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Abigail's mark on her 1739 petition to the General Court

Abigail petitioned the Massachusetts Bay General Court on 13 May 1739 to be allowed to sell some of Mordecai's real estate for her support. Here is a partial transcription with spelling corrections:1

The petition of Abigail Larkam of Ipswich...humbly showeth that your petitioner in the lifetime of her said husband was prevailed upon to join with him in the sale of certain lands in said Wenham in which she had the fee [rights, in this case dower rights] for certain other lands which her said husband, before his decease, disposed of to his son John Larkam on certain conditions to be performed by him, on failure of which to be divided among all the children, the improvement of which was to be to your petitioner during life as by deed herewith exhibited dated February ye 4th 1708/9. Now so it is, may it please your Excellency and House that although your memorialist does engage the profits of ye said land, yet by reasons of the smallness and little profit thereof [gains?], she in her old age is greatly reduced and the said John being dead without performing ye conditions, and all the rest of the ye children being in low circumstances, are not able to afford me any relief. Your poor petitioner's humble prayer therefore is that since ye estate was purchased with lands that was the estate of your petitioner before her enterming[? prob. intermingling] with the said Larkam, that your Excellency and Honors would please to enable me to sell said estate for her support or so much thereof as may be necessary, therefore she giving due caution for ye security of what she does not need to the heirs of ye said deceased and your memorialist as in duty bound shall every pray &c

Abigail her x mark Larkam

In the House of Reptives. Jan 2d 1739
[/40] ordered that this petition be recived and committed to Mr. Fairfield, Major Wise and Capt. Rogers to consider and report.

In the House of Repives. June 26 1740, read again and ordered that the prayer of the petitioner be granted and Mesrs. Jonathan Kimball, Capt. Samuel Kimball of Wenham and Mr. John Whipple, son of Majr. Mathew Whipple late of Ipswich deceased be a committee fully authorized and impowered to make sale of all or so much of the land as they shall think convenient for the better maintenance of the petitioner and to give and execute good and sufficient deeds in the law and to give propert caution to the Judge of Probates for the County of Essex.

Sent up for concurrence, in council 27 June 1740, received and concurred, Simon Frost Secry., consented to, J. Belcher
[Province Governor]

     On 8 June 1741, this committee sold eleven acres of land for £2382 to Jonah Dodge, Essex Co., MA, deeds, 92:2 This was almost two years after she made her request. Since they sold the land specifically for her support, I assume she was still alive, but by then she was under the care of her children.
     The settling of Mordecai's estate, 24 years after he died, apparently began in late November 1741. This is likely since Abigail had recently died. The earliest date on papers in Mordecai's estate file is 30 November 1741, one of which was Richard Rogers's receipt for a bill of costs for her funeral. The June and November 1741 dates verly likely bracket the time when she died. Another line item in the estate accounts is compensation due to her son-in-law William Barrows for her care in 1740. There is the big question of what the status was of the Larcom homestead. Was she still living there or had she moved in with Barrows, for instance?
     After assets of and debits from the estate were added up, Mordecai and Abigail's children or their heirs split £141, John's heirs, now in Connecticut, getting a double portion. No mention is made of the Larcom homestead.

children of Mordecai Larcom and Abigail Solart:3

Mordecai, b. abt 1682
Abigail, b. abt 1685
Elizabeth, abt. 1688
John, b. 20 November 1695
John, b. 10 June 1699
Rebecca, b. 10 July 1701
Hannah, b. 16 July 1704

vital records sources: her birth is in "Essex County, Massachusetts, births, marriages, and deaths, 1636-1795, Essex, County wide, County court births, marriages, deaths 1654-1795," database online (Salt Lake City, UT: 1971), image 172.

1. Massachusetts State Archives, vol. 17, "Estates 1697-1742," documents 696, 697, 698, film 007702897, "Massachusetts State Archives collection, colonial period, 1622-1788," (Salt Lake City, UT: 2002-2009), images 46-7.
2. Essex Co., MA, probate case 16401.
3. Vital records of Wenham, Massachusetts, to the end of year 1849, (Topsfield, MA: Topsfield Historical Society, 1904), 57 (births where recorded), 210 (deaths).

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