured & beloved Husband
William Sever Esq^r deceased, and therefore may with propriety eventually revert
into the Line of his Family.

In the last place, I do hereby appoint my Son Nathaniel Russell Executor
to this my last will and Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set
my hand & seal this 26th day of December Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred
and nine.

Signed & sealed in presence of (the Insertion of
the word Widowhood & the Interlineation of the
word Marriage being made before the Signature)          Mercy Seaver {seal}

Zephaniah Willis
Mary Barnes
Polly Torrance

To all People to whom these presents shall come Joshua Thomas Esquire
{seal} Judge of the Probate of Wills &c in the County of Plymouth within the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts sendeth greeting.

Know ye that on the second day of May Anno Domini 1810 the Instrument
hereunto annexed (purporting the last Will & Testament of Mercy Sever late of
Kingston in said County Widow deceased) was presented for probate by Nathaniel
Russell the Executor therein named then present Rev^d Zephaniah Willis & on
the fourth day of the same May, Mary Barnes two of the Witnesses thereto
subscribed, who made oath that they saw the said Testatrix sign seal & heard her
declare the said Instrument to be her last will and Testament & that they with Polly
Torrance subscribed their Names together as witnesses to the Execution thereof in the said
Testatrix presence, and that she was then (to the best of their Judgment of sound
& disposing Mind; Wherefore I do prove approve & allow of the said Instrument as the
last will and Testament of the before named deceased, & do commit the Administration thereof
in all Matters, the same concerning & of her Estate whereof she died seized & possessed in said County
unto Nathaniel Russell the before named Executor well & faithfully to execute the said Will &
to administer the Estate of the said Deceased according thereto, who accepted of his said Trust & gave
bond with sureties to return an Inventory of said Deceased's Estate & according to the Directions of
the Law, & he shall render an account ^upon oath^ of his proceedings when thereunto lawfully required & Testimony
whereof. I have hereunto set my hand & Seal of Office, the fourth day of May & year above written.
                                                                         Joshua Thomas

The source citation for this record is (using the "Digital Archives" source template in RootsMagic 7):

"Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967," Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 July 2015), court clerk transcription, Probate records, 1806-1811 Vol 42-43 > Volume 43, Pages 192-193 (image 423 of 612), will of Mercy Sever of Kingston, written 1809, proved 1811 (from FHL microfilm US/CAN 0,550,902); citing original Plymouth County Probate Court volumes at State Archives, Boston, Mass.

Mercy Foster (1737-1810) was the daughter of Nathaniel and Mercy (Thatcher) Foster of Plymouth.  She married (1) John Russell (1732-1776) in 1757.  Her living Russell children in 1809 were Nancy (Russell) Sever, Nathaniel Russell (who she named executor) and George Russell, and her deceased children with issue were John Russell and James Russell, naming their living children.

Mercy (Foster) Russell married William Sever (1729-1809) on 19 June 1798 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  He died in 1809 in Kingston, Massachusetts.  

William Sever, in his 1802 will probated in 1809, left his real estate to his two living sons, James Sever and John Sever (see Amanuensis Monday - Post 277: 1802 Will of William Sever (1729-1809) of Kingston, Mass.).  The son John Sever (1766-1803) was the husband of Nancy (Russell) Sever, the daughter of Mercy (Foster) (Russell) Sever.  When William Sever's real estate was divided (see Amanuensis Monday - Post 278: 1811 Division of Lands of William Sever (1729-1809) of Kingston, Mass.), son John's estate was given one half of the real estate, including lots adjacent to William Sever's Mansion house.

In her will, Mercy (Foster) Russell) Sever left her entire estate to Captain James Sever (1761-1845) and the children of John Sever deceased (1766-1803), the husband of her daughter Nancy (Russell) Sever (1767-1848), in order to keep it in the Sever line.  Nancy (Russell) Sever outlived James Sever, and she also has an estate in the Plymouth County probate records.  It consisted of personal estate, not real estate, and was split between the heirs of James Sever and John Sever.

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