Monday, September 13, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)

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

The subject today is the probate file of Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) of Leominster, Massachusetts, my great-great-grandfather. I posted the image of his one-page will in Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Will on last Thursday.

Isaac Seaver died testate, and his probate papers are in Worcester County (MA) Probate Records, Probate Packet B-27905, accessed at the Worcester County Courthouse in Worcester, Massachusetts. His will reads:

"Know All Men by These Presents, that I, Isaac Seaver of Leominster, in the County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.

"First. I hereby appoint Hamilton Mayo of said Leominster, the executor of this will.

"Second. I give my beloved wife Alvina M. Seaver, the sum of Twelve Hundred Dollars; also all my household furniture and housekeeping effects of every name and nature. This legacy is given by me in lieu of all her rights in my real estate and personal property.

"Third. I give and bequeath to the child or children of my deceased son, Benjamin, the sum of one Dollar.

"Fourth. All the rest and residue of my estate I give, devise and bequeath in equal shares to my children, Juliette G. Bryant, Frank W. Seaver, Elizabeth L. Blanchard, and Nettie M. Seaver.

"Fifth. I authorize and empower my said executor to sell my real estate at public or private sale, and to pay from the proceeds thereof the above legacy to my wife, dividing the residue among my children above mentioned.

"In testimoney whereof, I hereunto set my hand and seal, and publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, in the presence of witnesses named below, this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year nineteen hundred and one."
................................................................................... Isaac Seaver (seal)

"Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said Isaac Seaver as and for his last will and testament, in presence of us, who, in his presence and in the presence of each other, and at his request, have subscribed our names as witnesses hereto."
Hamilton Mayo
Andrew C. Belcher

Hamilton Mayo filed his affidavit on 22 March 1901, listing the heirs at law to be:
Alvina M. Seaver of Leominster Mass, widow
Juliette G. Bryant of Fitchburg Mass, daughter
Frank W. Seaver of Leominster, son
Elizabeth L. Blanchard of National City Ca, daughter
Nettie M. Seaver of Leominster, daughter
child of Benjamin Seaver, a deceased son, name and residence unknown.

As executor of the estate, Hamilton Mayo filed his account for the period of 9 April 1901 to 21 June 1901, showing that he charged himself with the amounts received from the estate, in the amount of $3737.88, and had disbursed the same amount to the creditors and heirs. The four living children signed a release of the account on 22 June 1901. The account was presented for allowance on 13 June 1916.

The inventory showed personal estate of $707.43, two debts due of $30, and the amount received by sale of the real estate as $3000, plus $0.45 interest, totalling $3737.88. Payments, charges, losses and distributions included $300 to Alvina M. Seaver for furniture, $1200 for her legacy, and $481.71 each to Juliett G. Bryant, Frank W. Seaver, Nellie M. Seaver and Elizabeth L. Blanchard.

When I first found this will, the surprise was the unnamed child of the son Benjamin Seaver. Subsequent research showed that Benjamin Seaver (1854-1894) married Ella Farrer in 1885 in Orange County, Florida, and they had a daughter Edith J. Seaver, born in 1887. Isaac must have lost track of Ella and Edith - probably because Ella married again in 1897 to Jessie H. Caldwell. Edith married Arlie Russell in about 1908. I wonder if she ever received the $1 bequeathed by her grandfather?

I wonder why the account kept by Hamilton Mayo wasn't presented to the court for 15 years, even though the estate was distributed in June 1901. Perhaps it was just an oversight.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information. Actually I was not aware of the probate process. But after reading your post, I came to know about it.

Probate Administration said...

Probate is that area that handles all the confusions related to the management, preservation, ownership to assets.