Monday, February 14, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Joseph Allen (1667-1735) of Dartmouth, MA

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 Joseph Allen (1667-1735) of Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts.  He married (1) before 1700 to Rachel --?--, who died in 1731 in Dartmouth.  They had children: Lydia Allen (1700-1771), Phillis Allen (1703-1790), Joseph Allen (1705-????), Rachel Allen (1708-????), Elizabeth Allen (1710-1759).  Joseph Allen married (2) Jennet Ray in 1731 in Dartmouth.

Joseph Allen of Dartmouth died testate, having written a will dated 24 December 1734.  The will reads (transcribed by Randy Seaver from the Probate Court copy in Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Court Records, Volume 8, Pages 222-223, on FHL Microfilm 0,461,884):

"I Joseph Allen of Dartmouth in the County of Bristoll in the Province of the Massachusets Bay in New England yeoman being sick and weak of body but of sound and Perfect mind and memory Praised be therfore unto almighty God therefor Calling to mind the mortality of my body and Knowing that it is appointed for all men  once to dye do make and ordain this my Last will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say first and Principally I Commend my Soul unto the hands of almighty God hoping through the merrits Death & Passion of my Saviour Jesus Christ to have full and free pardon and forgiveness of all my Sins and to Inherit Everlasting Life, and my body I Commit to the Earth to be Decently buried at the Discresion of my Executors hereafter named and as Touching the Disposition of all such Temporal Estate as it haith Pleased Almighty God to bestow upon me I give and Dispose thereof as followeth ---

"Imp.  I Will that all my Lawfull Debtes and funerall Charges be paid & Discharged.

"Item.  I give and bequeath unto Gennet my Dearly beloved wife five pounds in Currant money of New England or Lawfull bills of Credit of any of the Colonies of New England and one hundred and twenty weights of good Cow beef and one year and vantage Swine fatted and Twelve Busshels of Indian Corn and one busshel of wheat and ten Gallons of molasses and Twelve pound of flax from the Swingle and Two Cows and ten sheep and to be Kept in Summer & Winter on my Land, and also two Gees and one third part of the fruit of my orchard and also the Choice of my houses to be understood one of them, and convenient fire wood brought to the Dore, all the abovsaid Gifts & Legacies I give and bequeath to my said wife During her widdowhood, and no Longer in Lewe of her thirds and dowry and to be paid unto her and Informed yearly and Every year During the time She Remains my widdow by my Executor herein after Named, also I give to my said wife half the Increase of the said Cow and sheep and Geese yearly and Every year During as abovesaid that is to be understood which Said half of ye Increase to be Left on my Land the Summertime yearly as abovesaid and that at the fall of the year to be disposed of by my said wife as she see Cause, so that my said Executor be not Complied to winter the said half of the said Increase also I Do allow my said wife the use of my household goods During ye Time she Remains my widdow, the said Two Cows ten sheep and Two Gees to be Kept with Pasture in Summer and fodder in winter or otherwise Suitable for her Creatures on my homestead farm for my said wife During all the time She Remains my widdow, by my said Executor as he keeps his own cows sheep & Gees with the Increase Suitable as abovesaid, During as abovesaid and also fifteen pounds of Tallow yearly and Every year During the Abovesaid Term of her widdowhood.

"Item.  I Give and Bequeath unto my son Joseph Allen and to his heirs & assignes forever all that my homestead farm whereon I now Dwell with all the housing and buildings on it only Excepting one of the houses above mentioned and given to my said wife During her widdowhood as aforesaid also all that tract of Land Scituate Lying and being on ye west Side of Acoset River at a Place Called Kickameast (?) in said Dartmouth with the housing and all buildings on it also all my meadows and Sedge fealls in said Dartmouth I Give and Bequeath unto my Said son, Joseph Allen his heirs & assignes forever.

"Item.  I Give and Bequeath unto my four Daughters viz Lidia Allen Phillis Gifford Rachel Kirbey and Elezebeth Gifford to them and their heires and assigns forever forty five acres of Land a Peace of that tract of Land Scituate in sd Dartmouth and Lying at or westward of the new sawmill, which Part of sd mill Did formerly belong to William Soul of said Dartmouth, Deceased, but if the Survey of said Tract of Land doth not Stand Goodor be made good in that Place to be understood at or to the westward of said mill, that ?? my said Daughters shall have forty five acres of Land a piece were it Shall be Laid out of the undevided Land in Leu thereof in the same Devision.

"Item.  I Give and Bequeath unto my Said son Joseph Allen all the Rest of my Lands and meadows and Cedar Swamp in the Township of said Dartmouth to him my said son and to his heirs and assignes forever, Excepting no part of my Lands meadows nor Swamps in the Township in said Dartmouth but the forty five acres of Land a Peace as abovesaid which is given to my Daughters.

"Item.  I Give and Bequeath to my Son Joseph Allen all my wearing Apparril and also my farming utensils as Carts Plows Chaines axes hoes free and Clear.

"Item.  I Give and Bequeath all my moveable stock Shall be Left at my Decease that is to be understood Living Creatures Shall be Equally Devided to and amongst my four Daughters, Excepting the Two Cows and ten sheep and two Geese which is before given to my said wife, and my mind and will is and I will that all that be Left of my said househould Goods at my said wifes Decease or Second marriage which shall first happen Shall be Equally Devided to and amongst my said four Daughters.

"And I do hereby Constitute make and ordaine my said son Joseph Allen my Sole Executor to this my Last will and Testament, and I do hereby utterly Disallow Revoke and Disannul all and Every other former Testaments wills Legacies and bequests by me in any ways before named willed and bequeathed Ratifying and Confirming this and no other To be my Last will and Testament whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal this Twenty fourth Day of December in the Eighth year of his Majesties Reigne George the Second King of Grait Brittain se Annoque Domini 1734.

"Signed, Sealed Published & Announced
and Declared by the said Joseph
Allen to be his Last will & Testament
In Presence of us
Ebenr Fish
George Cornell ..................................................... Joseph Allen     (signed)
James Allen"

Joseph Allen, the son and sole Executor to the last will and testament of Joseph Allen late of Dartmouth deceased, appeared before the Probate Court on 18 March 1734/5 to present the will.  The Court directed him to execute the will and administer the estate and to report to the Court one year later (Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Court Records, Volume 8, Page 221, on FHL Microfilm 0,461,884).

On 18 March 1734/5, Ebenezer Fish and James Allen made oath that they witnessed the making and signing of the will by Joseph Allen, late of Dartmouth deceased, and that Joseph Allen was of a sound disposing mind when he did so (Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Court Records, Volume 8, Page 223, on FHL Microfilm 0,461,884).

On February 11, 1734/5, a True Inventory of the whole estate of Joseph Allen, late of Dartmouth deceased, was taken by John Akin, James Allen and Timothy Gifford.  The Real Estate was apprised at 200 pounds and the personal estate totalled 304 pounds, 0 shillings, 11 pence. Joseph Allen presented the Inventory to the Court on 18 April 1735 (Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Court Records, Volume 8, Pages 232-233, on FHL Microfilm 0,461,884).

Joseph Allen presented his Account of the Estate to the Probate Court on 17 June 1735, and it was approved by the Court.  He added 5 pounds to the Inventory list for an old coat.  He charged himself with the personal estate, and paid the funeral charges, the expenses to probate the estate, the debts due, paid 33 pounds to his honoured mother Jennet Allen for her share, and paid 58 pounds 15 shillings to each of the four daughters of Joseph Allen - Lidia Allen (wife of Increase Allen), Phillis Gifford (wife of Enos Gifford), Rachel Kerbey (wife of Icabod Kirbey) and Elezebeth Gifford (wife of Gideon Gifford) (Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Court Records, Volume 8, Page 254, on FHL Microfilm 0,461,884).

My ancestry is through Rachel Allen, who married Ichabod Kirby in 1733 in Dartmouth.  In addition to the will, the Account of the estate names not only the daughters but also the names of their husbands. 

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