Monday, June 04, 2012

The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers

Francis Caruthers (Carruthers, Carouthers, Crothers, Cruthers, etc.) is my 5th great grandfather. His daughter, Elizabeth, married William Alexander who died in service during the Revolutionary War.

Research on this family was conducted by sisters Lynda Alexander Fonde & Marsha Alexander Groff (and others) and published in 2000 on  pages 427-435 in "American Patriot...The New Frontier : Alexander, Sprague & Related Families, Volume II".

In 1766 Francis purchased 166 acres of land from John Steel "lying on the west side of Elk River, North Milford Hundred" in Cecil County, Maryland which was part of a tract called New Munster. A hand-drawn plat map of the area shows that on the east side of Elk River were the lands of seven Alexander families. ("American Patriot" pages 428-429)

Francis Caruthers wrote his will on January 27, 1801. It was entered into Probate Court on December 14, 1805 in Cecil County, Maryland and is recorded in Will Book 6 pages 397-400. Scanned images were obtained from microfilm 013868 on February 13, 2012 from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. My transcription below varies slightly from that published in "American Patriot." They may have had a copy of the original will, while this is a transcription recorded in the record book.

==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==
No. 216 Francis Caruthers December 14, 1805

In the name of God Amen - I Francis Caruthers Senior, of Cecil County State of Maryland, being weak of body, but of sound disposing Mind and Memory, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament in manner and form following - viz - Imprimis

I give and bequeath to my well beloved Son Robert the sum of twenty dollars, each and every year, during his natural life, to be paid him by my son Walter, out of that part of my real estate herein bequeathed to him.

Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved daughters Elizabeth Ann Rachel & Leah each the sum of Five pounds, and it is further my will that if my said daughter Elizabeth, should be dead or not claim the above legacy in five years - in that case that the same should go and be paid to her son William Washington Alexander -

Item. I give and bequeath to my Grandson Francis, son of Walter the sum of five pounds.

Item. I give and bequeath to my well beloved son Walter, his heirs and Assigns forever (after the payment of the aforementioned legacies) all that part of my real estate, whereon he now lives, with the appurtenances there unto belonging. - lying on the south side of the Line beginning on the bank of the Big Elk-creek at the small May pole marked with Six notches, and about thirteen and one fourth perches, below the mouth of a run implying itself on the same Side into said creek, and said beginning is about five and a half perches, below a bunch of May poles, on the opposite side of said creek, and is a Corner of James Garretts and James Alexander lands - and thence from said beginning, South forty nine Degrees, West, twenty eight perches, to a marked poplar, thence south sixty seven degrees and forty minutes west - until it intersects the most Westerly line of said tract, and the New Munster line - at the small white oak standing on the same and now marked with three notches, on the east side thereof.

Item. I give and bequeath to my well beloved son Francis, his heirs and assigns forever, all that part of my real estate with the appurtenances thereunto belonging, whereon he now lives, and lying on the north side of the affore described line - and it is further my Will and desire that all of my just debts and funeral expenses, be paid equally by my Sons Walter and Francis.

and lastly I do constitute my two sons Walter & Francis sole executors of this my last will and testament revoking and annulling all former Wills - ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and testament. - In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty seventh day of January eighteen hundred and one   Francis (his mark) Caruthers {Seal}

Signed, sealed, published and delivered, by the said Francis Caruthers, as and for his last Will and testament in the presence of us, who at his request and in his presence, subscribed our names as Witnesses.
Fras [sic: Francis] Hindman
Josiah Alexander
Rebeccah Alexander
Henry Reynolds

Cecil County Ss
On this 14th day of Dec. 1805 personally came Francis Hindman and Henry Reynolds two of the subscribing witnesses to the foregoing Will and said Francis made oath on the holy evangels of Almighty god that he saw Francis Caruthos [sic] late of said county deceased, sign and seal this Will, that he heard him publish pronounce and declare the same to be his last will and testament that at the time of his so doing he was to the best of his apprehension of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding and that he subscribed his name thereto as a witness at the request and in the presence of the Testator: and the said Henry being one of the people called Quaker did solemnly sincerely and duly affirm in words to the like effect. Sworn & affirmed before D. Smith, Regr.

Cecil County Ss
On this 19th day of December 1805 came Francis Caruthers and made oath on the holy evangels of Almighty God that the foregoing is the whole and true last Will and testament of Francis Caruthers late of said county deceased that hath come to his hands and possession and that he herewith [knows] not of any other and further that publication has been duly made of this Will and that he doth not know of any objections being made against the probate being taken. Sworn before David Smith, Regr.

Cecil County Ss
On this 19th day of December 1805 came Josiah Alexander one of the subscribing witnesses to the foregoing last Will and testametn of Francis Caruthers late of said county and made oath on the holy evangels of Almighty God in the same words and to the same effect as before Sworn by Francis Hindman before David Smith Regr.

Walter Caruthers on the 14th of Dec. by a Note in writing under his hand renounces his right and claim to the administration and Francis in like manner on the 19th day of December also renounces his right and claim to the administration. Test [sic: Testator] David Smith Regr
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I wonder why Walter and Francis declined to accept the duties and responsibilities as administrators of their father's estate? It sounds rather intriguing to me. Since I don't have copies of the estate file, future research plans include obtaining those documents as well as deed records and (of course) any other records that can be located for him and/or his children in Cecil County, Maryland and neighboring areas.

The New Munster area of Cecil County, where Francis Caruthers (and the Alexander families) resided, was in the upper northeast corner of Maryland bordering Chester County, Pennsylvania and New Castle County, Delaware.


The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers (page 1 of 4)
Dated January 27, 1801 and probated December 14, 1805
Cecil County, Maryland Will Book 6 pages 397-400
Family History Microfilm 013868 accessed and images scanned on February 13, 2012


The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers (page 2 of 4)


The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers (page 3 of 4)


The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers (page 4 of 4)

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Last Will and Testament of Francis Caruthers," Kinexxions, posted June 4, 2012 (http://kinexxions.blogspot.com/2012/06/last-will-and-testament-of-francis.html : accessed [access date])

2 comments:

  1. I think it's interesting that he used both dollars and pounds when willing money to his children. I suppose, because the U.S. was so new, perhaps both were used for a while.

    Also, you'd have trouble finding the property now if all you had were the boundary descriptions in this will. Do you know what the "May poles" and "perches" were? (I know those don't have anything genealogical to do with the will - it's just an interesting aside.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nancy, I think "May pole" might actually be Maple, as in Maple tree?

    A "Perch" is a unit of measure that is 16.5 feet in length, it is more commonly called a "Rod" or "Pole" nowadays.

    ReplyDelete

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