62 Henry Dunster’s Will

    [February 18 1658/59]

    O Lord my times are in thy hands, and I freely submitt unto thine appoyntments for my dissolution committing my Spirit in to thy hands for thou hast redeemed it—and hast by manifold deliverances out of Tribulation sealed1 to my soule the truth of thy word concerninge thy fatherly love and care of me, but especially by thine owne sweet and cleane spirit of grace sealing1 to my heart that which noe mortall understanding or spiritt possibly could conceive without God. Wherefore committing both Soul and body in life and death and resurrection unto thee and my poore family after my decease to whom thou wilt be a father and protector as I hope now to procure peace as much as in mee lyeth concerninge these earthly goods of which thou hast made me Steward I order and constitute this my last will and testament in manner and form followinge.

    Imprimis my will and testament is that after moderate funerall expenses discharged wherein I include that if gods providence by winds and tide doe sute twenty shillings shall bee Allowed to any that shall transport my body to Charles Towne or if to Cambridge thirty shillings and five shillings a peece to eight bearers that shall carry it from Charles Towne to Cambridge there to be enterred by my lovinge [babes?] and other relations. After my funeral expenses discharged then my will is that of all my lands and houses, household goods and all manner of debts dues and rights to me appertaineinge whether in present action or by annuall bonds emergent as in the case of Edmund Rice the [2] same my will is that there be taken a just and true inventory thereof so farre as man’s wisdom can Attaine. But whereas the vallue of my Library cannot bee taken but by judicious and learned men som of my bookes beinge in such languages wherein common English men know not one letter therefore I do appoint my reverend and trusty friends and Brethren the President of the Colledge And the pastor of the Church of Cambridge both to vallue them and lay asside the bookes hereafter specyfied as given to my wife viz: The booke of marters in two vollumes [Doctor?] Prestons workes Mr. Burroughs workes All bookes of Phisicke and Surgery that are in the English tongue with twelve or sixteen bookes brought by her out of England wherein I will have her word for a legall testimony because it is good and vallid unto mee in my will. The other two moityes of my Library I with the consent of my wife have by deed of gift given and bequeathed unto my two sons David and Jonathan Dunster to be equally divided between them and to be delivered unto them as they shall have need of any particular booke and the whole bulke of them when they come to maturity of age. And after all cleare debts honestly discharged that then all my goods bee equally divided into three equall parts whereof retaining one third part to my selfe in Legacyes to bee bequeathed as I see meet. A second part my will is that my wife shall chuse and the other third part to bee bestowed uppon my three children equally according to the discretion of my executors. As for my Lands my [3] will is that my wife shall have the third of the rent of all my lands duringe her life but I constitute and appoint David and Jonathan Dunster heires to the sayd lands divided into two full and equall divisions. And whereas the laws of the Massachusets requires the oldest brother to bee endowed with a double portion thereunto I answer that I have given unto my son David Liberall education in schooles of learninge from his childhoode unto this very day and the Lord continuinge my life I shall continue the sayd fatherly care of him. Wherefore if hee think that consideringe this hee hath hard measure to have but only equall with his brother then let him cause in godly schooles of Literature his brother Jonathan to bee brought up in the knowledge of the Lattin and principles of the Greeke tongue until hee come to the age that my son David shall bee at my decease this beinge performed hee shall have a double portion of lands and goods otherwise I take it that I have fulfilled the law in the letter thereof. Concerninge my daughter Elizabeth my mind and will is that shee shall bee at the disposinge of her mother duringe her life in her minority and in case of my wives death then to live with my sister Mrs. Hills of Malden duringe her minority and faithfully and carefully to serve her as if shee were her owne child and in case there also the Lord by death should make such uncomfortable breaches in the family that shee could not live comfortably there then shee shall live with my sister Willard of Concord doinge [4] her faithfull service as a child until her marryage or maturity of age. At which time I doe appoint her to receive from her two brothers David and Jonothan five pounds apeece Annually for ten yeares space besides what Legacys her mother or myselfe shall leave her. Concerninge the third part I reserved in my own hands I thus dispose thereof as followeth Item: I give and bequeath unto Mr. Chauncey such Mathematicke Bookes as hitherto I have lent him with what household goods I left at Cambridge viz. my great presse in the Hall Chamber and an other presse for bookes in the study. Item. I give and bequeath unto Mr. Michelle Rollocks Commentaryes uppon John which heretofore I lent him with all the rest of that holy mans Commentaryes uppon the Scripture that shal bee found in my Library that himself hath not already. Item. I give and bequeath to the holy servant of the Lord Elder Frost twenty shillings and to my cousin Bowers and her children five shillings A peece and to my cousin faith Dunster five shillings and to my sister Willard and all her children five shillings A peece and to my sister Hills and all her children born in this Country five shillings A peece. And my will is that my faithfull mayd Mary Russell should have fifteen shillings added to her wages. What then shall remain of this third part my will is that my wife shall have a third part of it and the other two parts to bee equally divided amongst my children.

    And for the execution of this my last will and testament in all parcells and particulars that there under doth or may fall I constitute [5] and appoint Mr. Joseph Hills of Malden and Brother Edmund Frost elder of the Church of Cambridge and Mr. Henry Shrympton of Boston and Mr. Edward Collins of Cambridge who shall have full power and liberty to manage all and singular thing or things case or cases difficulty or difficultyes that shall be incident or emergent during the minority of my children viz. they or the major part of them. But in case of non agreement amongst themselves they shall bring it to my singular good friend Mr. Thomas Broughton of Boston who joininge with them who by his addition shall be the greater the case shall be quietly taken as true and righteous duringe the minority of my children. In witnes whereof I have hereunto2 my hand and seale the Eighteenth day of February in the yeare of our Lord one thousand six hundred fifty and eight 1658.

    Henry Dunster seal of wax.

    Signed and sealed in presence of us

    the mark of John Allin.

    James Torrey.

    Proved April 29, 1659.

    Recorded Lib. I, p. 215.

    Henry Dunster Papers. This appears to be a nineteenth-century copy of the original document. According to Samuel Dunster, “The original of President Dunster’s Will was stolen from the Probate Office in East Cambridge about the year 1850.” (Henry Dunster and His Descendants, p. 16, n.) The Will is printed in J. Chaplin, Life of Henry Dunster, pp. 303–308. The second Mrs. Dunster was Elizabeth Atkinson; “my sister Hill” (Mrs. Joseph Hills) was his sister-in-law; “my sister Willard” was Mrs. Simon Willard; Faith (Mrs. John Page) was his niece; “cousin Bowers” (Mrs. Benanuel) was probably also a niece.