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Comfort King's mark on one of Ebenezer's probate papers

Comfort is known to have been the daughter of Thomas and Mary (Sprague) King based on a court petition and several deeds. She grew up in Freetown, Massachusetts, ans was still with her parents when they moved across the Taunton River to Dighton, Massachusetts about 1709. There isn't anything I've found to date her birth, but it was likely between 1687 and 1692. Her last child was born in 1737. If her fertility span reached the normal limit at about 45 years old, she was born about 1687. Otherwise, her marriage in 1713 suggests she was in her early 20s.
     The Kings bought land in Dighton from Amos Briggs. He and his brothers formally recieved their shares of their father's real estate on 4 May 1709. The division itself was made on 30 March, which apparently was considered legal enough for Amos to have sold part of his share to the Kings on 1 April. His brother Ebenezer share was adjecent to it, so Comfort and Ebenezer would have been neighbors possibly as early as 1709.(1) He may have built a house of some sort on his share that early, but surely by the time he and Comfort intended to marry in 1713. She apparently was the only child of Thomas and Mary still at home. Her leaving their household may have precipitated her parents to find someone else to look after them. Mary was about 61, Thomas probably older. For some reason they sold their homestead to their son-in-law John Alger several months before Comfort married. The Algers were in Tiverton, Massachusetts (now Rhode Island), at the time, but moved to Dighton. There isn't anything in the deed from the Kings to Alger to suggest why they were selling their home, such as a proviso that they be taken care of in their old age.
     The house Ebenezer built was near the King/Alger farm, but deeds are so poorly written and there were so many sales of small parcels that placing either farm would take a major review of many deeds in the 18th century. A review of just the deeds for the Briggs and King properties are very confusing and in some cases, contradictory.
     Comfort's father died probably in the Winter of 1719. He didn't leave an estate to probate, and a petition in 1726, widow Mary says all she had was £50. The Algers apparently didn't want to stay in Dighton after Thomas died, so they sold the King/Alger farm and moved to Rehoboth. Did Mary not want to go with them? Whatever the cause or causes of the circumtances, she could no longer live on the farm her husband built, so she came to an agreement with Ebenezer, at least, to buy his and Comfort's farm with her £50 in exchange for his supporting her for the rest of her life.
     When Ebenezer died about 1725, he theoretically was in the same position as Thomas at his death - his farm was owned by someone else. But when his estate inventory was taken, the homestead was on the list of assets. When Comfort made her account as administrator, she includes the personal estate as a line item, but not the real estate. She also requests allowance from the estate to support her mother. This was formalized after the General Court approved Mary and Comfort's petition to sell a piece of Ebenezer's land to fulfill Ebenezer's contract to provide for Mary. In the petition, Comfort says she was "left with four small children and the income of the deceased's estate is but small and not sufficient to compy & fulfill the said covenant." The piece of land was three acres near the King and Briggs homesteads, but the bounds as described don't connect with any deed I've found giving it to Ebenezer, nor does it seem to have been part of the homestead. With that taken care of, Mary must have continued to live with Comfort and her grandchildren until she died, maybe in the Winter of 1729.
     Mary didn't have an estate to probate, but theoretically she should have if she owned the Briggs farm. No deed was found showing she sold it. For whatever reason, it reverted back to Ebenezer's estate. Given this, it must have been Mary's death that caused a division to be made of it about four years after his death. In the meantime, Comfort had married Pasco Chub, about whom I find very little and who died several years later, leaving Comfort with two more young children. She didn't marry again, and likely lived out the rest of her life with her son Ebenezer, who was given the family farm in the 1729 estate division. Comfort died after the last mention of her I've found on 4 April 1758. This is when her single daughter Mary willed all her estate to Comfort.
     Comfort was administrator of her husband's estate.2fn 3 An inventory was ordered on 17 May 1726, when she is called Comfort Briggs. Apparently one was already taken, with the date of 30 March 1725. Comfort swore to its accuracy on 16 May 1726 and is again called Comfort Briggs. It may be that the order for an inventory, a standard step in estate probate at the time, was overlooked, and then done as a necessary formality despite the inventory already being made.
     She married Pasco Chub on 9 March 1727(3)
and had 3 or maybe 4 more children. Just after she was married she presented an account of her administration of Ebenezer's estate. The person writing the account (which she signed with an "x," showing she couldn't write herself) at first called her Comfort Briggs in two places. It was corrected to Chub. It's likely that the document was written before she was married and there was a delay in getting it to court, which happened in April 1727. From this account, a small view into her world as a widow can be found, such as the help that her brothers-in-law gave her and an array of doctors who attended the family within two years time.

The accompt of Comfort [above a caret: Chub late Comfort] Briggs widdow and administratrix to the estate of her late husband Ebener. Briggs late of Dighton desed intestate

The accomptant charges herself with all & singular the goods, chattles, rights and credits excluded in an inventory into the Registry of the Court of Probate for the County of Bristol

The personal estate being 105 lbs

advance upon paire of oxen 1
[lb] -- [shillings] -- [pence]
rcd of Thomas Jones -- 9 --
rcd of Mary Paul -- 9 --

The accomptant prays allowance for the payment of sundry debs as followeth

imps to funerall charges 3 14 --
to Doctor Dean 4 10 --
to Doctor Hall 4 15 9
to my brother Thomas Briggs for fetching ye
1 10 --
to Doctor Arnold -- 11 --
to John Briggs 1 8 --
to Matthew Briggs 1 14 --
to Epharim Allwood 2 7 6
to the Town Bank 1 5 --
to Isacca Pool -- 18 --
to Deacon Shaw -- 16 6
to Silvester Richmond -- 9 6
to Letter of Adminstration -- 10 --
Recording the inventory and allowing it -- 5 --
accomptant prays allowance for two yearling
[calves?] lost 3 [60?]
and eight sheep lost 3 -- --
to one bull 4 10 --
and also prays allowance for the provisions prised in ye inventory since expended viz. to Indian corn twelve bushels
[aprised?] at [?] 3 12 --
31 16 03

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brought from the other side 31 16 03
to beaf and pork prized at 1 17 --
to Benjamin Briggs for tending corn, getting firewood, making fence and tending cattle 5 10 --
to Thomas Briggs for hay and work done since the death of my husband 8 5 --
to two years rates that I have paid since his death 3 15 7

The accomptant prays allowance for the maintainance of her aged mother two years the sum of 00 00 00
to the apprizers -- 6 --
to the charges of the bondsmen 2 -- --
the administratrix for necessary implements for house keeping 8 -- --
to drawing allowing and registering this act 10 s
61 9 10

Comfort mark x Chub
["Briggs" was erased, "Chub" written over it]

A division of Ebenezer's estate was made 8 April 1729.(4)

We set off to his widdow and relick for her full third part of the deceased real estate being twenty seven acres three quarters and two perches of the said deceased home=stead with the westerly room in the dwelling house thereon...and concerning the personal estate the widdow has improved her third of the personal estate to her own use so that she could not present it to our view as she said, and her third as appears by the inventory amounts to 14=11=06 And she shewed us no more personal estate to be divided amongst the children only 25 pounds in value as in perticulars hereafter mentioned which was 4 l [lbs] 3 s [shillings] 0 d [pence] short of 2/3rds of said personal estate. The division of the personal estate is as followeth - To the widdow her third of the personal estate in her hands already amounting to 14=11=06.

     Her single daughter Mary wrote her will on 4 April 1758 when she was ill and gave all her clothes to her mother and her bed to brother Ebenezer.(5) It's very likely she was living with her mother and Ebenezer in Ebenezer, Sr.'s, house. Evidence shows that Ebenezer, Jr., was given the house when his father's estate was divided and continued to live there to his death, and it was natural that his widowed mother and sister lived there.
     That is the last reference found to Comfort, and Pasco's history after the birth of their last child is a mystery. The lived in Berkley while Pasco was alive. Nothing further has been found about their daughter Hannah. Their two sons, possibly three if Thomas was another, were fluid in location. All three were married in Rhode Island between 1755 and 1760. Jabez and Ephraim went to Maine, where Ephraim remained and raised a family. Jabez was likely a servant to a family that moved from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Swan's Island, Maine, and were then captured by Abenakis and sold in Quebec during the French & Indian War. Jabez eventually came back to New England and died in Providence, Rhode Island, referred to as being lately of Dighton. Nothing further has been found about Thomas beyond his marriage in Newport. Time and place suggest a relation to Jabez and Ephraim. He was likely born after Hannah. The Dighton Town Clerk recorded families in groups. He may have recorded the Chubs before Thomas was born and there was no follow-up. The latter scenario happened in other towns where group recording took place.

children of Comfort King and Ebenezer Briggs:(6)

Mary, b. abt 1714/1715, d. between 4 March and 2 May 1758
Ebenezer, b. abt 1717/1718, m. Anna abt 1749, d. abt Dec 1809
John, b. abt 1719/1720
Samuel, b. abt 1722/1723, m. Mary Pigsley, perhaps June 1744 (intentions published 16 June 1744 at Dighton)

children of Comfort King and Pasco Chub:(7)

Jabez(8) b. 9 November 1727
Ephraim b. 3 March 1729(/1730? - Dighton records weren't double-dated)
Hannah b. 7 November 1733
Thomas? b. abt 17

vital records sources: She witnessed several deeds on 30 Mar 1713, indicating she was at least 21. Her last child was born in 1733 after a 4 1/2 year gap between the previous one, suggesting she was in her early to mid 40s. If she was born abt 1690, she was 23-24 when she signed the deeds and was abt 44 when she had her last child. Comfort's marriage dates come from Dighton town record book 1 (transcribed from an original). The town clerk didn't use double-dating to show the Julian/Gregorian calendar month transition, as was common elsewhere, and although her marriage year to Pasco is written 1726, it was actually 1727. 6 March fell within the transitional part of the calendar years.

1. The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay , vol. 11 (Boston:1903), 182.
Bristol Co., MA, Deed Records (Taunton Division, hereafter BCDR), 21:143.
2. Bristol Co., MA, Probate Court (hereafter BCPC), case file 3326 (indexed under the mistranslation "Ebeneser").
3. Dighton town record book 1, p. 30 (hereafter DTRB). The year given is 1726. The Dighton town clerk didn't use double dating to indicate the part of the year that the Julian and Gregorian calendars overlapped, the Julian starting on 25 March and the Gregorian on 1 January. Use of the Julian was waning in favor of the Gregorian, which is the calendar still in use. The context of the records of the Chub/Briggs intention of marriage and marriage itself show them listed chronologically and confirm that the Gregorian or modern year should be 1727. Since Comfort was a "Briggs" in May 1726, which wasn't in the overlap, its unlikely she married Pasco the previous April. But another account dated in April 1727, no day given, but also beyond the calendar overlap, her name is modified twice from Comfort Briggs to Comfort Chub (see more on this document above). If the Dighton clerk had used double-dating, as was common elsewhere in New England, it would have appeared as 9 March 1726/27. To further complicate things, when the Gregorian calendar was officially adopted in 1752, 11 days were added, so their marriage date according to the modern calendar is actually 20 March 1727.
4. see note 2. 5. BCPC, case file 3468.
6. BCPC, case file 3418 (indexed under the mistranslation "Ebeneser"), concerns guardianships for his children. When naming groups of children regarless of gender, probate records from this period normally do so chronologically by age. The children in this case are listed as Mary, Ebenezer, John and Samuel. This is partly confirmed by Ebenezer's estate distribution (see note 2), which places the boys in this order as oldest, second and youngest.
7. DTRB, p. 76.
8. He is called Jabish in the poorly-spelled town birth records, but all other evidence indicates he was Jabez.

all text and photographs © 1998-2019 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted