Yes, the meaning of "Phebe latly" will probably always remain in the realm of theory. But lacking evidence, I favor the theory that "latly" is "lately" primarily because, in those times, it would have been so highly unlikely for anyone, including Phebe, to use a married woman's maiden name in a context such as this.
An examination of the original will could add or subtract weight from this theory. I would look for indications as to when Phebe's statement was added to Thomas' will. If added when he signed the will, this theory would be diminished. If added during the probate process, this theory would gain support. Indeed, "lately married" suggests "recently married" (not the case) or "married until recently." I would look for the position of Phebe's statement on the document, its likely relationship to any dates on the document, whether the same ink was used for Thomas' will and Phebe's statement, and - other than Thomas' and Phebe's signatures or marks - how many hands contributed to the script.
In thinking that the word was "lately," I had assumed that the statement was added after Thomas' death. Did you see the original or a microfilm, and did it offer any clues?
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