Monday, September 26, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of Thomas Rice (1626-1681) of Sudbury 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 will of Thomas Rice (1626-1681) of Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, son of Edmund and Thomasine (Frost) Rice.  Thomas Rice married Mary King (1630-1715), daughter of Thomas and Anne (--?--) King in about 1651, and they had thirteen children:  Grace King (1653-1654); Thomas Rice (1654-????); Mary Rice (1656-1733); Peter Rice (1658-1753); Nathaniel Rice (1660-1726); Sarah Rice (1662-1742); Ephraim Rice (1665-1732); Gershom Rice (1667-1768); James Rice (1670-1730); Frances Rice (1671-1721); Jonas Rice (1673-1753); Grace Rice (1675-1768); and Elisha Rice (1679-1761). 

Thomas Rice of Sudbury died testate on 16 November 1681 with a fairly large estate.  His will (transcribed from Middlesex County Probate Records, Probate Packet #18,810, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,421,502, with significant aid from the copy in Middlesex County Probate Records, volume 5, pages 394-395) reads:

"The Last Will & Testament of Thomas Rice of Sudbury in the County of Midlesex of the Massachusets Colony in New England, made the eleventh day of November in the yeare of our Lord God one thousand six hundred eighty & one.

"Inasmuch as I Thomas Rice am now weak in body (though of sound understanding & memory) I do have reason to expect my great change, doe comitt my soul to God & my body after my decease to be buryed at discretion of my wife & friends to rest in the grave in hope of a blessed resurrection through ye merrits of my Dear Redeemer, & for my outward estate I doe hereby will & dispose ye same as followeth.

"Imprimus.  I give & bequeath & confirme unto my Eldest Son Thomas, what I formerly promised (to will) one halfe pt of my houslott at Marlborough, yt is to say, the halfe pt next ye Pond & also my stirrup (?) meadow & nonsuch meadow at ... which shall be his own & at his dispose for ever.

"Item.  I Give & bequeath unto my second son Peter, the other halfe pt of my houslott at Marlborough & my parcell of meadow ground in Marlborough, called three corner meadow which shall be his own & at his dispose forever.

"Item:  I Give & bequeath unto my third son Nathaniel yt my houselott at Marlborough which I lately bought of John Brown, & the first division of meadow which I also bought of sd Brown wch shall be his own & at his dispose forever.

"Item:  I give & bequeath unto my fourth son Ephraim, all yt my uplands yt lyes in Sudbury at or near to Hogg House Hill & also all yt my parcell of meadow ground lying near unto it wch I lately bought of my brother Benjamin Rice wch shall be his own as soon as he shall be one & twenty years of age & from thereon shall be at his own dispose for ever.

"Item:  I Give & bequeath unto Mary my beloved wife all ye rest of my estate of housing, lands, cattell, beasts, mony, goods & moveables, debts due to me wherever they may be found during her natural life to be by her used & improved at her pleasure for the remainder of her life & also to be disposed of unto the rest of my younger children not abovenamed at her will & discretion both in her lifetime & at her death.

"My will also is yt all my debts which I really owe to any person shall be paid by just proportion out of my whole estate, & also my funerall expenses, excepting out of ye legacys abovegiven to my eldest son Thomas as abovesd.

"And I do hereby declare, will & constitute Mary my beloved wife the only Executrix of this my will & also I do desire & constitute my loveing friend Deacon John Haynes of Sudbury & my three brethren Henry Rice, Matthew Rice & Peter King to be overseers & to be assisting counselling & every way helpful to my deare wife and children in all things needfull.  Dated yt day & yeare first above written, & in the three & thirtieth yeare of his Majesties reign.
........................................................................................ Thomas Rice & seale
"Signed, sealed & owned by
ye abovenamed Tho: Rice to
be his last will in presence
of us John Green
John Haynes
John Haynes senr
Peter King"

The will was proved on 4 April 1682, with John Haynes senior and Peter King making oath to the will.

On 19 December 1681, the lands and chattels of Thomas Rice senior, deceased, in Marlborough were apprised by Gamaliel Beaman, Samuel Rice and Abraham Williams.  This inventory totalled 370 pounds.   It included the following real property:

1)  Homestall and housestall given him by the town of Marlborough being 35 acres of upland and the second and third divisions of upland and all his divisions of meadows and rights in the town (260 pounds).
2)  A houselott and homestall purchased of Jno Brown, being a grant of the town containing 18 acres with second and third divisions of upland and all his divisions of meadows and rights in the town (60 pounds)

An inventory of the estate of Corporal Thomas Rice of Sudbury, deceased, was taken by Henry Rice, Peter King, Mathew Rice and John Haynes on 26 February 1682.  This inventory totalled 702 pounds, including the following real estate:

1)  Housing, homestall & uplands & meadows (400 pounds)
SudburySudbury with all town rights and privileges in commons (80 pounds)

In addition, they found 50 pounds in money to be paid out of the estate.  On 4 April 1682, Mary Rice Executrix appeared in Court and made oath to the above inventory.

No further records were found.

The will names only his four sons and his wife, Mary.  There is no mention of the four youngest sons (Gershom, James, Jonas, and Elisha), and the four daughters that survived him (Mary, Sarah, Frances, and Grace).  My ancestry is through daughter Frances Rice (1671-1721) who married Benjamin Allen (1662-1721) in about 1690.


Becky Wiseman said...

Hi there cousin! I knew that with all of your New England Ancestors there would finally be a kinexxion... Sarah King, sister of your Mary, married Nathaniel Joslin - they are my 9th great grandparents...

Sara Gredler said...

It never fails to amaze me how some New England families can be related to each other. I am a direct descendant of two of Thomas Rice's brothers, and Thomas Rice is my 10G uncle, BUT he is also related through a descendant who is an 8th cousin 3 times removed from me who married a 3rd great-uncle. Whoo! I am always looking to see who might be a duplicate in my database!