Thursday, May 12, 2005

Dividing Up the Estate

My earliest known ancestor was Robert Cogswell who died in 1581 in Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, England and was buried on June 7, 1581 at St. Mary's Parish, Dilton, Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, England. His wife's name was Alicia and nothing else is known about her other than she was buried on August 1, 1603. They had eight children, Robert, Richard, Stephen, Joane, Margaret, Margery, Edith and Edward. Edward Cogswell would give birth to a son (my twelfth great grandfather) John Cogswell who would immigrate to America in 1635 but more on that later.

Robert Cogswell was in the clothing manufacturing business as was his son Edward and grandson John but it must have been bred out somewhere along the line because I am clothingly challenged and have a hard time just getting dressed in the mornings. The only other information that I have on my earliest known ancestor is his will which was dated June 1, 1581 and proved on July 14, 1581 at the Probate Court in London, England and reads as follows:

"In the name of God, Amen. I, Robery Cogswell bequeath my soul to God & my bodye to be buried in the Churche or in the Churchyarde of Westburye. To St. Mary's Church, Saram, sixpence. To Westbury Church, twelvepence. To the Church in Dilton, twelvepence. Item: I give to the poore people of Leigh & Dilton a sack of wheate to be broken and given unto them. Unto my sonne Robarte Cogswell, the house of Hancock, &c. To Rychard Cogswell, my sonne, 3? 6s. 8d. To Stephen Cogswell, my sonne, 6?. Item. I give unto Rychard & Stephen, my sonnes, all my sheares with the rest of my workinge tooles, that pertayneth to my occupation, after their mother doe give up the use of them, Stephen to have his portion at the age of 24. To Margaret Cogswell, my daughter, 6? 13s. 4d. To Margery, my daughter, and to Edith, my daughter, 6? 13s. 4d. each. To Roger and George Cogswell, the sonnes of Robert Cogswell, one ewe each. To Margaret Cogswell, the daughter of Edward Cogswell, one ewe..." Several gifts of live stock to persons by the name of Smith & Freestone "'...To my son Edward Cogeswell, my best weather sheepe. To Roger, son of Robert Cogswell, certain vessels of Brass after the death of Alice my wife..." He appoints his wife Alice sole Executrix.
Signed: Robert CogswellWitnessed: Geo. Oldlambe, John Whatley, Wm. Franklyn, Nicholas Beaser.

The first thing that caught my attention was that Robert bequeathed a sack of wheat to the poor people of Leigh & Dilton. It seems like a token gesture, as I can't imagine one sack of wheat going very far when concerned with food. But I suppose it might have been used as seed, which makes it a little bit bigger sized gift if planted and harvested. His son Richard seems to have gotten a little short changed with only three sterling pounds, six shillings and 8 pence given to him but he did get the half of the shears from the family business along with his brother Stephen who got six sterling pounds. I wonder if they were scissors or big mechanical ones? My blood relative Edward was bequeathed the best weather sheep, which makes me, wonder what the heck a weather sheep was. From doing a Google search it appears to be an old term for a certain breed but I haven't found anything that says for certain. Other than some money, sack of wheat, clothing manufacturing equipment, a few sheep and some brass vessels, he didn't have a lot to his name (maybe due to having eight kids?) but in those days, I guess you didn't need a lot.

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