19th Century Prenuptial Agreement
Meeting House Willington, Connecticut
Elijah Holt (1757-1817) and Molly Simmons (1753-1814)
Generation Five Family 680
ELIJAH HOLT (Caleb Holt4, Hannah Abbott Holt3, William2, George1), b. at Willington, 24 Oct 1757 son of Caleb and Mary (Merrick) Holt; d. 4 Jul 1817; m. 5 Nov 1783, (1) MOLLY SIMMONS, b. 1754 possibly the daughter of Paul and Mary (Isham) Simmons, but this is not confirmed; Molly d. 6 May 1814. Elijah m. 2nd, Lovina Marcy Dunton 17 Aug 1815. Lovina Marcy was first married to Samuel Dunton.
On 17 August 1815, Elijah Holt married Lovina Marcy Dunton, the widow of Samuel Dunton. Samuel Dunton had first been married to George Abbott descendant Lois Pearl. Lois Pearl and Elijah Holt were second cousins. As was common, a marriage contract was drawn up between Elijah Holt and Lovina Dunton prior to their marriage. These contracts primarily served the purpose of protecting the estate of the husband for his heirs, although in this case it also protected Lovina’s property as she had inherited property from her father Zebadiah Marcy, and Samuel Dunton also left her property “to be at her disposal forever” in order that she would have the wherewithal to care for the children that Samuel and Lovina had together. The property that Lovina received from Samuel was substantial for the time: personal estate valued at $1,075.69 subject to her paying any debts of the estate, one and one-eighth share in the turnpike road from Ellington to Ashford, one-third of the pew in the south meeting house, and several parcels of land including the buildings on the land. Lovina had received five acres of land in the distribution of the estate of her father Zebadiah Marcy.
The following is taken from the marriage contract of Elijah and Lovina signed 16 August 1815: “This joint contract and agreement made by and between Elijah Holt and Lovina Dunton both of Willington in the county of Tolland before their intermarriage witnesseth that whereas the contracting parties propose soon to be joined in marriage and for the security of their joint and separate interests they hereby covenant and agree as follows.” The agreement specifies that after the decease of Elijah, that Lovina will receive the sum of $300 within one year and that for a period of six months after Elijah’s decease she will have use of one room of the house and firewood provided for her. This is in lieu of the dower that she would be entitled to from Elijah’s estate. If Lovina dies before Elijah, she agrees that her heirs shall be entitled to no more than the stock, good, chattels, and furniture that Lovina brought to the marriage. Elijah agrees that if Lovina dies before him, he will make “as good to the heirs of the said Lovina Dunton at her decease as they were at our intermarriage.” Elijah agrees that if he dies before Lovina, that she has the right to all the stock, goods, chattels, and furniture that she brought to the marriage as well as all the real property that is in her possession at the time of the marriage. “I the said Elijah Holt agree that the said Lovina after our intermarriage shall retain all the estate both real and personal that she now possesses. . . and the said Lovina on my part agree to accept and approve of the above-mentioned provisions in lieu of all other privileges. . . to which I might otherwise be entitled.” (2)
Elijah Holt’s estate was probated in 1817. He did not leave a will. The total value of the estate was $4898.49. The distribution of the estate was made equally between Chloe wife of Chester Carpenter and Mary wife of Chester Burnham. Widow Lovina Holt received a distribution of $300 in accordance with the pre-marriage contract. (3)
Elijah Holt and Molly Simmons had four children born at Willington.
1. CHLOE HOLT, b. 2 Jul 1788; d. at Willington, 24 Oct 1819; m. at Willington, 16 Mar 1815, CHESTER CARPENTER, b. at Ashford, 3 Jul 1780 Jonah and Zerviah (Whittemore) Carpenter; Chester d. 3 Apr 1868. After Chloe’s death, Chester married Betsey Kilbourn.
2. MARY HOLT, b. 14 Sep 1790; d. at Willington, 25 Feb 1851; m. 30 Mar 1813, CHESTER BURNHAM, b. at Ashford, 28 Jun 1788 son of Roswell and Esther (Child) Burnham; Chester d. 25 Oct 1857.
3. ELIJAH HOLT, b. 23 Apr 1792; d. 8 Mar 1809.
4. CALEB HOLT, b. 30 Jun 1798; d. 16 Sep 1811.
Photo Credit: https://connecticuthistory.org/towns-page/willington/
1) "Connecticut Marriages, 1640-1939," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F7PB-68K: 11 February 2018), Elijah Holt and Molley Simons, Marriage 05 Nov 1783, Willington Tolland, Connecticut, United States; Connecticut State Library, Hartford; FHL microfilm 1,376,042.
2) Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Connecticut County, District and Probate Courts, Stafford Probate District. Probate of Elijah Holt, Case number 1062, 1817
3) Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Connecticut County, District and Probate Courts, Stafford Probate District. Probate of Elijah Holt, Case number 1062, 1817