[Editor's note: We are delighted to have readers of the Plymouth Colony Archive Project who participate in its development by contributing information and transcriptions of original documents. Our thanks to Ron and Anna Lahti for providing us with the will and probate inventory for Lieutenant Joseph Rogers.
Mr. Lahti transcribed the text of these court records from a reproduction in Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume 2 [Thomas Rogers], pp. 156-157, published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and compiled by Alice Wilma Andrews Westgate. These documents were first transcribed from the original records by George Ernest Bowman, and published in the Mayflower Descendants, Volume 3, pp. 67-71.
Lt. Rogers died at Eastham. His will was initially executed on January 12, 1677/1678, and sworn to in court on March 5, 1677/1678. An inventory of his estate was made on January 15, 1677/1678. He apparently died within a few days of making his will. His oldest son, Thomas, who was named in the will as executor, and his youngest son, James, both died shortly thereafter. John, Lt. Rogers' only remaining son, and Captain Jonathan Sparrow were appointed administrators to settle the estate (Mayflower Descendants, Vol. 3, p. 67).]
I, Joseph Rogers senir; of Eastham of Good Understanding and prfect memory being weake in body; and not knowing the the day of my departure out of this life, doe thinke meet to Leave this as my Last will and Testament.
Impr: I Comend my soule to God that Gave it; whoe is my God, and father in Jesus Christ, and my body to the earth by decent buriall;
firstly And Concerning my temporall estate that God hath posessed me off; I doe make my son Thomas Rogers whole and sole executor which I will should be disposed of as followeth;
Impr I doe Give unto my Loveing son James Rogers and his heires Lawfully begotten of his body: or the next of kinn; my house and housing and Land with ffences or the like appurtenances, that I now dwell in and Improve adjoyning to my house be it more or lesse; as it is Recorded & bounded on the Towne book, I say I doe Give it to him and to his heires Lawfully begotten of his body forever or the Next kinred;
Item I doe give To my sonnes John and James Rogers all my meadow Ground that I bought of the Indians ffrancis and Josiah, Lying att Pottammacutt and therabouts; I say I doe give and will it to them and theire heires forever equally to be devided
Item I do Give to my sonnes Thomas and John Rogers and theire heires all my meadow and sedge lying on the otherside of the Cove, on keeskagansett syde; I say I doe Give it to them and theire heires Lawfully begotten of theire bodys forever;
I doe Give to my Daughter Elizabeth higgens the wife of Johathan higgens six acrees of Land lying Neare the Barly necke, by the swamp Called Ceader swamp; as it is Recorded and bounded in the Towne book, I say I give this six acrees To her and her heires of her body for ever; shee nor they shall not sell hier farm it out, directly nor Indirectly to any prson whatsoever, except in Case of Removal it shalbe lawfull for my sonnes or their heires to buy or purchase it;
Item I Give to Benjah higgens my Grandchild on Condition hee live with mee untill I die; I say I Give to him and his heires, one third prte of all my upland and meddow att Paomett, purchased and unpurchased
Item It is my will That the Remainder of my lands or marshes, both att the barly necke, Pochett Iland Paomett Billingsgate or elswher purchased or unparchased not disposed of prticularly in my will; I say it is my will that all those lands be equally devided betwixt my three sonnes Thomas John and James Rogers; and the heires lawfully of theire bodyes for ever; Noteing that my son Thomas his twenty acrees of upland that already hee hath in the barly necke be prte of his devision of my land in the barly Necke;
Item I doe Give unto my daughter Hannah Rogers, if shee be not disposed of in Marriage before my decease, and my wifes deceasse, then I say I doe Give to her my bed and beding with all the furniture therto belonging or that shall belonge therto att our decease;
Alsoe it is my will that shee shall have her Choise of one Cow before my Cattle be distributed, and the use of three acrees of Tillage Ground; ffenced in, with the arable Ground of her bretheren in the barly necke if shee desire, it soe longe as shee lives unmarryed;
Item it is my will tha Benjah higgens shall have one of my Cowes after mine and my wifes decease
Item it is my will Concerning my Loveing wife hannah Rogers that shee live in My house as longe as shee lives, and shalbe Comfortably maintained by my stocke and to have the use of all my househoud stuffe, That shee Needs as longs as shee lives for her Comfort and that none of my household furniture of stocke be disposed of, as longe as shee lives, save onely hannahs Cowe
Item I will that ten shillings of my estate be disposed off for the Use of the Church of Christ in Eastham as shalbe Judged most Nessesarie
Item I will that the Remainder of my Stocke estate houshold furniture that my wife shall Leave att her decease Not disposed of in my will before written; be equally devided between all my Children; and Benjah higgins to have an equall share with each of them; This is my Last will and Testament as witnes my hand and seale this 2cond of January 1677,
Witnes: Joseph Rogers and A seale
Signed and sealed in
the prsence of us
John Banges made oath to this Will att the Court holden att Plymouth the 5th of March Anno Dom 1677:78
These Testimonies following were appointed by the Court held att Plymouth the fift of March 1677/78 to be heer entered
I Jonathan Sparrow being desired by Thomas Rogers for to give in some Testimony of words which; Leiftenant Rogers declared to mee some few dayes before his death; the words are as followeth; hee desired mee to beare witnes that hee did give unto Beriah higgens his best suite of Apparrell because hee had lived with him a Great while; and hee had promised him for to buy him a suite of Clothes; & and did alsoe declare that it was his will that Beriah higgens should have the bed, that his daughter hannah did lye upon, and a blankett or two; hee further 20121 mee that hee did Intend for to have put it in his will, but had forgott it; I told him that if it was his will that it should be soe; hee were best, for to enter it in his will before the prsons that were witnesses to his will hee told mee that his will was att Mr Treates and hee was loth to trouble him for to Come up to him, soe soone; being hee had bine there soe lately; But hee further told mee that if it pleased God for to Give him an oppertuity hee would enter it in his will; but if hee had not an oppertunity; I should see that the thinge was don; for hee had tould his Children of it;
The Testimony of Samuell Berry aged 22 yeers or therabouts
I being att he house of Leift: Joseph Rogers one evening some few* days before hee died; I heard the above said Rogers say That hee Intended to buy Beriah higgens a Cloth Coate and because hee had not done it, Beriah higgens should have his best Cloth suite att his decease and a bed which hannah lay on; and a blanket or two; and I heard that above said Rogers say, That this was his will That Beriah should have these things above mensioned; and that hee Intended to have put them Into his Will; but they sliped his Memory; and if hee Lived to have oppertunity, hee would put them into his will; and if hee had not oppertunity, hee disred Capt Sparrow that hee should see that Beriah had them;
[* "three" was written first, but crossed out.]
Wheras Thomas Rogers of Eastham Adminnestrator to the estate of Leift Rogers his father deceased Ended his life before his said Adminnestration was Compleated; This Court Impowers Capt: Sparrow and John Rogers to Compleate and finally end the said Adminnestration
1635/1636, March 2. "At the same Court, A Jury of twelve being impaniled and charged in the moneth of ffebr foregoing to enquire after that death of John Deacon in the behalfe of our Soveraigne Lord the king, gaue in their verdict as followeth in their owne words and under their hands, vizt
"Having searched the dead body we finde not any blowes or wounds or any other bodily hurt. We finde that bodily weakenes caused by long fasting & wearines by going to & for wth extream cold of the season were the causes of his death.
"Their names were John Jenny John Cooke Will Basset Joseph Rogers William Hoskins, Thomas Cushman George Partridge Stephen Tracy Abraham Peirce Richard Cluffe Tho. Clarke Phineas Pratt."
The 24th of July 1662
Memorandum that Mannasses Kemton of the Towne of Plymouth in the Jurisdiction of Plymouth in New England yeoman Doth acknowlidge that for and in Consideration of a valluable sume for the payment wherof hee hath Received a bill of Leiftenant Josepth Rogers of Eastham in the Jurisdiction aforsaid; hee hath freely and absolutely bargained allianated and sold enfeofed and Confeirmed and by these prsents Doth bargaine sell enfeofe and Confeirme unto the said Leiftenant Josepth Rogers forty acrees of upland lying and beinge att a place Called the Barly necke in the Township of Eastham aforsaid To have and to hold; the said forty acrees bee it more or lesse of upland lying att the said place Called the Barly necke with all and singulare the appurtenances belonging therunto with all the said Mannasses Kemton his Right title and Interest of and into the same; unto the said Leiftenant Josepth Rogers to him and his heires and assignes for ever; The said prmises with all and singulare the appurtenances privilidges and munities belonging therunto; to belong and appertaine unto the onely proper use and behoofe of him the said Leiftenant Josepth Rogers hee his heires and assigns for ever;
The second of June 1669
Nathaniel Morton John Morton and Leiftenant Ephraim Morton Came before Captaine Southworth and Captaine Bradford & owned that the bill above expressed is fully payed and that they have received theire prtes therof
Witnes our hands:
Nathaniel Morton *
John Morton *
Ephraim Morton *