Family Stories

Will of Martha Booker, Widow

The will of Martha Booker, widow, from Charles County, Maryland, has many surprises and a few mysteries.  The will was written April 8, 1718, and probated 13 days later.

Martha Brett, was the daughter of George and Elizabeth Brett.  George was a carpenter; was transported to Maryland by John Ward in 1660.  He and Elizabeth had 8 children:  William, Mary, Margaret, George, Jr., Henry, Richard, Susanna and Martha.  George died by 1705 and Elizabeth Brett married second John Booker.

Martha married first John Barker, a widower.  They had three children:  George, William and Elizabeth Barker.  John Barker died in early 1709.  Martha married a Booker as her second husband – probably a relative of her step-father, John Booker.

Martha Brett Barker Booker’s will names only one child – William Barker.  This leads us to believe that her other two children had died by 1718.  William is given the plantation Stepney.  If he dies before reaching his majority the 100 acres of land is given to nephews Richard and George Brett.  The personal estate from the plantation is to go to Martha’s nieces and nephews – Richard and George, sons of Henry Brett; Elizabeth Noble, daughter of Susanna Brett Noble; Rebecca and Ann Dunnington, daughters of Margaret Brett Dunnington – and Mary Godfry (I’m not sure who this is – perhaps a step-daughter?).

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Bequeaths to:

1.  Elizabeth Noble – to have 1 cow

2.  Ann Booker – to have 1 mare and 1 chest which was “her fathers”

3.  Rebecca Dunnington – to have 1 feather bed and 1 cow

4.  Elizabeth Wharton – to have  feather bed

5.  George Brett – son of Henry Brett – to have 1 feather bed

6.  Francis Dunnington – to have 2 barrels of corn and 900 pounds of tobacco which testatrix has the bill for and on the condition that he puts his daughter Rebecca to school for 2 years, otherwise he is to pay testatrix’s executor the same amount of tobacco.

7.  William Barker – son – to have 100 acres of land and plantation whereon testatrix now lives, being called “Stepney” and being the 100 acres of land his father, John Barker, left to testatrix.  To have all of testatrix’s goods and chattels and all other land which belongs to him “for the putting him to school” and testatrix desires that he be taught as much as is necessary and leave him at age 18 that he shall have his own labor but not to bargain or sell anything without the advice of his uncle, Henry Brett, nor to receive his portion until he comes of age 21.

8.  Richard Brett – son of Henry Brett – should testatrix’s son die before coming of age 21, then the 100 acres of land and plantation to be divided between Richard and his brother George.

9.  Ann Dunnington – daughter of Francis – and Mary Godfrey – should testatrix’s son die before coming of age, then the goods and chattels to be divided between Richard and George Brett, as well as Mary Godfrey, Ann and Rebecca Dunnington – daughters of Francis – and Elizabeth Noble.

Henry Brett is named executor of the will.  Witnesses:  Sarah Brett, John Smith and Gil. Fisser.

2 replies »

  1. I can fill in a few holes here. The marriage of Elizabeth to George Brett/Britt was actually Elizabeth’s second marriage. Her first marriage was to Richard Beck, and Mary and Margaret that you mention above (and a 3rd child Elizabeth) were from that marriage. Richard Beck died in 1678 and shortly thereafter she married George. As you note, Elizabeth had a 3rd marriage to John Booker – no children from that marriage.

    I have quite a few original court documents/wills for this bunch, including court records with the birthdates of Mary, Margaret and Elizabeth Beck. if I can be of help. Also, I show another child in George Britt’s will – a son Louis (if I’ve transcribed the name from the will correctly). I don’t see him mentioned in later documents, so it appears he died young.

    Elizabeth is my 9th g grandmother and I descend from her daughter Margaret Beck who married Francis Dunnington, through their daughter Ann Dunnington.. If you have any information or leads on what Elizabeth Beck/Britt/Booker’s maiden name may be, I would love to hear from you!

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