Experience Mitchell’s Will & Inventory
Experience married Jane Cooke, dau. of Pilgrim Francis Cooke and Hester Mahieu. Jane’s death has never exactly been determined, and for many years all children were considered to be those by Jane and Experience. Ensuing research has confounded the earlier lineage, and currently only Elizabeth and Thomas and possibly Mary (MF5G, Ralph V. Wood, 1996, Picton Press, 12:29+) are thought to be Jane’s. Experience married, possibly about 1640, Mary ______, whose surname has never been determined.
The will of Experience Mitchell was first printed in Mayflower Descendant Volume 1902, April, and was transcribed from a copy of the original. Bowman in 1934 discovered the original and added to his earlier comments. The date of the will had been recorded as 5, December 1689, which Bowman questioned as being seven months after the recording of his inventory, nor could inventory be taken until the death of the testator, and thus the making of the will as being in December, 1689 was likely in error. His comments follow:
"Judge Nahum Mitchell, in his History of Bridgewater, published in 1840, stated that Experience Mitchell’s will was "dated 1684"; it is probable, therefore, that he had seen the original document; but my attempts to locate it met with no success until I was informed by Mr. Merritt G. Perkins, former Treasurer General of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, that the will had been found by Miss Clara W. Crane of Bridgewater, among her father’s papers, and had been deposited with the Old Bridgewater Historical Society, at West Bridgewater, Mass.
Through the courtesy of Miss Crane and of Miss Helen E Bartlett, the secretary of the Historical Society, the will . . .clearly shows that the date was 5 December, "1684", not "1689" as recorded by the clerk of the court at Plymouth.
Experience Mitchell, therefore, died after 5 December, 1684, the date of his will, and before 14 May, 1689, the date of the inventory of his estate. The will was probated on 4 September, 1689, and the clerk made the usual endorsement to that effect on the original document, and correctly recorded this date.
The will is about twelve and one-fourth by eight and one-fourth inches. For nearly two hundred and fifty years it has been kept folded to a size three by eight and one-fourth inches, and while so folded a small part of five thicknesses of paper on one corner was gnawed away, apparently by mice.
The seal, which is in unusually good condition, shows a heart pierced vertically by an arrow, with the letter E at the left and M at the right, and four crosses, one each above and below these letters, the whole surrounded by a circle."
Plymouth County Probate Records, I: 44, 45.
Experience Mitchell’s Will Dated 1684 99
Experience Mitchell’s Will
These are to publish and declare to all whom it may concerne that I Exsperience Mitchell now living in the Towne of Bridgwater in the Collony of new Plimoth being through the Mercy of God of sound Judgment and memory do Ordeine and make my last will and Testament in manner following: viz: into the hands of God I Comend my sperit beleiveingly Resigneing up my soule into the everlasting armes of Gods mercy father Son and holy spirit: my Body to bee decently Interred at the discretion of my executor and other Christian friends: and for my outward estate I do will that after all my Just debts and funerall exspences be paid: my lands and other moveables be disposed of as followeth
Imprimis I give to my Son Edward michell after my deseace all my lands both upland and medow lying in the Towne of Duxborough at the place where I formerly dwelt as appeareth by deed: and if it shall please God so to order that my wife mary michell shall survive me: I Require my Son Edward to take Care of her for her Comfortable subsistence during her life: provided that she will live with him at Bridgwater: but if she rather incline to live at Duxborough: I then Order that halfe the rent of that land at Duxborough shall be to my wife during her life and after my desease my Son Edward shall have the sole dispose of it as to the letting of it out for the house; I acknowledge it to be his: allso the bed and bolster two pillowes on paire of sheets and two Blankets which are at my son Edwards and we made use of; I give them to him after our desease
as for my Son John I have formerly given him his proportion of land and my will is that he rest satissfied therewith, which was foure score acers of upland and foure acers of medow lying at namatakeset within the Towneship of Duxborough: this is the full of what I intend him as to land only there are severall moveables in his hand at present which are mine: of which one Cow a short Gun and a small Iron kettle
I Give unto my Granson Exsperience: and the remainder I give unto my son John as [for my] land lying in the Towne of Middlebery;
I give it to my Daughters Mary Shaw Sarah Hayward and Hannah Hayward and to my granson Experience Mitchell the son of my son John, to be equally devided betwene them
farther I Give to my daughter Mary Shaw twenty shillings to Hannah Hayward [forty shillings in Currant] pay: and if my stocke stand I give to my granson Thomas Mitchell one Cowe and to my grandaughter mary michell one Cow
I leave the dispose of my grandaughter mary michell with my Son Edward and Joseph Bartlet:
as for the rest of my moveables and chattels I Bequeath them to my son Edward michell whom I appoint and Ordaine sole executor of this my last will and Testament revoking all other wills and Testaments Whatsoever Witnes my hand and seale this fift of December 1684
Signed and Sealed Experien michell
in the presence of (Seal)
Leiut Thomas Hayward and Ensigne John Haward the within named witnesses appeared before the magistrates of the County of Plimouth at Plimouth September the 4th 1689 and made Oath that they were present & saw Experience Mitchell deceased above named Signe Seal & Declare this Instrument as his last will and Testament & that to the best of their understandings he was of Disposing mind & memory when he so did.
Attest Saml Sprague Clerk
[On the back of the will]
"The within written will is Entered and [Recorded in the] County Booke of Wills and Inventoryes: page 44
pr Saml Sprague Clerk" "Experience Mitchell his Will: 1684"
Experience Mitchell’s Inventory
[Plym. Co. Prob. I: 45] A; Inventory of the estate of Experience Mitchel of Bridgwater, taken by Ensigne John Haward and Thomas Hayward the 14 of May 1689
£ s d
Imprimis In Books 00 14 00
In Iron vessels 01 16 00
It; vessels of wood and earth 00 04 00
It, in pewter 01 00 00
It, one Rundlett 2 Glass Bottles 00 03 00
It, 2 Chests one Box with Severall tooles 02 00 00
It, in Bedding boulsters pillows and Covering 06 08 00
It, in sheetes and other linnen 02 10 00
It in 2 cows and one mare 04 10 00
It, in my Brother Johns hand one Cow one short gun & a small Iron kettle it 02 12 00
£ 21 17*
* This total is in a different hand.
Edward Mitchel made oath before the magistrates of the County of Plimouth September the 4th 1689 that the above written is a true Inventory: of the Estate vizt Goods and Chattels of the above named Experience Mitchell deceased as far as he Knows and if more shall be discovered that he will Bring it to this Inventory:
Attest Saml, Sprague Clerk;