Monday, October 5, 2020

Amanuensis Monday -- 1717 Will of Ephraim Wight (1646-1723) of Medfield, Massachusetts

  This week's document for transcription is the 1717 Will of Ephraim Wight (1646-1723) of Medfield, Massachusetts, in Probate Packet 4,702 in the Suffolk County, Massachusetts probate court records:

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The transcription of these papers is:

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In the Name of God Amen, the twentyseven'th Day of September
One thousand Seven hundred and Seventeen I Ephraim Wight Sen'r of Medfield
in the County of Suffolk Within His Majestie's Province of the Massachusetts
Bay in Newengland (Husbandman) being under ^the^ Indispositions and Infirmities
of Old age, but of perfect Mind and memory thanks be given to God for the
Same. Therefore Calling to Mind the Mortality of My body, and knowing that it is
appointed by an Unchangeable Decree for Men Once to Dye Do therefore now whilest
I am in the full Judgment of My Memory and understanding (That peace and
Justice May be to those that Succeed me) Make and Ordain this Instrument
to be My Last Will and Testament, that is to Say Principally and first of all I give
and recommend My Soul into the hands of almighty God in and through Jesus
Christ My Ever blessed Redeemer And My Body I recommend to the Earth to be
Buried in decent Christian Burial at the Discretion of my Execut'rs hereafter
Named, Nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the
Same again by the Mighty Power of God.  And as touching Such Worldly
Estate wherewith it has pleased God to Bless me in this Life, I give demise and
Dispose of the Same in the following Manner and form, that is to Say 
(I having heretofore Given to my Son Daniel One halfe of my homested to wit the
one Halfe of My Lands Buildings and Improvments Scituate in Medfield afore said)
I Do therefore after Debts and funeral Charges be defrayed.  Imprimus Give and Bequeath
to Lydia my Wellbeloved Wife the Other halfe of My Lands Buildings and Improvments,
as also the Whole of my Moveable Estate Within Doors and Without no part or parcel
thereof Excepted (Excepting one Cow) for Her use and dispose for her Comfort and Sup-
port during the Time of her Natural Life.  Item I Give and Bequeath to my Son
Ephraim Wight four acres and an halfe of Medow Lying in that medow Called Course broad
Medow next to Elisha Bullins Medow, also I Give to my Son Ephraim afore s'd the
Sum of Six pounds to be paid to him or his out ^of^ my Movable Estate after my Decease
to make him Equal with the rest of my Children as I have Seen meet to make Distribution
among them.  Item I Give and Bequeath to my Son Nathaniel four acres of medow
and a Halfe Lying next to his brother Ephraims in Course broad Medow afore said.
Item I Give and bequeath to my Son Daniel the Whole of my Estate in houses
and Lands Scituate & Lying in Medfield afore said not Otherwise disposed of by me he to
take the Same into his possession as his own proper Estate after my Wives decease,
also two acres of Medow in Course broad medow Lying next to his brother Nathaniels
medow, more also my Lot of eight acres of Woodland Laid out to me lying
in the north part of Medfield afore said.  Item I Give to my Daughter Lydia partridge
the Sum of Twenty Shillings to be paid to her or heirs after My Wives decease, I having
heretofore done considerably more for her then for y'e Rest of my Children proportionably.
Item I Give and Bequeath to my Daughter Meriam Allen one Cow or the valuation
of a Cow as the Common price shall be then, to be paid to her or hers by my Execut'rs
after my Decease.  Item I Give & Bequeath to my Daughter Bethiah Twenty
Shillings to be paid to her or hers after my wives Decease, also One hundred and Sixty
acres of Land Lying in Medfield new Grant of which I have given a deed to her
husband and Shee heretofore which I do hereby further Confirm unto them.
The rest of my Movable Estate that Shall remain after my Wives Decease I
Give and Bequeath to my Sons Ephraim, Nathaniel & Daniel and to my
Daughters Esther, Meriam, Ruth and the heirs of my Daughter Deborah
to be Equally Devided among them after y'e other Legacies are discharged Only my meaning
is that Deborah's heirs Shall have my bed as part of his Share in y'e movable Estate that
shall be devidable after my wives decease. And I do hereby further Confirm all

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Lands as I have at any time heretofore made Conveyance of to any of my
Children by deed of gift.  And I do hereby nominate and appoint my trusty
and faithfull Sons Ephraim and Daniel to be the Sole Execut'rs of this my
Last Will and Testament to take Care of their mother and to See that my Will be
duly executed and observed, hereby utterly disallowing revoking and nullifying
all and Every Other Testaments Wills r Bequests by me in any ways before
named Willed and bequeathed, Ratifying allowing and Confirming this and no other
to be my Last Will and Testament.  In Witness Whereof, I have here
unto Set my hand and Seal the Day and year above Written.

Signed Sealed Published                                 Ephraim Wight  {seal}
Pronounced and Declared by
the said Ephraim Wight Sen'r
as his Last Will and Testament
in the Presence of us the
Samuell Wight
John Mash
David Ellice
                                        Suffolk Ss  By the Hon'ble Sam'l Sewall Esq'r
                                                           Judge of Probate &c

                                        The aforewritten Will being presented by
                                        Ephraim Wight & Daniel Wight the Executors
                                         therein named for Probate.
Samuel Wight & John Mash two of he Witnesses thereto
Subscribing personally appeared & made Oath That they Saw the
abovenamed Ephraim Wight Sign Seal & heard him Publish &
Declare the aforewritten as his Last Will and Testament, and
when he so did he was of sound disposing mind and
memory according to these Deponents best discerning unto
which they (with David Ellice now absent) Subscribed their
hands as Witnesses thereof in the Testator's presence.
Boston March 11'th 1722.      Jurat Cor. Samuel Sewall.

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                                         Suffolk Ss.  By the Hono'ble Samuel
                                                             Sewall Esq'r Judge of Prob. &c.
David Ellice one of the Witnesses to y'e within written
Will, personally appearing made Oath that he Saw
the withinnamed Ephraim Wight Sign Seal and
heard him Publish and Declare the same as
his Last Will and Testament, unto which the
Deponent set to his hands (together with Samuel
Wight and John Mash) as a Witness thereof
in the Testator's presence, and that the said
Testator was of Sound disposing mind and
memory according to this Deponents best
discerning.      Daniel Wight One of y'e Exec'rs
being present.
                         Jurat Cor.
Boston April 1'st 1723.               Samuel Sewall

                N.B.  Nathaniel partridge & Lidia his Wife were
                          also present, She being the ^Dec'd^ Eldest Daughter

The source citation for this probate case file is:

Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Probate case files, Packet #4,702 (9 images), Ephraim Wight of Medfield, 1723; "Suffolk County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1636-1893," indexed database and digital images, New England Historical and Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( : accessed 24 September 2020); from records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives, digitized images provided by

Ephraim Wight (1646-1723) married Lydia Morse (1645-1722) in 1668 in Medfield, Massachusetts.  They had nine children:

*  Lydia Wight (1669-1741), married 1686 Nathaniel Partridge (1660-1741).
*  Esther Wight (1671-????)
*  Ephraim Wight (1673-1744), married 1702 Sarah Partridge (1674-1763).
*  Miriam Wight (1675-1746), married 1701 Joseph Allen (1676-1727).
*  Nathaniel Wight (1678-1748), married (1) 1704 Sarah Ellis (1687-1705), (2) 1706 Mehitable Hinsdale (1687-????).
*  Daniel Wight (1680-1744), married 1721 Lydia Estee (1695-1748).
*  Bethia Wight (1683-1756), married 1708 Malachi Bullard (1685-1726).
*  Deborah Wight (1685-1717?), married 1707 Thomas Boyden (1682-1770).
*  Ruth Wight (1688-1747), married 1715 Abraham Harding (1691-1768).

Ephraim Wight wrote his will on 27 September 1717 and bequeathed land and/or money to his wife and children in specific bequests.  He appointed two sons, Ephraim and Daniel, as executors, with three witnesses to the signing of the will.  His wife, Lydia, died 14 July 1722, and Ephraim died 26 February 1722/3 in Medfield, Massachusetts.  The executors took the will to the Suffolk County Probate Court on 11 March 1722/3, and two of the witnesses swore under oath that Ephraim Wight was of sound disposing mind.  The third witness did the same on 1 April 1723.

Between those two dates, two of the heirs-at-law wrote a letter to Judge Samuel Sewall stating that Ephraim wight was not of sound mind when he wrote the will.  We will transcribe those papers next week.

Ephraim and Lydia (Morse) Wight are my 8th great-grandparents, through their daughter Deborah Wight (1680-1730) who married Thomas Boyden (1682-1770) in 1707 in Medfield.

The will written in 1717 twice mentions the heirs of daughter Deborah to receive a portion of the moveable estate.  I interpret that to mean that Deborah (Wight) Boyden had died by 27 September 1717 leaving Thomas Boyden with four small children.  Another interpretation is that Ephraim did not want Deborah or her husband to have a part of the estate for some reason, but he bequeathed to his Boyden grandchildren.  I think the first interpretation probably is correct.


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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