I don’t think Joseph Sargeant entertained his cattle in the 21st century sense, but that is the word John Sargent uses in his will to describe his son’s use of John’s property to raise his cattle. At least I really doubt the Sargeant family provided fun and games for their cattle in the early 18th century.
The will of John Sargeant from Middlesex County, Massachusetts in 1716 provides significant detail about his bequests to his children, along with his reasons for giving them what he did. The clause discussing his son Joseph is representative.

Will of John Sargeant[part], Middlesex County, Massachusetts, file 19883; digital image from AmericanAncestors.org, obtained 13 October 2014.

—–[begin transcription]——–
ItemI Give to my Son Joseph Sargeant forty Shillings in currant pay to be paid him by my Executors within twelve months after my decease–The reson why I give him no more now is because I have Given him a good Trade and a loome to work in he also had his share or more than his share in my Son Jabiz his estate which was considerable and the Gratest part of my children had not any part of it Also when he lived with me He Raised up Severall Cattle and I Entertained them:
—–[end transcription]———–

It would appear that the [Trade?] reference is indicating that John Sargeant either taught his son a trade himself or paid someone to do it. Wills frequently indicate that a parent has already given a child money, but John Sargeant’s will is a little more specific than most. There is also no mention as to why Joseph received the bulk of Jabez’s estate.

The use of the word “entertaining” in reference to the cattle is also a little unusual, but the reference here likely is to John’s providing son Joseph a free place on which to raise his cattle. I’m not entirely certain what the letters or symbol after the word “free” in this part of item refer to.

The mention of Jabez’s estate does mean that I need to see if there are any probate records for him in Middlesex County as well.

John mentions all his children in his will and provides for them but the clauses devoted to his sons are more detailed than those devoted to his daughters.

John is one of my New England ancestors whose been written up in several genealogies, but I’ve made the best discoveries about him and several of them by looking for them in actual records. Wills, probate records, and land deeds often provide clues that compilers of large genealogies simply don’t have the time to include. And it is those details that often provide the best glimpse into our ancestors’ lives.




One response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Genealogy Tip of the Day Book
Recent Comments