Facts and Events
On 6 March 1649[/50] administration of the estate of Ephraim Hickes was granted to Margaret Hicks and Thomas Willet [PCR v. 2, p. 148 (published) or p. 205 (original)].
"L'res of adminestration are graunted vnto Mrs Margeret Hicks, to adminester vppon the estate of Ephraim Hicks, & to pay the debts as fare as the estate will amount vnto by equall pportions, & is bound to the Court to doe it, & Mr Tho' Willet with her."
MD, p. 9:266: Ephraim Hick's Inventory
"An Inventory of the estate of Ephraim hicks Latly Desseased exhibbeted to the generall Court holden att New Plym: the sixt of march 1649 uppon the oath of Mis Margerit hicks Widdow". Totalled £65:11:00. "Mr howland [sic-presumably for Elizabeth, perhaps her father acting as attorney or guardian] thirds" £21:12:00. Debts £13:14:06.
The nuncupative will made by Ephraim to Mr. Thomas Southworth was set aside, this finally getting recorded on 3 Dec 1660. [PCR v. 3, p. 202-3 (published) or p. 205 (original)].
"Wheras Ephraim Hickes, of Plymouth, the tweluth day of December, anno Dom 1649, died a violent death, and that the night before his decease hee expressed a few words to Mr Thomas Southworth about disposing of his outward estate, which said will nuncapatiue was found by the Court to be vnvalled [invalid] and ilegall, for that the said Ephraim Hickes was not in a capssitie in regard of his said manor of death to make a legall will, soe that the said estate faling to the Court to bee att theire dispose, they, for sundry causes moueing them thervnto, then ordered that the said estate should bee improued for the comfort and support of Mistris Margarett Hickes, the mother of the said Ephraim Hickes, in her age and widdowhood, according to theire approbation and aduise; and wheras, through some neglect, it soe is that the said order of Court was not recorded, now, vpon the speciall complaint of the said Margarett Hickes, of the said neglect, -
This Court therfore ordereth, that forasmuch as it appeereth that there was a manifest neglect in that the said order was not recorded, and that the species therof is well remembred and fully attested and testifyed vnto by some whoe were in place when the said order was first made, whoe are still suruiueing, that the said order shalbee now entered in the records of the Court, and accordingly it is entered as followeth, vizt -
It is ordered by the Court, that the whole estate of Ephraim Hickes, deceased, shalbee improued for the comfort and support of Mistris Margarett Hickes in her age and widdowhood, and not estranged from the same, and that some speedy course bee taken that the said estate may bee secured and improued for the ends aforsaid, according to the approbation and aduise of the Court."
There does not seem to be any details about Ephraim's "violent death". Given that he apparently discussed disposition of his estate with Thomas Southworth the night before (i.e., not an accident or murder since known before-hand), and the wills of soldiers going off to war are generally accepted (imminent danger does not invalidate a will), one is left to speculate that Ephraim's death was probably a suicide ("not in a capssitie in regard of his said manor of death to make a legall will")?