64 Ezekiel Rogers’s Will
[April 17 1660]
I Ezekiel Rogers, borne at Wethersfield in Esex in old England, now of Rowley in Essex in New England, being at this time of good memory and competent health, through Gods mercy, yet not knowing when the Lord may be pleased to put an end to this pillgramage doe ordaine and make this my last will and testament.
And first I will and desire that everlasting praises be given to the one holy God in Jesus Christ as for all his mercies to me which are innumerable soe for these three spetial blessings:
First for my nurture and education under such a father Mr. Richard Rogers, in catechisme and knowledge of the holy scriptures the want whereof I see to be the maine cause of the errors of the times.
Secondly. That where as till I was above twenty years of Age I made but ill use of my knowledge but lived in a formall profession of Relligion, the Lord pleased by occasion of a sore sicknes which was like to be death to make me to see the worth and neede of Christ and to take such houlde of him as that I coolde never let him goe to this houre whereby I am now encouraged to bequeath and committe my Soulle into his hands who hath redeemed it, and my Body to the Earth since he will give me with these very eyes to see my Redeemer.
Thirdly. For my calling even to be a minester of the Gospell the most glorious calling in the world which the Lord brought into, not without difficulty for my [. . .] in the time of the hottest persecution of that Bloody Hirarchy and being inlightened concerning the evell and snare of subscriptions and cerrimonies I was advised to give over the thought of the minestry and to betake my selfe to the study and practise of phisicke. But the Lord mercyfully prevented that; for though it be a good and nessecary calling, I have observed that the most through there owne coruption have made it to themselves the very temptation to covetousnes or lust or both, I therfor chose rather to lye hide about a dozen years in an honerable famelly exerciseing my selfe in minesteriall dutyes for about a dozen yeares after my leaving the uneversity. Then the Lord gave me a call to a publique charge att Rowley in Yorkeshire whereby the gentlenesse of [. . .] by Matthewe I was favoured both for subscription and cerimonies and injoyed my liberty in the minestry about seventeene yeares in comforthable sort till for refuseing to reade that accursed booke that allowed sports on Gods holy sabbath or Lords-day I was suspended and by it and other sad signes of the times driven with many of my hearars into New England where I have lived in my pastoralle office about [blank] years with much rest and comforth believing the way of the churches here to be according to the present light that God hath given the purest in the wholle world. Now age and infirmities calling upon me to look daily for my change I profess my selfe to have lived and to dye an unfeigned hater of all the base opinnions of the Anabaptists and Antinomians and all other phrenticke dotages of the times that spring from them, which God will ere long cause to be as doung on the earth. I doe also protest against all the evell fashions and—devises of this agee both in aparrel and that generall disguisement of longe ruffianlike haire a custome most generally taken up at that time when the grave and modest weareing of haire was a part of the reproach of Christ: as appeared by the terme of Round heads and was carryed on with a big hand not with standing the knowne offence of soe many godly persons, and without publique expression of there reasons for any such libertie taken. As for my estate I will and dispose as followeth First I doe bequeath and give to my welbeloved wife Mary Rogers my dwelling house, barne and all the outhouses also my orchard, gardens and the yeards belonging, and pasturage adioyneing to the [orchard?] on both sides of the brook also the hempyarde also the upper house lott on the other side of the highway with all the land and horse pasture adjoyneing to the same land. I give hir also sixe acres of aurable land by the house of Ezekiell Northen and my part of the warehouse pasture also I give hir hay grounde salt and fresh soe much as my overseers shall judge sufficient to affourd one yeare with another thirty loads of hay and where shee will chuse it and all this only for hir natureall life also I give to my saide wife all my goods, househould stufe, cattell, corne, and all my stock whatsoever. I give to my loveing nephew Mr. Samuell Stone of Conecticot thirty pounds, I give to my cousen his son John ten pounds, to my deere brother and fellow officer Mr. Phillips five pounds and aquinas his [summa?] in folio. To my sumtimes servant Elizabeth Tenney ells Parratt ten pounds to my loveing neece Mrs. Mary Swatosius of Malldon in Esex in ould england I give ten pounds, to my loveing neece Mrs. Elizabeth [Cot] ton wife of the preacher of Roterdam in Hollande I give ten pounds to the wife of my cousin Rogers of Billrecay I give five pounds. I give to my two present maid servants each of them an ewe lambe all and every of these severall legacyes I will to be paid within one yeare after my death, except that into England and Holland which shalbe redy to be paide as soune as they shall apoint and insoure any from themsellve or any marchant or marchants here that may receave it in there behalfe and for there use and give lawfull acquittance as impoured from them that soe my executrix or overseers may be fully discharged thereof. I give all my Latine bookes to Harverd coledge in Cambridge and sume English bookes as apeares in the catalogue. Item The Rest of my estate in lands that ar not given unto my wife dureing hir natureall life that is the land at planting hill the land called Satchwell [ground?] and all the rest be it meadow fresh or salt or other upland what ever and one third part of [gats?] or commonage I give to the church and towne of Rowley upon condission that they pay or cause to be paid, or leagally tender, unto Ezeakiell Rogers the son of Mr. Nathaniel Rogers late pastor of the church of Ipswich, deceased, the full some of eight score pounds in country pay the one half, that is I say foure score pounds within one yeare after my death, the other foure score pounds to be paid the next yeare after that is within two years after my death. And I intreat and appoint Mr. John Whiple of Ipswich the rulling elder to be gardion for Ezekiel Rogers to receive or cause to be receaved this abovesaid eight score pounds, and to give unto the church or towne of Rowley a full discharge and acquitance upon the receaveing therof, and in case the church or towne of Rowley pay not the abovesaid eight score pounds my will is that theis above said lands that ar not given unto my wife shalbe assigned and set over by my overseers unto Ezeakiell for the abovesaid payment; provided also that it shall not be in the liberty of the church or towne of Rowley to give sell or allien these landes or any part therof or appropriate them or any part of them to any other end or use then for this, the better inableing them to carry on the minestry for ever. Also all my houses barne and orchard and all my landes pastures and commonages and meadows which I have given unto my wife Mary Rogers dureing hir naturall life, after hir decease, I doe bequeath and give unto the church and towne of Rowley to inable them the better to maintaine two teaching elders in the church, for ever, and upon that condision I doe give them, the time which I allow them for the setleing of an elder shalbe foure yeares. And soe from time to time as God makes any changes either by death or removeall any other way, and in case that the church or towne of Rowley faille of the condision of providing themsellves of two teaching elders according to the time prefixed that is within foure years after they have this to inable them the beter and soe from time to time within the said time of foure years after God by his providence have maide any chainge, my will is that the abovesaid houseing and landes shalbe to the use of Harvard colledge at Cambridge in New England. I give also to the church my silver bowles which they use for the communion to be soe used still after my wives decease and I make and appoint my said welbeloved wife the solle executrix of this my will and testament and I appoint Maxemillion Jewett and Samuel Brocklebanke to be overseers of this my will and testament, made and signed the 17 of Aprill 1660.
Witnessed by us
Sworne in court by Maximilion Jewett and Samuel Brocklebank to be the last will and testament of Mr. Ezekiell Rogers.
Robert Lord Cler[icus]
John Brocklebanke sworne to the same in court at Ipswich
26 of March 1661 per me
Robert Lord Cleri[cus]
Essex, ss. Probate office, May 21, 1827. The foregoing is a copy of the original as on file in said office.
Nathl. Lord, Jr.
College Papers, i. 8 (No. 14). The nineteenth-century copyist, because of a tear in the original, left some gaps; these have been filled in where the sense was clear. An account of how the bequest came to Harvard about 1700 may be found in Quincy, History, i. 423–427. Quincy quotes a few portions of the Will, apparently a different version. The portion relating to the College is printed in CSM Publications, xvi. 844. See also Morison, Seventeenth Century, ii. 381, and Founding, pp. 397–398. Rogers, who died in 1661, was the first minister of Rowley, Massachusetts. A vote of the Town relating to the Will is in No. 67; his wife’s Will in No. 68; and further documents on the division of the land, starting in 1704.