Hanora Callahan was born probably about 1811 in Ireland, daughter of David and Hannah Callahan. She married John Joyce and gave birth to sons Michael and William early in the 1830's. The family arrived in the United States sometime in the late 1830's or early 1840's, and sons George and Thomas were born somewhere in Massachusetts. Census records show that the family was living in West Brookfield by September of 1850. John Joyce died in July of 1860 in West Brookfield, and Hannah died there the following year.
Hannah's will, transcribed below, is dated just eight days before her death. Documents found in her probate file indicate that all four sons were living in town at the time of her death. Son William married and raised his family in town. George may have stayed in town for a time, as well. What became of Michael and Thomas? Further research is needed.
Will of Hannah Joice
Be it remembered that I, Hannah Joice of West Brookfield, in the county of Worcester, and the state of Massachusetts, Widow, being of sound and disposing mind do make and publish and declare this my last will and testament.
First I give and bequeath to my son Michael Joise, one dollar to be paid out of my estate within one year of after my decease.
Secondly I give and bequeath to my son Wm Joise, one dollar to be paid out of my estate within one year after my decease
Thirdly I give and bequeath to my two minor sons Thomas Joise, and George Joise, all my real estate, and all my personal property, after paying the above bequests, and all my honest debts.
Finally I hereby appoint William Joise to be the sole executor of this my last will and testament, hereby revokeing[sic], all other and former wills by me made and declaring this and this only to be my last will and testament.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fifth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty one
Hannah Joice [her mark]
Signed published and declared by the said Hannah Joise, her last will and testament in the presence of us, who in her presence and in the presents[sic] of each other, have hereunto set our hands as witnesses.
Joseph A. Sprague