I recently read the actual will of William Wallis ca. 1690-1772. Up to now I had relied on the abstract provided at Helen F. Evans, Abstracts of the Probate Records of Rockingham County, N.H. 1771-1799 (Batimore, Md.: Heritage Books, 2000) II:983 [actual citation: Rockingham County Probate #3944.] Abstracts are good because they list the heirs with relationships, but it's not the same as actually reading a will for the intent, and most importantly, for the clues.
William mentions his son Samuel with a token gift, noting that he had already received his portion. Son William gets a similar gift. Then comes daughter Jane Moses, with a similar small gift, and daughter Martha Scaggel who gets a more substantial gift of money. Next comes daughter Abigail Blasdell who gets the house and land on which he owns. From deeds and the language of the deed, it is clear that William has been living with Abigail and her husband William Blasdell for several years.
Next comes four grandsons in this order: Joseph, Weymouth, Nathaniel, and Furnald. It is these four men I want to study. Sadly, William, the will writer, does not distinguish his grandson as "son of my child X or Y." What is William trying to tell us about these men? Why these four grandsons and no other grandchildren at all? They are not all over 21. We know that Furnald in 1772 was between 14 and 18 from his guardianship papers. [Evans, Rockingham Probate Abstracts, II:982]. Were they included because their fathers were dead? Certainly Furnald's father was. Were the others? Or is there nothing to learn from this? Are they included arbitrarily--their grandfather liked them.
I hate inventing people and feel it is a poor way to conduct genealogical research. I think these records point to men we already know about, that is, Joseph b. 1741, son of Samuel; Weymouth b. ca. 1751, son of William; Nathaniel, b. 1746, son of Samuel; and Furnald, son of Nathaniel, deceased. If so, why not include Abraham Wallis, the brother of Joseph and Nathaniel who was born in 1744? It makes your head spin. William makes Joseph, his grandson, his executor. Joseph is the eldest son of the first son mentioned in the will, Samuel, who may also be the eldest. This Joseph is clearly the same man as the one who moves to Deerfield, as proven by deeds [Rockingham Co. Deeds 109:588]. The Joseph of Deerfield sells his property there on 17 June 1780 [Rockingham County Deeds 125:238]. Is he not the Joseph Wallis then in the 1790 Census at Epsom with brothers Abraham and Nathaniel?
For now that's how I see it. I have rewritten William Wallis's entry on the pages section of this blog to reflect my latest take on this family.