Monday, September 3, 2018

Amanuensis Monday - 1674 Will of John Colby (1633-1674) of Amesbury, Massachusetts

This week's document for Amanuensis Monday is the 1673/4 will of John Coleby of Amesbury, Massachusetts in the Essex County, Massachusetts Probate Records:

[Case 5919, image 2 of 12]:

[Case 5919, image 3 of 12]:

[Case 5919, image 4 of 12]:

The transcription of this will is:

Know all men by these presents That I John Coleby off ye Towne off Amsbury 
in ye County off Norfolke NE being weake & infirme off body yett through Gods 
goodness off perfedt memory & undrstanding Doe make this my last will & testamt 
as followeth: 

1: Inprimis I commend my Sould into ye hands off Xt my Redeemr & my body to ye grave. 
decently to be buried att ye chardge off my Executrix whome I shall here af-
ter name & appoynt: In hopes off a joyfull resurrection.

2: I dispose off my worldly Goods as is hereaftr expressed: scil: 
My will is yt all my Just & due debts be duly payd & discharged by my Exe-
cutrix: unto wch prpose, & not otherwise but only for ye payment off any 
Just & due debt off mine, & yt only only in such case off absolute necessity 
as yt ye debt cannot be otherwise dischardged & satisfied I doe Invest 
my Executrix with full powr to sell any part off ye land or estate in 
this present Instrument hereaftr by mee bequeathed unto my two sons 
or eldest daughtr. Alwayes provided yt itt be not done without ye advice 
off those whome I shall appoynt ovrseers off this my last will & tes-
tament: Whose advice also be her is to be had in ye disposall off any othr 
land or stock by way off sale & alienation in any case whatsoevr.

3: Alsoe my will is yt in ye first mentioned case ye Damage done thereby 
unto any off my sayd children shall be born & sustained by every off 
them three proportionably to ye value off the severall legacies or por-
tions by mee bequcathed unto ym in this my last will & testament 
viz: yt child out off whose land or estate any such sale shall be made 
shall have his or her damage according to the formentioned ordr & 
proportion made vp out off ye land portion or estate off ye other twoe by
 such sale not damnified or less damnified: ye child damnified alsoe bea-
ring his or her own poticulr proportion off ye loss or damage by such sale.

4: Also I give & bequeath unto ffraunces Coleby my wife my now dwel-
ling house & ye land orchard outhousen with all fences priviledges and 
appertinances & town rights thereunto belonging. As also one 
third part off all the lands yt I now stand seized & possessed off during her life.

5: Also I give & bequeath unto John Coleby my eldest son to him 
& to the heirs off his body lawfully begotten for evr one halfe 
of a lott off meadow in ye towne off Salisbury commonly called
Groomes lott, scituate in a place commonly called the higglety 
pigleys lying betwixt the lotts off John Dikerson & William 
Boswell when he shall come to ye age off twenty one years. 
Att wch time iff my son John shall & will make oyr his right, ti-
tle & interest unto his lott in ye childrens land commonly 

[Case 5919, image 3 of 12]

soe called in ye town off Amsbury: unto my Executrix then I 
doe moreovr give & bequeath unto him & his heirs as before 
sayd all yt land wch I purchased of the Town of Amsbury 
which iff my sd son shall refuse to doe my will is yt ye sd land 
purchased off ye Town shall be equally divided amongst all 
my children to be inherited by them & ye lawfull begotten heirs 
off their bodyes for evr.

6: My Will furthr is That my son John shall remaine with & 
helpe my wife his mother untill yt he come unto ye age off twen-
ty one years

7: I give & bequeath unto Thomas Coleby my youngest sonn all 
my land in & adjoyning unto ye greatt plaine being two lotts
ye one purchased off Edwrd Gove more perticulary specified in 
the deed I had off him ye othr being a lott wch I had off my 
ffathr Coleby: & ye othr halfe off ye sd Groomes lott, every off 
which premises he is to be possesed of for an inheritance unto 
himselfe & ye heirs off his body lawfully begotten forevr aftr 
yt he shall come to ye age off twenty one years.

8: My will is yt iff any off my sons depart this life without an 
heir off their body lawfully begotten yt then the portions 
bequeathed to them shall be equally divided amongst all ye 
rest off my children then surviving

9: I give & bequeath unto Sarah Coleby my eldes daughtr my 
little pasture lying by ye Powow Rivr side, wch I purchased off my 
Brothr Samll Coleby to be immediately possessed by her for 
the Inheritance for herselfe & ye lawfull begotten heirs off her 
body for evr aftr my decease: As alsoe my now dwelling hous, 
land, orchard, & outhousen, with all priviledges & appertinances 
Thereunto belonging to herselfe & heirs as before aftr the de-
cease off ffraunces my wife

10: My will is yt my wives thirds out of every parcell off land be-
queathed unto my two sonns & eldest daughtr shall be excep-
ted to remaine firme unto her propr use & benefitt during 
her life

11: I give & bequeath unto my daughtrs Elizabeth & ffraun-
ces Coleby five pounds apiece to be payd unto each off ym 
att the day off mariage or att ye age off twenty years iff 
they marry not before by my son John Coleby:

12: I give & bequeath unto my daughtrs Mary & Hannah Cole-
by unto each off them five pounds apiece to be payd unto 

[Case 5919. image 4 of 12]

Them by my son Thomas Coleby when he my sayd son 
shall come unto ye age off twenty three years.

13: Also my will is that iff any off my daughtrs shall depart 
This life without an heir off their bodies lawfully begotten 
then ye portion or legacie bequeathed by mee shall be equal-
ly divided amongst the rest off my daughtrs then surviving.

14: I give also & bequeath all the rest off my whole estate both 
moveable & immoveable, lands, chattells both personall & 
reall unto ffraunces my wife: whome I make, constitute 
& appoynt sole executrix unto this my last will & testament.

15: ffinally I doe make &appoynt my trusty ffriends; My 
brothr Samuell Coleby off haverhll & my Loving 
friend Thomas Barnerd junr off Amsbury ovrseers off
 this my last will & testamentt, to see & take care yt in 
every ptielr itt be duly pformed. 

And in confirmation off ye forewritten premisees to be the 
pticulr contents off my last will & testament I the 
Sayd John Coleby have hereunto subscribed my hand 
& seale. Dated this twenty second day off January 
Anno Domini: one thousand six hundred seventy three 
(Seventy four) 22:1:1673-4:

It is alsoe declared before sealing to be ye will off this 
Testatr John Coleby: yt his part off his ffather Colebyes 
estate belonging unto him from & by virtue off a Court 
ordr aftr the decease off his mother Susanna Whithredg 
shall be equally divided amongst all his daughtrs: as 
Witness his hand the day & year abovesayd & seale affixed.

                                                                               John Colby (
The whole & severall pticulrs
in this Instrument contained were
Signed Sealed & acknowledged to
be his last will & testament in ye
presence of us     marke off
                  John H  Hoyt, Senr.,
                  Thomas Wells

Entred Recorded in ye Court
Records for ??????
???? 22 ye 24th day of April
as attestd Tho. Bradbury

The source citation for this will is:

"Essex County, MA: Probate Papers, 1638-1881," digital images, American Ancestors  ( : accessed 1 September 2018), Case 5919, John Coleby of Amesbury, 1674, 12 images.

In his will, John Colby named his wife, Frances (Hoyt) Colby as his executirix, and left most of his real and personal property to his sons John and Thomas and his daughter Sarah Coleby.  He bequeathed money to his daughters Elizabeth, Frances, Mary and Hannah Colby.  John Colby was only 40 years old when he died, and his oldest son, John, was only age 17.  Frances (Hoyt) Colby married secondly to John Barnard (one of the "trusty friends).  Frances (Hoyt) (Colby) Barnard died in 1720, presumably still possessed of the Colby house in Amesbury, and after the death of her son, John, and her daughters, Sarah and Mary.

John and Frances (Hoyt) Colby are my 9th great-grandparents.  I am descended from their son, John Colby (1656-1719) who married Sarah Eldredge (1655-1692) in 1675 and resided in Amesbury, Massachusetts.


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:

Nancy Hill said...

My husband is related to John Colby and to the Pinkham line. I never thought we would find a link to your great family through this blog. Not sure if you have the Pinkham family in your line too. Alice Colby Volkert has added great work on this Colby family and you have too. I so enjoy your blog. Nancy Hill