Monday, December 27, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of William Whitney (1683-1720) of Weston, Mass.

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 William Whitney (1683-1720) of Weston, Massachusetts.  He married Martha Peirce (1681-1759) in 1706 in Watertown, Massachusetts, and they had five children:  William Whitney (1707-1789); Judith Whitney (1708-????);/ Amity Whitney (1712-1760); Martha Whitney (1716-1801); Samuel Whitney (1719-1782).

William Whitney died intestate in 1720. The probate records for him are in Middlesex County [Massachusetts] Probate Records, Probate Packet 24,763 (on FHL Microfilm 0,432,082), as summarized below:

His widow, Martha Whitney and Nathaniel Whitney Junior of Weston, were named administrators for the estate on 4 July 1720. Bond in the amount of 300 pounds was posted by Martha Whitney, Nathaniel Whitney Junior and Nathaniel Whitney senior, all of Weston on that date.

An inventory of the estate was taken 5 August 1720 by John Warren, Benoni Garfield and John Warren; the real estate, comprising one mansion house with 34 acres of land plus five acres of remote meadow land, 47 acres of upland and 3 acres of adjacent meadow land, was valued at 360 pounds. The personal estate was apprised at 115 pounds, 17 shillings, 11 pence.

The first account of the administrators was filed 21 July 1727. They charged themselves with the personal estate. Several parcels of land were sold by order of the court to Eben Chadwick, John Warren, and John Warren Junior in order to pay debts to several people. The balance was 41 pounds, 12 shillings, 5 pence after paying the debts and charges, which included 40 pounds to the widow Martha for subsisting for seven years with five small children. An additional inventory dated 24 March 1728 was filed and approved for the remainder of the estate, which included payments to John Whitney and Nathaniel Whitney.

The probate records also contain a guardianship bond of 200 pounds posted by Martha Whitney and Jacob Peirce on 15 August 1720 for Martha to be guardian of her five children, William in his 14th year, Judith in her 12th year, Amity in her 8th year, Martha in her 5th year and Samuel in his second year.

Another guardianship bond of 300 pounds was posted by Lebbeus Graves husbandman and Jonathan Graves housewright, both of Sudbury, for Lebbeus Graves to be guardian of Amity Whitney daughter of William Whitney of Weston, by her choice, on 31 March 1729. Amity Whitney married a Lebbeus Graves of Sudbury in 1730.

This probate file is a bit different from many of the ones I've posted before - William Whitney died intestate at the relatively young age of 37, leaving a wife with five minor children.  The widow and William's brother, Nathaniel Whitney Junior (1676-1730)  (William's father, Nathaniel Whitney (1647-1733) is also mentioned) were the administrators of the estate.    The bondsman for the guardianship for the children, Jacob Perice, was Martha's brother.  Amity Whitney chose Lebbeus Graves (1705-1757) to be her guardian when she was age 16 in 1729, and married him eight days after her 18th birthday in 1730.

My ancestry is through the youngest child, Samuel Whitney (1719-1787) who moved to Westminster in Worcester County by 1742.

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