Following is the best that I can decipher of the will of Stephen SKEFFE of Sandwich, made 7 May 1701, codicil 20 Aug. 1708, pr. 28 Je. 1710, Barnstable, Barnstable Co., MA.
Abstract:Except for bed, furniture and one cow to granddaughter Keziah at eighteen or marriage, all to wife Lydia for life. But if she remarries, she is to receive half, with remainder equally to son Stephen and daughters Abigail Smith, Deborah Presbury, Mary Chipman and Lydia Blackwell.Codicil says Keziah had received legacy upon marriage.
I Stephen Skeffe of the town of Sandwich in the County of Barnstable in New England being grown into years yet thru the mercy of God of Disposing mind and memory but calling to mind the uncertainty of this transitory life I am desirous according to my duty to set things in order before God shall call me home.And therefore (I) do make this my last will and testament hereby revoking and disanulling all former wills by word or writing heretofore by me made and do hereby constitute and declare this to be my last will and testament in manner and form following viz My desire is to commit my soul to God in Jesus Christ who gave it and my body to decent burial when God shall please to call me home and as touching my worldly estate which God hath beyond my efforts bestowed on me my will is to dispose of it as followeth:
ItemMy will is that all my Debts in Right or ( ) to any persons and together with my funeral charges shall be discharged by my executrix hereafter named in convenient time out of my estate.
ItemI will and bequeath unto Lydia my loving wife that whole and sole improvement of all my estate both real and personal for and during the time that she shall continue my widow she only paying to my granddaughter Keziah one bed and furniture and one cow or the value when afsd Keziah shall arrive at the age of eighteen years or shall marry except she shall receive them of me before my death.But if ye said Lydia my now wife shall marry again then she only to have the one half of my estate.And the other half to be equally divided between my son Stephen Skeffe and my four daughters vizAbigail Smith, Deborah Presbury, Mary Chipman, and Lydia Blackwell, and my will is that if my sd wife shall not marry again that what she shall have at the time of her death shall be divided between my said son and four daughters equally as aforesaid.
ItemI will and bequeath unto the sd Stephen Skeffe my son and to his heirs and assigns forever all my haying lands and meadow grounds of all sorts both divided and undivided that I shall die seized of and he to (reside?) upon and possess the land at and after the time of the decease or marriage of my sd wife which shall first happen.And I do hereby constitute and appoint Lydia my sd wife to be sole executrix to this my last will and testament to administer upon my estate and do request my loving friends Mr. Rowland Cotton and William Bassett to be overseers.In witness whereof I the sd Stephen Skeffe have hereunto set my hand and seal this seventh day of May Anno Dom: 170l.Signed sealed and declared to be his last will and testament in the presence of Rowland Cotton, Wm. Bassett, Elizabeth Cotton.
These presents Witnesseth that whereas I Stephen Skeffe above named had in my will ordered that Lydia my wife pay unto Keziah my granddaughter one bed and furniture and one cow or the value thereof when she shall arrive to the age of eighteen years or shall marry except she shall receive them of myself before my death,Whereas and wherefore to perform that I have already paid sd legacy to her my sd granddaughter Keziah upon her marryage and that (bequest?) is fully discharged to my (minde?) as Witness my hand now this 20 day of August 1708.Stephen Skeffe
28 Jun 1710 came Mr. Rowland Cotton and William Bassett whose names are set to this instrument as Witnesses before Barnabas Lothrop Esq Judge of the Probate of Wills and for Granting Letters of Administration on the effects of those dying intestate within the county of Barnstable at Barnstable made oath that they did see Stephen Skeffe late of Sandwich now deceased sign and seal this instrument and heard him declare it to be his last Will and Testament and that he was of disposing mind and memory when he so did and they also saw him sign the addition And the sd Rowland Cotton further says that he did see Elizabeth Cotton his wife set her hand to both parts as a witness.Attest Wm. Bassett, Reg.
Barnabas Lothrop Esq Commissioned by his Excellency the Governour and Council of this his Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England to be Judge of Probate of Wills and for Granting Letters of Administration on the estate of those deceased having goods right or rights in the County of Barnstable within the Province aforesaid.To all to whom these presents shall come.Greeting.Know ye that upon the day aforesaid before me at Barnstable in the County aforesaid, the Will of Stephen Skeffe of Sandwich in the County (aforesd?}deceased was proved approved and witnessed who while he lived had Goods Chattels Rights and Credits in the County aforesd and in presence of us...of all and singular as Goods Chattels Rights and Credits of the sd. deceased ...Administration of all and singular the Goods, Chattels, Rights and Credits of sd deceased and by Will in any manner Concerning is hereby admitted unto Lydia Skeffe widow relict of the deceased executrix in sd will named (who agrees?) well and faithfully to execute sd will and to administer the estate of sd. deceased accordingly and to make a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the Goods Chattels Rights and Credits of the sd deceased and to exhibit same forthwith into the Registry of the Court of Probate for the county aforesd and also to Render a plain account of sd administration upon oath Lawfully called.In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and the seal of the Court of Probate held at Barnstable the eighth and twentyeth day of June in the ninth year of His Majesty's Reign, Anno Domini 1710.Barnabas Lothrop