Monday, January 16, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of Walter Allen (1601-1681) of Charlestown, 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 will of Walter Allen (1601-1681) of Charlestown, Massachusetts.  He married (1) Rebecca Ward (1603-1678), and they had five children:  John Allen (1631-1711); Daniel Allen (1636-1694); Abigail Allen (1641-????); Benjamin Allen (1647-1678); and Joseph Allen (1649-1721).  Walter married (2) Abigail (Martin) Rogers (1609-????). 

Walter Allen died testate.  His will was dated 19 February 1679/80, and was proved in August 1681. The will reads (transcribed from Middlesex County (Massachusetts) Probate Records, volume 5, page 163-164, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,521,762):

"This 19th . 12. 1679.  I Walter Allen of Charlestowne in the Countie of Middlesex: being aged and crazie of body as yet in my perfect understanding & memory doe make this my last will & testament.

"Imps:  I doe give unto my well beloved wife Abigail Allen according to what we agreed upon before we marryed that shee should have three pound a year so long as shee did live my widdow in manner as followeth, the one halfe in money, the other in country pay as shall be suit her occasion & this shall be pd out of my house at Charlestown by my three sons which I make my executors joyntly; moreover I give unto my wife for her labour & pains shee hath taken wch was in my sickness fourty shillings to be pd in money six months after my decease.  

"I give unto my son Jno Allen, one parcel lying in Watertowne called Mr Mayhew's farme contayning two hundred acres more or less with all ye timber & wood to it belonging to him and to his heirs forever.  Also I give unto my three sons one hundred acres of land lying in Haverill, which I had of Thomas Davis of Haverhill mason: to sell this land and to divide it equally between them:  Also I give to my sons my dwelling house in Charlestown & all my moveable goods & debts to be equally divided between them:  Moreover I give unto my son Daniell allen & Joseph Allen, one farm called Knops farme and five acres of meaddows lying in the great meadow of Watertowne which I bought of John Ballson.  

"As for my bedding my will is that my son John shall the bed with the canvass ticking with the feather bolster & pillow & blankets and hamock, to my son Daniel the oldest feather bed & feather bolster, one pillow, one blankett, & the colored rug;  to my son Joseph that feather bed, bolster, one pillow, two blanketts & green rugg;  I give unto my son John the twenty acres of Divident land lying in Watertowne near the bridges I bought it of Garrett Church. Also I give unto my son Daniel Allen  one acre of meddow lying in Watertown wch I bought of Mr. Norcross.  As for ye bed with the canvass ticking on it my mind is yt Elnathan the son of Daniel shall have yt bed & John Allen shall have that I had of John Cool.

.......................................................................... Walter Allen

"Charlstown this 6 May 1681:  My desire is that my sons would live peacably & not to contend & quarell but act contented with what I have done.  Butt if any of them be not & will be quarrelsome, then yt are to shall have but ten pounds & their brothers yt live peacably shall have my estate as written my hand

.......................................................................... Walter Allen
Nathaniel Kettle
Jonathan Kettle"

The inventory of the estate of Walter Allen was taken on 12 5th month 1681 by Lawrence Dowse, Henry Balcom and Jonathan Kettel.  It amounted to 315 pounds.  The real estate included:

1)  One farm  in Watertowne lying near Sudbury containing two hundred acres (60 pounds)
2)  One farm contayning 105 acres & six acres of meadow (17 pounds)
3)  Another farm lying in Haverhill (20 pounds)
4)  20 acres of Divident land in Watertown (8 pounds)
5)  The dwelling house & orchard in Charlstowne (105 pounds)

He had four pounds ten shillings in money, and had 57 pounds in debts owed to him.

The inventory was entered by the clerk, Thomas Danforth, in September 1681 (Middlesex County Probate Records, volume 5, pages 165-166, accessed on FHL microfilm 0,521,762).

Walter Allen named only his wife, Abigail, and three sons (John, Joseph and Daniel Allen) in this will.  His son Benjamin died before he did.  His daughter, Abigail, may have married and may have had children, but I have no record of a marriage or children.

This is the first will I've found that says the testator was "crazie of body."

My ancestry is through the son, John Allen (1631-1711).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012


Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

This might be a cousin connection. I was interested in the Kettle names that witnessed the will here. I have a John Kettle who married an Elizabeth Allen about 1654 in Massachusetts. Many of my Kettle/Kettells lived in Charlestown. My Allens are from Manchester and Gloucester, MA. Jonathan Kettell was born 1646, died December 18/1720. He was a tailor in Boston. He married on March 30/1676, Abigail Converse, born 1657, died January 24/1690, and had six children. He is my 8x great grandfather. Nathaniel Kettle is his brother, and he was born 1644 and died 1735. I'm not sure that our Allens are a match, but the Kettles sure must be my ancestors. You can find a sketch about Jonathan and Nathaniel's father, Richard Kettle, my 9x great grandfather, in the Great Migration series.

Martin said...

Every week you have another will from a 17th century ancestor. I have a slew of such ancestors myself, not many of whom left wills. You realize that having that many ancestors with full wills is the exception and not the rule, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Cool, thanks. The son, Daniel Allen, was a direct grandparent. If you want details contact me:

Unknown said...

Randy, you just made my day by posting the transcription of Walter Allen's will! I've had a long, largely unsuccessful day of work on my Warde ancestry. So, I thought, well, I'll find Walter Allen's will, which I did, and then I could read it .. I decided just to check and see if I could find a transcription and up popped this excellent blog with just what I needed!
Thanks so much for all your work!