This is Nathan’s Will:
(click on image to enlarge)
In the name of God Amen, I Nathan Benjamin of River head in the County of Suffolk and State of New York, yeoman, being now aged and some what infirmness in body but of sound mind and memory and calling to mind the mortality of my body do make and ordain this my last will and testament in Manner and form following after my Just debts are paid and funeral charges satisfied.
First of all, I do give and bequeath unto my well beloved wife Jemima Benjamin one equal half of all moveable Estate out Doors & in Door moveables my riding horse and chairs.
Item ,I give and bequeath unto my Eldest son Nathan Benjamin the whole width of my land from a certain bound which I have set up about ten rods Northard of the fence now standing fifty rods north of the dwelling house where my said son Nathan now lives so to go as far south ward as the Crotch of the road or paths to a certain red oak tree which I have marked which piece of land I give to my said son Nathan Benjamin his heirs & assigns forever.
I give and bequeath unto my second son namely Jacob Benjamin my land the whole width from the sound to the bound about 50 rods North of the house of my son Nathan as above with all the Buildings also I give to my son Jacob Benjamin all my salt and fresh meadows in Southampton & else where also I give & bequeath unto my son Jacob Benjamin his heirs and assigns forever all the above mentioned land and Meadows out of which I do order him and my son Jacob Benjamin to pay all my just debts and legis monies.
I do give and bequeath to my youngest son Phineas Benjamin the whole width of my land from the above mentioned bound by the Crotch Of the paths south ward to the land of James Terry which piece of land I give to my son Phineas Benjamin his heirs and assigns forever.
I do give and bequeath unto oldest Daughter Deborah Edwards fifty pounds or one hundred & twenty five dollars.
I do give & bequeath unto David Sweezy’s Children each of them one dollar.
I do give and bequeath unto my youngest Daughter Jemima Benjamin two hundred and fifty Dollars & all the moveables that was hers before & also a home in my house so long as she remains unmarried & also the priviledge of fire wood and the keeping for our cow likewise one equal half of my moveable Estate
Lastly I do nominate Constitute and appoint my well beloved wife Jemima Benjamin and my son Jacob Benjamin Executors of this my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this second day of June in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and three signed, sealed and published and delivered to be the last will and testament of the Nathan Benjamin in presents of Daniel Youngs, Benjamin L’Hommedieu, Joseph Glover
Nathan Benjamin (L.S.)
I always try to transcribe the documents with the language and spelling of the time they were written in. Sometimes the handwriting is difficult to decipher. I underlined a word in my transcription that I am not sure of. I just can’t figure out what is being stated after “to pay all my just debts and _ monies”. Help is always greatly appreciated. In the transcription I have added some spaces, lines and a few commas to make the document a little easier to read.
This symbol is used several times in this will and I have never seen this before. I have researched and researched and have been unable to determine what it stands for. I have not seen this before and I did not see it in the will listed before or after Nathan’s in the Will Liber.
I appreciate the fact that Nathan left something to every member of his immediate family. That he referred to Jemima as “my well beloved wife”. I am also pleased that he thought his wife capable enough to be named as an Executor. I wonder why he also selected Jacob as Executor and not his oldest son Nathan? Perhaps he was already very busy with his own farm and family.
David Sweezy was Nathan’s son-in-law. I believe his daughter Mary Bethia had already died, so, Nathan was leaving money to his grandchildren.
I always find the old terms and expressions interesting; like “Northard” as a direction. A “rod” is equal to about 5 1/2 yards. I look at how precise our own property lines are marked today and think of Nathan’s description of his property lines for his son when he states “the whole width of my land from a certain bound which I have set up about ten rods Northard of the fence now standing fifty rods north of the dwelling house where my said son Nathan now lives so to go as far south ward as the Crotch of the road or paths to a certain red oak tree which I have marked”. I wonder how long that “certain red oak tree” stood there? The “crotch” or fork of the road. I remember growing up on a farm and how my grandfather and father always talked about places on the farm as “the north side of the building” or the “west side of the road”.
I have heard ‘Yeoman” referred to as a term meaning a man worked for himself and not as a servant for another man.
I am happy to see that Nathan was able to sign his name as denoted by “L. S.” after his name for ‘Legal Signature’.
Nathan would die less than 2 years after his will was written on 14 May 1805.
If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,