Monday, November 5, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of Ellis Barron (1600-1676) of Watertown, Mass.

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme several years 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 Ellis Barron (1600-1676) of Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts.  He married (1) Grace in about 1631, and they had seven children:  Mary Barron (1631-1716); Ellis Barron (1633-1712); Susanna Barron (1635-????); Hannah Barron (1637-1680); John Barron (1638-1693); Sarah Barron (1640-????); Moses Barron (1643-1699).  Ellis Barron married (2) Hannah (Hammond) Hawkins, widow of Timothy Hawkins, in 1653, and she died in Watertown in 1685.

Ellis Barron died testate.  He wrote his will on 26 October 1676, and it was proved 19 December 1676 (Middlesex County [Mass.] Probate Packet #1,291 (original papers, accessed on FHL US/CAN Microfilm 385,978). The will reads (transcribed by Randy Seaver):

"The last will & testamt of Elizoas Barron of Watertowne made Octob. 26.76

"In the name of God Amen  I Elizoas Barron being sicke & weak in body, but of sound & perfect understanding & memory, Do make this my last will in manner & forme as followeth:  And first I comend my soul into the hand of almighty God my maker, in & throw the intercession of Jesus Cht my blessed mediator & redeemer and my body to the earth to be buryed in hope of a glorious resurrection at the last day.

"And as for the estate of goods that it hath pleased God to bless mee with & possesse mee of, I Dispose of in manner & forme as followeth, and my will is that my Debts being pd and my funerall charges sattisfied and the agreemt that was upon mariage between my wife and I be pd of wch there  is a writing of it extant, and least it should not be found I do express it here, Our agreement was that if my wife were the longest liver, then shee should returne to her houses & lands that were hers before I maryed her, and to halfe halfe of my moveables & goods that should be left after my Decease, and a third pt of all my cattell, and a third pt of such lands as were purchased after maryage, by the blessing of God upon labours, and also shee is to have her owne household stuffe that was hers before mariage, and over & above as a gratification I bequeath to my wife the pyed heiffer also the Negro servt I leave to my wife, and desire her to have a care of him that he may suffer no wrong and my will is that the repayring of the house yt was my wifes before mariage that it be ... out of the whole estate, and my wife to stay in my house halfe a yeare after my Decease, and to take yt of such provisions as God hath provided us of, and my will is yt my wife shall have two thirds of the cotton wood in the house, and yt cotton yarne, and ye hemp yt is in the house, upon condition shee pay ye cooper wt is due to him.

"Item.  I give and bequeath unto my oldest Sonne Elizoas ten pounds which he is to have a yeare after my Desease set out unto him.

"I give & bequeath to my Sonne John five pounds to be paid to him two yeares after my decease or before ye two yeares if my executor please.

"I give & bequeath unto my Sonne Moses five pounds to be pd to him thre yeares after my decease or before ye three yeares if the Executor please.

"I give & bequeath Elizab. Barron my Grand Daughter the pyed black heifer,

"And after all these be discharged that are above expressed my will is that all the rest of my estate be divided unto Seaven Equall pts, and every one of my Seaven Children to have an equall Share and that all these paymts & divisions may be performed according to my true intent expressed in this my will.  I Do make my sonne Elizoas Barron my sole executor of this my last will & testament, and I have desired Thomas Hastings senr to be the overseer of this my will.

" Sealed & dd in the presence of us ........................... Eliz Barron & a seale
John Bisco
Thomas Hastings"

"Further wee can & do testifie that it was the will & desire of Elizoas Barron yt his sonne Elizoas Barron should have the house & lands yt were his paying out to the rest of the children their proportion bequeathed to them yt is expressed in the will above written.
Thomas Hastings
John Bisco
Decemb. 19th 1676"

An inventory of the estate was taken 13 December 1676 by Thomas Hastings, John Shearman and John Bisco.  The real estate included:

1)  A dwelling house a barne & leantoes for cattell & ten acres of fooding and planting land (60 pounds)
2)  12 acres of mowing and fooding land that was purchased of John Brabook (50 pounds)
3)  9 acres of land in Cambridge bounds purchased of Thomas Prentiss (5 pounds)
4)  6 acres of meadow land in Rock meadow (20 pounds)
5) 4 acres of meadow in Cambridge near the bridges (4 pounds)

The personal property included his wearing apparel (5 pounds, 16 shillings), cowes, oxen, horses, heifers, hogs, pigs and colts, plus hay in the barn and unthreshed barley, household goods in the parlor, in the hall, in the leanto, in the cellar, in the chamber, plus tools, barber instruments, boards, a Negro (20 pounds), provisions and several debts.  The inventory was not totaled, but it adds up to about 264 pounds.

Receipts were given 30 April 1684 to the Executor by Simon Coolidge of Watertown in right of his late wife Hannah, deceased, and by Stephen and Susannah Randall;  on the same date, Ellis Barron of Watertown as Executor discharged the legacies by conveying land to "my Brother Moses Barron & to my Sisters Hannah Coolige deceased, Susanna Randall & Sarah Estwick." 

Ellis Barron is one of my ninth great-grandfathers.  My ancestry is through his youngest son, Moses Barron who married Mary Learned before 1669 and resided in Chelmsford.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Unknown said...

Hi Randall,

I'm also descended from Moses Barron and Mary Learned. Their son Ellis moved to Woodbridge, NJ and became of the founding fathers. A descendent of Ellis, my great-great-great uncle Thomas Barron died in 1875 and left $50,000 for the construction of the Barron Free Public Library, the first public library in Middlesex County, NJ. I was just there two days ago. In 1977, it was made into the Barron Arts Center. My grandfather, Barron Fredricks II, was born in the Barron Homestead in Woodbridge in 1905. The Barrons are a well known family in Woodbridge's history. There is a Barron Avenue and the mascot of Woodbridge High School is "The Barrons"(!) I'm going to see the Fitgerald (Barron) Family Castle in Burnchurch, Kilkenny in Waterford County Ireland this summer. If you get this message, please email me at and/or Sincerely,
Christopher Barron Fray

Merle ROmer said...

Thank you for posting this will. I come through Ellis, oldest son.

Unknown said...

Hi. The Barrons are making my head spin. I agree that Elizoas who died in 1676 had seven children, but I'm wondering about the dates and mothers. Watertown MA records say that Eliz and Grace had Sarah in 1640, and Moses in 1643. Eliz and Hannah had Hanna in 1657, Eliz in 1660, Sary in 1662. That accounts for 5 children, with 2 spouses. Do you have records of the dates and places the children you list were born?

Thank you so much for transcribing the will; I was getting a headache trying to figure that one out!