Monday, March 29, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of Samuel Prescott (1674-1750)

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."

Samuel Prescott (1674-1750), son of Jonathan and Dorothy (Heald) Prescott, died testate in Acton, Massachusetts, having written a will on 19 August 1750. The probate papers are in Middlesex County Probate Records, Probate Packet #18,104 (original papers (not probate court clerk copies) filmed on FHL Microfilm 0,421,496). The will reads:

"In the Name of God Amen I Samuel Prescott of Acton in the County of Middlesex in the province of the Massachulsetts Bay in New England yeamon being of a Sound and Disposing mind though but weak and Infirme in Body Calling to mind my frailty Do make this my Last will and testament first I Committ my Soul to God who gave it and my body to the Earth to be Decently Buried at the Discretion of my Executor hereafter Named and as touching my worldly Estate I Dispose of the Same as follows.

"Imprimis I Give unto my well Beloved and onely Son Amos Prescott all my Lands and Buildings in Acton with all my Husbandry tools and wearing Apparel my Iron morter and staff He paying out unto the Children of my Daughter Esther Conant deceased the Sum of six pounds and to my Daughter Dorothy Heldreth the Sum of three pounds Six shillings and Eight pence and to my Daughter Mary Fletcher the Sum of Six pounds and to my Daughter Sarah Randal the sum of Six pounds and to my daughter Dorcas Minott the Sum of Six pounds and to the Children of my daughter Abigail Fox deceased the Sum of Six pounds and to my daughter Rebeckah Daves the Sum of Six pounds and to pay them thirty Shillings apeace a year untill the whole be paid the first payment to be one year after my decease.

"Also I Give unto my daughter Davies my pew in Acton meeting House.

"Also I Give unto my Grand daughter Frances Prescott the Bed in which she hath Constantly Lodged in Since my wives decease with the Bolster (and pillows sheets and Blankets and Coverlets Bed Stead and Cord there unto Belonging also my Great Brass Kittle.

"Also I Give unto my daughters above said (the Children of my daughter Conant and daughter Fox to have their equal shares) all the Remainder of my Estate to be Equilly devided Among them my Lawfull Debts Charge at Doctors and my funerall Charges to be first Reducted out.

"And I do hereby Appoint and make my Son Amos Prescott the Sole Executor of this my Last will and testament allowing no other to be my Last Will and testament. In wittness whereof I have Here unto Set my hand and Seal this Nineteenth Day of August 1756 and in the thirtieth year of His majesties Reign.

"signed Sealed and Delivered by the said
Samuel Prescott as his last Will and testament
in presence of us
Jonathan Hosmer .................................... his

Daniel Fletcher ......................... Samuel P Prescott (seal)
William Barker Junr." ........................... mark

On 9 October 1758, Deacon Jonathan Hosmer and Joseph Barker, both of Acton, and Captain Stephen Hosmer of Concord were appointed to a committee to apprise the Estate of Samuel Prescott, late of Acton.

An inventory of the real and personal estate of Samuel Prescott, late of Acton, was taken by the committee on 17 October 1758. The estate totalled 328 pounds, 9 shillings, 3 pence, including 227 pounds, 9 shillings, 4 pence in real estate. The real estate included a dwelling house (10 pounds), a barn (5 pounds), and one half of 163 acres and 104 rods of land (206 pounds, 9 shillings, 4 pence), and one pew in Acton meeting house (6 pounds). The inventory was exhibited on 23 October 1758 and approved by the Court.

On 11 December 1758, Amos Prescott presented the last will and testament of Samuel Prescott, late of Acton, and the inventory to the Court. The first two witnesses made oath to the Court that Samuel Prescott had been of sound mind when he made his last will and testament, but the third witness thought him uncapable. The Court delayed the hearing for three weeks. On 1 January 1759, the Court approved the will, the objections made being waived. Amos Prescott was ordered to present an Account of his proceedings when required.

Amos Prescott charged himself with the money left and the debts of his father, paid the debts, funeral expenses and executorship charges, all of which amounted to 49 pounds, 3 shillings, 10 pence. The Court accepted the Account on 5 May 1760.

I am descended from Samuel and Esther (Wheeler) Prescott through their daughter, Dorothy Hildreth (1702-1774) who married James Hildreth (1698-1761). Note that Samuel Prescott names his daughter Dorothy Hildreth in the will.

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