Wills can hold such interesting pieces of information about our ancestors and frequently generate additional questions. Stephen Robinson is my paternal 3x great-grandfather. Last Spring I wrote what I had been able to learn about his life (see Blog post Celebrating the Life of Stephen Robinson). Now I wanted to look at his last wishes as recorded in his Will.
At the time this Will was written Stephen was 66 years old and had been married to Caroline Overton Robinson for 46 years. They had the following children all still living at the time: Barnabas O., George W., Perry S., Almeda V. (my 2nd great-grandmother), William S., Arthur M., Alonzo M., Dolisca, Huldah J., and Carrie E. [I have underlined family names within the following transcribed Will.]
Stephen’s Will was written 6 days before he died.
In the name of God, Amen. I, Stephen Robinson, of the Town of Riverhead, County of Suffolk and State of New York being of sound mind and memory, and considering the uncertainty of this life, do therefore, make, ordain, publish and declare, this to be my last Will and Testament; That is to say,
First, after all my lawful debts are paid and discharged, I give, bequeath-To my Son Alonzo M. Robinson, my Homestead Farm Consisting of one Hundred and Seventy-five acres the same more or less-Situate at Manorville in the said County of Suffolk and Bounded as follows-first piece on the North by the Lands of Thomas G. Osborn, on the South by the Peconic River and on the West by the Lands of Jonah Raynor. Second piece-On the North by the Land of Louis Worthington, on the East by the Land of Jonah Raynor, on the South by the Branch of the Peconic River and on the West by the Land of George O. Raynor. Together with the hereditaments [something capable of being inherited] and appurtenances [belonging to something else, ie. the land] or in otherwise thereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining to have and to hold the premises above described to the said Alonzo M. Robinson his heirs and assigns Forever-
I give and bequeath to my son William S. Robinson all that certain piece or parcel of Land Situate at Manorville in the said County of Suffolk, Containing seventy acres be the same more or less and Bounded as follows on the North partly by the Highway and partly by the Land of Sally Ann Sweezey on the East by the Lands of Sally Ann Sweezey and Albert Terry on the South by the Land of Isaac Raynor and the old School House Road and on the West by the Land of O. H Oc’t(?), together with the hereditaments and appurtenances hereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining to have and to hold the premises above described to the said William S. Robinson Forever-
I give and bequeath to my son Arthur M. Robinson Two Hundred acres of land near Manorville in the said County of Suffolk and bounded as follows-first piece on the North by, the Long Island Rail Road on the East by the Land of Isaac C. Hulse and the Heirs of Elegin Dayton in the South by the Land of Joel H. Raynor and on the West by the Lands of J. Minor Raynor and by Jab. Raynor- Second piece lying near Manorville in the said County of Suffolk and Bounded as follows on the North by the Land formerly of ?Yosing & Roger on the East by the Land of Warren Raynor on the South by Peconic River, and on the West by the Lands of Benjamin R. Woodhull and Bertha Caffee Zuba-To have and to hold the premises above described to the said Arthur M. Robinson Forever-
I give and bequeath to my son Barney O. Robinson the Sum of one Thousand Dollars in Money.
I give and bequeath to my son George W. Robinson the sum of one Thousand Dollars in Money.
I give and bequeath to my son Stephen Perry Robinson the sum of one Thousand Dollars in Money-
I give and bequeath to my son William S. Robinson the sum of Three Hundred dollars in Money-
I give and bequeath to my wife Caroline Robinson the sum of Eight Thousand dollars in Money-
I give and bequeath to my daughter Caroline E. [Carrie] Robinson the sum of Three Hundred dollars in Money-
I give and bequeath to my daughter Almeda V. Terry the sum of Two Hundred dollars in Money-
I give and bequeath to my daughter Dolisea Terry the sum of Two Hundred dollars in Money-
I give and bequeath to my daughter Hulah J. Hawkins the sum of Two Hundred dollars in Money-
All the residue and remainder of my Estate-both real and personal I give and bequeath to my sons Barney O. Robinson, George W. Robinson and Arthur M. Robinson to be equally divided between them.
Likewise, I make constitute and appoint my Wife Caroline Robinson, to be my Executrix and my son Barney O. Robinson to be Executor of this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills by me made.
In Witness whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal, the fifth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Seventy one.
Stephen Robinson (L.S.)
Richard T. Osborn, Riverhead
George F. Homan, Riverhead
Since the Will was written so close to the time of his death I wonder if Stephen was seriously ill at the time? Unfortunately, there are no death certificates that would have recorded the cause of his death.
I notice that Stephen leaves more money to his youngest daughter Caroline "Carrie". I believe this is do to her age only being 17 at the time the letter was written. She was a minor and still at home at the time. Stephen's other three daughters were married at the time the Will was written.
I am curious about why property was left to some of the sons but not all of them? I wonder if property was not left to sons who already owned their own land? When I looked back at what Stephen farmed according to the US Federal Non-Populations Census-Agricultural Blog post I had written I saw a decline from 1850-1860 in the acreage that Stephen farmed/owned. I was unable to locate Stephen in the 1870 US Federal Non-Populations Census-Agricultural. Had he stopped farming by 1870? I think some further investigation into Stephen's land sales are definitely needed.
The handwriting in the Will, at times, was difficult to decipher. There may be errors in the spelling of some of the names mentioned as owning land bordering Stephen's property holdings.
If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,