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Edward's signature on his will


bio in progress

Edward appears in an account of land possessions in Charlestown in 1638.2 CLR 43. He had a house and garden on the southwest of "the Mill Hill," butted southwest on "Crooked Lane," with Mr. Allen on the northeast, Isaac Cole on the southeast and John Greene on the northwest. Mill Hill was also known as Windmill Hill and later Town Hill, now the vicinity of Harvard Square in the center of the original village. Apparently the exact location of Crooked Lane and many other smaller streets of the 17th century settlement are now unknown, but the house was probably roughly where Harvard Street now runs. He also had about an acre of salt meadow in "high field marsh," about five acres of woodland in Mystick Field, about ten acres in the "water field" and a right to have a milk cow on the town's common land.
     Edward sold a rental house, yard and garden in Charlestown to John Gove on 29 September 1647, but the bounds aren't described.3 CLR 106 I find no record of Edward buying it, assuming the homestead in his 1638 record of possessions was where he lived. Edward bought a lot of land from Francis Willoughby on 26 January 1649/50.4112 It was on the Charles River shore next to James Mirrick's homestead. He likely sold this lot before he died, since it isn't in his estate inventory.
     Joanna became a member of the Charlestown church on 8 January 1638/39, followed by Edward on 23 September 1639.5 Edward signed the Colony's freeman's oath on 13 May 1640.6 As a freeman, he became eligible to do jury duty. He was selected to serve at a session of the General Court in Boston. When he didn't show up, the court fined him 5 shillings. As it turns out, the Charlestown constable, who was responsible for telling jury members when to go to court, told Edward the wrong day, and his fine was remitted.7Ibid, 335. Edward became a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1644, which was organized to regulate military training in the colonies.8

Edward's will and inventory:9

the 15th of the 7th month 1651

I, Edward Larkin, being weake in bodyy yett having perfect memory and understanding doe make this my last will and testament in manner and forme following

Imprimis I comitt my soule to God who made it and gave it and I only rely and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. I comitt my body to bee decently buried. I alsoe give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Jone Larkin a full third part of my estate, it being rightly valewed, to bee first deducted, and more I alsoe give and beqeath unto my beloved wife Jone Larkin the full sume of five pounds like wise first to be deducted out of my estate, and those twoo parts to remaine with my whole estate in her hands untill the tyme of the division of my estate and payment of my children's portions as here under is specified. I also give and bequeath unto my eldest son John Larkin a dubbell portion of my estate after my wife has hers out of the whole and my will is that my son John shall let his portion remaine in my wife's hands untill he bee twenty and one year ould, and then my wife with the other executor to pay his portion to him upon demand, but if hee or any of my children els doe dye before they have receaved their portions then it to bee qually divided to my wife and the other children who remaine then alive, provided alsoe that if the Lord shall please to take away my wife by death before the children's portions bee payd then my will is and I desire the deacons of our church to joyne with the other executor to so order and dispose of that portions wch I bequeath to my children as may bee most advantagious to their benifitt untill they have them payed unto them. Alsoe if my wife shall marry before the legacies bee payed then my will is that he whom shee marries and shee shall retaine the legacies in their hands till the due tyme afore mentioned provided they put in sufficient security that the children's portions may bee preserved for them. As for my son Thomas and my daughters Elizabeth, Sarah, Johanna and the child with which my wife now goes and is bigg with, I doe here by
[give?] and bequeath unto each of them a equall portion of my estate which remaines after my wife and son John have theirs, to be payd them by my executors if they live or by the deacons (of [our?] church then being) at their ages of twenty years, but as before, if any of them decease in the meane tyme, then the survivors or survivor to have it divided equally amongst them or given to him or her if only surviving.

Edward Larkin

witnesses John Greene, John Penticost

This will was prsented to ye court the 6th of ye (2)
[second month, which was April on the Julian calendar] 1652 and by them accepted uppon record by me Tho. Danforth Recorder

[addendum on the reverse side]

As for my daughter Hanna who my beloved brother and sister Penticost have taken into their hands toe keep and provide for I doe give and beqeath unto her ten shillings to bee layd out in good books for her at her age of eaighteen years to bee delivered unto her. And I Edward Larkin doe entreat my beloved brother Robert Hale to joyne with my beloved wife Jone Larkin and to bee my full and sole executors of this my last will and testament the day and date before written.

     It's been assumed that the reference to beloved brothers and sister were meant familially, and has led people to fruitlessly search for further evidence of a connection. Thus, some internet users have called her Joanna "Hale." These terms also referred to fellow church members. Robert Hale, for whom there is no evidence of a sister Joanna, or a Hale sibling who married a Larkin, was a member of the Charlestown church.10 So were the Penticosts.11 Hale also called someone a brother in his will who was a member of that church and for whom no familial connection evidence has been found.12 George Hutchinson calls John Penticost "brother" when he appointed him an overseer of his will.13 He and Robert Hale were among the founding members of the church. In the will of John Greene of Charlestown he appoints his "breathren" Deacon Thomas Lynde, Robert Hale and Faithful Rouse to oversee his will.14 Robert Cutler appointed his "breathren" Thomas Lynde and William Stitson, both church deacons, as overseers.15
     Edward also says in his will that in lieu of his executors, presumably if they died, the deacons of the church would take over the duties. This wasn't common in 17th century New England wills, and there seems to be a particular emphasis on church community in Charlestown probates at this time. The Edward Larkin/Joanna Hale assumption has appeared ocassionally in print since at least 1948, most copying information already in print and not based on original research. The much-respected The Great Migration Begins series, which isn't without it's ocassional mistakes, says "Joanna Hale, sister of Robert Hale" may have married first to Edward Larkin and then John Penticost, as though her existence is a given.16 I nor anyone else that I've seen has found any evidence of such a sister and I conclude all references to her as Joanna Hale are based on Edward's will. The internet, in it's usual way, has followed the lead of these publications, which can be found online, and perpetuated the idea without question.

A true inventory of the lands, howsing and goods of Edward Larkin, wheelmaker of Charlestowne, lately deseased, prized and truly vallewed by Robert Hale, Thomas Brigdin and John Penticost the fourteenth day of the 11th month [being January on the Julian calendar, therefore the first month of 1652 on the Gregorian or current calendar] 1651

Imprimis, a dwelling hous and a yeard, alsoe a marsh hay lott and two akers of planting ground on mistike syde
[Mystic Side] unbroken up, all of them valewed together at [£]90-00-00
Item his wearing cloaths valewed at 02-00-00
Item a muskett, bandellers,
[rest?], a sword, a belt and pistoll at 01-02-00
Item 3 bedds and 3 bedsteeds with other bedding at 10-00-00
Item 4 chests, a trunck and 3 boxes at 01-09-00
Item a warming pann, a grater and a lamp at 00-06-00
Item 6 pair of sheets, 7 napkins, 2 table cloaths, 3 towells at 03-00-00
Item 4 shirts at 00-08-00
Item his working tooles at 03-00-00
Item pwter, brasse, a iron pott and hangers, pot hooks, fire shovell and tonngs, all vallewed at
[?] gridiron 02-15-00
Item debts due to him at his death 01-10-00
Item a table and a frame at 00-10-00
Item his books at 01-00-00
Item a chair table 00-02-06
Item a smothing iron 00-02-00
Item his pump tooles at 02-00-00
Item wood and hay at 01-00-00
Item a hogg at 01-00-00
Item 92
[fire?] bottoms at 01-10-00
Item flaggs
[or faggs] and lumber at 01-05-00
-------------------------
123-19-06

witness our hands, Robert Hale, John Penticost, Thomas Brigden

This inventory was prsented to the court the 6th of the (2)
[second month, which was April on the Julian calendar] 1652 and by them accepted uppon record by me Thos. Danforth Recorder

     Edward's widow Joanna had four common rights in the "stinted pasture, betwixt the Neck of land Menotomies River, and the farmes of Meadford and Mr. Winthrops," recorded at a selectmen's meeting 3 February 1655/56.17 At the 1 March 1657/58 meeting there was an agreement among townspeople eligible for wood and common lots about rules and regulations and the amount to compensate the town for laying them out. Widow Larkin had rights in 12 acres of common woodland and 2 acres of common pasture land.18 There's a deed that shows Edward's widow Joanna married John Penticost. As Joanna Penticost, she deeded a piece of dowry land from Edward's estate to Thomas Larkin, whom she calls her son.19 John Penticost's wife as of 1639 was also named Joanna, as seen in their church admission record. They took Edward and Joanna's daughter Hannah into their household to raise. The historical record leaves no evidence as to why. John had a son John by the first Joanna,20 but John, Sr., deeded his real property to Hannah and her husband John Newell on 12 March 1685/86 shortly after Joanna died, leaving little doubt John Penticost, Jr., had died by then.21 Since Hannah was a Penticost by adoption and a biological daughter of Joanna Larkin Penticost, she was a reasonable choice as an heir. Depending on when Joanna married John, the rest of her children could have also grown to adulthood in his household, but it was likely long after that. It was certainly after 1 March 1658, when she was still widow Larkin (see above), but evidence suggests it was between 10 August 1671 and 2 March 1673/74. A deed signed by John and Joanna on 10 August 1671 has "Joane" Penticost's signature.22 Thomas Larkin's mother used a mark rather than a signature on their deed in March 1674 and another in July 1674.23 This suggests the first Joan Penticost was involved in the 1671 deed.

     According to Edward's will, Joanna had a third of Edward's estate without the usual proviso that she give it up if she remarried. Otherwise, she wouldn't have had the legal right to sell any of Edward's estate to her son Thomas. Joanna died on 27 January 1685/86, aged about 70.24 dual year based on chronology of listed persons. John Penticost died on 19 October 1687, aged near 90.25


children of Edward Larkin and Joanna:26

i. John, b. supp. 10 March 1639/40 (4, "10 (1) 1640"), supp. bap. same day
ii. Elizabeth, b. supp. 5 September 1641 (5, "5 (7) 1641"), bap. supp. 4 September 1641
iii. Hannah, b. 16 March 1642/43
iv. Thomas, b. 18 October 1644 (9, "18 (8) 1644")
v. Joanna, b. abt. 1645/1646 (she had her last child in 1692, suggesting she was about 45)
vi. Sarah, b. 12 March 1646/47 10, "12 (1) 1647")
perhaps another child, b. 1651-52 (based on Edward's will mentioning that Joanna was pregnant, no further record)





vital records sources:

1.
2. First Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston 1876 [hereafter RCCB] (Boston: 1876), 43.
3. Ibid, 106.
4. Ibid, 112.
5. Records of the First Church in Charlestown, 1632-1789 [hereafter RFCC] (Boston: 1880), 9.
6. Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, vol. 1 (Boston: 1853), 376.
7. Ibid, 335.
8. Roll of Members of the Military Company of the Massachusetts: Now Called the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts (1895), p. 4.
9. Middlesex Co., MA, probate case 13999.
10. RFCC, 7.
11. Ibid, 9.
12. Middlesex Co., MA, probate case 10083.
13. Ibid, 12337.
14. Ibid, 19531.
15. Ibid, 5999.
16. The Great Migration Begins, Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, vol. 2 (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical & Biographical Society, 1995), 837.
17. RCCB, 75.
18. Ibid, 80.
19. Middlesex Co., MA, deed 5:122.
20. Vital Records of Charlestown, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850, [hereafter VRC] vol. 1 (Madison, WS: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 39.
21. Essex Co., MA, deed 10:4.
22. Ibid, 4:372.
23. Ibid, 5:257.
24. VRC, 131.
25. Ibid, 136.
26. Ibid and RFCC.


all text and photographs © 1998-2022 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted