Merrill family history and genealogy to the benefit of all.


VII. Nathaniel1 and His Sons
      The Will of Nathaniel1

First Generation
A Merrill Memorial

    Samuel Merrill, 1928, reprint 1983

Nathaniel1 of Newbury and His Sons - Chapter VII, pp 66-101

The Will of Nathaniel1 Merrill

   The will and inventory of Nathaniel1 Merrill are preserved in the Essex County Court Papers, vol. III, leaf 10, in the office of the Clerk of Courts at Salem. Both papers are in the handwriting of Anthony Somerby. The will was executed 8 March, 1654/5; Nathaniel Merrill died 16 March, 1654/5; the will was proved 27 March, 1655.

   Anthony Somerby was educated at Cambridge, England. He came to New England in 1639, and was the first schoolmaster of Newbury. He was town clerk nearly forty years, and his handwriting is very familiar to those who have devoted much attention to early Newbury records. Richard Knight, another witness of the will, came to New England in 1635, having previously learned the tailoring trade. He was one of the first selectmen of the town.

   The accompanying facsimile of the will I traced carefully with a pen on tracing cloth, devoting several hours to the task. By the same means I copied most of the autographs which are used in later pages of this book. A majority of the autographs are from wills, and many of these instruments were executed at times of great bodily infirmity. They are not models of chirography: it may, nevertheless, be fairly said that the penmanship of our earlier ancestors was usually better than their pens. In the mark by which Nathaniel Merrill signed his will we can see the effort of a man on his deathbed to make the initials N M. There is no reason whatever to assume that he lacked the usual common-school education of his time.


  Witnes by these psents that J Nathaniell Merrill
of Newbury in the Countie of Essex being ficke of body but
through gods mercy of perfect memory do here make my
last will and testament, J first bequeath my soule into
the hands of my blessed Redeemer with an assured hope
of a ioyfull resurection, and my body when it shall
please the lord to take me out of this fraile life to bee
buryed in the burying place of Newbury, and for my
worldly goods J giue and dispose of as followeth
Jmpr J giue and bequeath unto Susanna my wife
fiue akers of plowable land lying next my Brother John
land and halfe the marsh dureing her naturall life
and a cow and three beifers and all my household
goods, And out of this estat so giuen to my wife
J giue and bequeath unto my daughter Susanna fiue
pounds when she shalbe at the age of twenty yeares
then J giue and bequeath unto my son Nathaniell
(whom J appoint as my true and lawfull heire) all
my land and freehold after my wiues decease, and
all the working tooles & Jmplements of husbandry
and all the cattell and stocke besids And out of this
stocke J appoint that my son Nathaniell shall pay
theise legacyes as followeth, that is J giue unto my son
John when be shalbee of the age of two and twenty yeers
the summe of fiue pounds, And also J giue and bequeath
unto my son Abraham at the age of two and twenty yeare
fiue pounds, And J giue and bequeath unto my sonne
Daniell also at the age of one and twenty years fiue pound
and J giue and bequeath to my son Abell fiue pounds also
at the age of one and twenty years, And J appoint my
son Nathaniell to be my sole executor and all my debts
& funerall rites being discharged J appoint him to
haue all the rest of my goods & chattels undisposed
and J desire my brother John merill and Anthony Somerby
to be the ouerseers of this my last will & testament.
  Jn witnesse wherof J baue set my hand. march the eight in the yeare one thousand six hundred fifty foure
The NM marke
of Nathaniell Merrill
but if gods p’uidence should by losses & crosses upon ye estate more then
ordinary: then proporlionably to be abated in the legacyes
Wittnes   Richard Knight  
Anthony Somerby  
John Merrell
pued in court held at ypswich
the 27 of (1) 55 by the oath of John
merrill & Anthony Sumerby
          p me   Robt. Lord cleric’


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     © - Updated 30 July, 2002