Monday, April 9, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Thomas Greenman (1669-1728) of Kingstown, Rhode Island

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 records of Thomas Greenman (1669-1728) of Kingstown, Rhode Island.  He married Mary Weeden (1673-1743) before 1690, and they had three children:  Sylvanus Greenman (1690-1763), Silas Greenman (1692-1778), and Judith Greenman (1694-1786).

Thomas Greenman of South Kingstown died testate, having written a will dated 30 October 1728 and proved 14 October 1728.  The will reads (transcribed by Randy Seaver from South Kingstown Probate and Town Council  Records, Volume 2, Page 123, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,931,833, a clerk's copy):

"In the Fear of God the Last or thirtyeth day October 1728 I Thomas Greenman of South Kingstown Taylor in the Colony of Rhode Island and providence plantation in New England Being very Sick and Weak in body but of perfect Mind and memory thanks be given to god therefore and Knowing that it is appointed that all men must Dye do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament yt is to say principally and first of all I recommend my Soul into the hands of god that gave it and my body I Recommend to the Earth to be buried in decent Christian buriel at the discrestion of my Executor and Executrix and as Touching Such Worldly Estate which hath pleased God to bless me in this life, I give demise and dispose of the Same in the following manner and form

"Imprimus I give and bequeath to Mary dearly beloved wife after all my just debts be paid & discharged the third part of my moveable Estate and the third part of what my house and Land may be sold for and the rest of my estate my will is yt my Sons shall each of them twice as much as each of my Daughters and I do Intend of the money yt is my meaning also I make my wife my executrix and I do make Capt. Wm Clark of Westerly in the Colony aforesd my Ex-r with my wife if he will Except of it but if he will not except it Then my will is that my wife shall be my hole and Sole Executrix and my will is that my Executrix and Executor shall sell my land and building to pay my Just Debts but if my Executor do not except of it then my will is that my Executrix may do it herself and I do declare this to be my last will and Testament In Witness whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal the year and day of the date above written
Thomas Greenman (Seal)
"Signed & Sealed to be his
Last will & Testement [sic]
In presence of
Job Card
Jer-h Clark
Jos-h Hull"

"Mr. Jos-h Hall & Job Card both So Kingstown appeared before the Town Council of South Kingstown the 14 Day of October An Dom 1728 and on there Engagement declared that they Saw Thomas Greenman Late of So Kingstown Deceased Sign Seal Publish & Declare the above Instrument to be his Last will and Testament and that he was in his perfect Mind & Memory and also declared that they Signed as Witnesses in the Testators ????? at the Same Time & that they also saw Jeremiah Clark Sign as Witness at the same time Signed by Wm Robinson Clerk of Court Recorded November 11 1728"

"The Town Council of South Kingstown has this Day  granted unto Capt. Wm Clark and Mary Greenman Ex-r and adm-on Executrix to the Last Will and Testament of Thomas Greenman Late Deceased adm-on upon the Estate of Thomas Greenman aforesd lying and being in So Kingstown aforesaid wee his Maj-ties Justices by and with the advice of the town Counc-l of sd Town being Impowered by the laws of this Colony for the granting of probate of wills and Letters of adm-on within the Town aforesd Wm Clark Executor and Mary Greenman Executrix to the last Will and Testament of Thomas Greenman Deceased aforesd we Trusting in your Care and fidelity do by these  presents Council unto you both Joyntly and Severall full power to adm-or upon all and Singular the Goods Chattels Rights and Credits of Thomas Greenman Deceased and well and faithfully to Levey Recover and Receive all and whatsoever Debts and Dues and to dispose of the Same according to Law, and to pay all debts in w-ch the deceased Thomas Greenman Stood bound so far as his goods Chattles Rights and Credits can Extend according to the value thereof and to make a True and perfect Inventory of and Singular the goods Chattles Rights and Credits of the Said deceased and to Exhibit the Same with the Town Council abovesd  of Probate for the Town aforesd at or before One Twelve Month & a day after the date hereof and to Render a Plain and True accompt of your adm-on upon Oath and we do by these presents ordain Constitute and appoint you Wm Clark and Mary Greenman both Joyntly adm-or of all and Singular the goods Chattles Rights and Credits aforesd.  In Testimony thereof we hereunto Sett Our hands and Seals dated In So Kingstown the 11th day of November Anno domini 1728 Sign by order of the Council  Robt Hannah C Council."

An inventory of the personal estate of Thomas Greenman of South Kingstown deceased was taken by Benjamin Ranolds and Jonathan Turner on 24 October 1728.  The total of the estate was not written down. The inventory includes:

*  one yoke of Oxen - 15--00--00
*  six cows three yearlings & two calfs - 32--00--00
*  one mare and colt& one horse - 10--00--00
*  32 sheep and 8 lambs - 12--10--00
*  5 hogs and four shote - 8--00--00
*  15 geese - 1--02--06
*  hay & a small stack of oats corn stacks -               19--00--00
*  one Crib of Indian corn - 10--10--00
*  Cart boxes & chains grinston & other irons -           3--11--00
*  his wearing apparel - 6--12--00
*  one pare of Curtains - 1--10--00
*  a pare of sheets & some linen - 4--10--00
*  one bed & beding & coverlead bedsted -                   9--06--00
*  one frock  bead & sum beading - 1--10--00
*  one frock bead & blankets - 2--10--00
*  one bed & beading & bedsted -- 5--00--00
*  two Coverleds and one blanket - 4--00--00
*  seven bushels of beens & four bushels of weet -       3--07--00
*  five bushels of Indian Corn & one of Rye -                1--07-00
*  46 pounds of sheeps wool - 3--09--00
*  6 ?? of corse wool - 0--08--00
*  old Chest box and old trunk - 0--11--00
*  a Table & warming pan - 2--10--00
*  a Taylors goose and shears & fryin pan -                 0--10--00
*  one pr of tongs & fire shovel - 0--08--00
*  one Gun and 1 box iron - 1--15--00
*  10 ?? of spun woosted with yarn - 3--12--06
*  five pounds of Corse Yarn - 0--10--00
*  Spining wheel & some Earthen Ware -                    1--04--00
*  one Tub sum pork & one bushel barley -                  2--00--00
*  three barrels of Syder & four Old Suder Tubs -          2--10--00
*  two Suder tubs with butter - 3--00--00
*  2 old Tubs & trays & old pads (?) & one little churn - 0--15--00
*  one old Sadle and pilyon Carl ropes & 1 Oger -        1--01--06
*  one woosted Comb and a small percel of Salt -        0--15--00
*  one old hogshead 2 barrels & one padlock -             0--08--00
*  old Chears and a Candelstick - 0--15--00
*  puter and Tinn - 8--10--00
*  2 Tramels one Iron pott  & two Iron Kettles -            2--02--00
*  one pare of Small Shillards (?) & 2 old Staffs  -        0--09--00
*  a Ly?? baggs & some hogs fatt - 0--10--00
*  paper bills of Credit - 2--05--00
*  One bond due to the Estate - 25--00--00

Adding the values of the different items results in at least 215 pounds (some values are difficult to read).

On 20 March 1728/9, Mary Greenman, Executor of Thomas Greenman late of South Kingstown deceased appeared before the town Council of South Kingstown and declared on her solemn engagement that she did exhibit a true and perfect inventory of all the personal estate that did belong to her deceased husband to the apprizers.

On 10 March 1728/9, Jonathan Turner and Benjamin Raynolds appeared before the town council of South Kingstown and declared on there solemn engagement that they did inventory the estate of Thomas Greenman to the true value thereof according to the best of their understanding.

Thomas Greenman did not name any of his children in his will, and they are not named in the resulting probate records in the South Kingstown record book. Apparently, I'm missing at least one daughter in the list of children, since he mentions "each of my daughters."  I am descended from Judith Greenman, the wife of Job Card (1690-1760), who was a witness to the signing of the will.  Was another daughter married to Jeremiah Clarke or Joseph Hull (the other witnesses) or to Jonathan Turner or Benjamin Raynolds (the ones who took the inventory)?

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Geolover said...

Randy, thank you for posting a transcript of the Greeman estate inventory. "Shillards" is probably "Stilliards" (with or without two ells).

But this is quite an early example of "worsted" appearing in New England, as something home-spun. At that time, the sheep that bore worsted fleece were quite difficult to obtain from Spain, where they originated, or France, among whose citizens a few managed to steal some from Spain.

The Greenmans had an appreciable flock of breeding sheep. The inventory's listing a parcel of "coarse wool" suggest that they had two separate groups of sheep - the normal type whose fleece was wool, and those whose fleece was worsted.

Very, very interesting items in the fabric of Euro-American textile history!