An American Family History

Bridget Bradstreet

Prayer is called a lifting up of the soul and of the heart.
Thomas Cobbet

Thomas Cobbet (1608-1685) wrote Gospel Incense: A Practical Treatise on Prayer and The Civil Magistrate's Power in Matters of Religion Modestly Debated.

Horse Terms
Foal: less than 1 year old
Yearling: between 1 & 2
Colt: male under 4
Filly: female under 4
Mare: female over 4
Gelding: castrated male
: non-castrated male over 4

Rowley, Essex County, Massachusetts was first settled in 1639.

Bridget Bradstreet was born about 1604 in England.

She married Humphrey Bradstreet in 1622 when she was about 18 years old. Their children and life together are described in detail in the section on Humphrey and Bridget Bradstreet. She became a widow in 1655. Humphrey provided for her in his will since she was not able to own property while she was married.

my farme on which I now dwell, with halfe the commons belonging to me from Ipswich, and all the commons to me from Rowley, shall be my beloved wifes, for the terme of her life, in case she doe not marry . . .[and] unto my wife Bridget one brown cow, one ew sheepe, one horse colt.

She died on November 16, 1665 in Ipwich, Essex County, Massachusetts. Her will was probated in September, 1666. John Kimball was appointed one of the executors of her will which was proved March 28, 1666. She left her most of her worldly goods to her daughters since her sons had inherited from their father.

Moses inherited her barn, musket (a long gun intended to be fired from the shoulder), large chest, chair, a kettle, a "bern" vessel, two "kelers", and a churn in addition to the 40 pounds he had already received.

Martha Kimball (Beale?) inherited the land that she already had, a green hood, a pewter dish, a book by John Norton, one sheet and one "pelober."

Mary Kemball inherited her old Bible, a cloth waistcoat (vest), a small reticule? (peticutes), a bolster, one pillow, one pewter dish, and one brass candlestick.

She gave Mary and Sarah Wallace her "steny." They were to both use them. They also received her beehive and they were to give the first swarm to their other two sisters.

Sarah received a book by Thomas Cobbet, a serge (strong twilled fabric) gown and cloak, a pewter dish, a skillet, her mother's bed, a bolster and pillow, and pillow form, a white rug, one iron pot, and one pintado? (chintz) petticoat.

Rebecca Bonfield received a black serge petticoat, shawl? (baring chulh), a pewter dish, and the two best iron pots.

Hannah's daughter Hannah Rolfe received her hat, wearing linen, a chest, one pair of sheets, a two year old cow, and a serge waistcoat.

Children of Humphrey and Bridget Bradstreet
  • Hannah Bradstreet Rolfe Holt
  • John Bradstreet
  • Martha Bradstreet Beale
  • Mary Bradstreet Kimball
  • Captain Moses Bradstreet
  • Sarah Bradstreet Wallis
  • Rebecca Bradstreet Bonfield
  • A Puritan woman's clothing consisted of underpants, stockings, linen, shift, petticoat, chemise (underblouse), bolster (a padded roll tied around the hips under the skirt), bodice, skirt, apron, coif (cap), outer gown and shoes. A woman might wear a ruff or bow and an apron. Cloaks were worn instead of coats. Women carried a small cloth draw-string bag or reticule and perhaps wore a chatelaine.

    Old Style Calendar
    Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.
    Pewter is an alloy composed mainly of tin, but can include lead. It was used for dishes and utensils. Some colonists suffered lead poisoning from using it. It dents easily and lasted about ten years. It was expensive and wooden dishes were used most often.

    The ship Elizabeth sailed from Ipswich, England in April, 1634 with William Andrews, Master. On board were Richard and Ursula Kimball and their children, Ursula’s mother Martha Whatlock Scott and her brothers Roger and Thomas Scott. Humphrey and Bridget Bradstreet sailed on the same ship. They arrived in July at Boston.

    The town of Ipswich was established on August 5, 1634, from common land called Agawam. On October 18, 1648, that portion called the "Village" at the New Meadows was set off as Topsfield. The boundary line between Ipswich and Topsfield was established, February 28, 1694.

    Anne Dudley Bradstreet (1612-1672) was the first women poet published in America and England. She was the wife of Governor Simon Bradstreet.


    It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.
    The town common (commons) was a small, open field at the center of the town which was jointly owned. It was used as a marketplace, a place for the militia to drill, or for grazing livestock.

    The will of Mrs. Bridget Bradstreet of Ipswich was proved in the court held at Ipswich March 28, 1666. The following is a copy of the original instrument on file in the probate office at Salem.

    The sextenth day of Ocktober in the yer of our lord 1665

    I Bregit Brodstret of Ipswipch in New England being of whole mind and of good and perfect memory doe make and ordaine this my Last will and testiment in maner and forme following:

    Inprimes bejng now very weake I Commend my Spirit in to the hands of my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ and my body to the grond with an Liuly hope of my Reture un to Life at the coming of my Lord and sauior Jesus Christ

    Itum I will that all debts and duties as I ough to any one be well and truuly paid by mine Executor here after named

    Itum After all my funerall Expences discharged: I will that my son Moses shall have my Barne: and my musket: ad my great Chest: and Chaire: I all soe give unto him the kettle: the Bern vessell: ad my touw kelers: and my churne together with what I have all Redy given to my son moses: which as I conseue doth amount to aboue forty pounds.

    2ly vnto my Esdest daughter martha Kimball: I give the ground of mine that she have in Posetion and my grene hood: a peuter dish: and Mr Nortons Booke: and on sheat and on Pelober

    3ly I give unto my daughter Mary Kemball my ould bibell: my cloth weskot: my smell peticutes an boulster on yelow: on peuter dish: and on brasen candill ftick

    I give unto my daughter Kemball and my daughter walles my fteny the Euse of them both and after the defes of ether of them the Longest Liver of them and all foe I give to them my skey of Befe: and my defier is that they give tham furst sworme to ther other too Sisters:

    4th I give unto my daughter wailes Mr. Cobbets Book [Thomas Cobbet] my serg gound: ad cloke; on peuter dish and on skilit: the Bed that I now Ly upon; on bousster ad yellow and yellow Born: or whight Ruge: on Iron Pote: and on Peniston Peticote.

    5ly I giue vnto my daughter Rebecka bondfeld I giue vnto hur my blacke serg peticote: and my baring chulh: on Peuter dish and my touw best Iron pots

    6ly vnto my grad child hanah Roph I giue my hate: my waring liny and my chest: and on Pair of sheat : and I give unto hur on ho cow toow yer ould in the spring and I give on Serg wesket

    7ly my will is that the Rest of my goods: Chattels: and debts be Equally diuided among my fouer dafters aboue Ritten

    and I will and nominate and doth her by difier my Loving frend Samuell plats: to be mine Execkter of this my will and I doe desier him to fee this my will full feled and in witnes her of I haue her unto set to my hand the day and and yer of our Lord above mentioned

    I do will desier and nominate my loving frinds Samuell Appleton and Joseph Whipple to be my oversers of this my will

    The mark of B B Breget Brad

    In the Presents of us
    Samuell Appleton,
    s Whipple

    Cattle were vital to a household and an important legacy.
    Unweaned cattle are calves.
    Female cattle are heifers and cows (had a calf).
    Male cattle are steers (castrated) and bulls.
    are trained draft animals and are often castrated adult male cattle.

    Personal property can be called personalty (personality), goods, chattels, articles, or movable property. It includes both animate or inanimate property.
    John Norton (1606-1663) was a Puritan divine. He wrote Responsio ad totam quæstionum syllogen, the first Latin book in America in 1645 (published 1648). His biography of John Cotton, Abel Being Dead, Yet Speaketh, was published in 1658.
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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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