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Christmas Comes Early for

17th Century Deed References Nicolas Robins

Christmas came early in 2015 for! A kind friend and 17th century document collector contacted us after purchasing a deed that referred to property previously owned by "Nicolas Robins." Was I ever excited! This is big! We are so deeply grateful to see this document!

Below is an image of the document which is being printed on with permission by the document's owner.

Isn't this amazing? Maybe it's just me, but I am astounded by the fantastic condition of this document.

Here's what Lawrence G. Robbins, Editor Emeritus had to say about the deed and the referenced property"

"When Nicholas Robbins died in 1651, he left a will which set forth the division of his lands in Duxbury and the "New Plantations" (Bridgewater) among his wife and children. The subject deed covers certain lands in the "New Plantations" which subsequently became the township of Bridgewater. By his will, Nicholas left half of his "New Plantations" lands to his son, John, with the remaining half to be divided evenly between his three daughters, Katheren, Mary and Hannah. So think of these divisions as sixths, with three sixths going to John and one sixth going to each of the daughters. This deed is about one of the sixth parts which fell to Mary in later years.

"Nicholas did not live to see the day when the proprietors of the "New Plantations" began to make divisions of their grants. The "New Plantations" were an extension of Duxbury to the west. As a Duxbury proprietor, Nicholas was granted one part of the extended area with the location of each grant within the "New Plantations" to be arranged and agreed upon at a later date. Those divisions did not begin until 1656, five years after Nicholas's death. Judging by the language of the subject deed, this particular parcel was part of Mary's one sixth share of Nicholas's grant once they began dividing the grants and identifying the locations of each division within the boundaries of the "New Plantations". (A summary of the grants made to Nicholas's grandson may be found in The Nicholas Robbins Family green book on page 21 to get an idea how the grants were divided and how the divisions became deeds.)

"Now we have to go forward a few more years to 1691, the year of the subject deed. In the 35 years that had passed since the original divisions began, another generation had become part of the process. Mary married George Turner around 1655 and they moved to Bridgewater soon after the first divisions of the town lots began in Bridgewater. As was customary in that day, deeds involving a married couple were recorded in the male's name, hence you see George has signed (made his mark) on the subject deed. You will also note that Mary has added her signature in 1697 with a note at the bottom right corner of the deed. This is because George died in 1695. Another important thing to notice about the subject deed is that it in an agreement to transfer lands between Elihu Brett and George Turner. Elihu Brett was George and Mary Turner's son-in-law. I've read about some of the land swapping that was going on in Bridgewater during this era and this might be part of it. More research in Plymouth and Bridgewater might reveal the history of this particular parcel but that would take a lot of time and digging.

"To sum up, the subject deed covers land which was originally part of Mary (Robbins) Turner's one sixth share of her father Nicholas Robbins's "New Plantation" grant in Bridgewater, Plymouth Colony. It is signed/marked by her husband, George Turner in 1691 and signed by Mary herself in 1697 after her husband's death in 1695. The other party in this deed is Elihu Brett, George and Mary Turners's son-in-law, husband of their daughter, Ann Turner. John Turner's name also appears on the deed. He is son of George and Mary Turner. The care of Mary fell to John following George's death."

Since the language is a bit difficult to read, a transcription of the deed follows:

To all Christian people to whom this deed of sale shall come George Turner of the town of Bridgewater in the colony of New Plimoth in New England planter send greeting. Know ye that the said George Turner for and in consideration of six pound and ten shillings to him in hand already paid in lawful money of New England before the ensealing and delivery of the present to Elihu Brett of the same town and colony as above said and thereupon do by the present acknowledge himself fully satisfied for all and every part thereof have given granted bargained sold aliened enfeoffed and confirmed and by the present do fully freely and absolutely give grant bargain aliene enfeoff and confirm unto the said Elihu Brett his heirs and assigns forever a certain parcel of land being within the township of Bridgewater which land is the sixth part of a complete purchase of land which purchase of land did formerly belong to Nicolas Robins of Duxbury. The six acre lot which was the first division of the above mentioned purchase lies on the west of Samuel Tomkinses land in the town together with all profits privileges rights commodities hereditaments and appurtenances whatsoever. Only the said Turner doth reserve for himself his right in the three sixth divisions of meadowland the said Turner doth make over all the rest of his land in the above mentioned purchase which is the sixth part of the purchase the above mentioned meadow only excepted. To have and hold the said parcel of land as afore said with all other the above granted premises unto the said Elihu Brett his heirs and assigns forever and the said George Turner doth for himself his heirs executors administrators hereby covenant promise and grant to and with the said Elihu Brett his heirs and assigns that at the time of the ensealing hereof they are the true sole and lawful owners in their own proper right and that they have in themselves full power good right and lawful authority to rent sell or exchange convey and assure the same to the said Elihu Brett his heirs and assigns as a perfect estate of inheritance in fee simple without any manner of condition reversion or limitation whatsoever so as to alter change defeat and make void the same and further that the said George Turner his heirs executors administrators shall and will from time to time and at all times forever hereafter warrant and defend the above granted premises with their appurtenances and every part thereof to the said Elihu Brett his heirs and assigns against all and every person or persons whatsoever any ways lawfully claiming or demanding thereof or any part thereof in witness where of the said George Turner hath set to his hand and seal this seventeenth of April one thousand six hundred and ninety.

Signed sealed and delivered

In the presence of us

John Willis, junior George Turner his Mark

John Turner

The 16 of August 1697

Mary Turner the wife of George Turner

deceased giveth her full consent to the above

written instrument and John Turner the son

and heir of George Turner deceased

acknowledgeth the above written instrument in

the [ ] of his father

before me Thomas Hayward


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