Monday, February 15, 2021

Amanuensis Monday -- 1751 Inventory of Jonas Prescott (1678-1750) Estate in Middlesex County, Massachusetts

 This week's document for transcription is the 1751 Inventory of Jonas Prescott (1678-1750) of Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, which is in Estate File 18081 in the Middlesex County Probate Court records. 

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The transcription of this inventory is:

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To The Honorable Sam'll Danforth Esq'r Judge of probate &c
An Inventory of the Estate Real and personal that was Jonas
Prescott Esq'r Late of Wesford Deceased Intestate as it Was showed
to us the Subscribers a Committee appointed and sworn to ^aprise &^ take an In-
ventory of all such Estate which was s'd Deces'd that should be shewn
to us and was sworn by y'e worshipfull M'r Will'm Lawrence Esq'r one of his Maj'es
Justices of the peace for s'd County as by his Certificates may appear &c.
Im's
To an House and Barn and about Thirty acres of Land  .............................} £ 
   being plow land medow wood land &c  ????? ???  ...................................}  690=00=0  
And to the Household Goods &c Chist Drawas Tables
   Chairs Looking Glass beding furniture Riding hood
   Silk hood Gould Ring Silver &c and Sundery more house-
   hold Goods all prised at ..............................................................................     89=00=0
                    being shown to us and in the possession of Thankfull
                    Spaulding Eldest Daughter of s'd Deces'd
also about thirteen acres in y'e possession of Josiah Spaulding
   Granson of s'd Deceas'd  at .........................................................................   156=00=0
also about two Hundred acres of Land in Groton in y'e possession
   of Joseph Stone Son in Law to s'd Deceas'd at ........................................  700=00=0
also y'e household Goods as the ware shown to us which s'd Stone
   and wife Second Daughter of s'd Deceas'd Received sence
   the Death of there s'd Father viz. bed-beding Chists Tables
   Chares handiron and Sundry other household Goods all at ......................... 89=00=0
To Waring apparil shown to us by Jonas Prescott Second son of
   the s'd Deceased to Sundry Cotes Jaccotts britches Stocking
   all at ...............................................................................................................   14=10=0
and to about one hundred & sixty acres of Land mowing plowing
   &c shown to us by s'd Jonas all at ..............................................................   90=00=0
also to what was shown by Ebenez'r Prescott Eldest son of
   said Deceas'd viz to husbandery Tooles all at ..............................................   15=05=0
To Chases and hamels at £50to two sadles housing £11 books all at .............. 61=15=0
Smith Tooles £16=10 sundreys £1=10 all at ...................................................   18=00=0
To Clothes three cotes Clocke Jacotts briches &c all at and hat ....................   19=00=0
To the buldings all at ...................................................................................... 220=00=0
To about Seventy acres of Land with a small piece in Littleton all at ........... 400=00=0
the homsted of Land medow plowland pasture Land &c all at  .................. 2600=00=0
and about three hundred acres of Land being upland medow swamp
   Lying at a place Caled Snap medow plain at ..............................................1050=00=0
also about Forty acres of Land and half y'e Cow pond medow at ................  144=00=0
To one yoke of oxen £65 four cowes 17 p't Cow £68 at .................................  133=00=0
To young Cattle at £60 to an horse £9 at .......................................................   69=00=0
also a Common Right in Groton at .................................................................     5=00=0
   being in y'e Last Division

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also about Thirty acres at .............................................................................. £135=00=0
also half y'e Saw mill half y'e Dam half the Jones half y'e Stream
   and five acres of Land adjoyning at ............................................................    70=00=0
also about Seventy acres of upland and swamp and medow north
   of Snake medow in a place caled hunting swamp and
   Cowp ond medow in Groton  at ..................................................................  227=10=0
also about two acres Adjoyning to y'e Brook at ............................................    45=00=0
also a peice of upland about four acres at ......................................................   32=00=0

a bond Dated y'e 12'th day of June 1746 from James Nutting &c
   Nath'll Prescott of fifty five pounds in bills of y'e new Tenor
   of this province         s'd Deceas'd received in his Lifetime.
June y'e 12th 1747 twenty pounds Septem'r 20 1748 Hundred and
   Sixty Six pounds old Tinner ????????
also a Note from Jonath'n Willard Jun'r hundred pound old Tenor Dated January 16'th 1748
   s'd Deceas'd Rec'd in his Lifetime thirteen pounds old tenor
also a note from Eben'r Blood thirty three pounds old Tenor Dated 15 June 1750
Christopher Temple a note of Ten pounds Aug'st 28 1749
a bond from Joseph Dutton twelve pounds ten shillings Last Emesion dated
   February 3'd 1748   A note from Timothy Reed of twenty five pounds old tenor
   dated March y'e 8'th 1748    a bond from John Reed Sixteen pounds old Tenor Dated
   June y'e 6'th 1743
????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
   ??????????????????

All the above and within aprisements ware in old Tenor bills.

The aprisement above & within being dispersed off by y'e said Deceas'd
in his Lifetime as appears to us by Deeds &c

All which is Humbly Submitted                    Joseph Baker            }
Wesford Novem'r 15'th 1751                    William Fletcher Jr   }  Committee
                                                                           Henry Fletcher          }

Middlesex Ss Nov'r 25 1751  M'r Eben. Prescot presented ^on oath^ the fore-
going Inventory of what is come to his Knowledge
most or all of which he supposed to have been dis-
posed of by the Deceds in his Lifetime.     
                                                                            S. Danforth J. prob.
N.B. The Admin'r says that
about 36 Acres of the Land herein
before mentioned as in Possession of
Eben'r was given by Deed to his
Brother Jonas Prescot.

The source citation for this probate case file is:

Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Probate case files, Volume: Middlesex 18000-18199, Estate File #18081 (10 images), Jonas Prescott estate, 1751; "Middlesex County (Massachusetts) Probate File Papers, 1648-1871," digital images, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014, American Ancestors  (https://www.americanancestors.org: accessed 10 February 2021); Digitized mages provided by FamilySearch.org from original records at Probate Registry, Cambridge, Mass. 

Jonas Prescott (1678-1750) married Thankful Wheeler (1682-1716) on 5 October 1699 in Concord, Massachusetts.  They had five children:

*  Ebenezer Prescott (1700-1771), married 1721 Hannah Farnsworth (1702-????).
*  Jonas Prescott (1703-1784), married 1731 Elizabeth Harwood (1701-1739).
*  Thankful Prescott (1705-1751), married (1) 1726, Timothy Spaulding (1700-1734); (2) 1741 Joseph Baldwin (1702-1747); (3) John Marshall (1700-????)
*  Mary Prescott (1711-1793), married 1728 Joseph Stone (1702-1777).
*  Sarah Prescott (1712-1737), married 1732 Samuel Minott (1706-1766).  

Jonas Prescott died intestate on 12 September 1750.  On 23 September 1751, Ebenezer Prescott, the eldest son, was named administrator of the estate of his father, Jonas Prescott.  An inventory of the real and personal property was taken on 15 November 1751, and presented to the Probate Court by the administrator on 25 November 1751.  The real property listed totaled over £7500 Old Tenor, and the personal property about £1140 Old Tenor (£450 in notes and bonds).  The inventory notes that most of the real property was given by deed to his children before he died.  However, the inventory does not list any property given to his daughter, Sarah Minott and her family.

In a series of affidavits in the probate packet, Ebenezer Prescott agreed to give money (in "Lawful Money" of New England) to his siblings: 

*  Joseph Stone and Mary Stone of Groton - £150
*  John Marshall and Thankful Marshall of Nottingham, New Hampshire - £150
*  Samuel Minott of Concord - £100 for his children
*  Jonas Prescott of Groton - £200

Apparently, the land was distributed via gift and deed to the children of Jonas Prescott before his death.  The Inventory above itemizes everything that was given to each heir.  Ebenezer, being the oldest child, probably received the homestead and other property and then paid the other heirs a share of money for the excess part of the estate that Ebenezer received.  

Note that almost all of the estate was apprised in Old Tenor (distributed first in 1704) money.  The Massachusetts colonial government  passed a law decreeing that after 31 March 1750  all transactions should be in "New Tenor" money.  In addition, they set the value of one silver piece of eight at 45 shillings Old Tenor and six shillings New Tenor, and a £1 bill at six shillings and 8 pence New Tenor.  This reduced the face value of paper money to approximately one seventh the face value of Old Tenor.  A £100 bill of Old Tenor was now denominated as £13-6s-8d of New Tenor.  The relative value of property did not change - it was just expressed in different terms.   

So the estate that Ebenezer received was about £7500 Old Tenor, or about £1000 "Lawful Money."  As the eldest son, his share should have been two sixths of the total (about £8640 Old Tenor), or about £2900 Old Tenor (about £400 Lawful Money).  That's why he agreed to give his siblings (or heirs) additional money by affidavit after the 1750 law. 

Jonas and Thankful (Wheeler) Prescott are my 7th great-grandparents, through their son Jonas Prescott (1703-1784) who married Elizabeth Harwood (1701-1739) on 7 March 1730/1 in Westford, Massachusetts.

The standardized silver based money came to be known as "Lawful Money."  See   https://www.loc.gov/resource/rbpe.03500100/ for the official exchange rates in 1750.  

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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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Copyright (c) 2021, Randall J. Seaver

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1 comment:

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