Friday, May 13, 2016


My seventh great grandfather John Wetherbee/Witherby left a will and a later codicil, and I found
them in his probate file at and at first glance I thought transcribing it would
not be too difficult. As it turned out, it wasn't difficult but it was annoying because of a few things,
one being some of the words abbreviated in superscript, a topic for a later blogpost.  

Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.) 24167:1

The original will was drawn up and witnessed on 13Oct 1707, three and a half years before it was filed in Middlesex court on 2Apr 1711:  

I John Witherby of the town of Stow in the county of Middsx within the Province
of the Massachusetts Bay in New England Husbandman being grown old & weake of Body,
but of perfect mind & memory praised be God for it calling unto minde ye mortality of my Body and knowing that it is appointed for all her(?) once to dy, Do make and ordain this my last will & testement First of all& principally I give & recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it, & for my body I commend it to the earth, in a decent manner to be buried, according to the discretion of friend, nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same againe by the mighty power of God. And as to my worldly estate that God of his Goodness hath bestowed upon me, I give, divide & dispose of the same as followeth. Imprimus, I do will & Appoint that all my just debts be payd and my funerall charges be defreyed by my executor hereafter mentioned. Itm I do will and bequeath unto Lidia my beloved wife all the free use of the one half of my now dwelling house in sd Stow & half of the Improvemnt of that my home lott that is to say the upland during the time of her naturall life except she should marry again, and to my son David I will & bequeath the other halfe of both houseing & land for ever together with ye other halfe of sd housing & land after his mothers decease or marriage again if she should happens so to do. Itm I do will & bequeath unto my two sons (viz) Jonathan Witherby & Ephraim Witherby all the the upland that doth belong unto the land that I bought of Ruth Wheeler of ye place called Shalbern (?) at Stow afore sd. Together with two third parts of the meadow that doth belong unto the sd land that I bought of Ruth Wheeler as also of that meadow ty belongs to my home lott before mentioned, both for quantity & quality, and the other third part of the meadow belonging to each parcell of sd upland I do will & bequeath the same unto her my sd wife & him my sd son David Witherby in & after the same maner as I have to them ye housing & land forth above mentioned. And to my three daughters (viz) Mary, Lidia, & Anne I do will & bequeath unto each fifteen pounds that is to say Fourty & five pounds in the whole & the same to be payd out of my prsonal estate by my Executor if the same will hold out, after my sd wife has had her thirds out of my sd personal estate, my sd daughters to be payd when they come to lawful Age or sooner if any happens sooner to marry, and if my personal estate hold not out to pay the afore sd fourty five pounds, my aforenamed two sons (viz) Jonathan & Ephraim shall make it up in paying the remaindr unto their fore mentioned sisters. And unto my three eldest sons I do will & bequeath as followeth, unto my son Joseph Witherby fourty shillings unto my son John, & Thomas, unto each twenty shillings and all three to be payd by my son David in common pay within or by the expiration ofone year after my decease. The wch being Added to what I have formerly given unto them is the wholl of what I do resolve to give them my sd three eldest sons, and the remainder of my prsonal estate after my wife afore sd hath had her third out of my sd prsonall estate (the wch I do will unto her for ever) the remaining I say of any therebe I do will & bequeath unto her my sd wife & David my son whome I do make & ordain the Executor of this my last will & testement. And I do utterly disavow revoke disannul every other former will by me made at any time ratifying & confirming this & no other to be my last will & testement in witness there of I have here unto set my hand & seal this thirteenth day of October  In the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & seven.
signed sealed published pronounced and declared
by him the afore sd Jon Witherby, as his last will
& Testament in the prsence of us the subscribers
(viz) John Hunt
         Thomas Brown Senr
          Ruth Browne

John signed it with his seal and by making his mark.

The codicil will be the subject in Part 3.

To be continued.

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