Monday, January 3, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Samuel Bigelow (1653-1732) of Waltham, Massachusetts

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 Samuel Bigelow (1653-1732) of Waltham, Massachusetts.  He married Mary Flagg (1658-1720), in 1674 in Watertown, Massachusetts, and they had ten children:  John Bigelow (1675-1769); Mary Bigelow (1677-1708); Samuel bigelow (1679-1734); Sarah Bigelow (1681-1713); Thomas Bigelow (1683-1756_; Mercy Bigelow (1686-1745); Abigail Bigelow (1687-????); Hannah Bigelow (1689-1717); Isaac Bigelow (1691-1751); Deliverance Bigelow (1695-1762).

Samuel Bigelow died testate, leaving a will written on 30 September 1720 and proved 21 February 1731/2.  His probate papers are in Middlesex County [Massachusetts] Probate Records, Probate Packet #1,728 (accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,386,028).  The will reads (paragraphs separated for readability):

"In the Name of God Amen ---

"I Samuel Biglo of Watertown in the County of Mid'x in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England Yeoman being sick & weak of Body but of Sound & Disposing Memory prais be given to God for the same Do Make & Ordain this my last Will & Testament in Manner & Forme following.

"That is to say first & Principaly I Resign my Soul into the Mercyfull Hands of Almighty God my Creator Assuredly hoping through the meritts of my Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ to Obtain the Remission of all my Sins.  And my Body I Comitt to ye Earth to be Decently Buried by the Discretion of my Executor Herein after Named & as for the worldly Goods & Estate ye Lord Hath Lent me I Dispose thereof as followeth.

"Imps:  First my Will is that all my Debts & Funeral Expenses be well & truly paid out of my Estate as Soon as May be After my Decease & before any Legacies be paid.

"Item:  I give & bequeath Unto my two sons John Biglo & Sam'll Biglo ye sum of five Shillings Each Over & above yt Portions Which I have alredy Given them to be paid within Twelve Moneths After my Deceas by my Executor Herein after named.

"Item:  I give & bequeath Unto my son Thomas Biglo Whom I do Herby Nominate & Appoint & Ordain Sole Executor of this my last will & Testament ye sum of five pounds in Silver mony Over & Above What I have Heretofore Given Him.

"Item:  I give & bequeath unto my son Isaac Biglo besides wt I have formerly Given him ye sum of thirty pounds to be paid within one year After my Deceas.

"Item:  I give & bequeath Unto my three Daughters Mercy Garfield, Abigail Cutler & Deliverance Stearns ye sum of Seventeen pounds each to be paid within one year after my Deceas.

"Item:  I give & bequeath Unto my three sons-in-law Tho Read, Josiah How & Dan'll Warrin besides what they have formrly five shillings each.

"Item:  I Give & bequeath Unto my Grandson David Bruce a Certain piece of land in Marlborough in ye County of Middsx which I bought of my son Sam'll Biglo Jnr containing six acres, three quarters & fifteen rods, bounded northerly by a Road Leading to Framingham Westerly by land of Moses Newton Easterly by land of David Bruce & Southerly by Comon Land;  also all yt parcell of land of Twenty acres in Marlborough wch John Sherman Had Granted him by ye Proprietors of sd Marlborough When I Impowered him to sue for a certain piece of Land given by Tho Bruce to his Grandson David Bruce.  To have & to hold to Him of sd David Bruce & to ye Heires of his body Lawfully begotten, but in failior of such ... Land to Release to ye Biglos again, I also give to ye said David Bruce one pair of Steers Coming four years old.

"Item:  I give & bequeath Unto my three Grandchildren Nath- Read, Isaac Read & Thomas Read Twenty shillings Each When they Arive to ye age of One & twenty years.

"Item:  I give & bequeath unto my Grandaughter Cathron Read ye sum of seventeen pounds in or of money to be paid Her when she marries or Comes of Age besides all those things Which wear her Mothers ... Now in my Keeping for Her.

"Item:  I give & bequeath Unto my Grandchildren Phinehas & Abraham How five pounds each & to my Grandaughter Rachol How four pounds to be payed when they comto ye age of twenty one years.

"Item:  I give & bequeath Unto my Grandchildren Sam'll & Dan'll Warrin five pounds Each & to my Grandaughter Hannah Warrin Ten pounds to be paid all When twenty one years of age.

"Item:  my Will is if there be any Silver Money or Other mony left after my Debts & Thomas his five pounds it Shall be Divided into Eight Equal parts Seven of which parts shall go to my four sons & three daughters, ye other Eighth part to my two grandchildren David Bruce & Catheron Read Equaly between them.

"Item:  My will is that all my moveables Without Doors left at my Decease Shall be Equaly Divided amongst my Own four sons & that all my moveables within Doors Shall be Equaly divided into four parts to my own three Daughters & to my Grandaughter Catheron Read.

"And I do Hereby Disanul Revoke & Make Voyd all Other Wills by me Heretofore Made Declaring this & No Other to be my last will & Testament.  In Witness Whereof I have Hereunto Sett my Hand & Seal this thirtieth Day of Sept in ye 7th year of His Majesties Reign Anno Domini 1720."

"Signed Sealed Published & Declared
by ye sd Sam'll Biglo as his
Last Will & Testament
....................................................................................  his
In Presents of                                                      Sam'll  B  Biglo
................................................................................... mark
John Cutting
Thomas Harrington
John Ball
... Fullam"

The probate court accepted the will on 7 February 1731 and proved it on 21 February 1731.  The executor, Thomas Biglo, was ordered to exhibit an inventory.  On 7 February 1731, he was ordered to serve the citation on the heirs to appear before the court on 21 February 1731.  He returned on 17 February 1731/2 that he had written to John Biglo, Josiah How and Rachel How of Marlborough, Deliverance Stearns of Worcester, Catherine Read of Westborough, David Bruce of Southborough, Tho Read and Isaac Reed of Sudbury and Mercy Garfield of Weston, and to the other heirs that lived at a great distance.

No inventory is included in the probate packet.  Receipts were received from Hannah Warrin and Samuel Warrin in 1733/1734 stating they had received their legacies from their grandfather's estate.

Interestingly, Samuel Bigelow wrote his will less than one month after his wife's death on 7 September 1720.

The will is really helpful to genealogists - it identifies the seven living children and the three living sons-in-law (their wives are deceased daughters) of Samuel Bigelow.  He left legacies for the grandchildren by those three deceased daughters.  The one that is not obvious is David Bruce, who was the son of David and Mary (Bigelow) Bruce;  The elder David Bruce died in 1701, and Mary (Bigelow) Bruce married Thomas Read in 1702 and had children Nathaniel, Isaac and Katherine Read.  Mary (Bigelow) (Bruce) Read died in 1708.  My ancestry is through their son, Isaac Read (1704-1780).

One mystery for me is the naming of grandson Thomas Read;  I don't have a son Thomas Read born to Mary (Bigelow) (Bruce) Read in my database, and no record of either of the other two deceased daughters having a child by a male Read.


Anonymous said...

Randy - I am related to this family! My 3rd gr-grandmother is Editha Bigelow who married Allen House! Does this mean we're new-found distant cousins?

wendy said...

Randy - that was my comment (Wendy Littrell - - sorry it didn't come thru as from me!