Treasure Chest Thursday – Mary Ellen (Dame) Shackford’s Will (Blog 325)

It’s not often that we find wills for women born in 1810 but Mary Ellen (Dame) Shackford who is listed as blind in the 1880 census and lived to the age of 92, outliving her husband by 16 years left us a wonderful will that gives some insights into her four living children.  Also, Mary Ellen’s will, dated Oct 31, 1899 was signed by her sister, Harriet Patience Dame, the famous Civil war nurse who died in April 1900.

Mary Ellen Dame, the daughter of James Chadbourne and Phebe Agnes (Ayers) Dame was born on August 26, 1810 in Barnstead, New Hampshire. When she was 20 she married William Shackford, and moved to Concord, New Hampshire where he worked as millwright and farmer living at Free Bridge Road opposite the fair grounds. Mary died in Kingston, New York on November 8, 1902 and was buried at Blossom Hill Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire.

Her will lists the following children:

James C Shackford – Funds were placed in trust to care for him – married Harriet Ida Young in 1915 – he was 78 at the time of his marriage

Harriet N (Shackford) Blaisdell of Pauntucket, RI, (1831-1906) married Samuel LeBarton Blaisdell

Mary E Bunton of Roundout, NY (appointed executrix) (1839-1927) married William Ellingwood Bunten

Alphonso Shackford of Providence, RI


Will Mary Ellen Dame Shackford Page 1Be it known, That I,
Mary Shackford of Concord in the Country of Merrimack and
State of New Hampshire being of sound and perfect mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this my last will and testament, and herein dispose of all my worldly goods in manner and form following:
FIRST: I direct my executrix herein named to pay all my just debts and funeral charges as soon as may be after my decease.
SECOND: To my beloved son, James C. Shackford, I give and bequeath all my household furniture and furnishings of every description.
THIRD: To my beloved daughter Harriet N. Blaisdell of Pauntucket, Rhode Island, and Mary E. Bunton of Rondout, New York, I give and bequeath all my wearing apparel, personal ornaments and
other chattels, except my funds deposited in the New Hampshire Savings Bank and my household furniture and furnishings bequeathed to my son James.
Fourth: My funds now on deposit, or hereafter to be deposited, in the New Hampshire Savings Bank of Concord, N. H., I give and bequeath to my said daughter, Mary E. Bunton, in trust however for the following purposes.
1. To care for, invest and preserve the same during the life of my said son James.
2. To pay over the income thereof to said James, to pay from said funds to my beloved son Alphonso Shackford of Providence, Rhode Island, the sum of three hundred dollars; and to divide the remainder
thereof into equal parts, and pay to each of my said daughters one of said parts. In case either said Alphonso, or Harriet, or Mary shall died before said James, I give and bequeath his or share to his or her heirs.
FOURTH: I hereby appoint my said daughter, Mary E. Shackford Bunten, sole executrix of this my last will and testament, and I direct that she be not required to give sureties on her bond as executrix or trustee.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 31st day of October, 1899.
Mary Shackford (SEAL)
Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said Shackford as and for her last
WILL and Testament in our presence and we have hereunto set our names as witnesses thereto in her presence and in the presence of each other; and we further certify that this will was read over to said Mary Shackford before she signed the same
Harried P. Dame
William T. Fiske
Henry F. Hollis.

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1891. The Concord Directory: of the Inhabitants, Institutions, Manufacturing Establishments, Societies, Business, Business Firms, State Census, Map, Etc. (N.p.: Littlefield Directory Publishing Co., No. 12 Post Office Square, Boston), p. 264, Mary Shackford, widow of William; digital image, ( : accessed 13 May 2013).

“MARRIAGES.,” New Hampshire Statesman and Concord (New Hampshire) Register, 15 January 1831; digital images, Godfred Memorial ( : accessed 20 August 2013), 19th Century Newspapers.

“NECROLOGY DEATHS IN KINGSTON AND OF LOCAL PEOPLE ELSEWHERE,” The Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York), 1 January 1903; digital images, HRVH Historical Newspapers ( : accessed 3 January 2014).

“New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999,” digital images, ( : accessed 2 September 2015), Mary Shackford

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