Bidwell Lore – Agrippa Hull’s Will

Welcome to Bidwell Lore number 169! This week we share one more story about Agrippa and also take a look at his Will.

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Portrait of Agrippa Hull, unknown artist, unknown date. Acc# 47.002. Courtesy of the Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives. Painted from an 1845 daguerreotype taken by Anson Clark in West Stockbridge, also in the collection of the Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives.

Agrippa Hull’s Will
Rick Wilcox, 2022

We begin today with a short excerpt from the Journals of Francis Parkman, from 1844, in which we get another glimpse into the personality of Agrippa Hull:

Stockbridge. An old man at the church told me that the original meeting-house where Sergeant preached stood on the green in front. About a half mile off is the site of the church of 1784 where, in the mound on which it was built, were found a number of Indian bodies. An old man [1], present when the graves were opened, said that they were heaped confusedly together, without instruments of any kind with them. Perhaps they were flung there by the whites after Walcott’s [Talcott’s] fight in [King] Philip’s War. The Stockbridge Indians had a burying ground, the care of which they consigned, on leaving this place, to old Mr. Partridge, who keeps in carefully for them. It is in the village, and seems to contain a large number of bodies.[2]

The old Negro [3] at the church. He remembered all about the Indians and exchanged recollections with the old man aforesaid. He had been a soldier in W’s [Washington’s] army. He had four children in the churchyard, [4] he said with solemn countenance, but ‘These are my children,’ he added, stretching his cane over a host of little boys. ‘Ah, how much we are consarned to fetch them up well and virtuous,’ etc. He was very philosophical, and every remark carried the old patriarch into lengthy orations on virtue and temperance. He looked on himself as father to all Stockbridge”[5]

Agrippa Hull died in May of 1848 and his Will provides a great deal of information about his life and lifestyle. We share portions of the will below and next week we will share a list of his possessions.

Berkshire Probate Docket 7171, Hull, Agrippa, Stockbridge, July 4, 1848. Agrippa Hull Will Nov. 16th 1843: Be it remembered that I Agrippa Hull of Stockbridge in the County of Berkshire & State of Massachusetts being of sound mind and memory do make these presents to be my last will and testament of and concerning my estate.
First it is my will that all my debts be paid.
Second I give & devise to my wife Margaret Hull all my Real Estate of which I shall lie paid or happened a shall then own to have & to hold the same during her life should she remain unmarried & if she marries then to have & hold until she shall so marry & no longer.
Third I give & devise the remainder of all my said Real Estate to Charlotte Potter my daughter & only remaining child wife of Morris Potter to have & to hold from the decease of my said wife or from her marriage if she shall so marry to her the said Charlotte her heirs and assigns.
Fourth I give and bequeath to my said Wife Margaret Hull all the premises I Shall have on hand at my decease & all the animals I may be fattening at that time for promises all the wood I may have prepared for fence to have & and to hold to her absolutely.
Fifth All the rest & residue of my personal Estate pension, debts due me & all personal Estate inherit held & give & bequest to her the said Margaret to have and to hold forever unmarried however should she marry then I give & bequest the property so given to said Margaret my wife on this fifth clause to my child daughter Charlotte Potter to have and to hold the same further from the time said Margaret shall so Marry.
And I do constitute and appoint my said wife Margaret Hull Executrix of this my last will & testament in whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this sixteenth day of November in the year one thousand eight hundred & forty three in presence of the [illegible] here unto signed Agrippa Hull. Signed sealed published & declared to be the last will and testament of the said Agrippa Hull who signed the same in our presence & we in his presence & in presence of each other have hereto add our names as testifies to the same. Horatio Byington, Seymour Rockwell, Elm A. West.

Next week we will take a further look at Agrippa’s Will

1. Dr. Oliver Partridge, brother of William Partridge, who married Jemima Bidwell, daughter of Rev. Adonijah Bidwell. Dr. Partridge was 93 at the time of the interview.
2. The Journals of Francis Parkman, Edited by Mason Wade, 1947, Mass Historical Society, Volume I, page 260.
3. Agrippa Hull, who would have been 84 at the time of the interview.
4. The old section of the Town Cemetery.
5. The Journals of Francis Parkman, Edited by Mason Wade, 1947, Mass Historical Society, Volume I, page 260.