Monday, May 22, 2017

Amanuensis Monday -- Probate Records of Samuel Fletcher (1652-1723) of Chelmsford, Mass. -- Part 2

This week's document for Amanuensis Monday is from the Middlesex County, Massachusetts probate documents for Samuel Fletcher (1652-1723) of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.  

Middlesex County [Mass.] Probate Packet #7,920:

c)  Widow's petition (paper 4 of the packet):

The transcription of this paper is:

To the Hon^ll Franes Foxcroft Esquire Judge of Probate
for the County of Midle^x

These are to niforme niforme your hon^r that it
is about two months since my hysband Samuel
fletcher deceased and Generaly ever since my
Condition has been very uneasy and troblesome by
Reason that U have had the whole Care of the stock
my self, and Living in a hous allone which is no
wayes Conveniat for a person of my years & Circumstances.
I therefore Desire that your hon^r would apoint Admi-
nistration upon the Estate of the Deceased and that the
Thirds may be sett out for me or else I am afraid
the Estate will be Exposed to Loss and Likewise Desire
that I may have some frinde allowed to Administer
in my behalf. And in so Doing your honr will
obleige your frinde & Servant
Chelmsford Decemr 18, 1723                her
Joseph Parker                           Elizabeth P fletcher

Josiah Richardson                                 mark

d)  Notice to heirs (paper 6 of the packet):

The transcription of this paper is:

Middlesex To all the Heirs at Law of Samuel Fletcher
late of Chelmsford in the county of Middlesex
deced and all concerned in said deced's will

I Notifie you that Munday which will ^be the twentieth day
of June Currant is appointed for the Probate of the last Will and
Testament of the abovesaid deced you are therefore hereby
Cited to give your attendance at my house in Cambridge
the day abovesaid at two of the clock in the afternoon
ODF said day to render your objections (if any you have)
against the Proof of sd Will.
Sealed at Cambridge the Seventh day of June 1726
                                                     Fra. Foxcroft Jun Reg^r
                                                      by order of the Judge

To William Fletcher of Chelmsford to Serve his
Citation on the Parties his so doing to be endor-
sed by some Freeholders an Inhabitant of the
places where the Parties respectively dwell
and this Citation to be returned into the Office
at or before said day.
                                                   Fra. Foxcroft Jun. Reg^r.
                                                           Order aforsd

And for as much as but one of them vizt Jon^a Barret heard him ^upon oath^ declare unto

him to be of Sound & disposing mind I refused the probate thereof

e)  Decision to invalidate will (paper 7 of the packet):

The transcription of this paper is:

Camb. June 7, 1726
The within written was read to Jon^a Wheeler (who married Mary a
daughter of the within named decd) and to Jon^a Barret and Joshua
Fletcher (two of the witnesses to the within mentioned Will
By me Fra Foxcroft Jun Reg^r
as also to Eben^r Wright Sira Butterfield Sarah Fletcher
Peletiah Adams Joseph Chamberlain Jona Wheeler
Isaac Fletcher
In presence of            his
                        Sam^ll r Fletcher

June 21 1726 William Fletcher ???? Samuell
Fletcher Ebenr Wright Jon^a Wheeler P. Adams
J. Chamberlain J. Fletcher and the three witnesses thereto

The witnesses appeared and
Having given to them the General Oath

Jon^a Barret made Oath ^declard that he did not see the Testat set to his hand in the presence and that he declared it
to be his last Will and he declard it to be his last will in his presence and he coudn't think but that
he was then of sound and disposing Mind and fit to do such a thing. But forasmuch as the
other two declard upon their Oath & shall they thought him not of sound & disposing
Mind – I refused the Probate of sd will.

Joshua Fletcher ^that he heard him^ declare his hand & seal - last Will – set to his hand
in presence of the Testator – but thot him uncapable of making his will.

Joseph Fletcher – declare to be his last will – set to his made his mark in the
Terstators presence – but tho't him mnot of sound & disposing mind.

They all thought notwithstanding he managed his affairs with Discretion.

The source citation for this probate packet is:

"Middlesex County, MA: Probate Papers, 1648-1871," digital image, American Ancestors ( : accessed 3 May 2017), Probate Packet #7,920, Samuel Fletcher of Chelmsford, 1723.

The will of Samuel Fletcher (1652-1723) was written on 18 March 1713, and he died before December 1723 when his widow complained that she was alone and unable to manage the estate (see paper 5 above).  Why did she sign with a mark "p"?  I think it's because her maiden surname was Proctor.

In the will, Samuel Fletcher named his current (third) wife, Elizabeth, and three sons Samuel, Isaac and William Fletcher; and six daughters Mary Wheeler, Sarah Fletcher, Susana Fletcher, Hannah Wright, Elisabeth Butterfield, and Lydia Adams.  

The will was not probated because two of the three witnesses would not make an oath that Samuel Fletcher was of a sound disposing mind when they saw him sign the will.  This was on 20 June 1726, 13 years after Samuel Fletcher wrote the will and two years after he died (papers 6 and 7 above).  Jonathan Barret did think Samuel Fletcher was of sound and disposing mind, but the other two witnesses, Joseph Fletcher and Joshua Fletcher, did not think that was the case.  Joseph and Joshua Fletcher were probably uncles, cousins or nephews of Samuel Fletcher.  The Judge decided that the will was not valid because two of the three thought he was not of sound and disposing mind (the text on these papers is written by the Judge or a clerk, rather than the witnesses).   

There are three more papers in the probate packet, and I will transcribe them in Part 3 of this series.

Samuel Fletcher (1652-1723) and his first wife, Hannah Wheeler (1649-1697), are my 7th great-grandparents, through their son Samuel Fletcher (1684-1749) who married Hannah --?-- in about 1712, and had nine children.


NOTE:  Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent  TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme years ago called "Amanuensis Monday."  John offers this definition for "amanuensis:" 

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

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