Monday, February 7, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Benjamin Allen (1662-1721)

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a 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 Benjamin Allen (1662-1721) of Weston, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.  He married Frances Rice (1671-????), daughter of Thomas and Mary (King) Rice, in about 1690.  They had six children:  Thomas Allen (1691-1777); Grace Allen (1696-1730); Jonas Allen (1699-1789); Zebadiah Allen (1702-1777); Frances Allen (1704-1753); Benjamin Allen (1709-1768).

The probate records for Benjamin Allen of Weston are in Middlesex County Probate Packet 302 (image copies of original papers accessed on FHL US/CAN Microfilm 0,386,001). His will was written on 10 August 1721, and proved on 29 August 1721. The will reads (transcribed by Randy Seaver, with paragraphs added for readability):

"In the Name of GOD, Amen. I Benjamin Allen of Weston in the County of Middlesex in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, yeoman, being infirm in Body but of sound & disposing mind - Do make & ordain this my Last Will & Testmt. First I comit my Soul to Christ hoping for pardon acceptce & Eternal Life only thro' him, And my body to to decently buried at ye Discretion of my Executr hereafter named. And as to the Temporal Estate which God has given me, I dispose of it in manner following.

"Imprimus, That my Debts & Funerl Charges be paid.

"Item. I will & bequeath unto my well beloved wife Frances Allen, Her Comfortable Support & maintenance out of my Estate during her widowhood and that She dwell with my son Jonas, having the Liberty of a Room in my Dwelling House. As also the Movables within Doors, Bedding, Pewtr & Brass, to be for her use & benefit & at her disposall. I also give her the sum of Four pounds due from Brother Elisha Rice of Sudbury. And in case of her marriage, or if she shall not incline to dwell within my Sd Son, that then she shall receive one third part of ye income of my Estate during her naturl life.

"Item. I give unto my son Thomas Allen Five Shill: He having already Rec'd a Deed of Gift of Lands in Sudbury in full of his portion.

"Item. I give & bequeath unto my Daughter Frances the Sum of Thirty pounds in Currt. money or Bills of Credit or Movables or Chattels at ye value thereof to be paid by my Executr, upon her marriage, or within Two years after my Decease. As also the Liberty of Houseroom convenient while she continues Single. Ye Sum, to be paid in full of her portion.

"Item. I give unto my Daughter Grace Harrington The Sum of Twelve pounds to be ye Complement or Full of her portion, with wht she has already receivd to be paid by my Executr within three years after my Decease, or to her Heirs.

"Item. I will & bequeath unto my son Zebadiah The Sum of one hundred pounds in Province Bills of Credit or movables or other Estate which shall be equivalent thereunto, and to ye full value thereof, to be paid by my Executr. The one half part thereof when he Shall come to be of ye age of Twenty one years, The other half within Two years following - in full of his part of my Estate.

"Item. I give unto my Son Benjamin a Tract of Land in Sd Weston adjoining to that wheron I now dwell, being at the Northerly end of it, being the whole breadth of the Farm, coming Southerly as farr as ye North Side of ye orchard, that being the Southrn Bounds in a Strait Line parallel to ye Squadron Line, which is the Northrly bounds containing by Estimatn Thirty acres be the same more or less. Desiring that he may live under his Mother's care & with his brother Jonas 'till he shall come of age. And then to have the possession and improvemt of Sd Land, with all the Comoditys, priviledges & appurtenances thereof to him & his Heirs for Ever, in full of his portion.

"Item. I give & bequeath unto my son Jonas, my Mansion House & homestl & Buildings, and all my Lands in Weston, or Sudbury or elsewhere, and all the remaindr or remaindr of my Estate both real & personal which is not heretofore disposed of & willed. Oblidging him that he takes the Charge & Dutiful care of his Mother, if she continue my widow during her Life, and to give her a Decent Interrmt. Also I constitute & appoint him my Sd Son together with my Dear Wife, Joint Executrs of this my Last will & Testamt. I humbly commend All of ye sd Children to the mercy & Blessing of ye good God, desiring them to be prudent & faithful in the improvemt of what they shall enjoy.

"I have confirmed this my Last Will & Testamt hereby revoking other wills, this Tenth Dau of August In the year of our Ld one Thousd Seven hundrd & twenty one.

"Signed, Sealed & declared to be the Last Will & Testamt of Sd Benjn Allen.
.............................................................................. his
............................................................... Benjamn B Allen (seal)
............................................................................. mark"

The witnesses were Joseph Allen, Samll Robbins and Mary Dean (by mark).

On 28 August 1721, the widow Frances Allen stated that she was content with the will, and signed by mark.

My ancestral line is through the eldest son, Thomas Allen, who is named in the will.  He married Sarah Grande in 1711 in Sudbury, and resided there.

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