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               Last Will and Testament

                                     Bradford, Massachusetts

                                                   18 November 1723


             Essex County Probate Docket 1638-1840, Vol. 7, Case No. 12212

                     Last Will and Testament of Richard Hall, Bradford, gent.

                        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 by Jeff Hall 3/6/2003. This may be what was once referred to as Long Hill [due to its shape] and seems to fit with my postulation of where the land is located) 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 the full 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.


                               Richard Hall                            



 Nathan Griffin NOTE by Jeff Hall 3/6/03: (b. 1680, Bradford, MA, d. after 1760; son of John Griffin and Lydia Shatswell. John Griffin prob. the owner of Griffin’s Ferry shown in survey map of 1724 showing the house of John Griffin in Bradford. Nathaniel Griffin married Hannah Barker in 1709. She was poss. a relative of Mehitable Barker and Richard Barker who married Richard(2) Hall and a Graves, respectively. I also believe Nathaniel Griffin is buried in Bradford in the lower part of the ancient burial ground)


Daniel Buzzell NOTE by Jeff Hall 3/6/03: (Daniel Buswell (Buzzell) b. 20 May 1694 in Salisbury, Essex, MA, d. 1756 in Bradford, MA. Son of Isaac Buswell and Anna Ordway. Issac Buswell was the son of Samuel Buswell and Sarah Keyes. This Sarah Keyes is poss. related to the Sarah Keyes who married Timothy Hall of Harvard, MA and later Wilton, NH and 2nd Ezekiel Jewett in Temple, NH, although I have not yet found the link between the two Sarah’s.)


Jonathan Boynton NOTE by Jeff Hall 3/6/03: (prob. the Jonathan Boynton b. 8/19/1684 in Rowley who married in 1711 Margaret Harriman b. 8/19/1686 (coincidence!), of Bradford, MA. She was m. 1st to Daniel Gage and 3rd to John Stuart (LDS AFN:43TL-58). Margaret’s mother was Sarah Palmer (poss. related to Richard(2) Hall’s 1st mother-in-law). Jonathan’s nephew Richard, son of Richard and Sarah Dresser, is probably the Richard Boynton of Tewksbury who in 1743 bought 57 acres of land from Richard(2) Hall on the Nashua River in Harvard, MA for 220 pounds. Richard Boynton’s wife was Jerusha Hutchins. Her uncle Joseph Hutchins, Jr. owned the land that bounded this property to the south. He also witnessed the deed. To the east of this piece of land was the property of Simeon Farnsworth who was married to Martha Hall, Richard(2)’s daughter. To make matters even more interesting, Jerusha (Hutchins) Boynton’s mother was a descendant of the John Hazeltine of Bradford who was a first settler of Bradford, MA and the donor of the land on which the first 2 meeting houses were built and the first burial ground was placed. Bounding the burial ground land in Bradford was a 5 rail fence that, according to the town history, ran to the fence of “Goodman Hall” (“Goodman” being an archaic way of saying Esteemed, or Citizen, or Mister.).


NOTE from Jeff Hall 3/6/2003: The copy of the will I saw (which may have been later) also had the name Ezekiel Cheever on it. He appears to have been a magistrate or attorney or clerk who officiated the will. He lived in Ipswitch and died in Danvers and was probably associated solely with the legal recording of the will (family attorney?).


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 Salem, MA     and spelling have been up-dated.  The original test of the inventory, which is also on file, indicates that the total value of the estate was approximately 369 pounds, the chief items being a house, furnishings and land.

           Signatures are a facsimile.




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