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At the 26 October 1647 session of the Plymouth Colony General Court, his nephew Richard, son of his deceased brother Richard Burt of Taunton, chose James as his guardian and to live with him while he was a minor.1 James was a surveyor of higways for Taunton in 1645 and 1654.2 A lawsuit was presented at the 4 October 1655 court in which James accused Thomas Brayman of trespassing, "molesting and hindering him from imploying of an house and land" he had bought from Brayman.3 He took the Oath of Fidelity there in 1657.4 Francis Doughty opposed the formation of the church at Taunton, and when he left the town, he gave James his power of attorney.5 At the 1 June 1679 court he was fined 10 shillings "for being distempered with drinke the second time."6 He is on a list of "The Fines of June Court 1675," for 10 shillings, no reason given, but this may have been his first offence of drunkenness.7 His wife Anna died 17 August 1665 in Taunton8 James's will, as transcribed for the Plymouth Colony probate court records.9

I, being aged and taken sick yet having my pfect memory do make my will as followeth, first I commit my soul to the Loard who gave it and my body to the earth to be decently buried and as for my outward estate I dispose of it as followeth

Item I give to my eldest son James my dwelling house and my house lott and [thirty?] eight acres of land lying before the brook called Brownell Brook on the southwest side fo the cartway going to Thomas Lincoln's house called Thomas Lincoln's cartway and a pieces of land tying by the Three Mile River below the lower falls in a place called the Nut Plain being bouat seven acres and an half, and I give to my son James my best bed and beding and bedstead

Item I give unto my son Thomas my share of the late purchase below Three Mile River and my meadow above [Sakegagomsett?] River by the mouth of that river being about one acre, and my meadow above Three Mile River on the southeast? side of the Great River with six acres of land lying by it, and six acres of plain and three acres of swamp lying little above the head of the six acres which lyeth by the meadow for mentioned eastward and half my share in the Iron Works I give to my son Thomas

Item I give to my daughter Hannah one heifer of year and vantage red on white colored, and half my household stuff

Item I give the other half of my household stuff to my daughter Rachel and half my share in the Iron Works and two cows and one heifer of a year and vantage and twenty two acres of land and meadow lying up the Three Mile River at the place by the name of the Twenty Acre Division, and a piece of land lying between Peter Pitts his land and Thomas Harveys meadow called by the name of Thomas Mash's? being baout ten acres all which I give to my daughter Rachel and one bed and beding

Item I give to daughter Hannah's child Jacob Hathwey my share in the land called the North Purchase
Item I give to my son James my horse and one calf and half my share in the undivided Town right

Item, I give to my son Thomas one calfe and half y share in the individed Town right and all that I have here given to my children I give to them and their heirs forever

Item I have made choice of Joseph Wilbore and Samuel Smith to be overseers and to divide equally my houshold stuff betqween my daughter Hannah and my daughter Rachel

James Burt his mark

Signed and sealed in the psence of us James Smith, John Smith

The will apparently is dated to 21 January 1677(/78), as noted in the margin of the transcription. It was brought to court on 2 March 1680/81. His inventory had already been taken and was brought to court several days after his will.

The 10th of October 1680

An inventory of the estate of James Burt Senr. of Taunton, deceased, exhibited to the court held at Plymouth the seven of March 1680/1 on the oath of James Burt Junr as followeth

Item the house and home lot £60
Item 1 piece of meadow and land £15
Item 1 piece of land more £15
Item 1 piece of land more £5
Item 1 piece of land more £10
Item 1 piece of land more £5
Item 1 piece of land more £10
Item Town right £8
Item one share in the Iron Works £20
Item his cattle £18
Item swine £4
Item bedding apparel and linen £12 Item wollen cloth £6
Item iron tools £1, 5 shillings
Item 1 gun and sword £1
Item 2 iron potts and 1 iron skillet £18
Item more iron, 2 hammers £1
Item barrels £16
Item tubs 10 shillings
Item chests £1
Item 2 wheels 10 shillings
Item brass and pewter £3
Item wooden dished and trays 15 shillings
Item iron £1, 7 shillings
Item due to the estate by debts £5
Item 2 chairs and one pair of bellows 10 shillings
Item more small things 8 shillings
Item leather and one frying pan £1
£206, 10 shillings

This drawn by us whose names are underwritten

Joseph Wilbore
John Hathwey
John Smith

children of James Burt and Anna:

Hannah, b. abt. 1650

1. Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, also called Records of Plymouth Colony [hereafter PCR], Court Orders, 1641-1651 (Boston: 1855), 119.
2. 4 June 1645, PCR 2:84, 6 June 1654, PCR, vol. 3, 1651-1661 (Boston: 1855), 49.
3. PCR, Judicial Acts, 1636-1692 (Boston: 1857), 74.
6. PCR, Court Orders, vol. 5, 1668-1678 (Boston: 1856), 169.
7. PCR, Miscellaneous Records, 1633-1689 (Boston: 1857), 144.
8. Ibid, 39.
9. PCR, wills, 4:76, 78.

all text and photographs © 1998-2023 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted