Monday, March 8, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of John Prescott (1604-1681)

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme several months ago called Amanuensis Monday.

I loved the idea, and recently decided to follow it in order to share ancestral information and keep the theme going, and perhaps it will expand to other genealogy bloggers.

What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

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

John Prescott (1604-1681) died testate as a resident of Lancaster, Massachusetts. He left a long will and a large estate. The will reads (transcribed from Middlesex County (MA) Probate Records, Probate Packet #18,076, on FHL Microfilm 0,421,496, which includes the original handwritten will, not a probate court copy.):

"These presents witnesseth yt John Prescott of Lancaster in the County of Midlesex in New England Blaksmith: being under the sensible decayes of nature and the infirmities of old age & at present under a great deale of anguish and paine, but of a good and sound memorie at the writing hereof being moved upon considerations aforesaid together with the advis of Christian freinds to set his house in order in reference to the dispose of those outward good things the Lord in mercy hath betrusted him with, therefore I the said John Prescott doth hereby declare his Last will and Testament to be as followeth.

"Firstly and cheifly Comitting and Comending his Soule to almightie God that gave it him and his body to the Comon burying place here in Lancaster, and after his body being orderly and decently buryed and the Charge theirof defrayed together with all due debts discharged the Rest of his Lands and Estate to be disposed of as followeth: First in Reference to the Comfortable being of his loving wife during the time of her naturall Life; it is his will that his said wife have that End of the house where he and shee now dwelleth togather, with halfe the pasture and halfe the fruit of the aple trees and all the goods in the house, togather with two Cowes sp that shee shall Chuse & meddow sufisiant for wintring of them, out of the medowes sp ever shee shall chuse the said winter provision for the two cowes to be Equally and seasonably provided by his two sons John and Jonathan, and what this may fall short in Reference to convenient food and Cloathing and other nesesaries for her Comfort in sickness and health, to be Equaly provided by the aforesaid John and Jonathan out of the estate.

"And at the death of his aforesaid loving wife it is his will that the said Cowes and household goods be equally devided between his two sons aforesaid and the other part of the dwelling house outhousing pasture and orchard togather with the tenn acres of house lott lying on Georges Hill which was purchased of Daniell Gains to be equally devided between the said John and Jonathan and alsoe that part of the house and outhousing which is convenient for the two Cowes and their winter provision pasture and orchard willed to his Loving wife during her Life, at her death to be equaly devided alsoe between the said John and Jonathan, and furthermore it is his will that John Prescott his Eldest son have the Intervaile Land at Johns Jumpe, the Corne mille and all the land belonging to it and halfe the saw mills and halfe the Land belonging to it and all the house and barne their erected, and alsoe the house and farme at Washacomb Pond and all the Land their purchased from the Indians and halfe the medowes in all devisions in the towne acept sum litle part at Bar hill which after willed to James Sawyer, and one halfe of the Comon Right in the towne, and in reference to Second Devision land that part of it which lyeth at Danforths farme both upland and intervaile is willed to Jonathan and sixtie acres of that part at washacom litle pond to James Sawyer and halfe of sum brushie land capable of being made meadow at the side of the great pine plain to be within the said James Sawyers sixtie acres: and all the Rest of the second devision land both upland and Intervaile to be equaly devided between John Prescott and Jonathan aformentioned; and Jonathan Prescott his second son to have the Ry feild and all the Intervaile Lott at Nashaway River that part which he hath in posesion and the other part joyning to the high way and alsoe his part of second devision land aforementioned and also one halfe of all the medowes in all devisions in the towne not willed to John Prescot and Jams Sawyer aforementioned; and also the other halfe of the saw mill and Land belonging to it and it is to be understood that all timber on the land belonging to both Corne Mill and Saw mill be Comon to the use of the Saw mill: And in reference to his third son Jonas Prescott, it is hereby declared that he hath Received a full Childs portion at nonecoicus in a Corne mill and lands and other goods.

"And James Sawyer his granchild and servant it is his will that he have the sixtie acres of upland aforementioned and the two peices of medow at Bare hill one being part of his Second devision the upper most part on the brook and the other being part of his third devision lying on the brook below parkers medow & sum Intervaile Land lying upon Nashaway River purchased of Goodman Allen; Provided the said James Sawyer carie it beter than he did to his Granfather in his time and carie for as becoms an aprentice untill he be one and twentie years of age unto ye Executors of this will namly John Prescott and Jonathan Prescott who are alsoe herby engaged to pforme unto the said James what was promised by his said granfather, which was to Endevor to learne him the art and trade of a blaksmith, And in case the said James doe not pforme on his part as is afore expresed to the satisfaction of the overseers of this will, or otherwise if he doe not acept of the Land aforementioned, then the said Land and medow to be equally devided between the said John and Jonathan, And in Reference to his three Daughters namly Mary, Sara and Lydia they to have and Receive evrie of them five pounds to be paid to them by the Executors to Evrie one of them fifty shillings by the yeare two years after the death of theire father to be paid out of the movables and Martha Rug his grandchild to have a cow at the chois of her grandmother.

"And it is the Expres will and Charge of the testator to his wife and all his Children that they Labor and Endevor to preserve love and unitie among themselves and the upholding of Church and Comon welth, And to the End that this his Last will and testament may be truly prformed in all the parts of it, the said testator hath and herby doth constitut and apoint his two sons namly John Prescott and Jonathan Prescott Joynt Executors of this his Last will, And for the prevention of after trouble among those that survive about the dispose of the Estate according to his will, he hath hereby Chosen desired and apoynted the Reverend Mr. Joseph Rowlandson Deacon Sumner and Ralph Houghton overseers of this his will: unto whom all ye parties concerned in this his will in all dificult Cases are to Repaire and that nothing be done without their Consent and aprobation.

"And furthermore in Reference to the movabls it is his will that his son John have his anvill and after the debts and Legasies aforementioned be truly paid and fully discharged by the Executors and the spesiall trust pformed unto my wife during her life and at her death in respect of sicknes funerall expences, the Remainder of the movabls to be equally devided betwene my two sons John and Jonathan aformentioned. And for a further and fuller Declaration and Confirmation of this will to be the Last will and testament of the afornamed John Prescott he hath hereunto putt his hand and Seale this 8 of the Eight month one thousand six hundred Seaventie three.

"Signed, Sealed, & owned to be ................ Jno Prescott & seale
the Last will and testamt ................................. his mark
of the testator afornamed
in the presents of
Joseph Rowlandson
Roger Sumner
Ralph Houghton"

"Apr. 4, 1682: Roger Sumner, Ralph Houghton appearing in Court md oath to ye abovesd will
......................................... Jonathan Remington Cler"

I descend from John and Mary (Gawkroger) Prescott through their sons Jonathan and Jonas Prescott. More on them in another post.


Sara Gredler said...

Hi Cuz. I have Prescotts too! My ancestress Hannah Prescott (who married John Rugg) was a daughter of John and Mary (Gawkroger) Prescott!

That is one thing about New England lines - you can always find a cousin!

Geolover said...

Thank you for posting this. John Prescott was a very interesting person, what with his difficulties with the State Church.

I believe it was his daughter Sarah who married my ancestor Deacon John Longley of Groton [but I descend from Deacon John through his second wife, Deborah (Wilder) Houghton].

Deborah's first husband Ralph Houghton is not the one mentioned as co-overseer of the Will, but oh, don't these families intertwine?

Bill West said...

I just saw this post! I didn't
realize we had a cousin connection
in the Prescott line. I'm also
descended from Jonas.

Jimmy M. Sisson said...

Hi Cousin Randy. I am also descended from John PRESCOTT and Mary Gawkroger Platts through their son Jonas.
John and Mary are my 8th gr-grandparents,

Julie said...

Hi Randy,
I am just coming across this! We are cousins now at least twice. Once on my fathers side with Cutter and now on my mothers side with Prescott/Rugg. John and Hannah. Thank you for posting this will.

MTWaggin said...

I too just came across this and really enjoyed reading it. I descend from his daughter Mary!

Heidi Klardie said...

I also am from the Hannah Prescott & John Rugg line. Thanks for posting the will I wonder is there a post anywhere with the land mapped out on it that John Prescott owned does anyone know.