Monday, November 22, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Ebenezer Phillips (1695-1746) Will

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 Ebenezer Phillips (1695-1746) of Southborough, Worcester County, Massachusetts, one of my 6th great-grandfathers. Ebenezer Phillips, son of Andrew and Sarah (Smith) Phillips of Charlestown, married Mary Smith (1698-????) in 1719 in Malden, and they had six children: Mary (1719-????), Ebenezer (1721-????), John (1722-????), Samuel (1726-1810), Joanna (1729-1788), and Ruth (1733-????).

Ebenezer Phillips of Southborough died testate (with probate papers in Probate Packet #46,400) having written a will on 20 November 1745. The will reads (transcribed from Worcester County (MA) Probate Records, Volume 2, page 511-513, on FHL Microfilm 0,856,273):

"In the Name of God Amen The Twentieth of Nov-r 1745. I Eben-r Philips of Southboro In ye County of worcester & ye province of the Massachussetts Bay in new England yeoman, being very sick & weak in Body but of perfect mind & memory Thanks be Given to God. Therefor Calling to mind ye mortality of my Body & Knowing that it is appointed for all men once to dy Do make & ordain this my Last will & Testament that is to say principally And first of all I Give & Recommed my soul Into ye hands of God that Gave it & my Body I Recomend to ye Earth to be buried in Decent Christian Burial at ye Discretion of my Executors, Nothing doubting but at ye General Resurrection I shall Receive ye same by ye mighty power of God and Touching such Worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to Bless me In this Life, I Give Dismiss & Dispose of ye same in the following manner & form.

"Imprimis I Give & bequeath to Mary my well beloved wife all my moveables within Doors Except one feather Bed partly filled, Likewise three Cows & one mare. Likewise one third of all the Improvements given by me To my son Sam-ll Hereafter mentioned. I give to Mary my Wife all the East part of my now Dwelling House with a Celler Under ye same Dureing her Natural Life & no Longer.

"Item I Give to my son Ebenezer So much land as it will Take to shorten a Line yt runs between my house & where the Gate now is and to westward to a stake Down by the Swamp and from thence to a Ditch in the meadow & then Runing Northward to his Former Bound. I also Give & Bequeath to my Ebenezer one acre of ??? Swamp Lying before Eben-r Duntons house as he & my son Samuel shall see cause to Lay it out & the Reason why I Give him no more now is because I have Given him his portion before by Deed of sale.

"Item I Give to my son John Philips thirty five acres of Land be it more or Less being ye Southeast part of my farm bounded Easterly by David Johnson till it comes to a corner of an old Hedge w-ch corner is to be yt Northeast Corner of ye said Land I Give & Bequeath to my son John & then Turning Westerly to a stake & stones & so Runing westerly till it Comes to a Dead Bodied White Oak and from there Westerly to a Large ??? White Oak from thence to another White oak now standing by ye old Field ??? it being yt Northwest Corner of ye said Land I Give & Bequeath to my son John & from thence Runing Southerly as ye Feild Fence Run to ye End of ye feild & now Turning Easterly to a mark Tree so Running Easterly till it comes to ye first mentioned bound this south Line bounds partly upon Comon Land & partly upon John Goulds Land & partly upon Isaac Newtons Land To Have and to hold ye said premises with all ye appurtenances priviledges * Comodities to ye same belonging or in any wise appertaining to him ye sd John Phillips his Heirs & assigns For Ever. To his & their proper use Benefit & behoof forever Also I Give & bequeath unto my son John one peice of meadow Containing about three acres be it more or less Bounded as follows Easterly up on my Land by a Maple stump & a pole & then Turning to ye Ditch & Runing as the Ditch Runs Till it comes to ye North shore bounded Northerly upon upland & Westerly upon Common swampland & Southerly upon my own land with Liberty to pass & Repass with a Team from his own place to ye meadow for Carting of Hay, also two acre & an half more of Land Bounding Westerly upon Ebenezer Dunton Land & ye North Line is to Extend four Rods north from a stump that is a Mark between said Duntons Land & my own this Line is to Extend Southerly Twenty five rods & yn Turning & Runing Easterly sixteen rods & then Turning & Runing Westerly Sixteen rods which Land I Give & Bequeath unto my son John only Reserving half the mine therein. Also I Give & Bequeath unto my son John a strip six rods in Wedth from ye oak that stands by ye old Feild Bares to ye last mentioned Land only Reserving Liberty to pass & Repassover it to my Feild.

"Item I Give & bequeath unto my son Samuel my house & Barn & plough Land mowing Ground & pasture Land and Orcharding also all my Woodland To him his heirs & Assigns for Ever to have & to hold the said premises with all ye appur-s & Comodities to ye same belonging or in and Appertaineing to him ye said Sam-ll Philips His Heirs & Assigns forEver. The Last mentioned Land w-ch I Give & Bequeath to my son Samuel is Bounded as Follows yt is Easterly upon David Johnsons Northerly upon Eben-r Philips Jun-r Westerly upon Isaac Amsden Land partly & partly upon Eben-r Duntons Land Southerly upon John Philips Land Likewise another peice of Land lying South of John Philips Land Bounded Northerly upon Jno Philips & Westerly upon Eben-r Duntons & Southerly by Moses Johnson & Easterly by other Lands. Also I Give & bequeath unto my son Samuel one yoke of Oxen & one Cow & two Calves also I Do Give unto Sam-l almy moveables without Doors as oxen Plough Chains hoes Except half my small Cart w-ch I Give Eben-r.

"Item I Ordain & appoint that my son Samuel shall pay to his sister Mary Nichols one hundred & twenty pounds old Tenor Bills of Credit & Two Cows one half thereof to be paid & one Cow to be Delivered when he Takes possession of ye Lands I have Given him & the other part to be paid at his Mothers Death & ye other Cow to be ?? at ye same Time also I Do give and bequeath to my Daughter Mary one heifer.

"Item I Give unto my well beloved Daughter Joannah Phillips one Hundred & Twenty pounds old Tenor Bills of Credit to be Raised & paid by Sam-ll Phillips my son & Two cows to be Delivered unto her by him. I Do will that he shall pay one Half thereof unto his sister Joannah when he takes possession of what I have Given & bequeath unto him & one Cow to be Delivered unto her at ye same Time & ye other Half to be paid at yer Death of his Mother & ye second Cow to be Deliv-d unto her at the same Time.

"Item I Give & bequeath to my Daughter Joannah one heifer.

"Item I Do give & bequeath unto my son Sam-ll & My Dearly Beloved wife Mary these Two whom I Do Constitute make & ordain my sole Executor & Executrix of this my Last will & Testament all ye Debts that are due from several persons unto me & that is Due for keeping Ambrous & also that will be Due for keeping Ambrous also I Do Giveto ym full powers to act as to paying out money & Receiving of money & to pursue to final judgement & I Do hereby Utterly disallow Revoke & Disanull all & Every other former Testament will Legacies & Bequest & Executors by me in any way before named Willed * Bequeathed Ratifying & Confirming this & no other to be my Last Will & Testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal the Day & year above Written

.................................................................... Ebenizer Phillips seal.

"Signed Sealed & published pronounced & Declared by me ye said Ebenezer Philips as my Last Will & Testament In ye presence of us ye Subscribers
Jonathan Ward,
Nath. Webb,
John Lyscom."

The will was proved at a Court in Worcester on 21 August 1746, with Jonathan Ward and John Lyscom appearing and making oath that they saw Ebenezer Phillips sign, seal and heard him publish, pronounce and declare it to be his last will and testament, and that he was of sound and disposing mind and memory.

These were the only two records included in the Probate Packet according to the Probate Packet files on microfilm.

When Ebenezer Phillips died, his oldest child, Mary, was only 27 years old, and his youngest son, Samuel, was only 20 years old.  It is probable that daughter Ruth was dead in 1745 since she is not named in the will.  Apparently, son Ebenezer had already been given, probably by deed, a portion of Ebenezer's homestead, and he split the remainder between the three sons, with the youngest son Samuel receiving the farm house.  The widow, Mary, was given part of the house for her use during her life (note that it didn't say "if she does not marry again"). 

Land records would probably show the approximate location of the homestead relative to geographic features and neighboring families.

My connection to Ebenezer Phillips is by his son, John Phillips, who later lived in Shrewsbury and Sterling in Worcester County.  He married (1) Hannah Brown in 1749 in Southborough and (2) Mary Richards in 1774 in Southborough.

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