The Will of Immigrant George Phelps of Westfield, Massachusetts
Transcribed by David Phelps
George Phelps was long believed to be the sixth child of William of Tewkesbury, England, b. about 1606; immigrated to New England on the Mary and John, in 1630, with his elder brother William and his younger brother Richard. It has since been concluded that the William Phelps of Massachusetts and Connecticut originated in Crewkerne, Somersetshire, England and that he is not the William Phelps of Tewkesbury records. George Phelps is omitted as an immigrant on the Mary and John. DNA research has shown that the two men are not related. No evidence yet exists to show that Richard Phelps is related to either William or George, although he is present in the earliest records of Dorchester, Massachusetts.
George Phelps is believed to be the George P__?__ aboard the Recovery of London with Gabriel Cornish as its master, sailing from Weymouth in Dorsetshire to New England March 31, 1634. The ship sailed into Massachusetts Bay in late June of July 1634, and it was very likely one of the fourteen said to have arrived that June.
This is the will of immigrant George Phelps b. abt 1606 prb. Crewkerne, Somerset, England; m. Philura Randall b. England, d. 29 Apr 1648 in Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut; he d. 8 May 1687, Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut.
For more information about the origins of George Phelps, see Researching George [Phelps?] of the Ship Recovery.
The last Wil and Testament of George Phelps of Westfield, in Hampshire deceased &c prsented to the judge of the Perogative Corte, for Hampshire, in his Ma ties Territory of New England, June 6, 1687.
April: ye 24th, 1683: The last Wil & Testamt of George Phelps of Westfield, in the County of Hampshire, in the Colony of the Massachusetts Company, who being cracy of Body though yet my Memory of understanding by God's Goodness is continued: yet not knowing the tyme of my departure w ch I wait for, & Desire to commit my Soule to God that gave it & my Body to christian Burial ; & Leave this as my Last Will. Concerning my wife If it shall please God to continue her after me, & concerning my children: And before I come to the disposal of my outward Estate, I desire thanke full to acknowledge y e g t and abundant Goodness of God to me in takeing care of mee & providing for me the Comforts of this life, the hopes of a better, in and through the abund t riches of his grace through Jesus Christ. And I desire to Leave this as a word of most solemn & weighty counsel to my deare children, firstly and chiefly above al things that they cleave to God, & to the Covenant of his grace w th "' al theire hart, with al their souls Laboring in sincerity to keep his Covenant & to walke in his waves, to observe his statutes & do y m to associate y m - selves w th them that feare God to live in Love & peace both one w th another & w th al men, that so the God of Love & peace may dwel w th them & keep them in his feare crown y m w th his blessings especially w th spiritual blessings C ht Jesus.
Concerning my Dear wife, I exhort my children to be careful & tender of her, Loveing and duty ful towards her in al things, that she want nothing that may be necessary to her comfortable subsistence, to hearken & attend to her Counsel from time to time : and I give unto my wife, all my bedding, house hold stuffe for her use & to be at her free dispose at her decease, And twenty pounds w ch is due to me from Tahan Graunt of Windsor, if she need it not herselfe, to be disposed of by her to such of her relations as she shall judge have most need : And for her maintainence while she lives, I give unto my wife Two pounds fifteen shillings p Annum, to be paid by my Son Joseph Phelps of Windsor, in halfe wheate, and the other halfe Indian Corn, during her life: Also I give unto my wife six pounds per anum to be paid by my three Youngest Sons, Jacob, John & Nathaniel, each of them forty shillings, to be yearly paid during her life : further I give unto my wife the use of my Land at Windsor, w ch Lyes on the east side of the great River, being Ten Rods in breadth more or less, & a quarter part of y t orchard & if these be expended & the use of yearly income be not sufficient for her comfortable maintenance, then a part of al this Land shal be disposed of as need shall be : But if the Sale of this Land be not needed for my wives necessary use whilst she lives, then after her decease w th what other Lands, now in Comon may fal to me at Windsor, I give to my Sons as followeth:
To my son Isaac a Third Part, & to my son Joseph a Third part, & the remaining third part I give to my Sons Jacob, John and Nathaniel: Also I give to my Son Abraham three pounds to be paid by my three youngest Sons, Jacob, John and Nathaniel: Also I give to my Son Jacob, four acres of the Northerly end of my home lot here my West feild, w th the house, barns & orchard upon it, only reserving one end of the house for my wife whilst she lives: And seeing he hath al my buildings here, he shall help his brothers John & Nathaniel, if ye build my Westfeild, each of them a month work w th his own hands, & his Team six days: And a third part of the fruit of the orchard to John, if he live here, & a third part to Nathaniel for seven yeeres after the date here of. They maintaining each of y m a third part of the fence of the orchard: Also I give to my son Jacob a third part of my Meadow Lands my Westfield, the whole being in estimation four score acres: ffurther I give to my son John al my land on the East side of the Highway at my house, w th the Low Land by the River, for an home lot, one third part of my meadow Land in Westfield, the whole being my estimation So acres.
I give my son Nathaniel the remainder of my House Lot, being about seven acres & one third part of my Meadow in Westfeild, the whole being in estimation four score acres.
I give to my son Isaac, the best coats of my wearing apparel, & my Mare the colt I give to his son Isaac my grand child: the rest of my wearing apparel, I give to my Sons Jacob, John and Nathaneel. That this is my last wil & testament if I doe not otherwise order befor my Decease. I testify by subscribing my hand; And doe desire Ensign Lumes & my Son Isaac Phelps be over seers, & take care that my Last will be pformed to the true Intent & meaning thereof: And I doe order my three youngest Sons to se al my Just debts paid. And if anything appeare dubious, or any difficulty arise in or by the Interpreting, or understanding of my wil or anything relating thereunto, I order it may be referred to the hearing & determination of o r Reverend Pastor Mr. Taylor and Ensign Lumes, whom I impower to determine the same as they shal Judge right. That this is my Last Wil & Testament I testify by subscribing my hand the day year before mentioned.
the Marke X of George Phelps.
Subscribed in the presence of