Monday, June 22, 2020

Amanuensis Monday - 1683 Will of Henry Smith (1607-1687) of Medfield, Mass.

This week's document for transcription is the 1683 will of Henry Smith (1607-1687) of Medfield, Massachusetts, in Probate Packet 1,524 in the Suffolk County, Massachusetts probate court records:

The transcription of this Will is (with help from reader Robert Battle):

In the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty and three on the second of August I Henery Smith

of Medfeild in the County of Suffolk in New England being by the good hand of my God persevered to old age
and being there by and the infirimityes there agan attending put in mind of Mortality and sumoned to appere
eare long before that great god to whom I must give an account of all my Wayse (Doe yet not withstand-
ing inioye the full use of my memory and understanding blesed be the Lord for it) and knowing that is is my duty
to prepare for Death that I be not unprepared when it shall com I have thought fitt for the quite of my mind
to make and ordane this my last will and testament for sattleing and disposing of that portinon of the things I
of this life where with it hath pleased the Lord to betrust me with and haveing commited my soull into the
armes of Jesus christ my Deere redemer and my body to the earth from whence it was at the first taken 
to be christenly buried at the Discrition of my Executor heere after mentioned.  First I will and bequeath unto

my son John Smith ten pound to be payd in Contry with in two full year after my decease that is to say five pound
the first year and five pound the second year and I will and bequeath unto my grantchild leadya Smith Daughter
of my son John & son John Smith five pound to be paid in contry pay with in one year after my decease
And I will and bequeath unto my foure grantchildren son of my son Seath Smith Eighty acres of an ^land^ on the
tract of land commonly calld the new grant to be layd out on the fild next the land of Joseph Bullard
to be equally devided that is to each twenty acres and I doe heere by ratifie and confirme unto my son Seth
Smith his heyres and Assignes all these houses Orchards and gardigns formerly granted him with what lands
leyeth in the common feild belonging there unto as allsoe three acres of land more or less leying near
rock meadow at the fence now stand with all other Landes what soe ever formerly granted unto the said
Seth Smith - and I wil and bequeath unto my son Samuell Smith my home Lott with all the buildings Orchards
and gardigns in and upon the same with all other landes what soe ever both upland meadow swamp
and woodland in my possession when it pleases the Lord to take me out of this world and I Doe hereby
give and bequeath unto my said Samuell Smith all my reall estate both corne cattel and moveables both with
in and without Doores and further my will is that my son Samuel Smith shall pay or cause to be payd unto
all his children now liveing five pound apece in contry pay as they shall come to one and twenty yeares
of age and I doe heereby constitute appoint and ordaine my loving and well beloved son Samuell Smith
Executor to whom I give full power and trust for the Execution and accomplishment of this my
Last will and testament in all respects according to my true intent and mening therein; and as for
any others as of my estate billes bondes Debtes or moveables not above mentioned (my Just Debtes being
payd and funerall expences discharged) are hereby willd and bequeathed to the sole use of my abovesaid
Executor and I Doe heereby utterly renounce and revoake all other willes and bequeathments by me
formerly made at any time and in Wittnes that this is my last will and testament contained in this
Sheeth of paper I the said Henry Smith have there unto put my hand and affixed my seal Dated
as is above written.

Read signed and sealed and                                                         his mark
Published in the presence                                                      Henry  H  Smith  {seal}
Ralph Wheellock            The Executor to this will presented it to probate
George Barber                by ye wittnesses being deced an agremt was also ofered
                                         under ye Hands of ye other Childen of Henry Smith
                                         @ yr representatives which were also acknowledged be ordered
                                         to be recorded as a settlemt of ye Estate and Admin'con was accor-
              dingly given to Execut'r  3'd March 1686.                         before ??? ??????
                                                                                                         attest Tho Dudley Cler

The source citation for this probate case file is:

Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Probate case files, Packet #1,524 (7 images), Henry Smith of Medfield, proved 3 March 1686/7; "Suffolk County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1636-1893," indexed database and digital images, New England Historical and Genealogical Society, American Ancestors  ( : accessed 11 June 2020); from records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives, digitized images provided by

This probate packet contains 7 separate papers:  the wrapper is the first image, the inventory is the third image, the bond is the fifth image, and the will is the seventh image.  

Henry Smith died before 4 February 1686/7 when the inventory was taken.  Executor Samuel Smith posted 500 pounds bond on 3 March 1686/7 and the executor agreed to carry out his father's will.   The inventory was taken on 4 February 1686/7 by Thomas Thurston, John Harding and Samuel Barber, and totaled £261-07-08;  it was filed with the court on 3 March 1686/7.  The will was proved by the Court on 3 March 1686/7.  

Henry Smith (1607-1698) married Elizabeth Tailour (1603-1670) in 1631 in Buckinghamshire, England.  They had five children, the first two born in England and the last three in Dedham, Massachusetts.  The children were:

*  Seth Smith (1635-1682), married 1660 Mary Thurston (1643-1696)
*  John Smith (1637-1691), married 1657 Lydia Eliot (1631-1672)
*  Daniel Smith (1639-1641).
*  Samuel Smith (1641-1691), married (1) 1674 Elizabeth Turner (1647-1676); (2) 1677 Sarah (Clarke) Bowers (1646-1704).
*  Joseph Smith (1643-1661).

Henry and Elizabeth (Tailour) Smith are my 8th great-grandparents.  I descend through their son Samuel Smith (1641-1691) who married Sarah (Clarke) Bowers (1646-1704) in 1677 in Medfield, Massachusetts.

Updated 25 June 2020 to add Robert Battle's corrections to the document transcription.


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."

Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

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