Last Will and Testament
18 November 1723
Will and Testament of Richard Hall,
Probate 20 March 1730. Inventory 11 May 1730.
In the name of God Amen, I, Richard hall of Bradford in the county of Essex in New England, having obtained life from God, am still remaining in this world until I am come to the years of old age and labouring under some distemper of body and the infirmity of old age although of perfect mind and memory and through the goodness of almighty God still retain those faculties of my reason and understanding, therefore calling to mind the mortality of my body and that it be appointed to man once to die, do therefore make and ordain this to be my last will and testament, that is to say, principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hand of God that gave it hoping through the merits, death, and passion of my savior Jesus Christ to have full and free pardon and forgiveness of all my sins and to inherit everlasting life, and my body I commit to the earth to be decently buried according to my age and quality at the discretion of my executor or executors hereafter named, nothing doubting but to receive the same again at the general resurrection by the mighty power of God and as for those good and estates that it hath pleased God in his good providence to bestow upon me I give, devise, and dispose of in manner and form as followeth.
First. My will be that whatsoever debts and duties I owe in right of conscience to any person or persons be contented and paid or ordained to be paid in convenient time after my decease out of my estate by my executors.
Item. I give and bequeath to my well-beloved son John Hall
the whole of my messuage on the south side of the highway on which my barn
standeth extending southwardly until it come to a Black Oak tree standing on
the south side of the hill commonly called and known by the name of “Cedar” (correction
Seller Hill marked
with the letter C. standing in the range with the dividing line between
this my said son and his brother Joseph, my other sons their homesteads.
Item. I give and bequeath to my third son Joseph Hall
the remainder of this my said messuage or tenement on which I now dwell on the
south part southwardly from the above mentioned marked tree and the aforesaid
dividing line extending to the end thereof southwardly, he paying to my well-beloved son Richard Hall
land just sum of Twelve pounds in current money of this
province or bill of credit within the term of one year after my decease and the
decease of Martha (my present?) wife.
Secondlie. I give and bequeath to my aforesaid beloved son John on the north side of the highway another part of the same messuage on the which my dwelling house standeth beginning at two bound trees, the one on the east side and the other west, the east welling house and so on the north part northwardly until it come to the River Merrimack, this my said son paying to my well-beloved daughter Martha Bond the sum of fourteen pounds in current money of this province or bills of credit within the terms of one year after me and my wife’s decease but in case of his failing to pay the said legacy to this my said daughter her heirs or assigns within the term aforesaid, then my will be that she my said daughter or her heirs or successors shall have and enjoy this premised part of my land.
Item. I lastly give and bequeath to my daughter Mary Hall the remainder of the whole of my messuage or tenement in the which I now dwell that is to say my dwelling house, garden, and orchard extending northwardly till it come to the last division above mentioned given to my son John with all my household stuff, utensils, beds, and bedding with one cow and one swine.
Nevertheless provided and it is always to be understood that I give and bequeath to Martha my well-beloved wife the free and full use of the whole of my estate of what value or denomination soever forever and during her present natural life and further, my will be that my executors afford her a decent funeral after which I do hereby confirm on each of my dear children the several gifts and bequests herein mentioned and set forth and do likewise constitute and appoint my two trusty and beloved sons John and Joseph to be my sole executors disallowing all wills and bequests establishing this alone to be my last will and testament in confirmation of which I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 18th day of November in the year of our lord 1723, & e.
Signed, sealed, declared, and owned to be the last will and testament of Richard Hall in presence of us.
Nathan Griffin NOTE by
Buzzell NOTE by
Boynton NOTE by
Furthermore, I have had some puzzlement over tying together the description of the land in this will with the fact that the fence that ran past Zecharias Symmes’ property next to the burial ground and abutted Richard(1) Hall’s land seems to run more east to west than north to south. In fact, the highway near the burial ground runs more or less from northwest to southeast. With some liberty one could see how the will referred to property that lay “south of this” and “north of that”, rather than “southeast of this” and “northwest of that”, but I still have some concern that the land was not “below the burial ground”.
Note: Text of will transcribed from original in
Essex County Probate files
Signatures are a facsimile.