An American Family History

Will of Humphrey Bradstreet

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
    Guardianship is when a court gives an adult custody of a child and/or the responsibility of managing the child's property. Before women could own property, guardians were appointed for their minor children if their husband died.

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

    In 1653 "Richard Kemball. sen'r, & Joseph Fowler [husband of Martha Kimball], both of Ipswich, wheelwright & husbandman [farmer], in the county of Essex, in New England, do bind ourselves, heirs & executors, to Humphry Bradstreete of Rowley, in the same county, in the full & just sume of fifty pounds, for to secure the said Humohrey, his heirs, executors & administrators, from all charges & incumbrances touching the horse that the s'd Humphry Bradstreete, hath sould me, and recovered from Zacheus Gould, in December 1649, witness our hand. Richard Kimball (the marke of). Joseph Fowler.
    Signed, sealed & del'd in the presence of these,
    3 of the 01 month, dat. 1653,
    witnes Matha Willims, John Bradstreete."

    Essex Co. Probate Files Docket 3,081

    The last will and testament of Umphrah Brodstreate of Ipswich, jul 21 1655 being weake in boddy doe therfore ordaine this my last will, in manner as followeth:

    I give my soule to God that gave it me, and my boddy to be buried in the buring place of Rowley, and doe beleve the cumfortable resurrection of the same;

    as for my outward estate, my will is 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, [Bridget Bradstreet] for the terme of her life, in case she doe not marry, but if she marry, then the one halfe of the farme shall be for the bringing up of my sonn Moses, and in case she dy, before my sonn Moses attain the age of 21, then the one halfe shall be my sonn Mosesis, and the other halfe (that is the benefit of it) shall be equally divided among my five daughters, or so many of them as shall be then Living, and my will is that when my sonn Moses attains the age of 21: he shall have and injoy the whole said farm except my wife be then living, who shall then enjoy halfe the said farme, with all the dwelling house for the terme of her life, and after her death it shall all be my sonn Mosesis. . .

    Item I doe give to the pore of Rowley one pound and my will is that if my estate doe fall short of the full discharge of all my debts and Legacies then there shall be an equall abatement out of the severall Legacies given acording to proportion. and I doe intreat my beloved friends Mr Sammuell Phillips, Mathew Boyes, and John Harris, to joine with my wife for the disposing of my children in mariage or otherwise as need may require and

    I doe make my wife Bridget Brodstreete Sole exequiteris of this my last will, and I have hereunto set my hand July 21: 1655:
    Humphri Bradstreet
    Witness: Mathew Boyes, John Harris.
    Proved 25:7:1655 by the witnesses


    When a mark is used for a signature, the person was probably illiterate, but may not have been able to sign because of age or infirmity.

    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.

    A yeoman was a man who owned and cultivated a small farm. He belonged to the class below the gentry or land owners. A husbandman was a free tenant farmer. The social status of a husbandman was below that of a yeoman.

    Seals were used to authenticate documents and men were expected to have a personal die. Records in deed books are copies and signatures are usually in the clerk’s handwriting. The clerk drew a circle around the word “seal” to indicate that the original document was sealed.

    Tools were an important legacy because they were essential part of daily life.

    Indian Corn (or flint corn) is the type of maize that Native Americans taught colonists to cultivate. The kernels come in a range of colors and are less prone to spoiling.

    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 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.

    Guardianship of
    Rebecca Bradstreet of Ipswich
    Ipswich Quarterly Court Records,
    Volume 1, page 52.
    Rebeacha Brodstreet chose Joseph Jewett to be her guardian, and he acknowledged 29 :7:1657, that he had received her portion of the estate of her father, Humphry Bradstreet, given to her in his will, from her mother Bridgett Broadstreet, executrix of the will.

    Inventory taken Sept. 6, 1655, by Danall thirton and William Lawe:

    one hat, one cloak and the rest of his cloths 2-10-0
    a pair of sheets, two pilowbeers [pillowcase], one tabl cloth    1-0-0
    seven sheets and foure napkins 1-10-0
    four cotton blankits 1-4-0
    one flock bed, one rugg and one boulster    1-0-0
    one flock bed, one rug, one boulster 2-0-0
    one flock bed, one rug, 2 boulsters, one pillow     2-0-0
    a parsil of sheeps wool 0-15-0
    a parsil of wheat and a parsil of rie 2-10-0
    thre ould chists, one box 0-14-0
    one bed stead and cortan [curtain] 0-10-0
    indian corne 1-10-0
    two sieves 0-2-0
    ould Iyron and two sickle 0-5-0
    a parsill of barley malt 0-10-0
    a cros cut saw 0-8-0
    sertane carpin for tools 0-17-0
    one kettel, the iyron pots, one posnit [large iron pan set on feet], pot hooks   2-0-0
    one warming pane, one frying, 0-4-0
    some peuter and a bras candlstick 1-0-0
    thre bushill of rie malt 0-11-0
    two bibles and another book 0-15-0
    two glas bottels, one chear [chair], one smal box   0-7-6
    twenty pound of butter 0-10-0
    tubs and beare vesils 1-0-0
    one cubard, two earthin pots 0-3-0
    four wegs [wig?], two beetl rings 0-8-0
    one spade, one how [hoe] 0-2-0
    one grinding stone 0-3-0
    one cart, one plow with chains and yoaks 3-0-0
    four oxen 30-0-0
    nine cowes 38-5-0
    one bull 4-0-0
    two stears 9-0-0
    two yearlings and one calf 7-0-0
    two hefers 6-0-0
    one maire 16-0-0
    one hors coult 8-0-0
    thre yewes, thre lambs 9-0-0
    swine 10-0-0
    wheat and rie 6-0-0
    indian corn 5-0-0
    barley 1-0-0
    hay 5-0-0
    a home lot att Ipswig 8-0-0
    a cannow 0-15-0
    a muskit 0-10-0
    lamp 0-5-0
    in debt owing him 50-0-0
    in debts he did owe 20-0-0
    total 146-10-0

    The farme where he lived 160-0-0
    The farme at muddy River 70-0-

    Ipswich Quarterly Court Records, Volume 1, page 52.
    Ipswich Deeds, Volume 1, leaf 209.

    Thomas Rawlison acknowledged the receipt from John Palmer of Rowley in the behalfe of Bridget Broadstreete, widow, of 5 li. in full saitsfaction of all agreements between the husband of the said Bridget, and Thomas Rawlison, sr., concerning themselves and their children according to agreement between Robert Lord and Thomas Rawlison, jr. at Salisbury court.
    Witness: Joseph Jewett, Edward Browne.

    Will. Beale's order to "Mother Bradstrete" "to pay my wife that twenty shillings left mee by my father in his last will. "Dated 26:7:1655. Receipt of the 20s. by Mr. Jewitt, signed by Martha Beale.

    Receipt of Hanah (her mark) Rofe of Ipswich, of 20s. given by legacy in her father's will, and acquittance of my Mother Bridget Broadstret."
    Witness: Mathew Boyes,
    Sarah ( her mark) Bradstret.

    Receipt of Joseph Jewett of 10li. from Bridget Bradstret on the account of William Beale "for rent with a great some more for the use of Marbelhead mill."
    Witness: Nehemiah Jewett, Abraham Jewett.

    Acquittance of "my mother Bradstreet from all debts & demands given or left for us upon my fathers will," by William Beale and Martha his wife. Signed Aug. 23, 1657.
    Witness: Rebecka (her mark) Bradstre and Elizabeth Boys.

    Acquittance of "my mother Bradstrett," having received "in Cattle the som of Thirty pound which is the full of my wives portion." Signed 20:2:1657 by Nicholas Wallis [Sarah's husband].
    Witness: Joseph Jewett, John Harris, Leonard Harriman.

    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.

    A flock bed [mattress] is stuffed with waste wool or cotton.
    Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.

    A sieve is a framed mesh and is used to separate coarser from finer particles. A riddle is a coarse sieve.


    A bed warmer or warming pan is a metal container with a handle which was filled with hot coals and placed under the bedcovers to warm the bed.

    A scythe or a sickle is a hand tool for reaping crops. The handle of a scythe is a snead.


    Mister ( Mr.) was derived from master and Mrs. and Miss were derived from mistress. They indicated people of superior social status in colonial America.

    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



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    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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