Joseph Weld’s Will

This is the document to which Isabel Anderson referred, the last will and testament of Capt. Joseph Weld.



(Weld Mss. with the N. E. H. & G. S.) 1646.

Ipswich, this second day of the fourth month. (june).

Being visited by the hand of the Lord, and not knowing what the purposes of God may be; my spirit being restless and out of quiet because my house is not set in order, I think it my duty to go about the work having first sought to God for direction; and though I cannot do it so well as I might had I been at home, yet because I know not whether ever I shall return, I do therefore make this my last will and testament as followeth.

Imprimis.–I give to the College in Cambridge Ten Pounds to be paid in 5 years, viz: 40 shillings per annum to the help and furtherance of such in learning as are not able to subsist of themselves; wherein I refer myself to Mr. Dunster and Mr. Eliot, whom I esteem and honor in the Lord; to be disposed as they judge meet; only this I recall the 20 shillings a year back again which I put to my hand to give to Dr. Ames’ son; yet if those forenamed judge it fit to give him the 40 shillings per annum, I leave it to their wisdoms. This legacy I would have paid by my Executrix, and the payment to begin, 6 months after my decease 20 shillings and 6 months after 20 shillings, and so on, till the term and sum be expired.

Item.–I give to my son John, who is now my eldest son, & to my son Thomas, my son Edmond, and my daughter Mary, my house called the Farm, with barn, gardens and all the arable land, meadows and pasture ground, containing 80 acres and upwards, with all the household stuff I have there,–oxen, corn, and 4 cows, with cart, plows, yokes, chains, and all the furniture; also my last division of land, being the 22d or 23d lott, being about 130 acres more or less; also the 3 acres of land sometime John Graves, lying next to the ground of Joshua Hews; also 6 acres of marsh, more or less, that was bought of the heirs of Samuel Shoreman, lying next to the marsh of John Watson; all those houses and moveables, Cattle and pieces of land named, I give to those 4 of my children named, have and enjoy to them and their heirs forever in manner following, viz: my son John being my elder son, my will is that he should have a double portion, and all the other three an equal portion; further my will is, presently after my decease, they shall enter upon the land, and those friends that I shall hereafter name to be the overseers of my will to be performed, I desire that they may take such order that the best improvement be made, and an equal proportion be given to every child, according as is formerly expressed. Also my will is, that if God take any of them away by death, under the age of 21 years, or day of marriage, that the survivors of those 4 children named shall enjoy his or their portions.

I also give to Hannah my youngest daughter by my first wife my ground commonly called the 11 acres, lying next Muddy River, to be improved for her, so soon as God shall take me away; also I give to my daughter Hannah 20 pounds to be paid out of my goods by my wife Barbara Weld, at the age of 21 years, or day of marriage; if God take her away before, my will is that her portion shall be divided among the children I had by my former wife. Also my will is, if I die before that time be expired, that I am engaged to Mr. Hooker to find her clothes then, and I leave it to be done out of her portion. Also my will is that my children I had by my former wife, shall have each of them a pair of sheets, and all the bedding except that which I shall hereafter name. Also I give to those 4 children, as to John, Thomas, Edmond and Mary, all the rent which is due to me from Wm. Davis, which is a whole year’s rent, and something more, only I desire that he may be abated 5 pounds of what shall be found to be due. Also my will is that my overseers do see performed out of the corn which Wm. Davis is to pay, that Brother Edward Porter have 10 bushels of rye, Brother Mays bushels, Brother Jones 5 bushels, Brother Lewis 5 bushels, Brother Peake 5 bushels, and brother Gamlin 5 bushels to be paid to them as soon as it can be conveniently threshed. Also my will is, because my house in the town have little wood belonging to it, that my wife and children that are to enjoy that shall have free liberty to take so much in the hither-most grounds as will save for their for firing provided that they cut it out, and make no destroy, and this to enjoy for the space of ten years next after my decease; also my will is that those 4 children named shall have each of them a book, there be 3 of Dr. Preston’s, one of Dr. Sibbs’ and Mr. Rogers’ 7 treatises–and the eldest to take his choice first; also my will is that my son John shall have my best stuff suit, and my son Thomas my frieze suit, and Edmond such a portion as may be equivalent, also my son John my cloth cloak; to my son Daniel I give a suitable portion of my apparel, which I desire may equally be parted among all my sons, except my black tamey cloak, which I give to Mr. John Eliot our teacher, my best friend. I give to my son John my other sword, and black belt to my son Thomas. Father my will is that all I have in the Iron Works, the yearly profit of it may be disposed to bring up my son Thomas at Cambridge till he come to be Master of Arts, and if my son Daniel be capable of learning, my desire is that he also after my son Thomas have the like benefit till he come to be Master of Arts, and then after that the whole to be equally divided among all my children and their heirs forever. I give and bequeath to my dearly beloved wife Barbara Weld (whom I make my sole executrix) together with my son Daniel, my daughter Sarah and my daughter Marah, the house I live in, with all the housing, yards, gardens, home lot, and the 15 acres on the neck. Also that cow I bought at Watertown for the other is my son John’s, together with two young steers that summering at John Woods’ in Sudbury, these excepted I give to my dear wife and her children, all other cattle at home also the down bed and bolster, and all things belonging to the bed and bedstead in the best chamber, and one other feather bed and the bedstead in the hall chamber, with the yellow rugg and the largest green rugg, 4 pillows and 2 pair blankets, also one flock bed; and all the other beds either feather beds or flock beds, with blankets, ruggs and all other bedding, I give to those children I had by my former wife, to be equally parted among them, also each of them a pair of sheets; and all the rest of the sheets or linen or woolens, I give to my wife and her children; only this exception hereinafter mentioned–, My daughter Dennison affirms, the down bed my wife’s mother gave to her after my decease–I know no such thing, yet being so confidently affirmed by her, my will is after the decease of my wife, if she outlive her (otherwise not) then the down bed and bolster with the binded corceing shall be my daughter Dennison’s. Also I give to my wife and her children all my other movable goods, my wife to have one half, and the rest of the children their portion. I mean the children I had by her. Also I give to my wife all my debts, moneys, or any other thing not formerly expressed, provided that special care first be taken that all the debts I owe, either in Old England or new, be first paid, those in Old England by the first return. The debts I owe I shall set down together, also Mr. Cuddington’s annuity of 20 pounds per year, till seven years be expired, except death prevent, two years and a half being paid already. Also 40 shillings a year for 5 years to the college, and all my other debts, my wife and her children to have all except that before expressed, she to have the one half, and to enjoy all till the children be brought up. But if the Lord so ordain, that my wife change her condition, then I desire my overseers to take order that my children’s portion be secured. Now if any of the children I had by my wife not living, decease before 21, or change of their condition by marriage, their portion shall go wth the survivors. If the Lord should take away my wife in the state of her widowhood, then my will is that her portion should be divided among all my children. Thus have I finished my will, in the best manner my weak condition will afford, praying and beseeching my esteemed friends Mr. John Eliot, Elder Heath, Edward Clapp at Dorchester, and William Parks all of them, or the major part of them, to take care to see my will fulfilled, and that my dear wife may be counselled and comforted by them and my children instructed and brought up in the fear of the Lord. And as a token of my love for their great pains they are like to take, I will that ten pounds be paid to them out of my estate, which I appoint my beloved wife to pay; which is but a small recompense; my desire is that the Lord would requite all their pains and labors of love into their bosoms. Amen. Amen.

By me. Joseph Weld.

This 22d of the 5th month (July) 1646.

My desire is that Lieutenant Hews, Brother Bell, also Brother John Johnson may be added to the rest of the overseers, because they know the state of some reckonings; whom I earnestly desire to join with Brother Bell in packing my beaver or other goods to pay my debts in England. Also one thing more my will is that if after my debts be paid and my annuities be considered of, there be a manifest difference between those children I have by this wife, and the former, it shall remain in the power of my overseers to regulate it, my desire being to make my children equal, and likewise, if it shall appear on the contrary; provided always, my mind is, that my wife shall have one half of what I give to her and her children.

By me. Joseph Weld.

26th day of the 5th month 1646.

Taking in the consideration of my children by this wife, being to be brought up.

Witness by us Joshua Hews, John Johnson.

To the Reverend and his esteemed in the Lord, Mr. John Eliot, give this. Not to be opened till after death.

Testified upon the oath of Lieutenant Hews and John Johnson before the Court, the 10th day of the 8th month (October) 1646.

Wm. Aspinwall, the Recorder.

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