Edward Richards, my seventh great grandfather and immigrant ancestor, came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in about 1634, settle in Dedham, Massachusetts and signed the Dedham Covenant. He married Susan Hunting. Edward and Susan had four children: Nathaniel, John, Sarah, and Mary. Edward was active in the affairs of Dedham, and acquired a good deal of land.
Edward Richards died May 25, 1682, shortly after dictating his will but before signing it. He left his wife room in this house, 12 pounds per year to be paid by their sons, Nathaniel and John, and the right to select 40 pounds worth of household goods. His homestead, Broad Oaks, he left to his second son, Nathaniel, along with lots in Fowl Meadow and on Pond, Poweset, Birch and Great Plains. To both Nathaniel and John he gave “The remainder of Mr. Cook’s farm.” He left his daughter, Mary Richards Bullard, 15 pounds, if she was a widow otherwise her husband, Nathaniel, was to receive 5 pounds plus what he had already given him. John Hearsey, husband of Sary Richards, received 40 pounds plus what he had already given him. If his son, Nathaniel, was to send a college (“he brought up a son to learning”), Nathaniel should receive an additional 60 pounds toward the expenses. Susan Hunting died several months after her husband on September 7, 1684.
Nathaniel and John were appointed administrators of Edward’s will. They also divided Susan share (40 pounds in household goods) according to the custom of the times, two shares to John as the oldest son, and one share each to the other children. Nathaniel Bullard and John Hearsy provided receipts
for their wives share. Bullard and Hearsy filed a petition in the Suffolk County Court contesting the will based on their belief that their wives had been wronged.
“His daughters in their young time desired and with their parents free consent lived out at service
&…both married at about 18 yers of age…, but we both John and Nathaniel Richards seeing our father so destitute of help, willing with great care and labor lived with our father and carried on his whole business till we were each of us about 30 years of age before we married,”
The Court after hearing testimony, upheld the will. Bullard and Hearsey appealed the decision to the Court of Assistants, but again failed to have the will set aside.