Sunday, March 25, 2007

Could Thomas Bucke Read and Wright?

In his will, Thomas Bucke asked that his children, Thomas and Dorothy, “be brought upp to learning, Read and Wright” but could Thomas himself “read and wright” -- spelling apparently being a different subject!

Thomas Bucke almost certainly did not write his will in his own hand. He was very ill and may have dictated his will from his deathbed. Even so, the will closes with “with my hand and Seale”. Two of the witnesses, Gregory Rue and Henry Russ apparently signed their names; the third witness, Elizabeth W. Frie, made her mark. (I’ve not seen the original will of Thomas Bucke. The original was said to be in very poor condition with several sections completely unreadable. )

The very first item listed in the inventory of Thomas Bucke’s estate was “One Byble”. The presence of the Bible is a significant indication that Thomas, or perhaps his wife, was literate. No other books were included in the inventory but most households did not have books. The inventory also includes four “bills” and one “account” of others. From these bits and pieces, I conclude that Thomas Bucke could “read and wright”.

Unfortunately, despite the instructions of his father, Thomas Buck II apparently was illiterate. His will of May 19, 1729 shows “Thomas Buck, his mark”.

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