Monday, April 25, 2016

Amanuensis Monday - Post 317: 1792 Will of Benjamin Sowle (1719-1803) of Westport, 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 1792 will of Benjamin Sowle (1719-1803) of Westport, Massachusetts:

The transcription of this will is:

[page 1]

This Twentieth day of the second month called February one Thousand
Seven hundred Ninety two I Benjamin Sowle of Westport in the
Coiunty of Bristol and Commonwealth of Massachusetts yeoman,
Being in a weak State of health but through the goodness of God of
Sound Disposing mind and memory Do need for preventing further difficul-
ty in my family make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament
and as to such Temporal things as God by his kind Providence hath
been Pleased to Bless me with in this life I give devise and dispose of
of the same in the following manner and form.

Imprimis My mind and will is and I do hereby order that all my Just
Debts funeral Charges and Just Expences of all sorts together with
the Settling of my Estate Should be first agreed and Justly discharged
out of my Personal Estate by my Executor herein after Named.

Item. I hereby give to Meribah Sowle my loveing and well-beloved wife
wife the Choice of my feather beds with a full set of furniture
throughout to the Same Sutable for both winter and Summer
also the Choice of my Cows also my Bible and my Chest of Drawers
all a free gift to her own disposal, and further I give to
my said wife as above said all the Provisions that I have
in Store at my decease that I have Provided for food and
raiment. And a further Provision is herein after made
for my wife during the time she remains my widow.

Item. I hereby give to my Daughter Martha Kirby and to my granson
Peter Davol son of my Daughter Patience deceased and to their heirs
and assigns for ever all my Real Estate and to be Divided Equilly
between them when my wife Ceases to be my widow and not to
Come into Possession of said real Estate till then.

Item. I hereby give to my two grandsons Namely Peter Davol and Ichabod
Kirby all my waring apperial of all sorts to be Equilly divided between
them. And my Gun I give to my granson Peter Davol.

Item. I hereby give to my grandaughter Meribah Davol my bigest
Puter Platter and my red Chest without draws

[page 2]

Item. I hereby give to my Daughter Martha Kirby and to my grandaughter
Meribah Davol daughter of my Daughter Patience deceased to be
Equilly divided between them all my Personal Estate that is
left at the time when my wife ceases to be my widow not herein
before otherwise disposed of. This intent of this gift is to include
only what is left of my Personal Estate that the use and Impro-
ovement of it is given to my wife during the time she remains my

Item. I hereby give to my above said wife the use and Improvement of
all my Real Estate, also all my Personal Estate that is not herein
before otherwise wise disposed of during the term of time She
remains my widow; And all the gifts uses and Improvements
herein given to my wife I give her for the love and good will
I have for her and in liu of her ^right of^ dower and Power of thirds
in my Estate.

Item. I do hereby ordain Constitute and appoint my beloved and trusty
Son in law Benjamin Davol of this Town Sole Executor of this
my last Will and Testament hereby making null and void all
other wills or Testaments by me before this time made
Rattifying this and no other to be my last will and Testament
in wittness whereof I the said Benjamin Sowle have here
Unto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.
Singed Sealed Pronounced and declared by the said Benjamin
Sowl to be his last Will and Testament in the Presence
of us who have ^hereunto^ Subscribed our names as wittnesses in the
Presence of Each other and the Testator.

Phillip Tripp                                                  his
Lemuel Sowle                               Benjamin X Sowle     {seal}
Gideon Davis                                             mark

                                                           Tripp dead
                                                           Sowle N York State
                                                           May 3'd 1803 approved

The source citation for this will in Benjamin Sowle's estate file on FHL Microfilm 0,580,779 is:

Bristol County [Mass.] Register of Probate, Bristol County (Mass.) Probate Records, 1690-1881, on 351 FHL US/CAN Microfilm rolls; Benjamin Sowle, Westport, 1803 estate file, accessed 2 February 2016 on FHL microfilm US/CAN 0,580,779;  citing original records at Probate Registry, Taunton, Mass.

Benjamin Sowle wrote his will in 1792, and died 31 January 1803.  His wife, Meribah (Waite) Sowle, died 3 days later, on 3 February 1803.  They had two daughters, Martha Sowle (1743-1828) who married David Kirby (1740-1832) and Patience Sowle (1745-1780), who married Benjamin Devol (1741-????).

The heirs named in the will of Benjamin Sowle include:

*  his wife, Meribah Sowle, who died 3 February 1803
*  his daughter, Martha (Sowle) Kirby [wife of David Kirby]
*  his daughter, Patience (Sowle) Devol, deceased [wife of Benjamin Devol]
*  his grandson, Peter Devol [son of Benjamin and Patience (Sowle) Devol]
*  his granddaughter, Meribah Devol [daughter of Benjamin and Patience (Sowle) Devol]
*  his grandson, Ichabod Kirby [son of David and Martha (Sowle) Kirby]
*  his son-in-law, Benjamin Devol, as executor. [husband of Patience (Sowle) Devol]

The interesting bequest was that he gave his real estate to be equally divided between daughter Martha (Soule) Kirby and grandson Peter Devol after his wife's decease.  Assuming that was done, then Martha Kirby had real property to be disposed of or passed to her descendants by probate.  I need to find land records to determine if she sold her portion of the land and then used the proceeds to benefit her family and descendants.

The estate file had only letters testamentary and bond papers besides the will; there were no inventory, distribution or account papers.  The other papers may be in the Bristol County Probate Court clerk volumes rather than the estate file.  There was no estate file number for this estate file on the microfilm, similar to other Bristol county estate files on the FHL microfilm.

Benjamin Sowle and Meribah (Waite) Sowle are my sixth great-grandparents, and I am descended through their daughter, Martha (Sowle) Kirby, wife of David Kirby.


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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