Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Signature Over Two Hundred Years Old

Above is the signature of Rebecca Bradford Miller's grandfather, Samuel Bradford! The handwriting is shaky, but no less beloved to us! The will was written on December 31, 1763, making this signature 246 years old! It is a miracle that this document has been preserved, and our thanks to Sue Sisk for finding and sharing it.
The beginning of the will is actually shown in the image below. At the time, Samuel was a resident of Red Lion, or Red Lyon as written in this document, Newcastle County, Delaware. It mentions his wife, Margret, his daughters Sara and Martha (Sara being Rebecca's mother that we know as Sarah Bradford in the Allen Family Record), his son, William, and his grandson, Samuel Bradford.
And yes, this means Rebecca's father was Samuel Bradford (no relation to these Bradford's), her grandfather was this Samuel Bradford, and her cousin was Samuel Bradford--a researcher's nightmare!
But let us not get side-tracked. In his will, Samuel directs that the costs of his burial and debts first be taken out of his estate. He then bequeaths to his "dearly beloved" wife, Margret, "her bed and covering thereto belonging, also her sadle (sic) and whatsoever the ___ will allow her of my Estate."
To each to his "well-beloved" daughters, Sarah and Martha, he leaves 20 shillings.
His grandson and namesake inherits 10 pounds.
But it is to his "well beloved son William" that he leaves the majority of his "lands and possessions."
Oh what questions arise in our minds! Was Margret happy to inherit the sum total of a bed, a bed covering, and her own saddle? And just how many women of this era rode on horseback? What would the worth of the shillings and pounds be today? How much land and how many possessions did William inherit? Did Samuel and Margret only have three children, quite a low number for that time? I could go on and on.

While we are concentrating on researching the Miller's right now, I couldn't resist sharing this wonderful document. May we find many such treasures in our quest to understand more about the lives of our Miller and Bradford ancestors.


  1. Thanks, son! Can you figure out that one word that I left blank in my post? It would be in the bottom image (you can double-click on it to enlarge).

  2. Thanks Lori! The word is "law."


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