Treasure Chest Thursday – In 1874, Caroline E (Shackford) Palmer Must Obtain Her Husband’s Permission to Administer Her Brother’s (Thomas Shackford’s) Estate, (Blog 469)

Thomas Shackford, the son of William and Mercy (Rose) Shackford, my second great uncle was born on October 30, 1815 in Weymouth, Massachusetts.  Thomas was a very successful deaf-mute who received his early education at the American Asylum in Hartford, worked as a carpenter and became chairman and later treasurer of the Association of Deaf-Mutes. He was working on a petition for state funding when he died on his way home in Brookline on January 29, 1874 in Boston due to heart disease.  His last rites were held at his sister’s home (Caroline L Palmer) and he was buried in Weymouth, Massachusetts. 

Most likely the law required Thomas’ sister Caroline to first obtain permission from her husband, Charles L Palmer in order to be the administrator of her brother’s estate which is why a copy of this letter of permission was filed in Thomas’ probate records.

Charles L Palmer gives permission to Caroline E (Shackford) Palmer to Manager Sister's EstateI, Charles L Palmer, husband of Caroline E Palmer, hereby assent to the appointment of my said wife as administratrix of the estate of Thomas Shackford late of Brookline, Massachusetts, deceased.

               Brookline, Feby 10th 1874

               Charles E Palmer

The other treasure we find in the probate record is this listing of Thomas’ living siblings.  My second great grandfather, William Brown Shackford was not included as he had died in 1866 but the listing includes my third great grandmother Mercy (Rose) (Shackford) Newell.

Thomas Shackford Probate Heirs List16396:4

To the Honorable the Judge of the Probate Court in and for the Country of


Respectfully represents Caroline E Palmer, married woman

of Brookline in the County of Norfolk that Thomas Shackford who last dwelt in Brookline in said County of Norfolk, died on the twenty ninth day of January in the year of our Lord, died on the twenty ninth administered, leaving no widow, whose name is and as his only next of kin, the persons whose names, residence, and relationship to the deceased are as follows, viz:

  Mary Newell, of said Brookline, mother of deceased [Mercy (Rose) Shackford married Joseph Newell after the death of her husband William Shackford in 1831, jsp]

  Louisa Cushing, of Wymouth, Mass, sister of deceased [Louisa married Edward Cushing, tsp]

  Abner R. Shackford, of Boston, “, brother ” ”

  Emeline Cushing, of Weymouth, ” sister ” ” [Emeline married Peter Cushing — I have a DNA match with one of these descendants, jsp]

  Caroline E. Palmer  sister ” ” [Caroline married Charles Lewis Palmer, Lebbeus H Varney, and Joel Whittemore, jsp]

That your petitioner is entitled, as next of heirs of said deceased, to take such administration, and that the deceased, leaves no debts.

  Wherefore your petitioner prays that she may be appointed Administratix of the estate of said deceased.

   Dated this tenth day of February A.D. 1874.

          Caroline E. Palmer

  The undersigned, being all the parties interested in the foregoing Petition, desire the same may be granted, without further notice.

                       Mercy Newell

Louise Cushing

                       Abner R. Shackford

                       Emeline Cushing

                       Caroline E Palmer

Unfortunately the records that are available at this time don’t let us know what was included in Thomas’ estate.

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“Norfolk County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1793-1877,” database with images, New England Historical Genealogical Society( : accessed 2 May 2018), Thomas Shackford; Norfolk Cases, Case 16396:1.

Copyright 2018 Joanne Shackford Parkes  (sharing a link to this post is appreciated but please do not copy this material and paste it elsewhere)