9 Times Great Grandfather, William Sprague, Last Will and Testament (1675)

William Sprague’s Will

In the name of God, Amen. The nineteenth day of October in the year of our Lord God, one thousand, six hundred, seventy & five.  I, William Sprague, senior, of Hingham, in New England, being sick in body, but yet of perfect memory; praise be almighty God! do make and declare this my last will and testament, in manner and form following: Revoking, and, by these presents making void, and of no force, all and every will and wills heretofore by me made, and declared, either by word or writing, and this to be taken only, for my last will, and none other.

First and principally, I commit and commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God, and my body to the earth, to be decently buried, at the discretion of my executor hereafter mentioned, hoping of salvation, both of soul and body, by the mercies of God in the merits of my Savior Jesus Christ. And as for such temporal estate as it hath pleased God to bestow upon me, I do order, give and dispose the same in manner and form as followeth – that is to say:

First – I will that all those just debts and duties that I owe in right and conscience to any person whatsoever, shall be well and truly contended and paid by my executor hereafter named out of my estate, with my funeral charges, which I will shall be first paid.

Item – I give and bequeath unto Millesaint Sprague, my loving wife, the sum of 10 pounds in money, and one cow and one horse.

Item – I give unto the said Millesaint, my wife, 10 pounds per annum during the term of her natural life, (to be paid to her by my son, William Sprague, which I have reserved for her, as may fully appear by a deed of gift under my hand and seal to said son, William, of my house and several lands and commons, as is therefore expressed,) and the summering and wintering of one cow and one horse, and the use of one half of my dwelling house, and half the orchard, according as I have reserved upon the said deed of gift.

Item – I give unto Millesaint, my said wife, thirty and five pounds which is due from me by my son, Anthony Sprague, to be paid five pounds a year until the whole is paid: that is to say in case my said wife lived until all the said payments be made to her: but if my wife decease, before all said payments of thirty and five pounds be made, then my mind and will is that what is remaining unpaid of the said thirty and five pounds at my wife’s decease, shall be divided equally amongst all my children hereafter named, that is to say my son Anthony Sprague, my son Samuel Sprague, my son William Sprague, my daughter Perses Doggett, the wife of John Doggett, Joanna Church, the wife of Caleb Church, and Mary King, the wife of Thomas King, every one of them to have part and part alike.

Item – I give unto Millesaint, my said wife, all my household stuff and furniture, linen, woolen, and utensils of household whatsoever, for and during the term of her natural life: and after my wife’s decease my mind and will is, that it shall be divided amongst all our aforesaid children, every one of them to have part and part alike. And all my cattle not before given in this my will, to be immediately after my decease disposed by my executor or as followeth; that is to say: to my son William Sprague two steers three years old, and the one cow; and all the rest of my cattle to be equally divided among the rest of my children aforenamed every one of them to have part and part alike.

Item – I give and bequeath unto Anthony Sprague, my SWORD, which was my brother Richard Sprague’s, and one of my biggest pewter platters and twenty shillings in money; which with what I have given him before, in land and other things, and his part of my household stuff in cattle, after the decease of myself and my wife, as is afore expressed, I judge a sufficient portion for him.

Item – I give unto my son John Sprague, a piece of saltmarsh, lying in Lyford’s liking River, in Hingham, containing two acres and a half, be it more or less, which was given me by the town of Hingham, to enjoy to him and to his heirs and assigns forever. And I give unto my son John Sprague my searge suit of apparel, which with the neck of upland, called Sprague’s Island, lying by the aforesaid meadow which I formally gave to him I judge a sufficient portion for him.

Item – I give unto my son Samuel Sprague my cloth coat, which was my brother’s and one of my biggest pewter platters.

Item – I give and bequeath unto my son Jonathan Sprague, threescore acres of land, lying in the bounds of the Township of Providence, in New England, which I lately purchased of John Dexter, of the said Providence; which said threescore acres of land, I do give to my son Jonathan during the term of his natural life; and after his decease unto his heirs male, lawfully begotten of his body, lawfully begotten or to be begotten; and for want of such heirs the said threescore acres of land to return to the next heirs of the Spragues descended from me. Also I give unto my said son Jonathan Sprague my best cloth suit of apparel.

Item – I give unto William Sprague one featherbed, which he used to lodge upon when he lived with me, and one of my best pewter platters.

Item – I do make and ordain Millesaint Sprague, my loving wife, my full and soul executrix of this my last will and testament.

In witness whereof, I the said William Sprague have here to set my hand and seal the day above written.

William Sprague

Signed, sealed, published and delivered by the above said William Sprague, senior, to be his last will and testament in presence of these witnesses.

Daniel Cushing sen.

Matthew Cushing.

Daniel Cushing, sen., And Daniel Cushing, jr. Appeared before John Leverett, Esq., governor, etc.

Now it seemed that Edward Sprague was quite comfortable based on his last will and the living he made as a fuller. (See prior blog entry.) But, his son, William looks to have made his fortune in North America.

William Sprague was born in 1609 in Upway, Dorsetshire, England, to Edward and Christiana Holland Sprague. He came to North America with his brother, Ralph, in 1628 and by 1636 had settled in Hingham. On 26 May 1635, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, William married Millesaint Eames, the daughter of Anthony and Margery Pierce Eames. It was a very warm testament to their lives together that Grandmother figured so prominently in Grandfather’s will, even to the extent that she was names Executrix of his estate. William died on 26 October 1675. Millesaint lived until 8 February 1696. Their son, Jonathan, is my 8th Great Grandfather.

About Pat Shaul

Genealogist / Family Historian; Blog started as a record of my Grandfather's post card collection which ran for 15 months. Then, in June, 2017, I changed over to reporting and commenting on notifications from the ANCESTRY app "We're Related" I then started to provide snippets into ancestor biographies on the dates that were significant anniversaries.
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