This week’s document for transcription is the 1692 will of the estate of Richard Sawtell (1611-1694) of Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, which is in Estate File 19965 in the Middlesex County Probate Court records.
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The inventory is also included in the Middlesex County Probate Court Clerk’s volumes, in Volume 8, pages 239-240:
The transcription of the will is (from the court clerk volume, because it is clearer and easier to read):
In the name of god Amen. I Richard Sawtell being not sick in body, but in perfect memory
Considering the certainty of my Death, and the uncertainty of the time thereof, I do therefore make this
my last Will and Testament for the disposeing of my Selfe and that little of y’e world w’ch God hath
given me. And first of all when my naturall life Shall be ended, I Committ my body to y’e Dust from
where it was taken, and my spirit to God that gave it in hope of a blessed and glorious Resurrection
of my body to partake with my Soul of life everlasting through y’e free grace of God in Christ
And for my worldly goods, If my beloved and Loveing wife Elizabeth Sawtell doth
(by Gods providence) Survive me, Then I bequeath unto her all my Lands & Houseing in Watertowne &
the appurtenances of the Land during her life. And also all my Lands n Groton w’th y’e appurtenances
thereof during her life and all my moveable Estate, whither without Doors or within Doors, of what
denomination soever I give her to dispose of when She will, by Sale or any other waies as She
pleases. And my will and Expectation is that my Son Obadiah Shall Improve y’e said Lands at
Groton And that my Son Enoch Sawtell Shall Improve y’e Said Lands at Watertowne. And my
will is that both of them, Each one for what of y’e said Land he Improves Shall (either quarterly
or yearly) pay unto theire mother for the Use of the said Lands, So much as themselves Shall
agree upon. But if they Can not agree, then what others which She may Choose Shall agree
upon and appoint. And if the benefits or Income of the said Lands will not be Enough for her
Comfortable provision for food and Raiments Physick and attendance at all times when She needs
or any thing Else that She doth or may need, tho’h it be not here named, Then my will further is
that my abovesaid Sonnes Shall adde unto y’e Income of y’e said Lands, by way of Supply &
not suffer theire aged Tender and Loveing Mother to want any thing that may make her
life Comfortable the little time She may be here amongst them. Whereof if they faile and
suffer theire mother to want what they may and in duty ought to Supply her with, Then
by vertue hereof I give her full power and Authority to desire Two or three of her friends
whome she Shall Judge meet who shall be the Overseers of my Will and Shall by vertue here
of (She desireing and Consenting, Have full power and Authority to Assist in y’e Sale of ^any of” y’e said Lands for her Comfortable Supply and Support, or She may her Selfe if She Sees Cause dispose
of any of the Said Lands by Sale or otherwise as She Sees best for her Supply & Support.
And After y’e Death of my beloved Wife I bequeath unto my son Enoch Sawtell all y’e said Lands
in Watertowne, and the appurtenances thereof, Excepting only for such of the Lands as prhaps is
Sold for his mothers Support as aforesaid. I bequeath also my houseing to him, but my desire &
will is that my Daughter Bethia Sawtell Shall have her being in my house if they Can live qui-
etly and Loveingly together, lest She will and can procure better for her Selfe. And unto my Son
Obadiah Sawtell I bequeath off of y’e said Lands in Groton and y’e appurtenances thereof Excep-
ting only So much as perhaps is Sold for his mothers Support as is above said. And my will is
also that he Shall pay my Legacies as followeth. Namely to my son John Sawtell and to my daugh-
ters Bethia Sawtell Hannah Winn and Ruth Hues to each of them Ten pounds in money if he be
abble, or in that which is Equivalent to money. As for my Son Jonathan Deceased, I did for him in his
life time what I Judge meet (and more too), But yet unto his Children I bequeath y’e worth of one
Shilling apeice. And to my Son Zacharias Children and to my Daughter Starlings Children the
worth of one Shilling apeice if they desire it, & to any other y’t can justly Claim any of mine Estate.
All these Legacies my Will is that they Shall be paid by my Son Obadiah abovesaid within the Compass
of six years after y’e decease of my Loveling Wife His Mother, or sooner if he Can. But if it
Shall please God that I Shall Survive my Wife then within the Compass of six years after my Decease
this my will Shall be performed and Confirmed to every person Concerned therein in every particular as is above
in The Severall Lines Expressed, Excepting only my moveable Estate, concerning which my Will is that it Shall be divided among my Children to every one alike Share by valuation by such as may be Called
thereunto. And if my Son Obadiah Should by Gods Providence be totally and forever be dispossessed
and disinherited of y’e said Lands in Groton by y’e Enemy Indians, or others, whereby he is disinabled
to pay the Said Legacies, then what he hath not paid of them Shall be a Nullity & void.
For the performance of this my Will according to y’e true Intents and Scope Thereof I
appoint and authorize my Sonnes Enoch and Obadiah Sawtell my Executors. And for y’e
Confirmation hereof I have here unto put my hand and Seal May:16:1692 May
the Sixeenth one thousand and Six hundred Ninety Two. Richard Sawtell and Seal Witt-
nessed by John Warren and Stephen Randall.
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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Posted On: April 19, 2021 at 10:27AM