Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Deacon Baxter Ellis - Heirs and Legacies: Rich Genealogical Information in Will

     Baxter Ellis, was born Feb. 17, 1792, the first known child of Buckminster (Nathan B.) and Thankful (Barrett) Ellis.  His birth is recorded in Brookfield, and he was most likely born there in the First Parish.  He became a member of the First Church in 1818. Brookfield records show an intention of marriage between Baxter Ellis, and Lucy Upham on April 7 of  1819, and Dudley, MA records show that Baxter and Lucy were married on July 9th of that year.  Lucy was the daughter of Ephraim and Sarah (Foster) Upham of Dudley.
   Baxter is mentioned as a steward at the State Lunatic Hospital at Worcester, in an 1839 report and again in 1842. Lucy was employed as a matron there. They received board and annual salaries for their work.  I have not found any children born to Baxter and Lucy, and the heirs named in Baxter's will, were siblings, and nieces and nephews.
   Baxter and Lucy Ellis were living in West Brookfield at the time of the 1850 and 1860 United States Censuses.  Baxter farmed there, and was prominent in the Congregational Church, where he had been appointed a deacon in 1845.  Baxter died on Oct. 8, 1866 in West Brookfield.  He left behind Lucy and a lengthy list of heirs according to Worcester County Probate records Case Number 19003 found online at familysearch.org  The will and other documents in the file contain Ellis family information which otherwise might take many hours to compile.

   First - Wife Lucy and her heirs $3000, household furniture, wearing apparel, and     family stores    
   Second - Trustees of Phillips Academy of Andover, Massachusetts, $500 dollars for founding a scholarship for a Theological Seminary student in need.
   Third - American Board of Commissions for Foreign Missions, $500
   Fourth - Massachusetts Home Missionary Society. $500
   Fifth - American Peace Society - $100
   Sixth - American Bible Society - $100
   Seventh - American Tract Society instituted in the city of Boston - $100
   Eighth - My brother Gaius Ellis and his heirs - $500
   Ninth -  My nephew Calvin H. Hayward and his heirs - $200
   Tenth - Niece Susan E. Jones and her heirs - $50
The aforesaid Calvin H. Hayward and Susan E. Jones being children of my deceased sister Mary Hayward.
   Eleventh - My nephew R. Gordon Ellis and his heirs - $100, and my niece Julia Ellis and her heirs - $50 (children of my deceased brother Calvin Ellis)
   Twelfth - my sister Caroline Adams, wife of Sydney Adams, and her three children - the sum of $20 to be equally divided between them, viz: five dollars each
   Thirteenth - My sister Lucy B. Ellis, wife of Abijah Ellis, and her heirs - $200, and to each of her four daughters and their heirs, to wit, Susan Allen, Frances Ellis, Mary Ellis, and Caroline Ellis, and their heirs - $25 each
   Fourteenth - My sister Susan Fitts, the wife of Samuel Fitts, and her heirs - $200, and to her sons (by a former husband) Edwin Upham, and Lyman Baxter Upham, and their heirs - $200 each, and four daughters, Carolyn Hayward, Maria Upham, Elizabeth Upham, and Adeline Upham - $25 each
   Fifteenth - My nephew J. I. F. Ellis and my niece Mary Shumway and their heirs (children of my brother Gaius) - $100 each
   Sixteenth - Curtis Ellis, (son of my nephew Nathan B. Ellis deceased) and his heirs - $100
The will goes on to name his wife Lucy and his cousin Dwight Ellis to be executors.  (Lucy declined.)  It also provides for the improvement and sale of the property,  and also provides for the division of any assets after the death of his wife Lucy.

The probate file includes a list of heirs at law and their residences  Several of the heirs had left Massachusetts; and thus this list was an important find.

The will of Baxter Ellis gives the reader some insight into the values and traits of the man who wrote it.  The importance of his faith and his family are evident.