Last Will & Testaments of William (1808) & Hannah Baird McRoberts (1812) & Questions

William McRoberts’ Last Will & Testament (1808)
For the Register Geo. Horten Deply
(Second codicil provided August 27, 1809)
Interpreted for readability and transcribed by
Larry Pearce, 4Xgreat-grandson
10/9/19

(See Vitals: William & Hannah McRoberts

In the name of God. Amen. I, William McRoberts of Paxton Township, Dauphin County and State of Pennsylvania, having but a low state of health but sound in mind and memory thanks to God for the same, calling to mind of my mortality, knowing that all must die, do make and or claim my last will and testament in manner following:

First, I do recommend my soul to God, who gave it in hopes of a glorious resurrection, my body to be buried in a Christian and decent-like manner, and as to such worldly substance as it hath pleased God to bless me with, I dispose of in the following manner:

I allow all my just debts to be paid to my beloved wife Hannah McRoberts. I do will and beget all my personal estate and the full benefit of my real estate until such times as my wife Hannah McRoberts and two sons, John and James McRoberts, all three agree to sell it. And when sold, my wife Hannah McRoberts is to have one-hundred pounds out of said real estate. In case my land should not be sold until the decease of one or two of the above named, Hannah, John, and James McRoberts, the survivors or heirs (?) shall have full (unclear?) to fill and make title thereof to all indents and purposes and pay the legacies (?) herein bequeathed in the following manner:

First, to pay a bond given by me to my son Robert McRoberts out of the real estate, and to my son John McRoberts one-fourth part of the remainder of my real estate, and to my son James one-fourth part of the remainder of my real estate, to my daughter Betsy Allison one-fourth part of the remainder of my real estate, and to my daughter Susannah Alison one-fourth part of the remainder of my real estate, and further I do appoint my friends John Barnett and David Patton to be the sole Executors of this my last will and testament, reworking (revoking?) and disamuling (?) all other wills or bequeathments by me, made or done, and do pronounce this and no other to be my last will and testament.

Fourth day, February, in the year of Our Lord, one-thousand eight-hundred and eight

(Signed) William (X-no mark) McRoberts (Seal)

Acknowledged before us,
Samuel Janney
Thomas Barnett
Dauphin County, PA

This eighth day of May, Anno Domini 1809, before Henry Bender, Esq., Register for the Probate of Wills and Granting Letters of Administration in and for the County of Dauphin, personally came Samuel Finney and Thomas Barnett, the two subscribing witnesses to the foregoing will, and being duly sworn according to law, doth dispose and say that they were present and saw and heard William McRoberts, the Testatrix, sign, seal, publish, pronounce and declare the foregoing instrument of writing as and for his last will and testament, and at the time of so doing, he was of perfect sound mind, memory, and understanding to the best of their knowledge, observation, and belief.

(Signed)  Henry Bender, Register

Hannah McRoberts’ Last Will & Testament
For the Register of Allegheny County, PA
February 12, 1812
Interpreted for readability and transcribed by
Larry Pearce, 4Xgreat-grandson
10/10/19
(See Vitals: William & Hannah McRoberts)

(No. 249) In the name of God, I Hannah McRoberts of Mifflin Township, (word?) Allegheny County, being weak in body but of sound mind and memory, and calling (?) to mind that it is appointed for the human species once to die, I do make this my last will and testament.

First, I will myself to buried in a decent manner. Second, I will to Elizabeth Allison, my daughter, one-hundred dollars, and to my daughter Susannah Allison, one-hundred dollars. And I give to William Allison, son of William Allison, fifteen dollars, and Hannah Allison, daughter of William Allison, fifteen dollars, and George Allison, (William?) fifteen dollars, and George Allison’s daughter Hannah fifteen dollars, and my grandson John McRoberts, son of Robert McRoberts, fifteen dollars, and my granddaughter of Robert McRoberts, fifteen dollars, and Margaret McRoberts, daughter of Robert McRoberts, ten dollars. And if there should not be money to pay the above sums, it is to be reduced of each ones share proper.

And I leave to John McRoberts’ two sons, James and William, each five dollars, and I leave to my daughter, Elizabeth Allison, my spotted dress, and to my daughter Susannah Allison, my green dress. And I give to my granddaughter Hannah McRoberts, daughter of Robert McRoberts, my black silk dress, and my black shawl and one yellow shawl to Elizabeth Allison, and one dark shawl to Susannah Allison, and to Hannah McRoberts, daughter of Robert McRoberts, all my other shawls, and one web of cheek (?) to be equally divided between the Robert McRoberts’ three children, and one web of flaxen (?) and one web of linen to be divided between the above two girls, and one pair of blankets to be equally divided with the two girls, and one piece I will to be taken to the fulling mill and to be dress (?) for a riding coat for Hannah McRoberts, and my two cotton petticoats I give to the said two girls, one piece of cheek (?) in the trunk I give to my daughter Elizabeth, and one other piece I give to my daughter Susannah. And I give my yarn to my two granddaughters that live with me, and all the property that they are entitled to by their father’s estate. And my side saddle, and one set of china (?) that is in the trunk to Hannah McRoberts, and one piece of cheak (?) I will to be divided between my two daughters, and all my wearing apparel that is not mentioned, I wish to be equally divided between my two daughters, and the settler (?) I give to the children the live with me. And my new black clock I give to my grandson that lives with me, and all my property I will to be sold by my executors, and my real estate to be sold likewise.

And further, I pronounce this to be my last will and testament. And  further, I revoke all other wills by me made and published. This to be my last will and testament in the presence of A.B. (?) I appoint Andrew Finney and John Sarge to be my whole and sole Executors of this my last will and testament.

February 12, 1812

A.B. (?) I will to each of my the daughters my fine sheet, and to my granddaughter that lives with me my umbrella (?).

(Signed) Hannah McRoberts (Seal)

(Witnesses)
Andrew Finney
Robt. Richey

Allegheny Couny, Pa. Be it remembered that on the fifth day of March A.D. 1812 – came before me, Saml. Jones, Register for the Probate of Wills and Granting Letters of Administration for A. County, Robert Ritchey and Andrew Finney, the two subscribing witnesses, the entire will, and being sworn on the Holy Evangelist of the Almighty God, deposeth and saith that they were present on the fifth day of February last past on the night of that day and did see Hannah Mcoberts, the Testator, within named, sign, seal. publish, and pronounce the written instrument of writing as and for her last will and testament and that she was of sound mind and memory at the time to the best of their knowledge and that they subscribed their names thereto and witnesses. Witness my hand the day and year aforesaid.

For Saml. Jones, Register

(Signed) William Jones

Questions arising from these documents:

William

  1. Why are there two Registers for Dauphin Co – Deply and Bender?
  2. What/where are the “codicils” suggested?
  3. I’m wondering where the McRoberts might have lived as “Paxtang” Township was formed in 1729 and began to be divided into thirds from 1768 – 1815. Interesting that my cousin’s surname is Paxton!
  4. Did William come west to Allegheny County with Hannah, or is he buried back east? She’s apparently in the Mifflin U.P. Church graveyard.
  5. What/why is the “bond” given to son Robert. Was he the eldest and has left home or was he farming the land?
  6. I have James born in 1760,  so he would have been 48-years old and probably long married upon William’s death. Similar for John.
  7. I have a son Charles born in 1773, not mentioned, who would have been 35. (Could the William in Hannah’s will have been his first/middle name?) Sister (Hannah) Susannah would have been 33. Seems she lived in (West) Mifflin Township, Allegheny County with her mother before marrying George Allison and moving north across the Allegheny River to Pine Twp.
  8. I don’t have daughter Elizabeth “Betsy” for some reason, but there she is! Why do the wills spell Allison/Alison/Aleson differently? Are the husbands related?
  9. There are plenty of words that I can’t read or don’t know. Are they legal terms, antique, or both?
  10. What would the present value of 100-pounds be?

Hannah

  1. What would the present value of $100 be?
  2. Who is George and/or William Allison, grandchildren? Does son John also have a William?
  3. What is a “web of cheek” or “piece of cheek”? Was this associated with a bridle strap?
  4. What is “cheney”? “China”?
  5. What is “the settler”?
  6. At the bottom, after the date, appears to be an afterthought (fine sheet and umbrella?) preceded by “A.B.” I cannot find them as Latin or legal abbreviations.

If any of our readers have answers or suggestions, please forward them in the comment section below and we will research your ideas. Thank you.

And thanks to cousin James Paxton for contributing these documents

Last revised 10/14/19

 

2 Responses to Last Will & Testaments of William (1808) & Hannah Baird McRoberts (1812) & Questions

  1. Tom Pearce says:

    Nice work Larry. Fascinating to read. Tom Pearce, McKinney, TX

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