Archiver > LOWER-DELMARVA-ROOTS > 2007-12 > 1197214845

From: "" <>
Subject: Re: [LDR] Orphans Guardians
Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2007 15:40:45 GMT

Thank you all for your response to my question.

Judy your explanation is quite complete but I have another question in regard to the following.

Vol. 1 of the Worcester Orphans Court Proceedings lists an Elizabeth Mills as the appointed guardian of Robert and Samuel Mills (of Robert). Levi Ball was one of the Sureties.

Later (p. 256) Levi Ball & Elizabeth, his wife, guardian to Samuel Mills.

(p. 257) Levi Ball & Elizabeth, his wife, guardian to Robert Mills (of Robert)

I rarely have seen a husband and wife named guardian. Usually it is just a male. Could this be a point where the widow, Elizabeth Mills, married Levi Ball thus as the mother of small children she remained the guardian?

Thanks so very much for your responses.

-- wrote:
Regardless where an orphan was put to live, whether via an indenture or not, the appointment of a guardian responsible for any estate belonging to the orphan was a separate matter.

This is an example of where the 'estate' belonged to a living person.

While the legalities changed a little over time, the guardian would generally select whether the child was bound out or not, and the Court would have jurisdiction regarding any indenture. If the orphan did not have an estate the Vestrymen or, later, Overseers of the Poor would select where the child went and arrange indenture provisions.

The Court was concerned that the child not become a 'charge on the county' as well as that a child's estate was properly allocated.

There are examples in SX Orphans Court records where a mother's next husband was appointed guardian to children, but later removed because he 'wasted' some or all of the estate.

The example given by Elizabeth, where a married woman was not deemed suitable to be co-executrix, has two sides. On one hand as a 'femme couverte' she would not be deemed suitable because of loss of independence due to marriage. On the side of the estate, since she was considered to be under control of her husband, she would not be considered to be acting from her own judgment and capabilities. The Court may have taken into consideration the reputation of the husband in this case. Very wealthy women who had their own resources were often allowed to act independently, however. There is an interesting example of a SX woman who had 4 or 5 husbands, who ended up settling her father's estate, that of a brother, and much of the estates of each of the husbands even after she was married to the next one. She had at least one child by each of the husbands except the last, and the various fiduciary proceedings became very complicated. Naturally she navigated it all very well.

Good hunting,

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