Monday, October 21, 2013

Amaneusis Monday - The Will of John Black

Amanuesis Monday is a daily blogging prompt from which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Amanuensis Monday is a popular ongoing series created by John Newmark at Transylvania Dutch.

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In the name of God I John. Black of Buffalo Township in the County of Butler + State of Pennsylvania being sick + weak in body but of sound mind memory + understanding (Praised be God for it) Considering the certainty of Death + the uncertanty time therof and to the end I may be the better prepared to leave this world whenever it pleases God to take me hence do therefore make + declare this my last will and Testament in manner following (That is to say)
First and princapaly I Commend my Soul into the hands of almighty God my Creator.
I Will + Bequeth unto my beloved Wife Margaret Black her living off of my farm during her natural life (I, E) My Son Daniel Black has according to my will ^to provide a comfortable living for her. I will and bequeth unto my Son Daniel Black Eighty two Acers of Land, that part of my farm surveyed by [?] Walker for him. And all my personal property, if he shall provid a comfortable living for my Beloved Wife and Truly pay all my [?] Debts. And pay my sons + Daughters the sum herein after mentioned, to each of them as follows
Namely to my Daughter Catharin Ann married to Daniel Hughy twenty Dollars _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
unto my Daughter Jane, married to Jacob Cubage twenty Dollars _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
unto my daughter Margaret Married to Thos Peters Twenty Dollars, to be paid within five years to each of them from my death,
I will and bequeth unto my son John Black Thirteen Acers of Land to be taken off of the Corner next to [W or Mr?] Ritchy. and that part sold by me to Thos Harbison, if he [be?] my son John move on it if not my will is that my daughter Barbary is to get it my meaning is that he

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is to have it his life time if he lives on it of not Barbary is to get it.
I will and bequeth unto my daughter Elizabeth Twenty (20) Dollars, to be paid by my son Daniel within five years,
I will and bequeth unto my Daughter Barbary one Hundred Dollars to be pay by my Son Daniel, within five years

My will is that if my son Daniel shall fail to mention my beloved Wife as above And pay my Debts, And pay as herein willd by me to my Children, Then my Executors (who and hereby appoint to see that my will is fully Complyed with) is to Rent out my farm for to make up any deficiency on his part untill all is paid, always providing sufficient of the nesessaries of life for my Beloved Wife

And I do hereby nominate Constitute + appoint Robert Harbison and G C Sedwick each of Butler County Pa Executors of this my will declareing this to be my last will + testament   In witnes [?] whereof I the said testator John Black have to this my last will + testament set my hand + Seal the Evening of the 18th day of Sept AD 1851, 
John Black
[his mark and seal]

Signed Sealed published + delivered by the said testator John.Black as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who in his presents and at his request + in the presents of each other have subscribed our names as Witenss [?]
                                                                              Thomas Harbison [signature]      { of Buffalo Township
                                                                              William Fleming [signature]        { Butler County
                                                                                                                                 { Pennsylvania

This is the Last Will and Testament of my third great grandfather, John Black. I haven't done too much research on the Black family yet (my brother had done some work on this line many years ago). I was very happy to find this will on the FamilySearch website, since I am at least six hours from Butler County. 
It appears that John Black knew that he was near death ... "being sick + weak in body but of sound mind memory + understanding (Praised be God for it)." This will was dated 18 September 1851 and his executors filed his papers on 27 September 1851, so he died sometime during those nine days.
My second great grandmother, Barbara, is mentioned in the will (she is referred to as Barbary), as well as her siblings. The will also lists the names of Barbara's sisters' spouses. John left $20 each to Catherine Ann, Jane, Margaret and Elizabeth, but he left $100 to Barbara. I wonder why she was left so much more (especially at that time) than her sisters. I originally thought that it was because she was unmarried, but Elizabeth was unmarried too. Barbara did marry the next year in 1852, so maybe this was part of her dowry.
John left property to his sons Daniel and John, but if John was not going to use his land, we willed that Barbara was to have it. Again, I wonder why she was the only daughter that could have received land. My next step is to research the deeds to see what happened to John's land.
"Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994," images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Sep 2013), Butler > Probate files 1850-1883 no B106-B250 > images 904-924 of 2881, estate of John Black.

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