Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 60

Today was spent in the dark and cold looking at microfilm for 7 hours. The good news is I now have copies of Seth Sweetser's will from 1662, his son Seth's will from 1731, his son Benjamin Sr. will from 1718, and his grandson Benjamin II's from 1720. I also found several from the Dodge and Dole families.

The wills and assorted documents are a wealth of information. Here are some tidbits from Benjamin Sr.:
  • He gives his two best friends each a pair of gloves.
  • His wife Abigail is to have the hall and small parlor of the house, the cellar, 1/2 the household goods, all the plate and month, all the cows, and part of the orchard.
  • His sons Benjamin and Samuel are to split the farm.
  • His grandson Joseph receives 1/2 acre of pasture plus 10 pounds on his 20th ad 22nd birthdays - 18 years hence.
  • His daughter Abigail is to receive 50 pounds (paid by her brothers) and 50 pounds in 6 years (again paid by the brothers). She also gets 13 of the household goods.
  • Benjamin, Samuel and Seth (sons) receive 5 pounds per year.
  • Wigglesworth (the youngest son) gets 80 pounds paid by the older brothers.
  • The sons in law, Stimpson and Wheeler, are to receive 10 shillings year.
  • The sons may split his clothing among them. The sons and his wife may split the books among themselves. Anything leftover is to be offered to his friends (named in the will).
  • His children are directed to live in love and peace and dutifully love their mother. If not, their inheritance is reduced by half.
  • Abigail (wife), Benjamin and Seth are name executors.

You can see by the naming of people how the probate documents are fabulous for tying the various generations together.

Benjamin II's will goes into great detail about his estate (valued abou 1500 pounds). Holdings include the homestead, horses, barns and 30 acres; plows, axes and other tools; 19 acres of marshlands; 7 acres of woodland bounded by Mystick River and north of Charlestown Rocks (now prime Charlestown/Boston real estate); etc., etc.

Lots more work and translation to do. I will be at it again on Saturday and next week.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I head for cemeteries. The city is opening the Phipps graveyard in Charlestown for me at 9am. Then off to Bevery and Rowley for various Dodge family members, the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Swansea for the Blackintons, and Walnut Hill in Newbury for Samuel Dole if I make it that far!

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