Monday, June 15, 2009


In 1676, a man named William Curtis brought suit against his indentured servant
Jacob Preston for failure to serve out the full term of his indenture. While I am
not related in anyway to Curtis, there is a connection because Jacob Preston was
originally servant to my ancestor Thomas Chandler. That original document was
submitted as evidence in the case and read as follows:

"This Indenture made and concluded this twenty day of May in the yeare of ye Lord God
thousand six hundred seventy and one & in the three & twentieth year of the reign of
soveraigne Lord Charles the Second by the Grace of God of England, Scotland, France
Ireland, king, Defender of the Faith &c, Between Ensigne Thomas Chandler of the
towne of
Merrimack in the County of Essex in New England Blacksmith on ye one part
and Jacob Preston
of Andover with the full and free consent of Nicolas Holt of Andover aforesaid, his Father-in-law by the marriage of his Mother and also with the full consent
of his said Naturall mother hath and
doth by these presents bind himselfe an apprentice
to ye said Thomas seven years to be compleated
and ended accounting from the twenty-
sixth day of March last past untill the said seven years next
& immediately ensuing the
said 26th of March 1671 shall be fully expired. During which time of
seven yeares the said Jacob shall behave & demeane himself during his sd apprenticeship as an apprentice or servant ought for to doe according to the usuall & lawdable customs of England in the like cases. During wh time also of seven yeares, the above named Thomas, Master unto ye sd
Jacob, is hereby obliged & stands bound at his owne costs & charges to provide & procure
for his
said servant, meat, drink, cloathing, washing, and lodging with all other things convenient, necessary & sufficient for an apprentice as is usuall in England. And the said Chandler is also to learne or cause his sd Apprentice to be learnt to read ye English tongue perfectly to write & cypher or cast & keepe accounts sufficiently for his owne employment
of a Blacksmith, if his capacities will attaine thereunto.
And the sd Thomas is also hereby obliged according to his owne best skill & abilitie to learne and instruct the sd Jacob in the trade & art of a Blacksmith, if the sd Jacob be capable of learning the same, and he shall
keepe his said servant Jacob at worke upon the sd trade as much as may be without
damage to other necessary occasions that may fall out unavoidably to be done in a family; that so for
want of time & use & instruction, ye said Jacob may have no just ground to complaine of his owne want of experience or profitting under his sd Master in ye sd Trade
of a Blacksmith. Alsoe ye sd
Thomas when the sd seaven yeares are expired shall give the
sd Jacob two suits of Apparell from
head to foot, suitable for a person of his degree, one
good & hansom and suitable to weare on ye
Sabbath dayes, & the other convenient for ye week days. The said Thomas doth bind himselfe, heires, executors, & administrators to the
sd Jacob his heires, & assignes to fulfill the articles herein conteined belonging to him to
doe for the sd servant. In witnesse whereunto ye sd parties Thomas & Jacob as
they are severally concerned in this instrument & the articles of the same have hereunto interchangeably sett their hands & scales.

Signed sealed & interchangeably delivered before
George Abbot Jr
Alexander Sessions.

Thomas Chandler
The Mark of
Jacob + Preston "

Sara Loring Bailey "Historical Sketches of Andover" Houghton Mifflin Co , Boston 1880
pp 49-50

Now, besides being one of the earliest known examples of an indenture agreement in the Colonies (along with the earlier one between Thomas Chandler and Hopestill Tyler), this document is of interest to me for two of the names on it. The first is that of Nicholas Holt,
Jacob's "Father-in-law by the marriage of his Mother" or in other words, his step-father.
Martha Holt was Nicholas' third wife. I am descended from Nicholas and his first wife,
Elizabeth Short and both their children Henry and Elizabeth Holt.

George Abbot Jr. is also a relative, another 9x great-grandfather who was married to
Hannah Chandler, sister of Thomas Chandler. This might be why there was a copy of the
original indentureship contract available to the court.

And George's son Benjamin Abbot married Nicholas' granddaughter Sarah Farnum and
their descendants, besides myself, include Tim Abbott of "Walking the Berkshires" and
Janice Brown of "Cow Hampshire"!

1 comment:

hummer said...

What tangled lives we lead. How wonderful that you all have sorted these relationships out.