An American Family History

Walter Powers' Will

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.

Chelmsford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts was incorporated in May, 1655

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.

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.

From Middlesex County, Register of Deeds
(emphasis and breaks added for readability)

To All Christian People to whome this Deed of Sale shall come, Walter Power senr of Concord in the County of Middlesex within the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England husbandman Sendith Greeting. 

Know ye that I, the aforesaid Walter Power for several good and weighty Causes and considerations me thereunto moving,

[1] partly in Consideration of my son Walter Power formerly of Concord, now of Groton in sd County, his obliging himself by writing unto his brother William Power and Jacob Power

[2]—partly to show my love and affections unto him my sd son Walter in order to his Comfortable Settlement here at Nashoby where I now live. 

[3] But Chiefly and mainly to encourage and enable him to the performance of Such duty and Service unto myself and Tryall my wife his natural parents now in our old and declining age The which as will more fully appear in this Instrument,

Have given granted Bargained & Sold alien enforced and confirmed, and by these presents Do fully freely Clearly and absolutely give grant bargain sell alien enforce Convey pass over & confirm unto him the aforesaid Walter Power, my Son himself his heirs Executors assignees forever the Several Lands hereafter mentioned in this Instrument

All Situate lying and being in the northerly part of Concord aforesaid next to Chelmsford Line, and is part of a farm formerly purchased by my father [in-law] Ralph Shepard of Lt. Joseph Wheeler; The premises now Sold and disposed are as followeth:

Impers. My now Dwelling house together with the Land on which sd house standeth and ye Land adjoining proscribed and bounded in manner following, Containing by Estimation Thirty Five acres & the same more or less being chiefly orcharding plowland and meadow land most of which is or hath been within home,

Chelmsford Line bounding the Northerly Side there of Northwest

is Bound upon the West Land on the edge of the great hill just above the old fence westerly by the path that is usually used from this Saide farem to Groton Mill,

Southerly it bounds partly by the Land that I have disposed of unto my son Jacob Power and South Easterly by sd Jacob Power his plowland the line already being Settled next sd Jacob quite until it comes to Chelmsford Line. 

Also the full one halfe of a Tract of Undivided Wast [West?] Land belonging to sd farme lying on the South Westerly side of said great hill adjoining unto the afore mentioned granted premises. 

The Whole Containing by Estimation Sixty acres the same to be Equally divided between him sd Walter Power my son & him sd Jacob Power as may appear by Deed to him sd Jacob bearing date with those presents.

To Have & To Hold & - Provided it Be always understood yt he ye aforesaid Walter Power my Son himself his heirs executors and adms. Is and shall be obliged to Do and perform or cause to be done and performed the duty and Service hereafter mentioned.  That is to Say to Keep and maintain myself and Tryall my Wife aforesaid all the time of Each of our natural life

with good whole Some food and both meat and Drink

and good warm apparel suitable for both winter and Summer

& as also Convenient Bedding & Lodging

and in time of sickness or other bodily infirmities, to afford us and either of us with ye help of suitable Doctors according as the case my require

as also shall yearly (if orchards beare fruit) to lay in for me into the Cellar Two Barrels of good Cyder to be at my own free disposal unto my friends or to Such as I shall See occasion to bestow it upon,

further shall allow me an horse to ride to meeting & to See my friends when I shall see occasion at convenient according to true and honest meaning; 

Further shall not remove me to any other place to keep Except any Extraordinary occasion by Reason of the Enemy and dangers, or that I Do give my consent in such removal,

and further shall afford unto myself and wife at Death each of us a decent buriall in Such place as Providence doth permit;

and all to be done without fraud, deceit or careless delays.  And for the better securing and fulfilling the particular duties above comprehended are firmly bound over unto me ye said Walter Power Senr myself heirs, executors Administrators and Assignors firmly by these presents nothwithstanding what is above written.

In Witness unto this my act and Deed

I sd Walter Power Senr do affix my hand and seal and Walter Power Junr in token that he doth oblige himself his heirs executors and administrators to fulfill the Said Articles and Duties to be performed to his said parents does like wise affix his hand and Seal.  Sealed unto by the aforesaid Walter Power Senr & Junr interchangeably this eight day of December Anno Domini Seventeen hundred four in the third year of ye Reign of our Sovereign Lady Queen Anne by the Grace of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Walter Power Senr, his (X) mark
Signed Sealed and delivered in the presence of us

Thomas Brown
John Barker

ye is an archaic spelling of "the."
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.
Queen Anne ruled England and Great Britain from March 8, 1702 to August 1, 1714.
Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts was settled early by the English as a frontier outpost of  the Massachusetts Bay Colony.


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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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