Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Working on Wednesday: William Alcott (About 1690 - 1748), Carpenter or Cooper?

William Alcott was the father of Elizabeth Alcott and therefore my maternal seventh great grandfather. We don't know where or when he was born or who his parents were, nor do we know the surname of his wife Anne.

The first record we have of him appears in Burlington, New Jersey, legal records* in 1705 when the court was called on to rule on the term of William's apprenticeship. He was originally bound to Thomas Emley to "Learne the Trade of a Carpenter" and being "Assigned to William Budd Junr. who is no Carpenter", therefore the court modified the apprenticeship, ordering Budd that "When the Said William Alcot has Served Seven Years and three Months of the Tearme Abovesaid Shall have his Choice Either for his Apprenticeship to Expire then or to Serve the whole Tearm and Have the Trade of A Cooper or receive Ten Pounds Now current money without A Trade." But the record doesn't tell us what William's choice was.

However, the 1748/49 inventory of his estate lists "To A gunn[,] carpenters tools & other things" and there's no mention of the tools a cooper would use. Did William become a carpenter after all, or were his tools merely what a prudent farmer would keep on hand for repairs?
[Source:; New Jersey, Probate Records, 1678-1980 Burlington Wills 1688-1900 no 3579C-4600C]

*Transcription found in The Burlington court book : a record of Quaker jurisprudence in west New Jersey, 1680-1709 [pdf] pages 312-313

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