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Annotated will of Nathaniel Dickinson

From the ancestry records of Robert Earl Cape, and posted by James William Cape (along with a biography) at www.ourpast.org/genealogy/ histories/natha.htm

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF NATHANIEL DICKINSON

I, NATHANIEL DICKENSON, Senior, late of Haytfield, now of Hadley, in ye County of Hampshire, upon Connitticut, doe make and ordaine this my last will and testament, as follows:

Nathaniel was 76 years old. His wife, Anna, had died within the past few years. Three of his sons had been killed within the last ten months in Indian attacks. In fact, John had died only ten days before Nathaniel wrote his will. A grandson had lived only two days in February.

IMPRIMIS. Making a full surrender of myself, soule and body, into ye handes of God, my Creator, and Jesus Christ, my alone Savior & Redeemer, relying on Him for all yt I need & hope for in this world, & yt which is to come, & leaving my body to decent burriell in hope of a blessed resurrection, I do bestow yt portion of outward estate which the Lord in His Fatherlie mercy hath blessed me with, in manner following: my debtes and funerall expenses being first payd.

In "making a full surrender" of himself, Goodman Dickinson shows his trust in the Lord and bows his head to a destiny that must have seemed a harsh punishment.

SECONDLY: I doe give unto my son, Nehemiah, my house & barn & homelott, with all the preveledges and appurtenances thereto belonging; as alsoe one-half my meaddow land in Hadley (except what is hereinafter excepted) with the preveledges and appurtenances thereto belonging; to be to him and his heirs forever, besides what was Thomas Webster's.

Nehamiah was 32. His wife was Mary Cowles. Nehamiah, Jr. was 4, William just over 1. A child, John, had been born on February 14th and had died two days later. This family lived with Nathaniel. Thomas Webster was the younger son of John Webster. He had owned a 2 acre homelot next to the pound on the road to the cemetery.

I give my daughter-in-law, Dorcas, widdow of my son Azariah, four acres & a half of Meaddow land, bounded by my son, Thomas, his land east; Francis Barnard, west; John Hubbard, north; & ye highway south; so as to be her & her heirs' forever. Further, I give or abate to her all yt was my due for ye rent of the rent of my land from her, & alsoe doe give to her ye rent money that was due to me for my oxen; and also three pounds that was due for a barrell (unpayd) of Pork: all and every of ye premises I give to ye said Dorcas as her own, to her and her heirs forever.

Azariah was his youngest son. He and Dorcas had been married less than a year before he was killed at the Swamp Fight.

The rest of my meaddow in Hadley, I doe give to be equally devided betweene all my sons (except Nehamiah) and my daughters - Frances Dickenson & Hannah Clary - which my executors shall either equally divide to all my aforesaid children, or else to pay to each their proportion of ye sayd lands, as it shall be prized in Country pay, within two years after my decease, to ym and their heirs forever.

The sons were: William Gull, Thomas, Nathaniel, Jr., Nehemiah, and Hezekiah. Hannah Clary was his only daughter. Frances Dickinson was his son John's widow. Note that he makes no mention of his son Joseph's widow, although she was raising five sons.

To my son, Thomas, I give my house & lott I bought of Mr. Wattson; he paying to Mr. Wattson ye Thirty Pounds yt is yet due for the same; or, if he like it not on those terms, then it shall be last in among my devidable estate to my children.

Thomas had his own homelot next door. Caleb Watson's lot was on a 2 acre piece on the river at the north end of town. He had moved back to Connecticut before the war.

I give to my son, Samuel, my house & homelott in Hatfield, to be to him & his heirs forever, together with the preveledges & appurtances thereto belonging.

Samuel, 35, lived in Hatfield. His oldest son, Samuel, Jr., was 7. In time Samuel and Martha would have 8 living children.

To my son, Obadiah, I give all ye rest of my land in Hatfield, with ye preveledges and appurtenances thereto belonging, to be to him and his heirs forever; and my meaning & will is that these two, my sons, Samuel & Obadiah, shall not come in for a share of my land in Hadley, but this given them in Hatfield shall be instead of itt.

Obadiah, 35, was the youngest son. He had married Sarah Beardsley of Northampton and they had 3 children at this time.

To my son, William Gull  I give that Three Pounds which he oweth me for a barrell of pork.

William Gull was a stepson who had come from England with the rest of the family. Obviously Nathaniel raised hogs in quantity, since he was able to sell barrels of pork to his sons at 3 pounds per barrel.

All ye rest of my estate I give to be equally divided amongst all my sons and daughters. Frances Dickenson and Hannah Clary having equall shares with their breathren.

Did this include widow of Joseph? And did it include Dorcas? One wonders how the executors dealt with this ambiguity. Everyone must have been satisfied, however, as there were no subsequent law suits.

I doe hereby make and ordaine my two sons, Thomas & Nehemiah executors of this, my last will & testament, hereunto as my last will & testament I have subjoyned my hand and seale this present 29th day of May, 1676.
NATHANIEL DICKENSON
In presence of JOSEPH KELLOGG, JOHN RUSSELL, Junior.

The desire of ye testator is yt ye share given unto Frances Dickenson, may, if she see meet, be given to Samuel Gillett's children.

(Frances was their aunt). Nathaniel Dickinson died almost three weeks later, on June 16, 1676. Nathaniel Dickinson's exact burial spot is not known, but it is supposed to be in the old Hadley Cemetery near that of his son, Nehemiah. A fine boulder inset with a plaque, given by Mrs. Nellie Dickinson Hartnett has been placed near the spot.

From the ancestry records of Robert Earl Cape, and posted by James William Cape (along with a biograpy of Nathaniel Dickinson) at www.ourpast.org/genealogy/histories/natha.htm
His genealogy home page is at www.ourpast.org/genealogy/histories/natha.htm
(This page was lightly edited by Robin Richmond)


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