"In the Name of God Amen, I Timothy Rarden (sic), belonging to his Majesty's Brigg the Grenville, James Cook Master and Commander, being of Sound and Disposing Mind and Memory, do hereby make this my last Will and Testament.
First, and Principally, I Commend my Soul into the hands of Almighty God hoping for Remission of all my Sins through the Mercies of Jesus Christ my beloved Saviour and Redeemer, and my Body to the Earth or Sea as it shall please God,
And as for such Worldly Estate and Effects which I shall be possessed of or Intitled unto at the time of my Decease, I Give and bequeath the same as followeth, that is to say unto my beloved friend Richard Littleboy and Susannah his Wife of Parish of St Paul's Deptford in the County of Kent, and their heirs for ever,
And I do hereby Nominate, Constitute and Appoint the said Richard Littleboy and Susannah his Wife, Sole Executors of this my last Will and Testament. And I do Give and bequeath unto my said Executors All the Rest and Residue of my Estate whatsoever, both real and personal, hereby revoking and making void all other and former Wills by me heretofore made, and I do Declare this to be my last Will and Testament, In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Twenty Ninth Day of December, year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and Sixty Six, And in the Sixth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King Defender of the Faith &c.
Timothy Rarden (his mark).
Signed, sealed, published and Declared by the said Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses in the presence of the said Testator
Jas. Griffiths, Jams. Cooke.
This Will was proved at London before the Worshipful George Harris, Doctor of Laws and Surrogate of the Right Worshipful George Hay also Doctor of Laws, Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted on the fifteenth day July in the Year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and Seventy one by the Oaths of Richard Littleboy and Susannah Littleboy (Wife of the said Richard Littleboy) the Executors named in the said Will to whom Administration was Granted of all and singular the Goods, Chattels and Credits of the deceased, they having been first sworn Duly to Administer.
This Will was proved at London before the Worshipful Andrew Colture Ducerel, Doctor of Laws, Surrogate of the Right Worshipful George Hay, also Doctor of Laws, Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted on the Twenty first Day of February in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven hundred and Seventy two by the Oaths of Richard Littleboy and Susannah Littleboy (Wife of the said Richard Littleboy) the Executors to whom Administration was Granted they having been first sworn duly to administer. A Probate of the said Will heretofore, to wit, in the month of July last, obtained by the said Richard Littleboy and Susannah Littleboy having been brought in voluntarily and Declared null and void as by the Acts of Court now fully approved."
(Transcribed from a copy of the Will at the Family Records Centre, London. Microfilm Reference Prob. 11 / 969)
- This will was made on the 9th December 1766. It is not known if the will was made because Rearden was seriously ill, or because he had just joined the Grenville. It would be surprising if it was the latter, as the ship had just returned to England after a season working on Cook's survey of the coast of Newfoundland.
- The witnesses to the will were James Griffiths and James Cook. Griffiths presumably was the ship's clerk on the Grenville, as he was transferred to the Endeavour in that same position before being discharged as unsuitable on 29 June 1768.
- It is known that Cook transferred a number of the crew of the Grenville to the Endeavour. Cross referencing names in Rearden's will with the entries in the Muster Role of the Endeavoursuggests that as many as 15 of the Grenville's crew of 20 may have transferred!
- The wills of Captain Cook's crew have shown that most could sign their own names. However, Rearden could not, and his will is signed not with his signature but with "his mark".
- Rearden left everything to Richard and Sarah Littleboy of Deptford. Was this friendship responsible for Richard Littleboy joining the crew of the Endeavour in August 1768? Richard Littleboy joined the crew a fortnight after Michael Littleboy of Deptford had joined. Were they brothers?
- A will was proved on 15 July, just two days after the Endeavour had anchored in The Downs and Cook had forwarded his papers to the Admiralty. However, the following year that will was declared null and void and probate was granted to the same Executors for the above will made in December 1766.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 8, volume 26, number 4 (2003).