Thursday, October 15, 2015

Last Will and Testament of Abner Poland, 1804 Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.

In the name of GOD, Amen. ~  I Abner Poland, of Ipswich in the county of Essex and commonwealth of Massachusetts, yeoman, being in perfect health of body, and of a sound mind and memory, thanks be given unto GOD, calling unto mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is to say: ~ Principally, and first of all, I give and recommend my soul into the hand of GOD, who gave it; and my body I recommend to the earth, to be buried in a decent Christian burial, at the direction of my executor; nothing doubling but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of GOD.  And, as touching such worldly estate, werewith it has pleased GOD to bless me in this life, I give, demise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.

First of all, my will is, that my executor hereafter named should sell so much of my estate, as shall enable him to pay all my just debts and funeral charges.  After my just debts and funeral charges are paid, I give and bequeath to Deborah Poland, my dearly beloved wife, all the household goods and furniture, which she brought to me, to be her own disposal.  I further give and bequeath to Deborah my wife the use and improvement of all my real and personal estate, which shall not hereafter be disposed of, during her natural life.

I give and bequeath to my daughter Epsabah Poland the feather bed, which was her mother’s for her to come into possession after my decease, and also the looms and tackle thereto belonging, for her to come into possession thereof after my wife’s decease.

And, finally, I give and bequeath to my seven children hereafter named, and their heirs, viz.  Abner Poland, Asa Poland, Parker Poland, Epsabah Poland, Rachal Burnham, Eunice Poland and Anna Spillar, all all my real and personal estate, of what name or nature soever, which has not hereto fore been disposed of, to be equally divided amongst them, or their heirs, according to quantity and quality for them to come into the possession of after my wife’s decease.  And I do hereby constitute, appoint and fully authorize Nathaniel Burnham, of Ipswich in the said county of Essex, gentleman, sole executor to this my last will and testament; and I hereby utterly disavow, revoke and disannul all and every other former testaments, wills, legacies, bequests and executors, by me in any wise before mentioned, willed and bequested; ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament.

In witness whereof.  I have hereunto set my hand and seal ye. Seventeenth day of May in the year of our LORD one thousand eight hundred and four.

Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and declared by the said Abner Poland to be his last will and testament, in presence of us, who in his presence, and in the presence of each other, have hereunto subscribed our names: ~
Joshua Giddings                                              Abner Poland (seal)
David Giddings
Nancy Giddings

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Essex, ss.  At a court of probate holden at Gloucester in and for said county on the third Tuesday in July AD 1824. – The foregoing instrument, purporting to be the last will and testament of Abner Poland, late of Essex in said county, yeoman, deceased, having been duly presented for probate, and it being made to appear, that notice has been given according to order to all persons interested; David Giddings and Nancy Giddings, two of the witnesses thereto subscribed, being present, make oath that they saw the said Abner Poland sign and seal the said instrument, and heard him declare the same to be his last will and testament, and that they the said David and Nancy, with Joshua Giddings, esquire, subscribed their names together as witnesses to the execution thereof in presence of said testator, and that was then, to the best of their judgement, of sound and disposing mind; and the same is proved. -  It is thereupon considered and decreed by the court here, that the same be approved, allowed, and recorded, as the last will and testament of the before named deceased; and that it have full force and effect as such, agreeably to the laws of the commonwealth aforesaid in such cases made and provide.
                                      D. A. White, judge of probate
Recorded from the original, and examined by Nathl. Lord, Jr. register
To the hon. Daniel A. White esquire, judge of probate for the county of Essex. I the subscriber would represent to your honor, that I am appointed executor of the last will and testament of Abner Poland, late of Essex, desceased, and that it is inconvenient for me to execute that trust.  Wherefore I hereby declare my refusal to undertake it.  June 24, 1924.   Nathaniel Burnham
Essex, ss. Filed in probate court at Gloucester, July 20, 1824
                Attest.  Nathanl. Lord, Jr. register
Recorded from the original, and examined by Nathanl. Lord, Jr. register


Abner Poland, my 6th great grandfather,  was born about 1736 in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich, Massachusetts.  This town is now known as Essex, Massachusetts.   He was the son of John Poland and Abigail Davis.  He was married first to Dorothy Burnham on 3 April 1761, and had seven children with her- all named in the will.  She died on 7 April 1789 and he remarried to her cousin, Deborah Burnham, the widow of Nathaniel Emerson, on 5 December 1792.   It is interesting to note that Deborah is my 5th great grand aunt because I descend from TWO of her siblings:  Westley Burnham (1747 – 1835) and Sarah (Burnham) Poland (about 1759 – 1846).   Sarah was married to Abner Poland, Jr (1761 – 1835)!  You can find Sarah's will at this link HERE. 

Nathaniel Emerson had died on 2 September 1778 while serving in the American Revolution.   Both Abner Poland, Senior and Junior, served in the American Revolution.  Abner, Senior, was on the list of prisoners sent to Forton Prison in England in 1778. He served at the Battles of Long Island, White Plains and Harlem Heights, and was honorably discharged in New Jersey.    Abner Poland, Junior, received a badge of merit from General George Washington for his service of 7 years, from Lexington through to Yorktown.   Abner, Junior is my 5th great grandfather.  You can read about his badge of merit HERE. 

As a yeoman, Abner Poland, Senior, was a farmer.  He received a pension for his military service starting on 6 April 1818.  At that time he owned 18 acres of land, a small house, a small barn and 2 cows.  He went blind in 1822 and died on 9 February 1824 in the Chebacco Parish.

All seven children lived to be named in his will.  Here is an account of the lives of the children:

1.   Abner, Junior, received a land bounty for his military service (see above) and removed to Enfield, New Hampshire where he was buried. He had eight children with his wife Sarah Burnham (see above) who was also his step-aunt.

2.  Asa (1763 – 1853) also served in the American Revolutionary War. He was left for dead in a field after a battle, slashed from head to chest by a sword, but survived.  He removed to Waterbury,  Vermont, where his 8 children were born.  Later in life he lived with his daughter, Electra (Poland) Loveland  in Moira, New York where he died. 

3. Parker (born between 1765 and 1770) I have no further record.

4. Hephzebah (spelled “Epsabah” in the will) (about 1766 – 1856) never married.

5. Rachel (about 1768 – 1797) married William Burnham in 1789, another Burnham cousin.

6. Eunice (about 1770 – 1870) never married and was nearly 100 years old at her death.

7.  Anna (born about 1774) married William Spiller in 1794.

My surname Saturday post on the POLAND family (with the entire lineage):


 Published under a Creative Commons License
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Last Will and Testament of Abner Poland, 1804", Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 12, 2015, ( : accessed [access date]).

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