Monday, August 14, 2017

Amanuensis Monday - 1736 Non Compos Mentis Petition for Josiah Wood (1687-1753) of Woburn, Mass.

This week's document for Amanuensis Monday is from the Middlesex County, Massachusetts Probate Court records for Josiah Wood (1687-1753), husbandman of Woburn, Massachusetts:

a)  Probate Packet 25,489 (image 1):

b)  Probate Packet 25,489 (image 2):

The transcription of these two papers is:

[image 1]

To the honorable Jonathan Remington Esquire
Judge for the Probate of Wills etc for and within
the County of Middlesex ---

The Petition of Ruth Wood, the wife, and John
Wood, the eldest son of Josiah Wood of Woburn in said
County Hysbandman.

Humbly Sheweth // That the said Josiah Wood, by the Providence of
God is become non compos mentis, and so wanting of understanding
as to become uncapable of providing for himself or managing his affairs.

That by reason of a Purchase he made a little before
he fell into these his said unhappy Circumstances he is considera-
bly in Debt.

Wherefore your Petitioners humbly pray that some
suitable Person may be appointed Guardian to take care as
well of the Person & Estate of the said Josiah Wood.

And as in Duty bound shall ever pray come
Woburn May 1736
                                                Ruth Wood   John Wood

[image 2]

Cambridge Sep^t 29^th 1736

To the Select men of y^e Town of Woburn
Gentlemen – you are hereby desired to
make Inquiry and to signify to me under
your hands whether your opinion stating
to Josiah Wood within named, ??? Whether he be
so far non compos as to render it needfull that
a Guardian be appointed for him.
                                  Jon^a Remington  Jprob

To ye Hon^ble Jonathan Remington Esq^r Judge of prob^te
for ye County of Middl^x &c.

We the subscribers Are of opinion that Josiah
Wood Juner is so far non compos as that is altogether
incapable to take Any Care  or to provide for
himself or family or to manage his affairs.
                                          John Forde            }
                                          John Russell          }  Select
                                          Samuel Reed Junr }  men of
                                          James Simonds     } Wooburn

Oct^r 11 1736  I appoint Ruth the wife & John Eldest son
of said Josiah Guardians.  Samuel Wood & James Proctor
to be bound for ye wife her faithfull discharge of her
????? ??? ?????  S^d John to be bound in s^d ????
Sd Proctor & Wood ?????? mom??  Inventory to be

p^d  12^s ?     6 ^s dm  to Reg^r J R Jp  ???????????????

The source citation for this record is:

"Middlesex County, MA: Probate Papers, 1648-1871," digital image, American Ancestors  ( : accessed 13 August 2017), Probate Packet 25,489 (14 images), Josiah Wood of Woburn, 1736.

In 1736, when Josiah Wood of Woburn was age 49, his wife and eldest son petitioned (image 1 above) the Middlesex County Probate Court to have Josiah Wood declared "non compos mentis," meaning not sane, or not in their right mind.  At the time, Josiah and Ruth had eight living children, all but one of them (John) were minors.  

After receiving the petition, the Judge of Probate wrote to the selectmen of the town of Woburn asking their judgement (in image 2 above), and they responded saying they agreed that Josiah Wood was incapable of caring for his family or his affairs.  The Judge then declared Josiah's wife, Ruth, and their eldest son, John Wood, to be Guardians for Josiah wood Junior (his father Josiah Wood was still alive then).  The Judge requested that the guardians prepare an inventory of the real and personal estate of Josiah Wood.  

There will be several more posts about this set of probate papers - there are some interesting twists in the records.

Josiah and Ruth (Walker) Wood are my 7th great-grandparents, the parents of Susannah Wood (1724-1780), who married Nathan Reed (1719-1802) in 1743.


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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1 comment:

Linda Stufflebean said...

Now I want to know what the other surprises are!