NL GenWeb Wills

Transcribed and contributed by David Anstey, September 2022. While I have endeavored to be as correct as humanly possible, there may be errors. One should check and compare any transcription, with the original.

Conception Bay North

Ship Cove, Port de Grave, Conception Bay.
Wills of Samuel Daw Senior & Ann Daw
In the name of God, I Samuel Daw Senior, being now very Sick, But in Perfect Memory, do first of all things, bequeath and give my Soul to God, that gave it. And I do give that gun to my son Nicholas, that he makes use of, Which I bought for him. And I do give to my son Abraham, my six foot gun. And to my son Samuel, that gun he now has in Possession. Except that any of [ the ] Anthonys do pay him the sum that is five Pounds and thirteen Shillings. And to my son John that Room that he now possesses. And if [ it ] please God to take me from them, all that I have Remaining in the World, I do Leave to my Now wife Ann Daw. For the support of my family, and to be at her Disposal, at her Decease. Signed: Samuel Daw.

William Richards Senior. The mark of Theophilus Wells, T. The mark of John Warford, W.

This being the Last Will and Testament of Mr. Samuel Daw Senior. Signed, Sealed, and Delivered, in the Presence of us within named. The 29 of March, in the year of our Lord, 1761.

*Spelling corrections are made in this transcription of Samuel's Will.

Samuel Daw Senior's March 29, 1761, Last Will & Testament, mentions his sons Nicholas, Abraham, Samuel, and John. Samuel's Will doesn't mention a son named George. He mentions "my now wife" Ann Daw. Samuel leaves a plot of land to his son, John Daw. He doesn't mention a franchise, or any barking kettle, etc. Note: the 1805 Plantation Book has no record of John's land, being "Possessed by his ancestors for 160 Years"? Usage of the term "my now wife", opens the door to a possible second marriage. Did Samuel and Ann Daw's family, consist of step-brothers and step-sisters? Will of Ann Daw, 1781.

In the name of God Amen, I Ann Daw, being Now in perfect Memory, Thanks be to God for it, first of All I do Give and bequeath my Soul to God when it shall please him to call for it, as being his property, and I heartily Beg his Gracious acceptance thereof. And I do Give to my Son Abraham Daw that part of the Room that he now has in possession, with part of the point, ip [ imprimis ] The skool [ school ] and the new stage, that to be at his Command. And I will that my son John have No more than the Room that his father Gave him, which he now possesses. And that he Encroach No more on that part of the Room that I now possess, which I do Give to my son George, with the other part of the point, after my Decease. With the House and gardens thereunto belonging. With meadows and Cowhouse, and the Brass Bark kettle, with what guns and Bed and Bedding he now makes use of, for him to keep. And as for the Rest of my franchise, I do not Dispose of as yet, as I may Live to make use thereof, and to Dispose of as I shall Think fit here-after. God giving me Liberty. The mark of Ann Daw. AD

Witnesses: William Richards senior. The mark of John Warford. JW.

Signed and Sealed in the presence of us above named, this 12 day of May, in the year of our Lord, 1781.

This Will was Registered in the Record Book at Harbour Grace, on April 19, 1798, by John Heffernan, Clerk, of the Surrogate Court.

*Spelling corrections are made in this transcription of Ann's Will.


It may appear that William Richards wrote both Samuel and Ann Daw's, wills. If he came out of London, William was well placed to be writing letters, Wills, etc., for more illiterate and ancient residents in Conception Bay. Spelling errors are contained, demonstrating William’s “somewhat” writing ability.

The Nautical Magazine: A Journal of Papers on Subjects › books 1851. Sep 24, 1820. ( Admiral Hercules Robinson at Bareneed, CB, 1820. ) William Richards of Stepney Parish, London; came out to Newfoundland in 1728.

Could the following marriage be of any interest? A William Richards wed Ann Dawes at St Stephen Coleman Street, London, Sep 8, 1728. Was there a Marriage License obtained? Bond or allegation? Which might reveal Ann's place of residence. Consider Parish Records vs. Bishop’s Transcripts.


Ann Daw's May 12, 1781, Last Will & Testament, mentions her sons Abraham, John, & George. ( There is no mention of Nicholas & Samuel. Had they cleared their own "Rooms" by 1781? Deceased in 1781? 60 - 90 would be a lower end estimate, of the number of Conception Bay Planters drowned during the Sept 12, 1775, hurricane. Did the Prerogative Court of Canterbury have a busy period with probate Adminstration, subsequent to the storm? ) Abraham is legally confirmed in his share of land by Ann's 1781 Wil. George gets his portion of Ann's land, "after her death". ( Abraham apparently entered unto his share of land in 1773. Per Samuel and Ann Daw's Last Will and Testaments, of 1761 & 1781. ) Was George an after born son, who was still in the womb, when Samuel Daw became deceased? Or was George a son of Ann, who may have married twice? Including Abraham?


A few further thoughts...

A review of the original handwritten "Return of Possession held in the District of Conception Bay 1805", confirms the GenWeb NL transcriptions for Plantations 89, ie: 513, Isaac Daw ( son of Abraham Daw ); & 90 ie: 514, George Daw Senior. Both records show "Possessed by his ancestors for 160 Years". ( Such a review was undertaken with consideration of finding a possible original entry mistake unintended, or some transcription error. After this review, it is realized that mistaken entries, etc., either in the original, or in the transcriptions, are not a consideration. Rather the 160 year possession recorded entries, carry a logical interpretation. When such interpretation, becomes fully understood. ) The 1805 plantation book distinguishes between maternal and paternal ancestry, to a degree.

The 160 year claim to land, thus stemmed from either Samuel Dawe of the 1761 Will, or his wife Ann Daw of the 1781 Will. Ie: 1805 - 160 = 1645. [ Note: Ann Daw legally gave title of land to her sons, Abraham and George Daw, by her Will of 1781. Whether the land given to sons Abraham and George Daw, earlier belonged to her husband Samuel Daw, is a pertinent legal question. ]

*There are considerations pertaining…

Ann Daw in her 1781 Will, mentions her franchise, Brass Bark kettle, etc. This establishes long term Fishery business and family prominence, in any Newfoundland community for the era.

George Daw Sr., made his Will on June 13, 1825. In his Will he states, "My Executors are to have hatbands & scarfs to be worn at my funeral." Again, indicating prominent family status. This is very unusual in early Newfoundland Last Will & Testaments, and probably unique?

Abraham Daw was given control of the school at Ship Cove, in the 1781 Will. Downline lineage of Abraham, transacted with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in London. Possibly land for a church building? Circa 1838? ( Per the Registry of Deeds, St. John’s. ) This agrees with long established lineage, taking a leading role in the community.

It is interesting that members of family Snow, of St. Laurence, Jersey; were in Newfoundland, in 1645.

Was Ann Daw of the 1781 Will, a member of the Snow family? What might DNA analysis show? Did the 160 year land claim, stem from the maternal lineage of Ann Daw? A brass trawl, net, seine, & Manila rope, barking kettle; was even more valuable than a cast iron barking kettle. Someone in the family opted for the more expensive option. Recall, hatbands and scarves…

Does any family Snow facial features, show in descendants of Abraham and George Daw, sons of Ann Daw, of the 1781 Will?

*The 1805 Plantation Book indicates that George Daw received his "Plantation Room" as bequeathed to him, by his mother. Date of Entry, 1755. Possessed by his ancestors for 160 Years. 1805 - 160 = 1645. George could not have entered unto the "Room" in 1755. He was the legal beneficiary of his portion of land, or personal estate, by his mother's Will, “only after her death”. Practically and lawfully, it is more likely that Ann Daw, the wife of Samuel Daw, or Samuel Daw himself; entered unto, took possession of, and claimed title to, Plantation number 90_514, in 1755. ( No surviving “Grant of Land” copy, at the Registry of Deeds, St. John’s? )

Did Samuel Daw marry Ann, as a second wife?

*The 1805 Plantation Book could have indicated that Isaac's father, Abraham Daw, received his "Room", by deed of gift from his mother. It does indicate that Isaac Daw ( son of Abraham Daw ), recieved land that was "Possessed by his ancestors for 160 Years".

Nicholas Doust/Daw worked for Anthony Varder in Conception Bay, during the late 1690's. Most likely an experienced head man, looking after green men employed by Varder.

CO 194/4. Page 15. Matthew Anthony a Conception Bay petitioner, 1706. Listed adjacent to Anthony Varder.

*It appears obvious that Dawe land, and Anthony land; lay adjacent at Ship Cove, Port de Grave, during the early 1700's. *One must consider when families moved back into the Bays and Coves, from the Islands, post the French threat, and the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.

Could Matthew Anthony and Samuel Daw have possibly wed into the Snow family? Daughters of John Snow of the 1708 Scheme of the Fishery?

What CB family was more prominent, established, and encapsulated in the Fishery, circa 1761, as compared with the Snow family? Other Jersey merchants, operated out of Jersey. The Pynn and Davis families were diminished... Pikes were prominent. Bristol merchants, operated out of Bristol.

*As approached some 15 years ago, one could not have then written such thoughts. But with time and research, things eke out, so to speak. There are formidable barriers to early Newfoundland genealogy. Early Newfoundlanders had to eke out a living on a rocky windswept island, where agriculture was not permitted.

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