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Ten months before he died, Richard Thistle, considering his "natural affection" and "good will" he had for his son Ebenezer and an obligation of Ebenezer to pay his sisters 20 lbs a piece, gave him the 15 acres of land he bought from "widow Lemmon," about 20 rods of land he bought from Samuel Morgan, about 81 poles or rods of land he bought from Richard Ober, another piece he bought from the Town of Beverly, also "my dwelling house & out housing, fences, trees...that is to say ye upright part of ye house after mine & my wives decease & the leantow & the land forthwith...also...all my looms & utensils belonging to a weaver as alsoe ye cooper boards about ye house."1 It appears he was free from that obligation (Sarah and Elizabeth are named as the sisters involved) provided he "shall suffer ye sd Richard Thissel & Elizabeth his wife to dwell in ye upright part of ye house so long as they shall live & to use, occupy & improve ye said lands given & granted as aforesd during their natural lives together and after ye decease of either of them do quietly permit ye longest liver of them...his father and mother, to enjoy ye one halfe thereof according to ye true intent of ye sd donation." Ebenezer was single at the time and was undoubtedly living with them. Given this, it's hard to imagine he didn't agree to the arrangement. He married Hannah two years later. Deeds about the time of his father's death say that Ebenezer was a weaver and fishermen.2 His inventory includes "one pair of old lumes," among other weaver's items, so he likely was still using at least some of his father's equipment.
     This was the extent of Richard's effort to settle his estate. After his death, Richard, Jr., and Ebenezer agreed by deed to not claim any right to the property their father gave them.3 Their sisters, also by deed, sold their rights to Richard, Sr.'s estate to Ebenezer.4 Their mother didn't have a formal dowry, but Ebenezer had, presumably, agreed to allow her to live on and use the homestead during her life. Richard's personal property, except for his weaving apparatus and the boards mentioned above, must have been divided privately. Ebenezer's inventory, transcribed below, includes a pair of old looms and other weaving items that were arguably his father's. It can only be speculated why Richard didn't write a will.
     When Ebenezer was 38, the First Church in Beverly described him as "long confined with wasting illness and expecting his great Change by death." "Being undr great awaknings & convictns especially of his neglecting ye ordinances of Chh & very desireous of coming up to ye baptism of ye Lord, his desire was first propounded to ye congregatn on a Lord's day & he ye wednesday [10 July 1728] following baptized in his own dwelling house yr being a considerable number ys Chh & divers oyr psons wo attended ye administratn.5 His parents, whether or not in agreement, didn't baptize any of their children. Their married daughters came together and had themselves baptized in 1710.6 Their brother Richard didn't. Ebenezer's wife Hannah renewed her covenant and had her children baptized on 27 July 17237, and it was she who must have brought children James and Hannah to the church for their own baptisms after that (see below).
     Although Ebenezer had real and personal estate when he died, there isn't any indication that probate was needed until 22 November 1742, when administration was given to his widow Hannah and their son Richard.8 This delay was probably due to their children still being minors, although Richard turned 21 in 1739. An inventory was made on 24 January 1742/43:

The real estate is ten acres and seventy seven rods of tilage moing land at 3 lbs 10 s 00 d [pence] pr acre } 35lbs-11s-9 3/4d

to eighteen acres & one hundred & thirteen rods of pasture land at 3 lbs pr acre } 57-2-4 1/2

to eighty seven rods of land adjoyning to the dwelling house on the south of it at 7 1/2d pr rod } 2-14-2 1/2

to one common right of land in the sheep pasture in said Beverly at 5lb pr } 5-0-0

to two acres of wooded land on Manchester Township at 10s pr acre is 20s } 1-0-0

the total sum is 101lb-8s-4 3/4d

The personal estate is as followeth viz

to three pare of tow cloath sheets at 7s-6d pr } 1-2-5

to one sheet ditto at 3s-9d...0lb-3s-9d

to three sheets of cotton and lining at 7s-6d pr...1-2-6

to one diaper table cloath 2s-6d & one ditto tow cloath 6d is...0-3-0

to one ovel table 12s-6d & five three backt chairs at 18d pr is...1-0-0

to one grate chair 1s-3d & one pine chest wth one dror at 7s-6d...0-9-3

to one pine leefed table 1s-3d & one looking glass 2s-6d...0-3-9

to one fether bed & bolster two blankits curtains & valians bedstead and cord as it now standeth at 1lb-15s } 1-15-0

to one old coverled 2s-6d & one blankit 2s-6d...0-5-0

to one fether bed & bolster one coverled & three old blankits one under bed, bedstead and cord at 23s-9d } 1-3-9

to one chest of drors 15s & one small trunk 18d...0-16-6

to one old pine chest 4 1/2d & one brass kitle 15s pr...0-15-4 1/2

to one small brass kitle 2s-6d & three puter platers at 4s 6d pr 13s-6d the whole is 16s

to six puter plates at 18d pr to old puter 6d...0-9-6

to two silver spones at 7s-6d pr...0-15-0

to one tramel 4s-6d & one iron pott 15d...0-5-9

to one iron kitle 2s-6d & one pare of tongs 15d...0-3-9

to one pare of iron dogs at 8s-9d & one pare of old lumes at 7s-6d & three slays & harneses at 2s-6d pr 7s-6d } 1-3-9

to warbing
[warping] bars & a quiling whele 15d and nineteen spools at 2s-6d } 0-3-9

to one set of cart boxes and hoops of iron at 5s all 0-5-0

to one draft chain at 2s-6d and two copses and pins and one neb ring at 2s the whole is 4s-6d } 0-4-6

the sum total is 13lbs-7-4 1/2

Robert Woodberry
Jeremiah Butman } committee
David Larcum

[signed] Hannah her H mark Thissel
Richard Thissell

     No further documents appear in connection with his estate, such as a division. Robert Hale of Beverly created an odd database of when houses were built, who occupied them and if they were torn down or unoccupied at several points in the mid 1700s.9 Ebenezer Thistle's house was built by 1723, presumably being where he grew up, and James Thissel was occupying it in 1751. In the division of James' real estate in 1775,10 his house is described as having a lean-to, pointing to the so-called New England Saltbox style of house. This was fashionable when Richard had his house built, but far less so in the mid to late 1700s, making it likely this was his house and still standing in 1775.

children of Ebenezer Thistle and Hannah Taylor:

i. Richard b. 18 March 1717/18
ii. Lydia b. 24 November 1719
iv. Susannah b. 4 December 1721
v. James bap. 27 October 1723
vi. Hannah bap. 2 October 1726

vital records sources: His marriage intentions are in Vital Records of Beverly, Massachusetts: to the end of the year 1849, vol. 2 (Topsfield, MA:1907), 301.

1. Essex County deeds (hereafter ECD), 18 Dec 1714, 27:89.
2. Ibid, 27:240 and 31:67.
3. see note 2.
4. Ibid, 27:253, 28:85, 29:297, etc.
5. Records of the First Church in Beverly, Massachusetts, 1667-1772 (Beverly:Essex Institute, 1905), 61.
6. Ibid, 48.
7. Ibid, 57.
8. Essex County Probate, case 27415.
9. He and Nicholas Biles bought a four-acre piece of woodland in Manchester, ECD, 37:210. This must be a half-right to it.
10. "Historical Collections of the Essex Institute" (Salem:1864), 6:47.
11. Essex County Probate, case 27421.

He and Nicholas Biles bought a four-acre piece of woodland in Manchester, ECD, 37:210.
all text and photographs © 1998-2021 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted