Mumbet’s Will

A copy of Mumbet’s will exists at the Sheffield Historical Society, Sheffield, Massachusetts which is shown in three images below:

[Easy to read transcript of the above scanned images of Mumbet’s will reads as follows]

I Elizabeth Freeman of Stockbridge Massachusetts do make & publish this my last and testament as follows –
1st after the payment of my just debts I hereby give & bequeath to Charles Sedgwick Esq., of Lenox all my real Estate (excepting that conveyed to my Great grandson Amos Josiah Van Schaac in trust & for the uses & purposes herein after mentioned- that is to say It is my rule & intention that one undivided half of said real Estate should be held by the said Charles his Executors & assigns for the sole use & benefit of my daughter Elizabeth & her heirs & the other half for the use & benefit of my Great Grand children Amos Josiah Van Schaac & Lydia Maria Ann Van Schaach & their heirs. I hereby give the said Charles Sedgwick power and authority to sell & convey said real Estate if he shall think it best & expedient & for the interest & advantage of my said daughter Elizabeth & said Amos & Lydia & in case of any such sale the proceeds are to be invested in other real Estate to be held use & employed as above provided.

Secondly I give & bequeath my household furniture & other personal property as follows – To my daughter Elizabeth I give the following articles viz- three gowns- 1 black silk-1 do got from Philadelphia-1 do record of m father- my largest wild shawl-a large home made birds eye petticoat-a short gown that was my mothers a white shawl with flowers-2 Linen pocket handkerchiefs- one mark’d B one large pari cotton hose-mark’d B F. My great coat two book muslin handkerchiefs mark’d E.B.P. a holland shift-3 caps-one with lace-2 Tucked ruffles-a pair of blue stockings-a pocket handkerchief-my largest spoons-sugar tongs-5 pail kettle—ear rings

To my grand daughter Marianne Dean-a purple & white gown-a striped —— gown-a figured chintz short gown-1 pr. Coarse cotton stockings-umbrella-

To my great grand daughter Wealthy Anne Dean a yellow shawl-Brown chanter &muslin apron- 1 pr. Cotton hose-a small blue broad cloth cloak white — bonnet-hair trunk-white swollen shawl-small gold ear rings.

To my great grand daughter Mary Elizabeth Dean a dark short gown-a dark shawl-a brown do with yellow dots a muslin apron-a pr. Cotton hose a black velvet hat-to the said Wealthy Anne & Mary Elizabeth the crockery not specified

To my great grandson Amos Josiah I give my $5 gold piece 1 pr. Sheets-3 pillow caes-3 bed quilts 2 common do- — shoes-large red chest writing desk the bedstead & bedding he now uses 2 colored bordered handkerchiefs & one dessert spoon.

To my great grand daughter Lydia Maria Ann Van Schaach-I give my gold beads-spoons-sugar tongs my stone finger ring all my wearing apparel not before specified

I give to said Amos Josiah & said Lydia the following articles not otherwise specified viz: All my women stockings to Lydia-mysed bedstead bedding beaureau andirons — stool to Josiah & Lydia jointly all my common wearing apparel to Lydia-my two tables chairs common table clothe 5 towels to Lydia & Josiah jointly Morocco shoes-sett of burnt china-knives forks for Josiah & Lydia & plates six coffee bowls & saucers 1 dox. Green edged pie plates( 3 large green edged plates Lydia) 3 common do- blue pitcher White do with flowers on it- mute-white pitcher with brown top for Lydia-

I give to said Lydia Maria Ann my muff-flat irons cotton shawl with striped border-a large —chintz do-a large white do brown border-do diamond border-pink short gown-black satin cloak nuns work apron 3 pr.cotton stockings-2 sheets-3 pr. Pillow cases one handsome one common table cloth-3 bed quilts-brown hamlet riding hood-Large woolen knit shawl—

To my daughter Elizabeth I give the articles above —together with every thing else not here specified- & I hereby appoint the said Charles Sedgwick Executor of this my last will – In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this eighteenth day of October AD eighteen hundred & twenty nine in presence of these witnesses who subscribe the same in presence of the testator & of each other

Catharine M Sedgwick                                                             her
Catharine M Sedgwick Jr.                                  Elizabeth                  Freeman
Frances Sedgwick                                                                      mark

[end of easy to read transcript of Mumbet’s will]

History of American Women > African Americans > Elizabeth Freeman reports, “On October 18, 1829, Elizabeth Freeman signed – with her mark – her last will and testament. It alone reveals that at some point she was married and had children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.”

Technically the will doesn’t reveal if Elizabeth Freeman was married, but it does reveal the names of her daughter, grand daughter, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. There are many theories of who the father of Mumbet’s child, Elizabeth, is, but so far nothing substantial to know for sure.  As more historians and scholars dig into this we may know more.

Catharine Maria Sedgwick wrote, “The time came for leaving even the shadow of service & she retired to a free-hold of her own which she had purchased with her savings. These had been rather freely used by her only child & her grandchildren,  who like most of their race were addicted to the festive joys — They That race seems to have been born under a dancing star, to have a charmed lightheartedness, to bear them through the doom of their lot — Bet had one weakness — like the great hearts of old, Eli & David, she knew her peop children did evil & she “restrained them not” — Still with the reckless consumption of child & grandchildren & the merry crew they drew about them — her property at her death unincumbered by a single debt — amounted to, nearly, a thousand dollars. If ever gold were the sign & representative of virtue it was that she accumulated.” “Mumbett” (manuscript draft), by Catharine Maria Sedgwick, 1853, pages 31 – 33

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