John and Abigail were among those who founded the town of Berkley, Massachusetts, from a portion of Taunton and Dighton. They were likely living in the portion of Taunton that was annexed. The name John Briggs appears among the founders of the Congregational Church at Berkley on 2 November 1737. Seth, his nephiew, and his wife Ann Briggs were admitted the same day. Explaining the creation of the new parish it was stated that "They would now have no such lengths to go to wander far abroad." Abigail is conjectured to have been from the Packard family but I've found no notable evidence of this.
In the name of God amen, I John Briggs ye first of that name of Berkley in ye County of Bristol in ye Province of Massachusetts in New England yoman - being of a sound and disposing mind and memory thanks be given to God then calling to mind ye mortallity of this body and knowing that it is appointed for men once to dye and having a mind to set and setle my estate [?] before I die do make this to be my last will and testament. My soul I commit to God in Christ Jesus my saviour and onely redeemer, my body to ye earth by deasent burial at ye discreation of my executor hear after named ye worly estate that God hath lent me dispose of as followeth hereby making al other will or wills by me formerly mad and allowing this alone to be my last will and testament
Imprimis I give unto my loveing wife Abigail Briggs ye use and improvement of all my lands I am lawfully seized and possessed of during her natural life with ye improvement of all that part of ye building standing there on which I am lawfully seized of to gather with all my moveable estate of what kind or nature so ever: in particular all my cash that I may have by me at ye time of my decease and my will and meaning is that what moveables that may remain if any there be undisposed of at ye time of ye decease of my widdow shall be equally divided between my five daughters hear after named or to their legal representatives onely I would have my meaning and disposition of my moveable estate to my wife as above mentioned; not to include my wareing apparrel but intend to dispose of my wareing apparrel as hear after I shall express in this my will; my will and meaning is my widow shall not make any strip or waste of ye wood or timber standing on my aforesd homestead nor use any more there of then what she may want to burn to make her fires and to make or repair her fences; these bequests
I Tem I give unto my son Israel Briggs ye sum of thirteen pounds six shillings and eight pence lawfull money in addition to what I have allrady given him to be paid as I shall hear after determine in this my will. My will and meaning is that not withstanding my sd son Israel may have given an acquittance to acquit himself or his heirs from all or from any part of my estate yet not withstanding I order and appoint my executor hear after to be named to pay ye sum as above mentioned to my sd son Israel as I shall hear after more particularly describe or to his legal representatives. Likewise I give my sd son Israel one half of my wareing apparrel.
I Tem I give unto my son John Briggs his heirs and assigns for ever all my homestead lands that now remaines undisposed of lying on both sides of ye country road and of which I am now lawfully seized and possessed likewise my quarter share in ye burnt ground so called in ye old propriatry in Taunton to gather with my quarter share of a purches right in ye propriatry aforesd with ye land now due [?] quarter share or that may be come due upon futer divition or divitions I give my sd son John his heirs and assigns forever and my will and meaning is my sd son John shall not come into ye possetion of my land as above mentioned which lies over westerly side of ye aforesd country road nor my part of ye buildings there on untill after ye decease of my widdow. I likewise confirm what I have [?] to my sd son John by deed; and to his heirs and assigns for ever. Likewise ye one half of my wareing apparrell
I give to my sd son John
I Tem I given unto my daughter Sarah Tew wife of John Tew Ye sum of twenty shillings lawfull money in addition to what she has allrady recd. to be paid I shall hear after order in this my will
I Tem I give my daughter Abigail Babbit wife of Josiah Babbit ye sum of twenty shillings lawfull money in addition to what she has recd. allrady to be paid to her as I shall appoint in this my will
I Tem I give unto my daughter Thankful Baker widdow ye sum of twenty shillings lawfull money in addition to what she has recd allrady to be paid to her as I shall appoint in this my will
I Tem I give unto my daughter Experience Paull wife of Christopher Paull ye sum of twenty shillings lawfull money in addition to what she has recd and to be paid to her as I shall appoint in this my will
I Tem I give unto my daughter Margaret Poll wife of Ebenezer Pool ye sum of twenty shillings lawfull money in addition to what she has allrady recd and to be paid to her as I shall hear after determine in this my will. I allso confirm ye land convaid by deed to my daughter Margaret and her late husband Ebenezer Reding late deceased and to their heirs and assigns for ever.
I order and appoint my sd son John to pay ye legacy given to my sd don Israel or to his legal representatives and ye legacies given to my sd five daughters each ye sum as above mentioned or to their legal heirs all in one years time after my decease
Lastly I appoint my sd son John soule executor of this my last will and testament he to pay all my just debts and funeral charge
In testiony hear of I ye sd John Briggs have hear unto set my hand and seal this second day of July and thirtieth year of his majesties reign King George ye second over Great Britain anno que domini one thousand seven hundred and fifty six signed sealed published and pronounced and declared by ye sd John Briggs to be his last will and testament
John [see image above] Briggs
proved May 1st 1764
A true inventory of all and singular ye goods and chattels and credits of Mr. John Briggs late of Berkley in ye County of Bristol deceased which he died seized of shewn to us ye subscribers and prized by us ye 29th day of June AD 1764
Imprimis to one hat 1 s [shilling] =6 d [pence] one great coat 3 s one jacket 2 s two old shirts 3 s --- 0 l [pound]=9 s=6 d
this being one half of ye apparel the other half being delivered to Israel Briggs ye eldest son and of equal value to ye other half ---- 0=9=6
to cash du to ye estate ----- 2=9=4
bed [lining? i.e. linens] and fethers 1 l=10 s two under beds 9 ----- 1=19=0
one coverled 10 s two sheets 9 s ---- 0=19=0
one blanket 1 s bedstead and coard (1)2 s four flannel blankets 8 s two sheets 10 s ---- 1=1=0
five sheets 1 l=4 s two table cloaths two pillow cases 5 s ---- 1=9=0
one coverled 12 s two bolsters and pillows 9 s coard 3 s ----- 1=4=0
old lumber 1 s great wheel (2)5 s ----- 0=6=0
one warming pan 12 s one brass kittle 18 s skillet 5 s ---- 1=15=0
two iron potts two old small kittles one skillet 13 s --- 0=13=0
one old sword 1 s=6 d tongs and shovel 9 s trammel 5 s candlestick 8 d ---- 0=16=2
part of a draft chaine (3)2 s=6 d whippletree chain
(4)2 s=6 d cops (5)1 s=6 d --- 0=6=6
one auger 1 s=6 d old iron 1 s cow bell 3 s ------ 0=5=6
three puter platters 12 s five plates 6 s great bason 2 s=6 d old puter 3 s=6 d ---- 1=4=0
earthen ware 4 s glas bottles 3 s other glasses 2 s ----- 0=9=0
poudering tub(6) 5 s poudering tub 6 s two pailes and butter tub 2 s=6 d old tub 1 s --- 0=14=6
old chest in ye chamber 6 s chest in ye lower room 8 s old chest 5 s and old box 2 s ---- 1=1=0
one can and mortar 1 s basket 2 s old table 1 s three old chares 2 s=6d ---- 0=6=6
one cow 4 l=10 s ---- 4=10=0
Being all ye personal estate presented to our view and prized by us ye day and year above said according to ye best of our judgment as witness our hands ye day and year above said
child of John and Abigail Briggs:(2)
1. Sarah b. December 1699
2. Israel b. 1702-3 (from death record)
3. Experience b. 6 November 1709
7. John b. 7 May 1719 (from gravestone?)
sources for vital records: The death date is for a John Briggs taken from the published Berkley vital records. Although no age is given, he is called John Briggs "the aged." He was the only man of that name known to be a Berkley resident who could be considered "aged" in 1764, and probate activity for John "the 1st" begins soon after.
1. before box springs, mattresses were supported by cords.
2. spinning wheel
3. draft refers to using horses or oxen for labor and attached to equipment
4. the whipple or whiffletree is part of draft equipment carried by horses or oxen by which chains or straps can be attached, usually to wagons.
5. a kind of clasp used with a pin.
6. tub used for salting meat
7. taken from his will.
all text and photographs © 1998-2005 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted