Sunday, September 10, 2017


As I said in an earlier post my 11 th great grandfather Phillip Fowler died intestate, but there are several other documents which contain information about his estate.  Matthew Adams Stickney's book The Fowler Family has transcripts of them. The first involves a marriage contract.

When first wife Mary died, he eventually remarried. His  next wife was a widow, Mary Norton. However before  they married a marriage contract was drawn up which laid out what the second Mary Fowler was to inherit in the event of Phillip's death; 

"Know all men by these presents, that I, Phillip Fowler of Ipswich, in the county of Essex, clothworker, for & in consideration of a contract of marriage with Mary Norton, widdow, doe grant unto her as followeth, viz: that if it please the Lord the mariage intended be compleated, and she the sayd Mary my intended wife do survive, I doe covenant & grant unto her, that she shall injoye all my house and lands, with the appurtenances & privilidges thereunto belonging, untill my sonn Phillip (provided I make him my heir), shall come of age, and when he comes of age, I do grant unto her, that she shall possess and enjoy the chamber over the hall, with the table forme & cabbin beds, as alsoe the garretts & halfe the orchyard, and halfe the grasse of the close, & my six acres of land upon the hill, and the inward cellar to her owne proper use & behoofe, and alsoe liberty to make use of the lower roome for her necessary ocasions, with free liberty to make use of the well in the cellar to fetch watter, & all these to enjoye during the tyme of her naturall life, and then to return unto my children, or who of them, I shall dispose them unto, and further doe grant her liberty of barne roome to lay in her corne, and two load of hay, with roome in the cowe house for to sett two cowes, & grasse for to make two loads of hay a yeare, for the tyme of her life, as aforesayd. In wittness whereof, I have hereunto sett my hand & seale, the 27th of February, 1659.
Signed, sealed and delivered, in the presence of us,

William Norton

Daniell Davison (with a marke).
Robert Lord.
Phillip  Fowler(with a marke & seale).

Phillip Fowler acknowledged this wrighting, tobe his act & deed, before me. Daniell Denison. February 27th; 1659.


The Fowler Family: a Genealogical Memoir of the Descendants of Philip and Mary Fowler, of Ipswich, Mass: Ten Generations: 1590-1882 Salem Press, Salem, Ma. 1883

This is the first marriage contract I've found for any of my ancestors.

To be continued...

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