Opinions about an almost twenty year old purchasing land in 17th century Rhode Island?

+6 votes

Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any knowledge/opinions on the possibility of an almost-twenty-year-old buying land in 17th century Rhode Island?  Nathaniel Browning was baptized on January 20, 1626 per records extracted from parish registers on Familysearch.  Raymond H. Wood’s genealogy, citing the same RI sources as the Massachusetts and More Genealogy Blog, indicates that Nathaniel Browning bought John Roome’s Warwick land and house October 23, 1645.  The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island indicates that the price he paid was 3 pounds.  Assuming the two men are the same, he would have been just shy of twenty years old.  The website Bob's Genealogy Filing Cabinet has a page for "Legal Age" (<!--[endif]-->http://www.genfiles.com/articles/legal-age/) and the author, Robert W. Baird, indicates that it was possible for someone under 21 to buy land.  Assuming the Nathaniels are identical, it was certainly a financial possibility-he inherited several hundred pounds from his father (who died before or just after his birth) in addition to money from his stepfather and grandfather.  While most of this money was to be made available when he turned 21 (22 in one case), his mother made her will in 1635 (passing not long afterwards), she wanted him and his brothers to be taken in by long-time family friends, Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell Farrington of Coleman Street, London.  She wanted them to withdraw the boys' money to pay for their upkeep. (I have posted her will on her page, WikiTree ID Furness-516).  Has anyone else run into this sort of situation before?  Thanks!

WikiTree profile: Nathaniel Browning
in The Tree House by K. Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (148k points)
edited by K. Anonymous

2 Answers

+5 votes
I don't know about a pre-21 year old buying land. I would expect some annotation if it was, but I really don't know.

Have you looked at the Pilgrim Great Migration? There are a number of references to Nathaniel Browning there.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (556k points)
+4 votes
I am VERY new here, but I believe that the age of majority was much younger then, in some groups as low as 14 or 15. There are certainly people that young, men and women, who got married and had children, so a land purchase by a 20-year-old wouldn't surprise me.
by Joan Lisanti G2G4 (4.9k points)

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