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The Brooker Collection - Additional Materials

Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room - Boston College Law Library


Wills and Estates Materials:
Examples of Documents from the Brooker Collection


Will of Jeremiah Anderson (Document #1563)

Dated 1777, Jeremiah Anderson’s will is the oldest in the Brooker Collection. Anderson hailed from Ware, Massachusetts. Anderson was unable to write, so instead of signing his will he made his mark, a large decorative letter “A” to the right of the three witnesses’ signatures on page 2.

A transcription of Anderson’s will is provided below. For the clearest view, click on the small image below to see a larger image, then mouse over that image, wait a moment for the small icon to appear in the lower right corner, and click on that icon to further enlarge the image.

Will of Jeremiah Anderson - page 1  Will of Jeremiah Anderson - page 2   Transcription of Will of Jeremiah Anderson - page 1  Transcription of Will of Jeremiah Anderson - page 2
Click on images to see larger view


Will of Mary Lane (Document #0682)

This will, dated 1794, is the oldest in the Brooker Collection to have been written by a woman. Mary Lane lived in New Port, New Hampshire. Conventions in legal drafting were already well ingrained; note how similar the first few sentences of Mary Lane’s will are to those of Jeremiah Anderson’s. Unlike Anderson, Mary Lane could sign her name, although someone else wrote this will for her.

A transcription of Lane’s will is included here. Follow the instructions described above for Jeremiah Anderson’s will to see the clearest view.

Will of Mary Lane - page 1 Will of Mary Lane - page 2  Transcription of Will of Mary Lane - page 1   Transcription of Will of Mary Lane - page 2

Click on images to see larger view


Inventory of the Estate of Abigail Clap (Document #1229)

In 1838, three relatives of the decedent Abigail Clap of Dorchester, Massachusetts, appraised her real and personal property in this inventory. In addition to $900 worth of interest in “part of a dwelling house and land,” Clap owned personal property (including the value of a note) appraised at about $535. A small document attached to page two, signed by Probate Judge S. Leland, deemed the inventory acceptable and ordered that it be filed.

A transcription of Clap’s inventory is included here. Follow the instructions described above for Jeremiah Anderson’s will to see the clearest view.

Clap Estate Inventory - page 1  Clap Estate Inventory - page 2  Transcription of Clap Estate Inventory - page 1  Transcription of Clap Estate Inventory - page 2

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Estate Inventory of John Hawkins (Document #1307)

This detailed four-page inventory was taken on September 24, 1802, less than a month after John Hawkins passed away on August 29. It covers everything from socks to livestock to “corn in the field.”

A transcription of the inventory of Hawkins’ estate is included here. Follow the instructions described above for Jeremiah Anderson’s will to see the clearest view.

Hawkins Estate Inventory - page 1   Hawkins Estate Inventory - page 2   Hawkins Estate Inventory - page 3   Hawkins Estate Inventory - page 4

Transcription of Hawkins Estate Inventory - page 1  Transcription of Hawkins Estate Inventory - page 2 Transcription of Hawkins Estate Inventory - page 3 Transcription of Hawkins Estate Inventory - page 4

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Estate Sale of John Hawkins’ Property (Document #1319)

The final document in this sampling of wills and estates materials is the record of the auction of some of John Hawkins’ property. The auction took place on November 2, 1802, just over a month after the above inventory was compiled. It is evident that the appraisers knew what they were doing: the appraised values in the inventory and the sale figures at auction are usually quite close. For example, a silver watch was appraised at $15 and sold for $17; a mare was appraised at $25 and sold for $23, and a colt was valued at $10 and sold for $10.50.

A transcription of the estate sale is included here. Follow the instructions described above for Jeremiah Anderson’s will to see the clearest view.

Hawkins Estate Sale - page 1  Hawkins Estate Sale - page 2  Transcription of Hawkins Estate Sale - page 1 Transcription of Hawkins Estate Sale - page 2

Click on images to see larger view