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Eleazar's signature from his will when he was 72

Eleazar is on the 1688 tax list for Marlborough, assessed 3 shillings and 6 pence "for person and estate." He is among the Marlborough men on the 18 April 1690 freeman list for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The town was divided up into garrisons for protection from attacks from local Native American tribes. Eleazar and his family were in Samuel Brigham's garrison by 18 March 1691/1692. He must have been successful at whatever he did, given that he had a silver tankard, 5 silver spoons and silver money listed in his inventory. The nature of his household goods and clothes can't be reviewed to shed any further light on how Eleazar lived. The inventory and will indicates that he lived on a farm, but he was also a captain in the local militia. Rev. Elias Parkman of Westborough, who served a wider area, mentions in his diary that he attended Eleazer's funeral, which was the same day he died. He is buried in Spring Hill Cemetery, Marlborough, under a slate gravestone carved by the Lamson shop, known for it's exceptionally fine work (see photo below). Eleazar should not be confused with his cousin Col. Eleazar How of nearby Sudbury, whose lifespan was very close to that of Capt. Eleazar. The following is taken from Capt. Eleazar's will:

Eleazer How, gentleman,

being advanced to a considerable degree of age...Imprimis, I give unto my eldest son Gershom one silver spoon in rememberance of me: I having given him before the date of these presents his full part of portion in my estate.

Secondly, I give to my son Ephraim How my long table & form beloning to it & all my cyder casks & sider tubbs 7c also I give him my silver tankard & my little redish flowerd trunk which I keep my writtings in & my pew in the Meeting House in sd. town.

Thirdly, I give to my son Elezar How my great Bible.

Fourthly, I give to my tow sons sd Ephraim & Elezar all my tools both for husbandy & Carpentry use, for them to devide ewualy betwen them selves as they shall see cause & agree.

Fifly, I gave to my three sons sd. Gershom Ephraim & Elezar all my wearing clothes to be by them equaly devided as they shall see cause & agree among themselves.

Sixthly, I give to Elizabeth Witherbe whom I brought up one good featherbed, two good sheets, one good boulster, two good pillows, two good pillow coats, one good blankitt, one good coverlid & a good set of curtaines & valences for sd bed, if she have not received them in my life time, as by her recept thereof shall appear.

Seventhly, I give to my grandson Barnabas Baily the bed that was his mothers & all the beding that came with it.

Eighthly, I give to sd. Ephraim & Elezar & unto my two daughters Martha Bartlet & Hannah Beman, to each of them a silver spoon.

Ninethly, I give to my sd two daughters Martha & Hannah all the rest of my house=hold stuff & goods of all sorts & all my creatures, both horses, oxen, cows, swine, sheep &c & all my fowls of all sorts.

Tenthly, I give to my sd two daughters viz Martha & Hannah (after all my debts are satisfyed for & my funeral charges paid) all my money in hand & all due to me by any waise or means whatsoever, both by bills bonds book debts & all recconings &c. Lastly, I do by these presents ordaine & appoint sd Ephraim How my son my sole executor of this my last will & testament In wittness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal the day & year above written.

Eleazar How

The will was witnessed by Joseph Straten (Stratton), Jonthan Straten and Samuel Lyscom

An account of Eleazar's estate was presented to the court on 19 March 1738 by Ephraim How, executor:

The sd accountant charges himself with the personal estate of the said deced specified in an inventory hereof exhibited into the probate office for sd county April 15 1737 accounting in [the?] whole & by sd inventory may appear to the sum of L 713-9-8

The sd accountant craves allowance in his dishcarge as follows viz.

viz paid to the probate office when the will was provd 1-3-0
expences on the road 4/
[shillings] a citation 1/ expences at Stedmans 12/ 0-19-0
a journey to Cambe
[Cambridge] 12/ expences 6/ 1-1-0
another journey to Cambe 12/ 0-12-0
Samuel Stevens an apprizer 12/ for the coffin 10/ 1-2-0
Capt. Brigham an apprizer 12/ Benjamin Baly (a debt) 5/ 0-17-0
Col. Woods an apprizer 15/ John Parks for
[having?] an horse 3/10d 0-18-10
James Ball for rates 3/3d at the court at Worcester for acknowledgment of a deed 4/ 7-3
Dr. Mathews for doctoring 12/ Nathan Ball for rates 1/9d 0-13-9
Capt. Williams 1/3d for bringing up ye grave stones 10/9d 0-12-0
X pd Daniel Bartlet 12 lbs Eleazar Beeman 12 lbs 24-0-0
X Daniel Bartlet 60-0-0 do 50-0-0 on bonds 110-0-0
X Eleazer Brown on bond 100-0-0 100-0-0
O expended for a pr of curtains for Eliz. Witherby given her by will 5-6-8
X to Nathl Lampson for graves stones 6-15-0
the accountant prays allowance for a bond for 5 lbs
[?] given by one Dikes which is a [desparate?] debt 5-0-0
to the executor for his trouble 3-0-0

framing this accot 5/ examining & allowing 5/ 0-10-0
recording & copy 0-6-0

     Jonathan Remington, Judge of Probate for Middlesex County, allowed the account, and it is mentioned that vouchers for most of the principal articles were produced. "X" marks were made before those articles, including large debts to Daniel Bartlett and Eleazar Brown, and for the magnificent gravestone that still exists in Spring Hill Cemetery. "O" marks the entry for Elizabeth Wetherby's curtains. A note says that the account wasn't to be recorded until a voucher for them was produced. This was eventually crossed out.

Eleazar's gravestone in Spring Hill Cemetery, Marlborough, carved in the shop of Nathaniel Lamson

children of Eleazar How and Hannah How:1

i. Martha b. 4 September 1686
ii. Deborah b. 6 July 1688
iii. Eleazar b. 3 July 1692
iv. Hannah b. 3 July 1692
v. Gershom b. 8 September 1694
vi. Ephraim b. 30 March 1699
vii. stillborn child b. 25 February 1702/03
viii. Hannah b. abt 1705 (birth not recorded)
ix. Eleazar b. 15 December 1707

vital records sources: Eleazar's birth, marriage and death dates come from Vital Records of Marlborough, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 (Worcester:1908), 98, 267 and 367. The death date on his gravestone in Spring Hill Cemetery, Marlborough, says 1737, but the town record gives the double date. His birth in the vital records is in turn taken from a Middlesex Co. record. The date is "18 January 1662". If it is Gregorian, the Julian year would be 1663, or double-dated 1662/1663. If it is Julian, the Gregorian year would be 1661. It's most likely the former. If his gravestone is correct and he died in his 75th year (meaning he was 74 and would turn 75 at his next birthday), his birth year would be 1662/1663.

1. Vital Records of Marlborough, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 (Worcester:1908), 97-103.

all text and photographs © 1998-2020 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted