Monday, February 15, 2016

Amanuensis Monday - Post #307: 1809 Inventory of Sarah Sever (1736-1809) Estate

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 Inventory of the estate of Sarah Sever (1736-1809) in Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts:

[image 7]

The transcription of this Inventory and accompanying legal notices is:

Inventory of the Estate of the widow Sarah Sever late of
Westminster decesd we do aprise as follows Viz.

Real Estate 30 acres land at $15 per acre $ 450:  0
Personal 1 bibel $1 best gound $1.75 one ditto ct. 25          3:  0
1 quilted pettecot ct.25 one black Scirt ct.67 one yellow scirt ct.50           1:42
1 wollen clock ct.67 one Silk Ditto ct.58 one wollen scirt ct.33        1:58
1 Bunett ct.40 one black kerchif $1.25 one white ditto ct.20        1:85
4 old kerchifs ct.16 three Shifts $1.50 two best aprons $1.20        2:86
2 wollen aprons ct.66 two Short gounds ct.60 four pair Stockings ct.80        4:  6
1 pair Shoes ct.66 three pair piller Cases $1.25 one best Sheat $2        3:94
1 Second best Sheat $1.25 third Sheat ct.66 forth Sheat ct.25        2:16
1 peacetoo Cloth ct.12 one Lace gound ct.16 five yeards wollen Cloth $2.50        2:78
3-1/2 yeards dieper cloth $1.33 one Curtin Valance ct.20 one Churn ct.33          1:86
1 dieper towell ct.25 one Chiste draws $1.50 one washtub ct.25        2:  0
2 pails ct.20 two small tubs ct.20 two wheels ct.60 one Long tabel ct.20        1:20
1 Small tabel ct.33 one side Sadel ct.20 best puter plate ct.90        1:43
2 small puter platers ct.99 Six puter plats $1.50 one puter bason ct.28              2:77
2 spoons ct.6 one flat Iron ct.25 one milk pan ct.17 one glass botle ct.12          :60
1 Large Erthen pot ct.16 one small ditto ct.70 one Candelstick ct.12               :35
½ Set Knife & fork ct.20 one dish Cittel $1 one Crain ct.56        1:76
1 fireslice & tongs ct.75 one Civerlead $3 one bead quilt $1        4:75
1 fether bead bolster& piller $3 one Cow & Calf $22        25:  0

$ 513.34

Westminster April the 17 1809 Wm Penniman
                                                   Daniel Howe
                                                  Heman Ray

Worcester Ss Probate Court at Lancaster Nov'r 21st 1809
Personally appeared Mr. Benjamin Sever and
made Oath that the above is a true Inventory
of said Sarah Severs Estate that has come to
his knowledge and that if any thing further
shall appear he will account for the same in
the Probate office.
                                               Nath. Paine JProb.

The source citation for this Inventory in the probate packet is:

Worcester County, Massachusetts, Probate case files, Case file 52924, Sarah Sever, 1809 inventory (image 7 of 7); "Worcester County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1731-1881," digital images, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors   ( accessed 2 January 2016); citing original records from Worcester County (Mass.) Probate Court.

Sarah (Read) Sever (1736-1809) was the wife of Norman Sever (1734-1787) of Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts.  Norman Sever died intestate, and in the settlement of his estate (see Amanuensis Monday - Post #305: 1792 Appraisal and Division of Estate of Norman Sever (1734-1787) of Westminster, Mass.), Sarah received one third of the real estate (about 27.5 acres) and of the personal estate.  Their eldest son, Benjamin Sever, received the other two thirds of the estate, and paid each of his siblings an equal share of his two thirds share the value of the real estate.

The present probate packet does not provide any clue as to how Sarah Sever's estate was divided.  It may be that Benjamin received all of the real estate (the 30 acres in the inventory) and may or may not have paid each of his siblings their equal share of the estate.  

Note the "unique" spelling of almost every article in the inventory - it is phonetic.  The "cts.xx" in the inventory means "cents .xx."  I think that "puter" is, of course, pewter; "gound" is a gown; a "cittel" is a kettle; and a "piller" is a pillow. I have no clue what a "peacetoo cloth" or a "Crain" is.  Note that there is a "bibel" - I wonder if that survived down to the present time.  Probably not.  Too bad.

UPDATE: Reader Geolover knows all about fabrics and clothing, and offered:  "peacetoo" is a piece of tow cloth; "crain" a crane for the fireplace; "civerlead" is a coverlet.  Thank you!  

Norman and Sarah (Read) Seaver are my 5th great-grandparents through their son Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816), who married Martha Whitney (1764-1832).


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Geolover said...

That's a piece of tow cloth. Tow fibers were the outer, coarser fibers of the flax plant. Tow fibers were spun and woven into such things as grain bags to take to the mill and back as flour, or other utility items.

Crain doubtless = crane for the fireplace.

You did pretty well deciphering this one -- at least the handwriting was not very bad!

Randy Seaver said...

Thanks for the help! This was a challenge. I will correct the commentary noting your assistance.

Geolover said...

Oh, and in the next to last line, the item before the quilt is a Civerlead rather than Civerbead. It would be a coverlet, also seen in inventories as kivverlead, coverlid, and other renditions. Woven coverlets were usually of white cotton and dyed wool (often blue, sometimes red and blue, and later with green, yellow and other colors). Coverlets were bedcovers. In 1809 the coverlet would have had a geometric pattern. At that time a few different weave structures were available. With its high value compared to the quilt, this one could have been of doublecloth, a warm addition to a featherbed in cold weather.

Michigan Girl said...

That was an interesting one Randy. Loved the spelling. Too bad about the "bibel." Wouldn't we love to have all those old family Bibles?

Geolover said...

Randy, you most generously said, "Reader Geolover knows all about fabrics and clothing . . . ."

Goodness! I do have some knowledge in the realm of textiles, but cannot claim expertise in the realm of clothing. History and development of clothing styles is a specialty I cannot claim.

I hope you will continue to explore estate inventories / appraisements / sale bills. Material culture is always a window through which we can glimpse part of our relatives' daily lives.

Lynne Carothers said...

The name Wm Penniman certainly caught my eye! I descend from several William Penniman's and they were a significant family in the Boston/Braintree area of MA from mid to late 1600's onward.

What was his role here? Was he a witness or an executor or what? Of course, I do not know which William this might be. Research needed.