M

ary Macpheadris (1723 - 1776), Archibald and Sarah's daughter, inherited both hers and her brother's share from her father's vast estate.   By 1740, seventeen-year-old Mary had developed a friendship with Benjamin Plummer, an apparent twenty-four-year-old suitor who was believed to be from London.  Benjamin was the Collector of the Piscataway (Portsmouth) and a man of some wealth.  He may have been living at the house of Mary's Uncle Theodore Atkinson, at the time a wealthy landowner and member of King's Council who lived nearby on Pitt Street (now Court Street) in a house that had gardens that stretched down to Puddle Dock.  Mary and Benjamin's probable courtship ended abruptly when Benjamin became terminally sick.  On May 7, 1740, Benjamin Plummer wrote out his last will and testament.  His "esteemed friend" Mary "Mackpheadrise" was the first beneficiary listed, and she was bequeathed "my Gold watch, my Negro Boy Juba & a ring of five guneas Price Desireing She would Accept the Same as  a Token of the Great Value & regard I have for her."  Benjamin died the next day. 

Two years later on May 27, 1742, the young heiress married John Osborne Jr., a young merchant from the well-established Osborne family of Boston.  Not much is known of John Jr., but court documents and tax records indicate that he and Mary resided in Portsmouth from 1742 to at least 1755, possibly living with Mary's uncle, Gov. Benning Wentworth, at the Warner House or in a wooden house across the street that her father had built around the same time as the Warner House.  In 1749, John Jr. signed over his power of attorney to Mary, a possible indication that John Jr. was planning an extended trip.  Indeed, his father was highly connected with London merchants, and his business in NH appeared unremarkable.  The paperwork for the power of attorney was not filed until six years later when Mary (and John Jr.) was sued by Uncle Theodore Atkinson, who by now was the provincial secretary and Chief Justice of New Hampshire.  The litigation concerned Mary's vast inheritance, and at the time, her husband could not be located for the trial.  Was he overseas? Had he abandoned his wife?  Had he died?

While it remains unknown exactly what happened to John Jr. Osborne, he was certainly dead by the fall of 1760.  That October, Mary Macpheadris Osborne married Jonathan Warner, a rising Portsmouth merchant, who happened to be the widower of her cousin Mary Nelson Warner and father to a young child.  Per English common law, Mary gave up control over her rights and property and became one with Jonathan, a legal possession. 

 

Next: Jonathan Warner 

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